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Japan Review Check: God Eater 2, Call of Duty

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A quick look at the most interesting games coming out in Japan next week, as reviewed in the latest Famitsu magazine:

- God Eater 2 (10/9/10/9, 38 out of 40 points): The second most popular franchise in the "monster hunting" genre beyond Monster Hunter itself, the Vita version of the new God Eater earned nearly universal praise. "The controls have gotten a lot better with the touch panel and right stick," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "In particular, map functions and party commands are now a lot easier to use. The Blood Arts system gives you a lot more room to customize characters, making it more fun as an action game and letting you truly come up with your own battle style."

"The story cutscenes and character animations are all excellent," added writer Giichi Totsuka, "giving you that extra bit of motivation to go through each mission. The individual episodes for each character really pull you in, too. The PS Vita version also give you a more flexible action-game experience, using the right stick for the camera and the touch panel for customized functions."

God Eater 2 is also coming out for the regular PSP in Japan, and - unusually for Famitsu when it reviews multiplatform titles - the editors rated that version quite a bit lower, giving it only 35 points. This was chiefly due to control issues: " The screen's too dark in a lot of scenes," wrote Jigoro Ashida, "and the controls to select items and send party commands are frustratingly hard to use."

- Call of Duty: Ghosts (10/9/9/9, 37 points): Square Enix handles publishing duties for COD in Japan, and despite the fact that the Japanese releases are subtitles-only, Famitsu always gives them great scores.

"There are no dramatic new features," admitted, Ebihara, "but there's a reliable sort of fun here, like there always is, between the new action scenes and the charming story. Riley the military dog isn't just there to break the tension; you can control him and send out attack commands, and it's really neat how he's directly connected to gameplay. You also just have to check out the whirlwind plot developments right from the start."

"The mode where you're fighting off aliens to survive is a fresh experience," added Ashida. "It's hard to get really lost in this game, but I'm not sure I like how the guide pointing you to the next goal point isn't around any longer."

- Daigasso Band Brothers P (10/9/9/10, 38 points): Nintendo's Band Brothers series (released in Europe under the name Jam with the Band) is a rhythm game with a difference - you can create your own tracks, it's multiplayer over the net, and this new 3DS entry provides synthesized vocals thanks to Vocaloid, the system that drives Japanese virtual idol Hatsune Miku.

"Band Brothers has always been a really experiemental and cutting-edge experience," Ebihara espoused, "and now Vocaloid support's been added out of nowhere! This adds a ton of depth to the whole package and my hat goes off to them to implementing it. Up to 10 people can jam over the Internet, and I love how you can bring up your own face and message during songs. The game's difficulty range is a lot wider now, too, so you don't have to worry about being too slow to enjoy it."