Japan Review Check: GTA5, Fairy Fencer F

A quick look at the biggest console games coming to Japan next week, as reviewed by Famitsu magazine:

- Grand Theft Auto 5 (10/10/10/10, 40 out of 40 points): GTA5 is the 22nd game to receive a perfect score in Famitsu's 27-year publication history. It's also the second after The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim to be developed outside of Japan, which perhaps belies more than anything else the way that industry trends are heading.

"Despite the fact it's popular worldwide, GTA5 never takes the easy way out and continually tries to challenge itself," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "I'm amazed at how it succeeds at this, and the fixes for issues gamers bought up with the last game make this a seemingly flawless package. It's really almost too fun."

"The overwhelming sense of reality in this city and the people living in it is more complete than the previous game," added freelance writer Rolling Uchizawa. "The graphics are beautiful, of course, but more than that, the setting and story makes you feel that the characters have real outlooks on their lives, which is amazing. The fun of switching between three heroes as you play adds a sense of strategy that hasn't been in the series before; each character brings a different atmosphere to the missions, making it almost feel like three experiences in one."

The editors continued to talk about almost nothing but GTA5 in their respective "pick of the week" columns, indicating the game's impact on all of them. "I think the great thing about GTA5 isn't its realism, but the 'reality' it presents to you," Uchizawa said. "In other words, it's different from our reality, but presents this amazing package that feels like reality. You can't get this kind of 'reality' just by having pretty graphics, and it's a real sight to behold."

- Fairy Fencer F (8/9/8/7, 32 points): A B-level JRPG has no hope of beating GTA's hype train, even in Japan these days, but Famitsu still liked Compile Heart's latest PS3 effort well enough. "The battles are extremely uptempo, and the visuals are flashy and exciting," Ebihara said. "The character growth elements offer a lot of freedom, and combined with the system that lets you earn weapons from goddesses and evil gods, it gives you a lot of things to toy around with. I feel like the animation makes the characters seem a little too light and airy, but overall the game's breezy and engaging."

Uchizawa, meanwhile, was a lot more down on the game: " The tutorial is good enough, but on the other hand, there's so much available to you right at the start that you may be lost at first. Overall the game is a short of first-class, including the controls and graphics, but still remains an engaging package."

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