Japan Review Check: 'Dead or Alive 5', 'Ys', 'Kokuga'

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:

  • Dead or Alive 5 (9/9/9/9, 36 points out of 40): Team Ninja's latest fares about as well as you'd expect, and Famitsu's reviewers certainly know what readers are expecting. "I like how the characters have gotten cuter," one begins, "along with the rest of the graphics. It can be hard to keep up with the speed-oriented battles, but the more time you put into it, the more reward you get out of it. The sheer depth of replay mode, which lets you take photos from pretty much any angle you can think of, it astounding."

    "The presence of holds allows you to turn the tables on the battle even while being attacked," began another editor who wasn't so smitten by all the sexy characters. "All the explosions and mayhem you can cause in each stage is impressive, too. I get the feeling you don't have as many moves at your disposal as other 3D games these days, but in terms of preserving gameplay balance, you could say that there isn't a needlessly huge amount."
  • Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta (9/9/9/8, 35 points): The latest in Falcom's decades-old series of action RPGs (and the first one to reach the PlayStation Vita) reviews like pretty much every other Falcom game in Famitsu: eh visuals, massively fun gameplay. "The smooth controls and moves make gameplay feel really good," one editor said. "In particular, the speed at which you move makes fully exploring the game map not seem like you're on a real adventure without having it all seem like a chore. It's really refreshing, and it links up well with the battle system, too. Combined with the well-made interface, I can see this serving as a good intro to action RPGs."

    "There are more than a few concerns I have about the visuals," admitted another, "but the sheer speed this game moves at, as well as the wealth of moves you can pull off with relatively simple controls, keeps things exciting. You can really feel this developing into a well-established series."
  • Style Savvy: Trendsetters (10/10/10/8, 38 points): The 3DS sequel to 2009's fashion shop sim (due out in English next month) scores far better than it has any right to in Famitsu. It's the best aggregate score of the week in the fact, perhaps a testament to the sort of thing that happens to review scores in Japan when Nintendo's the one doing the publishing.

    "Answering customer demands as an employee and selling the clothing you select is fun in itself," began one review, "but once you're running your own shop, things get even more exciting. There are tons of items, of course, and I'm amazed at how you can coordinate men's fashions as well. Every aspect of the game has been powered up, and there isn't a flaw to it."

    The 8/10 scorer was a bit harsher: "There are no big changes apart from the introduction of male customers. Still, the visuals are just nice to look at, and the influx of new items improves the range of fun the game allows. There are lots of games like this nowadays, but in terms of completeness and quantity of data, this stands out from the crowd."
  • Earth Defense Force 3 Portable (8/8/8/7, 31 points): The game known as Earth Defense Force 2017 in the US gets a Vita port that outshines the Xbox 360 original graphics-wise in some ways, it seems. "The beautiful visuals, along with all the shouting and screaming happening around you, creates a very convincing you-are-there feel," Famitsu wrote. "There's something unique about the B-movie qualities of the plot, and while there isn't a lot new with the PS Vita port, I think gamers familiar with the PSP version [of Earth Defense Force 2] will appreciate the right stick, at least."
  • Kokuga (8/8/8/7, 31 points): This is a new shooter for the 3DS from the shooter gods at G.rev, with some of the staff from Treasure's Ikaruga involved in development. "The combination of your basic single-fire attack and the variety of card effects at your disposal gives the game a very well-executed sense of balance," one editor wrote. "The randomness of the cards makes it hard to maintain a coherent strategy, but it does provide a stimulating way to gauge your abilities within the game. Co-op is a lot of fun, in part because even though you can't shoot each other, you can still collide with your partner."
  • Sleeping Dogs (9/9/9/9, 36 points): Square Enix handled the Japanese localization for this game, and Famitsu generally liked it, although they didn't go nuts for it in the review text. One sample: "The amount of detail in the game, from the signs on buildings to the little props inside rooms, is amazing. You're always running several missions at once, so you're never left without something to do, which is nice. You can unleash a bunch of powerful moves pretty easily when fighting or shooting guns, and I think the action elements are put together really well. There's little really innovative here, but overall it's a very well-put together package."

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