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Japan Review Check: Sen no Kiseki, Warriors Orochi 2 Ultimate

A recap of the most interesting games coming out next week in Japan, as reviewed in this week's Famitsu magazine:

- The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki (9/8/9/8, 34 out of 40 points): Falcom's newest RPG is the first fully-3D Legend of Heroes title and also the first one to get a simultaneous release on the PS3 and PS Vita. "The 3D upgrade to the graphics has enhanced the visuals," wrote editor Reona Ebihara, "making you feel more like you're in the game. The gameplay system is the same as the rest of the Kiseki series, but the introduction of tactical 'links' that grow more effective as you build ties with other characters adds more flash to the battles. I like the convenience of being able to instantly visit a location just by tapping it on the map."

"This is the first full 3D game," added freelance writer Rolling Uchizawa, "and while the graphics offer no major surprise in terms of visual beauty, the sequences are expertly animated and it's a very enjoyable experience for the eyes. The story's easy to follow and the interface makes it easy to play, making this a pretty smooth experience even for beginners."

Uchizawa (the regular Famitsu reviewer who's usually the stingiest with ratings) had a numbe of complaints as well: "The story develops at a pretty leisurely pace, and at times it feels more like it's being presented to you instead of you actually playing it. There are a lot of fetch quests, too, which only serve to further draw things out."

"The characters are charming," added Jigoro Ashida, "but I think some people might not like the difference in feel between the 2D portraits and 3D models."

- Warriors Orochi 2 Ultimate (9/9/9/8, 35 points): The highest-scoring game this week, Ultimate is a sort of "version 2.0" of Orochi 2 that adds scads of extra story and gameplay content. "The Triple Rush and other gameplay moves add excitement to battle and make the action a lot more fun to experience," Ebihara said. "With the additional modes and story elements, the sheer amount of volume to play here has become overwhelming in a way. Being able to play with PS Vita users online is also pretty nice."

"The new scenarios make the story twice as long as before," Uchizawa added, "and combined with the new characters and modes, this definitely feels like the culmination of the series. The sheer amount of extra weight does make things a little more complex and hard to get to grips with, but fans will love it. The tiresome button-mashing is the same as always, though."

- Epic Mickey 2 (9/8/8/7, 32 points): 10 months after the worldwide release, Spike Chunsoft has finally gotten around to releasing the Japanese localization of Warren Spector's Disney sequel, one that's hitting the Wii and Wii U exclusively in Japan.

"You use painting and erasing to solve puzzles," Ashida wrote, "which is enjoyable and gives you a real sense of accomplishment upon completing. The help you receive from Oswald in single-player is also a kind nicety. However, I think it's easy to get seasick playing this game, perhaps because you're often spending your time swiveling around and looking at your surroundings."

"The difficulty is on the high side and probably a bit too much for younger players," Uchizawa added. "The world of Disney is shown off very well here, and fans will go crazy for it, but I feel like the guidance the game gives to players can get a little frustrating."

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