Editor's Note: Instead of using our traditional reviewing method with breakdowns and a final score, these games were reviewed by giving a short yet concise overview of each game; thus they were not scored.
A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review
Despite the PS3 being out since 2006, only a handful of games have been made available through the PSone Classics section on the PS Store. Some true classics have been posted, but so too have games that no one would rightly define â€œclassic.â€ A subset of the section, PSone Imports, saw such little use that it has now been merged with the main section. Still, near the end of its lifespan, GungHo Online Entertainment has brought out their second batch of import games onto the Store.
They first released a batch of import titles last year and it was a pretty interesting selection. Despite being in Japanese, most of the games could be understood by anyone. This time around, the six new games are not as friendly to non-Japanese speaking/reading audiences. All the same, someone must play them to see just how likely it is we may enjoy them! Here“s the take on these six imports from someone who definitely cannot read Japanese.
Favorite Dear ~Enkan no Monogatari~
Here is one game that is a surprise to see available to a western audience. Favorite Dear is a series of games, with this being the third in the series, that focuses on RPG and visual novel elements. Players interested in these genres may at first be excited by its availability on PSN, but those without knowledge of Japanese won“t be able to do anything with it.
As all these games are pure imports, you“ll be forced to wade through countless menus and text all written in Japanese. If you have no clue about Japanese, then don“t even bother. Those who are students of the language might be able to work their way through, but this is a game best for fluent readers. After all, the game offers up so much text it just isn“t worth it to skip through everything to say you“ve played it.
First Queen IV
This game seems to be a boilerplate mashup between RPG and SRPG. Although fans can never have enough strategy titles, this is one that is probably best left to those who can actually read Japanese. The game is full of story, none of it voiced, and it seems much of the point in playing is lost through simply not understanding what is happening.
Granted, strategy games can flourish based on simply great mechanics. In my case, I found even these aspects difficult though as menus are full of Japanese text. If you can learn them and then memorize what they each mean then the game becomes playable but why put so much effort in? In the case of First Queen IV, it would probably be better to seek out a different SRPG.
Mahjong Uranai Fortuna ~Tsuki no Megami Tachi~
Although we may have never played it, many are probably familiar with the game called mahjong. This board game which originated in China revolves around tiles and has four players (typically) facing off against one another. Although the exact mechanics vary by region, the four player games of mahjong are extremely popular in China and Japan.
If you want to give this game a shot then make sure you know how to play mahjong (or at least, are willing to read up on it). That“s not to say the game is just a digital rendition of the classic game. It also features fortune tellers which you can play and square off against. It“s also possible to get your fortune from them, but of course it“s all announced in Japanese. Those who can understand spoken Japanese should appreciate that text is also said by characters as well as displayed on screen.
Oz no Mahoutsukai ~Another World~ RungRung
In this game, you play as Dorothy as her and her pet dog Toto travel about the mysterious realm of Oz. Yep, this is a PS1 rendition of The Wizard of Oz and, despite having similar hallmarks, takes a fair bit of artistic liberty to the world as well. Visually, the game is very bright and looks good for the era.
Understanding the game is a bit more complex though. Thankfully many lines of dialog are voiced, which may help some, but otherwise you mostly have to guess as to what to do next. Obviously, missions typed in Japanese text alone leave little room for understanding for the non-Japanese speaker. This is unfortunate considering the game has a cute style.
Of all the games GungHo brought West this time around, Sentimental Graffiti is by far the most head-scratching addition. Although the name certainly doesn“t reveal it, this is a dating sim. While some may be initially very excited by a â€œnewâ€ dating sim being made available it is of little use to non-Japanese readers. The game is completely full of Japanese text.
The original game was released on PS and Saturn and was later granted both a sequel and anime series. There are 12 dateable girls and, although you can find a guide, it isn“t particularly able to help you enjoy the story any. It“s probably best that those of us with no Japanese knowledge skip out on Sentimental Graffiti.
Trump Shiyouyo! Fukkoku-ban
Although this name might sound a bit rude, it ends up being the easiest game to get into by far. As may be inferred by the â€œTrumpâ€ in the name, this is a card game collection. The art style is very cartoony and as such it seems this set was made for children, although they probably wouldn't know the rules of all the included card games. There are ten card games included in all and many should be familiar to US gamers.
They are: Baba-nuki (Old Maid), Blackjack, Daifugou (Grand Millionaire), Dobon, Page One, Poker, Seven Bridge, Shichi-narabe (Sevens), Shinkei-sujyaku (Concentration), and Speed. Unfortunately, most of the game names are written in Japanese on the main menu. Once you“re in a game though, most of the information is conveyed through card faces (which don“t change due to differing regions) and so it“s not hard to discern what you“re playing.
Overall, GungHo“s latest Imports are an incredibly brave attempt by the company. However, those of us who are unable to read or speak Japanese will find these games too much work to play (aside from the card games). It“s a shame considering the likes of Oz no Mahoutsukai ~Another World~ RungRung seem very appealing and then there“s Sentimental Graffiti which would no doubt sell to dating sim hopefuls in America if it were translated. Still, if you read Japanese or have friends who do, let them know about these unusual PSN releases playable on PS3, PSP, and Vita.