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Japan Review Check: AKB48, Borderlands 2, Forza: Horizon

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

- AKB48 + Me (8/9/8/7, 32 out of 40 points) The latest 3DS game to feature the girls behind Japan's most popular "idol group" allows you to play as a budding entertainer, training in music and acting as you try to get a spot on the main AKB48 team within three years.

"I like the concept a lot," one reviewer began. "The game's basically made for young girls into AKB48, so parents could be able to enjoy this with their children. The commands displayed in the dance minigame are pretty hard to see, and I think the touch inputs demand a little too much precision."

But another reviewer didn't think the game was hard at all: "The difficulty level is pretty low and it's easy to play, so I think even little kids could have a lot of fun playing this."

- Borderlands 2 (9/9/9/10, 37 points): Most of Famitsu's editors fell over themselves in an attempt to compliment this sequel. "The problems I had with the last game have nearly all been improved upon," said one, "and overall it's gotten a great deal easier to play. In terms of gun-based action RPGs, I think it's the highest level of fun you can get. The way the story intertwines with people from the previous game is neat and serves to push you even deeper into the game. Multiplayer adventures are lots of fun, too, and betting equipment in battle gets you surprisingly heated up."

"The unique world setting and animation-like graphics are still really charming," added another. "You have lots of missions, and basically it's one fetch quest after another, but since it's so fun collecting the random drops, it never feels all that same-y."

- Forza: Horizon (8/9/10/9, 36 points): Famitsu wasn't quite as enthusiastic about this shift in the 360 car-porn series as other outlets, but still dug it well enough. "The way you participate in events and run races on public roads serves well as a new direction for the series," one review began. "Earning popularity for things like drifting and other stuff makes it fun to just drive around, but I still wish there was something more unique to this game. I have to give top marks to the graphics and ease of play, though."

"This used to be a really stoic racing simulator," said another editor, "but this is more of a driving game designed to be easy to pick up. I feel like the controls are more forgiving, too, and the open-world freedom makes the whole thing a lot more approachable."

- Street Fighter X Tekken (9/9/8/8, 34 points) The Vita version of SF X Tekken, as with the US version due out next week, includes a code that lets you download 12 extra characters to the PS3 version of the game, DLC that you'd otherwise have to pay for.

" You've got 55 usable characters, and each one of them feels really unique," one editor wrote. "The controls feel pretty good, and the touch-based configuration seems to work well enough. Button-based controls seem a lot more difficult, but you can make up for this to some extent via gems. As a beginner's first fighting game, I think it's worth a shot."

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