I recently booted up my Vita again to play Steins; Gate. And what an amazing experience it is so far. Exactly what I needed right now. A compelling story that is just a tad different from reading a novel/comic but with some subtle gameplay elements thrown in. Not to forget that the thing is fully voiced in Japanese. I’m playing the localized version because neither my Japanese nor my stress resistance is good enough to play such an epic visual novel in its original language. With all the internet and science slang mixed in it’s a definitively tough title to test for your vocab skill. But it gave me another motivation to start with WaniKani again and that’s always a good thing.
You’re probably thinking “here we go another time” and you’re definitely right. But this time I’m really trying to stick to it (like always) and my next two semesters allow for some side studying as well. Just set a little reminder in my calendar to come back to this post next year around the same time to have a look at how far I got WaniKani level-wise. (if you think about starting/starting again, make sure to check all the useful extensions which make studying a lot more comfortable)
The majority of you have probably watched the Steins; Gate anime or played the VN. And if you own a Vita (which is just perfect for a game like this) I would highly recommend that you pick it up. It’s a nice little intimate play highly focused on dialogues. The beginning is a little confusing and slow because you’re bombarded with scientific terms and really have to get used to the personalities of the different characters.
That fits even more for the anime which I just couldn’t get into at all. But again. Not such a big fan of anime shows even if I really do like some films. A sequel that fits somewhere into the middle of the original story (if I’m right here) called Steins; Gate Zero is also being localized and of course already on my pre-order list.
But now let’s talk about some great Japanese-only (so far) games that I would either really want to see localized or with a little effort on my part play in Japanese. Probably picking some of these up soon anyway.
Another visual novel with a lot of 80s Cowboy bebop charm mixed in. the art style and music are just amazing to have a look at the video and you know exactly what I mean. Set in a future world where the population is divided into “real” and “non-real” people you’re using social media and other outlets to gain information on the “real people”. After that, you confront those in an ace Attorney like manner. There is a lot of internet slang in the game just a lot of craziness in general. Seems like the perfect game for me but it’s probably a pretty tough nut to crack in Japanese.
It was developed by Marvelous and has been released in November 2015 in Japan. So the chances are good that Xseed the Western sister company of Marvelous might pick it up for localization. There even surfaced some English trophies late last year. But being a text-heavy VN and performing pretty badly in Japan I’m not really convinced that we’ll get an English version after all.
- Buy Net High directly from Japan
The Science Adventure Series
The Steins; Gate author made a couple of visual novels all with his signature semicolon attached in the title. Kotaku made a nice article about the whole series which you should definitely check out if you are into Steins; Gate. All of these titles got their own Vita port in Japan.
Even if the technical and internet slang conversations prevented me from importing so far I can’t really say what I’ll do after finishing Steins; Gate Zero which is coming over to the West within the next couple of weeks.
Even the first two Danganronpa games are getting the PS4 treatment now and the third main entry of the series is already on its way. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more VNs coming over to the West, and if not it’s just another reason to get more involved in learning Japanese.
Taiko no Tastujin V
I already own one of these games for my Japanese 3DS but that couldn’t stop me from importing the Vita entry as well. If you have any love for quirky Japanese style and music (which you should reading this site) you’ll love Taiko. If you don’t already.
I actually enjoyed it quite a bit more on the Vita mainly because I prefer the bright screen and “wider” grip of the Vita itself. Sure you don’t have two miniature sticks which you actually get with the first 3DS version (for the touchscreen) but the game is really best enjoyed with buttons anyway.
- Buy Taiko no Tatsujin V directly from Japan
There is a translated PC Port by Sekai Project (which I backed on Kickstarter some years ago). Unfortunately, the Vita version which was already out in Japan and added as a stretch goal didn’t make it overseas. With a little luck on our side and considering the recent surge of visual novels on the Vita we might get see a release in the future. There actually has been an English demo sighted on the Tokyo game show a couple of weeks back (September 2016) what that means for a full Vita port is still mysteriously unclear though.
Little Busters is shown on the little flyer beneath the Vita as well alongside a short description in English. Both VNs by Japanese developer key and both would immediately get a place on my pre-order list. But I actually decided to pick up the Japanese version of Clannad to get a little reading/listening practice. Still wonder how difficult the novel will be but with all the romance I suppose it will be manageable. At least no technical terms or heavy net slang.
- Buy Clannad directly from Japan
What are you guys currently playing on your Vita? Some cool games in Japanese for practice or some localized ones. I’m contemplating right now if I should download Gal Guns right now. Rail-shooter is usually pretty cool, still, remember how I played Confidential Mission on my Dreamcast over and over again? What a fantastic game that was even if I played it with a normal controller. Maybe I should just buy the physical version tomorrow and pre-order Root Letter alongside it.
The VN wasn’t exactly well received in Japan but I’m in a cheesy mood lately. And with Steins; Zero being pushed back another month too late November/December I need some love again in my life to tide me over.