Welcome to the fifth “episode” of Akihabara Shopping, the weekly column that will give you a small glimpse on the coolest games that will be released next week in Japan. Some of them may sooner or later see a western localization, while many will remain an exclusive luxury for importers and Japanophiles (even because games in Japan cost more or less twice as much as in the US). If you missed last week’s episode, you can check it here.
Of course this column doesn’t cover all the games, consoles and accessories that will be released in Japan next week, as there’s a whole lot, as always but I’ll try to select the most interesting for your reading and viewing pleasure. This coming week is back to business as usual in Japan, after the drought brought by the release of Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3, so let’s see what Akihabara has in store for us this time around.
As a side note, today’s episode will, unfortunately, appear in reduced form, as I’ve just returned from a three-days convention (you all missed me, I know), and I’m in dire need of some sleep. Let’s not even talk about the fact that I feel nothing but pure, unadultered pain coming from my feet.
In any case, let’s move straight to the first game of the week: Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Extend (初音ミク -Project DIVA- extend) for PSP, that will hit the Japanese stores on November the 10th and (unless Earth starts spinning the wrong way), will reach the West on the ides of never.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Extend is laergely based on Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd, but includes new songs and features. It’s a rhythm game, so the main gameplay is pretty simple, prompting you to press several (actually just one on the easiest difficulty) buttons on the PSP while holding the tempo of a song as your favorite Vocaloid sings it for you and dances.
What is a Vocaloid? I see you haven’t been reading my articles. Bad you! Vocaloids are virtual idols whose voice has been created through a synthesizer developed by Yamaha. Some of them, like those included in this game (Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, MEIKO, KAITO Kagamine Rin and Ren), are extremely popular in Japan.
Below, since I was at the con when Sega released it, you can enjoy MEIKO’s song “Bokyaku shinju” (Lovers’ suicide), alongside the promotion video (as the Japanese call trailers) of the game.
I’m going to end this episode (since it’s a shortened version as mentioned above) with a bang: This week’s second and last game is the very definition of quirky. Not only it will most probably be the last PS2 game ever released (unless someone announces another one, which is unlilkely), but it will also send off the legendary but aged console by Sony by literally bleeding the wallets of the fans dry. The game is Shin Koihime Muso: Otome Ryoran Sangokushi Engi (真・恋姫†無双 〜乙女繚乱☆三国志演義〜 or New Love Princess Unmatched: Throbbing Romance of Three Kingdoms Filled with Ladies) and it will be released in a First print limited edition and a “standard” limited edition. The first one will be priced 20,790 yen, and the second “only” 15,540 yen. The prices translate to 266 and 199 dollars. It will destroy the pockets of a few lucky (or unlucky) Japanese gamers on November the 10th.
I get it, there are a lot of nice bonuses in the first print box, and the cost of life in Japan causes the price to be higher than it would be in the US, but that’s a hell of an epitaph for the PS2.
The game itself is actually quite interesting: it’s the all ages PS2 version of a remake of what originally was an adult oriented visual novel released on PC in 2007, and to put it down simply it’s a big game, with a metric ton of scenarios and characters. The story is based on the ever-famous chinese novel “Romance of the three kingdoms” and revolves around the civil war between seven factions. The protagonist is a modern-day student sent back in time to the era of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where he will get involved in the war, and in the romance itself. A lot of romance actually (of course there wasn’t just romance in the originl PC game).
If you are into anime, you may be more familiar with the story than you think, as the three-seasons anime adaptation Koihime Muso has been published in the US by Sentai Filmworks. A manga adaptation with the same title also exists, but only in Japan.
This was the last one for this week. Do come back next week to see what your resident Japanophile will dig up when he won’t be on the verge of collapsing. Tanoshimi ni!