Japan Review Check: Sonic: Lost World, Armored Core, BlazBlue

A quick look at the most interesting games coming out in Japan next week, as reviewed in the new issue of Famitsu magazine:

- Armored Core: Verdict Day (9/9/8/8, 34 out of 40 points): It's always difficult for a game-mag editor to review Armored Core, a title that demands a lot of time and dedication to truly appreciate, but Famitsu nonetheless gave Verdict Day a lot of support.

"The game's pretty difficult and you have to use a ton of buttons, which makes the hurdles seem pretty high at first," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "But the more you plug away at it, the more you can really feel how much better you're getting at it, which is nice. Online's easy to get into as well, thanks to the mercenaries you can hire on a temporary basis. Online matching doesn't always give you what you want, but it's still a lot more streamlined and easy to use than before."

"The game's focused primarily on online play and that may scare off some players right there," added freelance writer Rolling Uchizawa. "There is a tutorial, but beyond that you're pretty much thrown into the wilderness. This makes the missions pretty tough from the start, but the mercenaries and UNAC auto-AI system provide beginners with a fair amount of backup, which is key. It's the kind of game that rewards repeated trial and error as you play, and so if you like that, here it is."

- Sonic Lost World (9/9/9/9, 36 points): The Wii U version of the new Sonic got the highest overall score this week. "Your normal movement speed's slowed down a bit, which makes it seem a bit easier to play for action beginners," said Ebihara. "The homing attacks are easier to pull off, and the overall sense of nonstop excitement is as prevalent as ever. The game also takes advantage of a lot of Wii U-specific features, from the GamePad and TV-based multiplayer to grabbing items via Miiverse."

Despite giving it a 9, Uchizawa was quite a bit harsher in the review text. "The basic gameplay and world setting is the same as the 3DS version, although the stages are quite a bit different," he said. "The color powers add a nice accent to the action, although it does kind of ruin the Sonic-type tempo you might be expecting. The visuals are as fun as ever to watch, too, although it's hard to see whether you're actually controlling anything at times."

- BlazBlue: Chronophantasma (9/9/8/8, 34 points): "BlazBlue has always made a thorough effort to provide support for both beginners and advanced players, and this drive is just as obvious here," Ebihara wrote. "There's a ton of volume to enjoy here between the story mode and all the other ways you can play."

Uchizawa wasn't quite as convinced. "The intricately-detailed graphics are just as fun to look at as what you see in the rest of the series," he said. "However, the button displays conform to the arcade version and there are different controls for Technical and Stylish modes, which causes a lot of confusion. Beginners can get into this, but you have to learn a lot to get up to speed."

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