Japan Review Check 8/29: Dragon Quest 10, Max Payne 3

A recap of the most interesting games coming out soon in Japan, courtesy of the reviews section in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine.

A recap of the most interesting games coming out soon in Japan, courtesy of the reviews section in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine:

Dragon Quest X (9/9/9/9, 36 out of 40 points): The Wii's one and only online RPG came out August 2 in Japan, but Famitsu's editors held off on the official review until there was enough public server time under their belts. DQX has a lot to live up to in Japan -- the nation's most popular RPG series going online was national news over there -- but the mainstream games press seem satisfied, at least.

"It's a very well-made package," one review began. "from the warmly familiar world to the story that has a tendency to wrap you up in it. It's all very Dragon Quest-like -- although it feels like leveling takes more time compared to the offline DQs, or at least requires a lot more effort. Still, it's very kind to people who aren't familiar with online RPGs, and the whole thing's designed to make it as fun and accessible as possible to work with other players and go off on adventures."

Despite the overall warm and fuzzy feeling DQX game Famitsu, the interface apparently has a few niggling issues. "I'm hoping that some of the ongoing issues are fixed," one editor said, "such as the fact that you can only send friend requests to people currently logged in." Another worried that the game's open world was a little too open for your average casual DQ fan: "There aren't any particular limits to the areas you can access, which means you can run into enemies far too powerful for you at times. I wish there was a little more help for situations like that."


Max Payne 3 (9/9/8/9, 35 out of 40 points): The only console release of note this coming week in Japan receives the usual warm reception that Rockstar titles get in Famitsu. "The game's basically a very orthodox third-person shooter," the editors wrote, "but one that incorporates a lot of Hollywood film-style effects. The hard-boiled world and '90s action movie-type hero are a good match. You have to watch your remaining painkiller count pretty carefully while fighting, so in that respect it's not the easiest game in the world, but all the gun-battle set pieces provided are really exciting."

"In terms of gameplay, it's like taking a really heavy punch to the face," another writer added. "It provides really reliable thrills, and if you're looking for something a little exciting this week, I can't recommend it enough."


Lost Heroes (8/9/7/7, 31 out of 40 points): Namco Bandai's latest RPG is a 3D dungeon crawler for the 3DS and vanilla PSP that stars characters from three long-running Japanese kids'-TV franchises: Ultraman, Kamen Rider and Gundam. "The foes are on the strong side," Famitsu noted, "so deliberate leveling up is pretty necessary here -- something that makes the assorted skip/autoplay features convenient. I think you're going to need some familiarity with 3D dungeon RPGs to enjoy this, but the interface is really easy and the story takes pains to introduce enough twists along the way that things don't drag on in the middle."

Famitsu gives different review scores for different versions of multiplatform titles only on extremely rare occasions -- concentrating more on really serious port issues instead of little graphic deficiencies. Such is the case with Lost Heroes, which got the same scores from each reviewer for the PSP and 3DS version -- even though two of them complained about the smaller automap display on Sony's console: "The PSP version is largely the same as the 3DS," as one editor put it, "except that it's more of a pain to display the full map when you want to."

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