Come one, come all, and welcome to another riveting edition of Go West!, your [semi]-weekly column about the latest Japanese game releases of the week. There are games out this week. Imagine that: games!
I know, this might be hard to wrap your mind around, but we’re finally seeing a string of semi-notable new titles this time, which means we actually have stuff to talk about.
Or get angry about.
I’m not really sure anymore.
Let’s get this show on the road!
Atelier has been around for longer than maybe a lot of folks realize. It was a staple of the PlayStation era, and it has been an RPG mainstay ever since. Last generation saw a string of releases in the series, to the point that one could argue that there were almost too many games. The numbers seem to reflect that: Atelier sales have been dipping pretty significantly, regardless of the quality of the games. I actually didn’t dip my toes into things until the last trilogy of titles, and I’ve enjoyed them immensely. There’s something immensely satisfying about sitting down with a light, heart warming tale of friendship, without the shadow of saving the world looming in the background.
Atelier Sophie is the latest game in the series, and the beginning of a whole new era for the franchise. It’s the first entry on the PlayStation 4, and also the first mainline game to release simultaneously on the Vita as well. Gust has brought in two separate character designers, and while I’m still a bit shaky on some of the designs, I’ve warmed up immensely to them. I’m interested in seeing how the new battle system and alchemy systems function. I picked up the game on the Vita, and while I haven’t spent much time with it, performance seems solid compared to some of the older Atelier Plus titles.
Unless you can’t wait or desperately want a physical version, I suggest holding off for the eventual localized release. You know it’s coming.
Grand Kingdom is a whole lot like Vanillaware’s Grand Knights History. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the man behind the former was also behind the latter. Outside of the art style, everything about GK expands on the seeds laid by that initial game. The world is designed like a board game, with players moving a chess piece-like object around. You choose from a series of combat units, customize them, and do battle with them, all the while swearing loyalty to one of multiple nations currently at war with one another.
Like Grand Knights History, GK has an online mode that lets you take your team on to the internet to do battle for your country against other players. If this ends up being anything like its precursor, this’ll be the meat of the game and a whole lot of fun.
Battles themselves are very different, taking place on three different “tracks.” Units can hop between each track, doing damage to the enemies placed on them. Beware of friendly fire though: it’s very easy to accidentally damage your own units.
While Grand Knights History unfortunately had its localization canceled, I think the western market is in a good place for Grand Kingdom. By developing the game on the PS4 in addition to the Vita, Spike Chunsoft has ensured that it’ll have a chance on a platform that’s alive and well in the west. Fingers crossed that it gets a localization announcement some time in the near future.
This sure is a game.
This sure is a game being published by D3 Publisher. It’s a dungeon crawler. Boobs get smaller. Boobs get bigger? Boobs get naked. Dungeons are crawled. Everyone is naked.
This is a game. This is naked.
I don’t know.
Somebody donated money specifically with the goal of having us play and write about this game.
I brought this upon myself.
Impressions coming some other time in the near future.
Based on the mobile game of the same name, Kimi to Sugosu Natsuyasumi is the first time that the franchise will actually be a console game and a proper dating sim. There’s a calendar system, a map to click through, and a host of girls you can fall in love with over the summer.
There’s nothing particularly new and refreshing here, but the execution at least seems competent. Certain special sequences have the characters rendered using the Live 2D tech, there’s lots of CG illustrations, and the whole thing is of course fully voiced. The developers are also releasing a heroine and her entire route as free DLC in the near future, so that’s kind of neat.
If you’re in the market for an old fashioned dating sim, you could probably do a whole lot worse than Girlfriend Beta.
Airship Q is a neat little game in the same genre as something like Terraria. You control a little cat person as they build airships and explore a massive world. You can gather materials, build stuff, make a huge flying vessel, and even go on adventures with other cat buddies. It’s cool to see Japan trying their hands at something like this, and while I have no idea if it’s any good or not, fans of creation games might wanna check this out considering the lower price.
There are seven rules at NEVAEH Academy that must never be broken. In particular, there is a rule that says “one must never eat the forbidden apple.” If you do, it’s instant expulsion. This rule is the greatest mystery of the academy, and also the most important rule of all. Bad students see “expulsion” as a possible way to go back to the world of the living, so they continue to seek out the forbidden apple.
You see, Nevaeh Academy is a school for the dead: souls that failed to accomplish a single thing of merit are sent here and given the chance to redeem themselves. If students perform well and obey the rules, they’ll eventually graduate and get another shot at life. However, those who follow the rules find that they slowly but steadily forget their memories of what they look like and who they are.
All right, Idea Factory. You have my interest. There’s actually a whole lot more to the setting of Bad Apple Wars, including various factions (those aiming for the fruit, those who aren’t), teachers, and items with certain near-magical powers. The art style is strong, and the music sample on the main page is pretty fantastic.
I’ll wait for a price drop on this, but it’s on my radar. As for a localized release, I haven’t the slightest clue. It seems like anything is possible these days.
In a god-less world, invaders from another planet have come, slowly eating away at everything around them. In order to fight against these invaders, humanity creates LAG, and with it, a special combat unit called Scared Rider. This squad would go on to fend off the invaders five times, narrowly avoiding annihilation. And now, five new young men have joined the sixth unit, IS. Their other name? Sacred Rider Xechs. With a new female commanding officer in charge of things, the squad faces a brand new beginning.
None of that made any sense to me. This might be the most chuuni plot description I’ve ever written. I really don’t know anymore.
Let’s just wrap this up and pretend it never happened? Cool? Cool.
[That wraps things up for episode 20 of Go West!. A packed schedule of releases kept things busy, but next week brings with it the big release of the month: Monster Hunter X. I hope you’re ready for the hype. Until next time, ciao!]