Japan Review Check: Fist of the North Star, PlayStation All-Stars

Here's a quick summary of the console titles coming out next week in Japan, courtesy of the review pages of Famitsu magazine.

Famitsu reviewers are known for generally awarding the same scores for games released across multiple platforms. However, for whatever reason, this isn't happening with Wii U third-party releases. Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed III, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3 are among the Wii U games that scored one or two points below the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions in Famitsu's review pages - a fact that definitely hasn't gone unnoticed among gamers in Japan.

The trend continued this week with the Wii U port of Shin Hokuto Musou, sequel to the game titled Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage in the U.S. The review text was generally positive: "The content's pretty much the same as on other systems, but I like how you can do non-split-screen co-op with the GamePad. The traditional series action is all here, and the Legend mode covers pretty much the entire original story, which is more than a fair amount to play through." Yet the Wii U version was rated 9/9/8/9 for 35 points, two points below the 37 the other console versions received.

Why might this be? Two theories come to mind. One, these games aren't new; They are just new ports. Two, Famitsu has rated Nintendo titles far ahead of third-party Nintendo console releases ever since the launch of the Nintendo 64, even with the better support developers gave the Wii in general. There may simply be a subconscious trend going on. Whatever the reason, the numbers won't serve to ruin the image among some Japanese hardcore gamers that the Wii U isn't for them.

The only other major release coming next week:

- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3: 8/8/7/8, 31 points; PS Vita: 8/8/8/8, 32 points): Famitsu's response to this title (coming to Japan two months after the rest of the world) is in line with the rest of the world: favorable, but not exceptional.

"The simple controls let anyone get really into the game on a pretty ready basis," wrote reviewer Norihiro Fujiwara. "That holds especially true for multiplayer. There's a huge amount of support moves and characters that show up in each stage, which (alongside all the unlockable stuff) helps keep things exciting. However, it's a shame that the story mode was pretty low-key and modest overall. I wish there were modes to play with."

That complaint about story mode was echoed across all reviewers, as were notes about the general copycat-ness of the game: "There was nothing really innovative about the gameplay or controls, and it would've been nice if some more originality was seen here." Another editor, meanwhile, brought up a more unique quibble in his closing sentence: "To be honest, there are characters here that most people in Japan aren't going to be familiar with at all, but it's still a game you can feel secure breaking out at parties."

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