Play Phantasy Star Nova even if you don’t know Japanese

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

I was always a bit envious of people from the US when I was a kid. They were getting all the good games from Japan back then and we had to go through several hoops to play them as well. Console modding, importing the games for a fortune and playing all the stuff in English wasn’t so easy when you’re a 10 year old boy. My kindergarten friend had a Super Nintendo. Or rather his father had one, the we were allowed to use it as well. We used to hang out every day after school, playing Street Fighter or Yoshi’s Island. And between Mario Paint sessions we discovered Star Ocean which his dad brought back home when he visited Japan on a business trip. The typical cliché, right.

We loved the cover and the space setting but had obviously no clue what we were doing there. Did it matter? No, we werer happy with everything that moved on the big screen. Years later I still haven’t really played Star Ocean even if it’s always been a title that I’m especially interested in. During the PSP era I didn’t touch one of the many sequels. Don’t ask me why though. But now on to the once infamous Phantasy Star series.

I played a little bit of Phantasy Star 4 when I got the Sega Mega Drive Collection for my PS3 but it’s one of those games it’s fairly hard to get into after years from the original release. Dungeon Crawlers just don’t age very good if you don’t have that certain hardcore motivation. The series moved on from its classic RPG roots to the Hunter genre with PSO and the new Vita only entry of the series Phantasy Star Nova follows suit. I get one or two Japanese games each time for Christmas and beneath Dungeon Travelers 2 (played the demo and loved it) this will be my second Christmas game. It’s a convenient one because I can finally play a modern Phantasy Star game and get a little Star Ocean feeling while doing so (Tri Ace who was in charge of developing Phantasy Star Nova did Star Ocean as well). At least it makes waiting for Yakuza Zero to finally release in March a lot more easy.

Get to know the basics and a lot more

I found a great guide over at Critical Damage which explains some basics things like how to set up your character, different classes, weapons etc. which will come in quite handy if your Japanese isn’t up to speed (or you’re struggling with the Kanji).

Bumped did a starter guide as well with some lovely screenshots and a very comprehensive list of skills.

Another great website I already discovered a couple of weeks ago is Waji no Kiseki. It’s completely in French and run by a Sen no Kiseki enthusiast. So if you’re interested in these very text heavy roleplaying games from Falcom just head over there. He recently started a great list about all the items you can find and use in Phantasy star nova, just look at his list. It’s pretty incredible how much effort he put into it. Will hep a great deal when I finally received my own copy from Nippon Yasan.

Start playing

Thanks to all the hard work these guys put into making handy guides for us you can even play Phantasy Star Nova without understanding a lick of Japanese. Can’t wait to join you guys.

  • Buy Phantasy Star Nova at cdjapan.co.jp
    If you buy the game through my link, I’ll get a small referral fee which will be used to buy even more awesome stuff for review. Thanks for your support!

PS: Will take some proper pictures for you once I finally received the game. And a day later it already arrived.

phantasy star nova ps vita-2

phantasy star nova ps vita-3

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  • Baptiste Deneufbourg

    I won a PS Vita a month ago, I was very glad as I was thinking about getting one for Christmas. Amazing console as you said before, I got a japanese version of Persona 4 : The Golden and I’m doing it slowly, step by step with my Vita in one hand, and a tablet with dictionnary and http://lparchive.org/Persona-4-Golden/ in the other hand. Incredible how much I can enjoy the game and learn in the same time.

    I should do an article about that somewhere, playing japanese games with an english script will become my main hobby this year since I reached an intermediate level and my goal is to get JLPT N2 in December 2015.

    That’s why I’m happy to discover http://wajinokiseki.blogspot.fr/ , I see they also translate tweets from Monolith Soft, what a better way to study ?

    • Wow, someone really spent a lot of time doing the P4 walkthrough. Thanks a lot for sharing. This makes a Japanese playthrough definitely much more easy. Especially when you have to search for these “hints” to get to the next dungeons which can be a bit tiresome. Especially if your Japanese isn’t up to speed.

      Congrats to reaching an intermediate level that really is a great acheivement. Let me know when you write an article about your Japanese gaming habits. Really looking forward to it :)

  • R. Butler

    Considering the work other companies have done on releasing their series to Western Vitas (see ATLUS and Aksys), SEGA is just being a bunch of lazy asses. They won’t sell the same numbers over here as they do in Asia, and they know it – even with the enthusiastic community that would eat up any PS release (or re-release). They flubbed PSP1 and 2’s releases by advertising hardly at all, and they blame sales for why they won’t release any more Phantasy Star in the West. And they STILL won’t continue the original series that started on the Master System and ended on the Genesis…

    Those’re the only reasons I can fathom as to why they won’t do it. The alternative is that they’re evil and taunting us with their mismanagement, which is a far worse idea I think…

    • Giordan

      at least they’re bringing over Classic Phantasy Star’s successor over to the US (7th Dragon III)

      • R. Butler

        Still would like to see the original come back in some form other than self-repeating MMO :L I know there’s a group out there working on their own fan-made “sequel”, but Sega has the resources and the manpower to make it official… yet they -won’t- do what should be obvious. And they do so repeatedly time and again, over and over.

        If they put the effort into making a new main cannon PS game, and released it world-wide, they would sell copies for sure. They have to know this, but they don’t. Why? Because it wouldn’t sell ENOUGH for their “sales figures” to matter, most likely.

        • Giordan

          Nova actually has no online. It has multiplayer, but it’s ad hoc only.