Steam’s running another Summer Comiket sale full of Japanese doujin games goodness — they’ve actually remembered to promote it this time, though! Here’s a selection of games that are worth exploring.
Check out the articles from last year for more on some of the other games available in the sale:
Sword Art Online Re:Hollow Fragment is a PlayStation 4 rerelease of a Vita game that was itself an expanded version of a Japan-only PSP title. It’s a “simulated MMO” that follows on from the first arc of the Sword Art Online anime, and it’s one of the most interesting RPGs to be released recently. Take a look!
Hi folks! Been a bit quiet around here of late, I know. An update for you, though: I’ve been experimenting with making videos, and am going to try and put out more when I can, both “readings” of existing articles accompanied by visuals, and original content.
Here’s the first example of the latter: a look at Omega Quintet for PlayStation 4. Enjoy!
More articles to come soon. Thanks for following MoeGamer!
Free-to-play games, particularly in the mobile gaming sector, have something of a… reputation, to put it politely. And it’s not altogether undeserved.
Mobile development has a cloning problem. And not just in the literal sense of developers stealing assets from competitors’ games to create bootleg versions: there’s also a major problem with free-to-play mobile game developers taking the “easy” option and simply reskinning tried-and-tested mechanics and systems rather than attempting to innovate with their gameplay.
It was ever thus in the games business, of course — that’s one of the ways in which genres of games developed over time — but in mobile gaming, it always seems particularly egregious, because in many cases those base mechanics and systems simply aren’t very much fun in the first place, focusing not on how to give the player an enjoyable experience, but rather on how to extract money out of them at every opportunity.
But gradually, quietly, we’ve started to see changes. While Western free-to-play game developers are still seemingly mostly content with FarmVille-style “tap and wait” gameplay, looking East to Asian teams from Korea, Singapore, Japan and numerous other territories reveals an altogether different picture: free-to-play games that actually make a bit of an effort with the “game” part. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Continue reading Free-to-Play Games Quietly Got Good
The story so far: In the beginning, Polygon’s Phil Kollar posted an article called “Atlus can do better than this creepy, porn-lite dungeon crawler“. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
With apologies to the late, great Douglas Adams for the bastardisation of his quotation, it’s worth exploring this subject a little further, if only to counter the extreme negativity of Kollar’s article — negativity which, frankly, appears to come from a position of ignorance as to what games such as Dungeon Travelers 2, the game under scrutiny in the article, actually involve.
You see, it’s okay to like ecchi or even hentai content. It’s also okay to not like ecchi and hentai content. Where it stops being okay is when someone who doesn’t like these things starts calling for publishers to stop catering to people who do like these things.
Why? Because if these games continue to exist, people who don’t like them have the option of not buying and supporting them with no harm done. If they don’t exist, meanwhile, the people who do like them have no option — they simply have to go without. And that doesn’t strike me as terribly fair; it would be a case of certain individuals having the power to act as the “morality police” on behalf of people who may not share their ideological viewpoint.
Is that a problem? You’re damn straight it is; let’s explore it in a little more detail.
Continue reading Let’s Talk About Dungeon Travelers 2 and “Ecchi” Content
“Tits are life, ass is hometown.” So runs the catchphrase of Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki, and the unofficial tagline for the series as a whole.
While Takaki’s sentiments are refreshingly honest in a world of increasing political correctness — indeed, supposedly the only reason Senran Kagura exists at all is because Takaki wanted to see breasts on the glasses-free 3D screen of the Nintendo 3DS — in a way it’s a bit of a shame that so much emphasis has been placed on this aspect of the series. Not because fanservice-heavy media is inherently bad, of course — on the contrary, Senran Kagura represents a good example of how fanservice can be used to create a very distinctive look, feel, style and overall personality — but because for those less familiar with the series, that’s all they see.
And there is one hell of a lot more to Senran Kagura as a whole than just “life and hometown”. So let’s take some time to explore exactly what it is that makes this remarkable series tick, and why you should check it out if you’re not already a fan.
Continue reading Senran Kagura: More Than Just Life and Hometown… Much More
Criminal Girls, one of the more controversial Japanese titles to make it over to the West in recent years thanks to its semi-explicit depiction of BDSM-style “punishment” scenes, actually proved to be one of the more interesting games I’ve played for a while owing to its exploration of a concept we tend to take for granted: trust.
In most games, there’s an unspoken trust between the players and the on-screen characters. You trust them to do what you tell them and they, in turn, trust you to make the right decisions that won’t get them killed. The latter part in particular isn’t always made explicit because the player’s presence isn’t usually acknowledged, but in games where you’re not playing a self-insert protagonist, there’s a strong argument that it’s implied.
Criminal Girls is a little different, however. Not only do you, the player, have a participant role in the game — albeit not as a combatant in the game’s battle sequences — but you also have to spend a hefty amount of time convincing your party members to trust both you and each other. And it’s here that things get pretty interesting.
Continue reading Criminal Girls: A Game About Trust
One of video gaming’s great strengths is the opportunity it affords us to truly, interactively immerse ourselves in other cultures.
We talked about this a little while back when we examined how Steins;Gate is positively dripping with the otaku culture of Tokyo’s Akihabara district, even going so far as to include an in-game glossary explaining and defining all the memes, urban legends and specialist jargon that crop up throughout the narration and dialogue.
Steins;Gate is far from an isolated example, however; Acquire’s Akiba’s Trip 2, localised for Western PS3, PS4 and Vita audiences as Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, also provides you with the opportunity to live the life of an otaku in their spiritual home — and in a somewhat more interactive manner than Steins;Gate’s visual novel stylings.
Oh, and also there are vampires. Kind of.
Continue reading Adventures in Akihabara
As we saw recently, there are those among us who believe that the Japanese role-playing game has been in consistent decline since Final Fantasy VII, and that only now are we starting to see a “comeback”.
We’ve already talked about how this is a load of old nonsense, and that in fact the role-playing game genre has been healthy for a good few years — just a little different to its mainstream status back in its PlayStation heyday, instead preferring to cater to a niche audience of passionate fans rather than attempting to be everything to everyone; the latter option is now the domain of the triple-A sector.
So with that in mind, what better time to contemplate a selection of great role-playing games from the last few generations of console hardware, all of which have been released since the Squaresoft classic first wowed everyone back in 1997?
Note: As with any list, this isn’t intended to be an exhaustive or authoritative selection. These are my personal picks for games that I’ve found noteworthy and particularly enjoyable from the PS1 era and beyond; I’d love to hear some of your favourites in the comments, too.
Continue reading Ten Great RPGs That Came Out After Final Fantasy VII
If IGN’s Colin Moriarty is to be believed, then Japanese role-playing games have been in a “steep decline” since Final Fantasy VII.
You and I, as fellow enthusiasts of Japanese gaming, both know that this is perhaps a somewhat questionable claim to make, but it’s also worth examining, particularly in light of the fact that Moriarty doesn’t stray very far from the Square Enix comfort zone during his ponderings of this supposedly fallen genre.
In fact, the genre has been extremely healthy for many years now; it’s simply undergone some fairly significant changes from how we knew it in the mid-’90s. And why shouldn’t it? Stagnation isn’t fun for anyone, particularly in the fast-moving realms of technology and entertainment — two fields that are notorious for fashions and trends changing, at times, overnight.
So, with all that in mind, let’s ponder the changing face of the JRPG over the last 15 years or so.
Continue reading Are JRPGs Primed for a Comeback? No; They Never Went Away