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Japan Review Check: Hatsune Miku, Battlefield, Assassin's Creed

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A quick look at the most interesting games coming out next week in Japan, as reviewed in the newest Famitsu magazine. (Though for one reviewer at least, Grand Theft Auto Online, just launched in Japan, may be the real game of the week. "Just when I finished GTA5 and had the time to spend on other games, they put online up!" wrote Giichi Totsuka. "I'd run into people I know in real life, then they'd start spraying fire at me. You have to love the way you can act like a freak in games like these, doing things you'd never be allowed to in real life.")

- Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 (10/9/9/9, 37 out of 40 points): People really like their Vocaloid games over in Japan. "The extending lines and musical scores very delicately express the nature of the music in a way that amazes me," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "The touch controls are relatively easy difficulty-wise, making it easy for even beginners to get involved. Sega's made great efforts to improve on the last game's faults, including making the music displays larger, which is really welcome news!"

"Despite the cute sort of 'Let's spend time with Miku' exterior," added Totsuka, "there's a really stoic kind of deepness to this game which you appreciate the longer you have it loaded up. The rhythm game's been fully refined for the 3DS's specs and does a lot to extract extra charm from the Vocaloid tracks. The StreetPass and other functions could also be a good way for fans to get in touch with each other."

- Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (10/9/9/9, 37 points): Famitsu liked the latest in this franchise, too, though not quite enough to topple Miku.

"This game tells the story of how you become a member of the Assassin Order," Ebihara wrote, "which makes it a lot easier to get emotionally tied to it compared to other titles in the series. There's more of an emphasis on stealth over the last game, and between treasure hunting and whaling, the sub-features give you a ton to play around with. I like how the Wii U version allows for play just with the GamePad, as well as the large map you get on the display."

"I can't hide my surprise at the fact that an Assassin's Creed game would make the pirate experience seem like so much fun," added freelance writer Motoki Shinohara. "You could explore undiscovered lands before, but the sense of adventure here stands head and shoulders above anything before it in this franchise. There are still a few issues with the enemy AI and so on, but the rest of the charm more than covers for that."

- Battlefield 4 (9/9/8/8, 34 points): It will probably be a little while before Famitsu rates a game like this any higher, but it's still an impressive feat for a Western developer. "The campaign features a lot of wide-open maps that give a lot of choices in how to proceed," Ebihara said, "but really, multiplayer is why you'd buy this. The maps are very well made, and it's impressive how they're built to provide support not just for forward charges, but defense lines and flank attacks. It's also surprisingly nice to beginners, who can still have a lot of ways to contribute to a team."

"Online allows for 24 players," Totsuka said, "not as much as the PC version but still enough to get a taste of the charms of multiplayer. You can destroy a lot of the environment during battle, which is fun to see and also impacts your strategy a fair bit. That, plus the variety of vehicles, keeps the battles fresh."

- Disney Infinity (8/8/8/8, 32 points): Disney gets Famitsu's default "It seems nice but we aren't that enthusiastic about it" score for Infinity, a Wii U/3DS exclusive in Japan. "From action to racing, you can play games in a wide variety of genres," Totsuka wrote. "For something to play with children or at parties, I think it's a good enough package. The fact that figures are required will probably turn off some, and it would've been nice if I could get detailed descriptions of what I can do with each of the toys."