On today’s menu, a trio of Playstation titles with a uniquely Japanese flavor. Whether sleuthing out murderers (and avoiding said murderers) in an insane high school experience, hunting gigantic monsters to use their parts for gear, or running around an over-world with a group of pensive and emotional teenagers in a quest to save the world, it’s a triple dose of Sony goodness!
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
This one’s an interesting title, so hold tight. A mixture of a lot of strange tropes and ideas that shouldn’t surprise those who like media that comes out of the East, Japan in particular, but might seem a little out there for the uninitiated. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of those interactive story sort of games that do particularly well on handheld consoles. You take part as an every day, average high school kid, who through some luck finds himself enrolled in an ‘ultimate’ school, for ‘ultimate’ students. Meaning, the best of the best rock star kids you probably wouldn’t want to be competing with if you were an average high school kid. Lucky then that this is no ordinary school! In fact, it’s some sort of crazy murder game-show hosted by an insane robotic bear with a split personality! See, I told you it was going to get a bit weird. What follows is a murder mystery pitting student against student, the first student who can successfully off another student and survive being discovered in the trial process gets to go free! Wander the school (mind the implements of death should you step out of bounds) engaging with fellow students, and take part in ‘Phoenix Wright’- esque courtroom scenes, where you try and solve murders, which then result in further murder… I think you get the idea.
Release Date: Feb 11, 2014
Consoles: PS Vita
Genre / Rating: Adventure, interactive novel / M
Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Familiar with Monster Hunter? Of course you are; think Monster Hunter with Demons. As a guy who really enjoys taking out giant boss type characters, that’s perfectly fine with me. Play as a ‘Slayer’ protecting humanity from ‘Oni’, monstrous demonic beings who, being monstrous and demonic, want to mess everything up and eat a bunch of people. This is where you step in. For their demon slaying troubles, players are rewarded with Mitama, souls of dead heroes consumed by the horrifying Oni, which give the player access to buffs and attack powers as they unlock. As with others in this monster slaying genre, you will pursue upgrades to attack bigger monsters. Upgrades being crafted with materials you relieve off your monstrous opponents, and by ‘relieve’ I mean ‘loping off with over-the-top weapons forged of the body parts of other monsters’, but you probably already knew that. Rinse Repeat, play with AI controlled partners, local, or online multiplayer and hunt in groups of four.
Release Date: Feb 11, 2014
Consoles: PS Vita
Genre / Rating: Action / T
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
With a name like ‘Tales of Symphonia Chronicles’ I know what you might be thinking, and you’re right! Yes, this is a JRPG with a bunch of large eyed youth with little or no discernible noses, over sized weaponry, and fantastically logic defying hair! I tease because I love, in earnest this is a JRPG, so there will be some overwrought emotions and amusing dialog, but also an overworld, battle system, and heaps of player interaction with quirky NPCs, all well defined tropes of the JRPG genre. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is actually a combined HD remaster of two ‘Tales’ games, PS2 title Tales of Symphonia, and the Nintendo Wii’s Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Tales of Symphonia features a unique battle system for the genre, eschewing the standard turn based combat, ‘Tales’ uses a skills based, fighter inspired combat system that mixes things up a bit for the JRPG space.
Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Genre / Rating: JRPG / T
Continuing to support their hardware, Sony has your February covered with two titles for the Vita, and one for the PS3. Now don’t feel left out PS4 owners, the Rayman Legends release is available February 18th, and remember to keep an eye on the Plug-in blog for all your game launch announcements and reviews.
What’s your favorite game out of Japan? Mainstream? Or was it one of those cult hits you had to get Japanese hardware to play? Comment below!