This year was a fantastic one for amazing Japanese games, so trying to pick my top ten has been a real challenge. However, the following titles are my picks for the Japanese games I had the most fun with this year.
All of the games listed havze been released this year and were developed in Japan. One additional caveat is that these are merely games that I found interesting. If the absence of any game(s) or even the order of those listed below offends you, please understand this is purely based on my own preference.
10. Gravity Rush 2
Following on from the remaster of the original Gravity Rush on PS4, we received a very solid and enjoyable sequel also on the PS4. The game was much bigger than the first one and built the gravity shifting gameplay mechanics even further. Not to mention adding to the already very solid list of Sony exclusives for the PS4.
9. Malicious Fallen
A fantastically comprehensive update on PS4 to the original Malicious games on both the PS3 and Vita, which included all their content and much more besides. These games are also technically quite challenging from a combat mechanics standpoint and you definitely get good value for money with this great little package.
8. Senko no Ronde 2
The Senko no Ronde games started out in the Japanese arcades and have since graced a number of different consoles. Effectively a kind of versus danmaku shoot-em-up with a strong functional link to the Virtual On series, the Senko no Ronde games are still refreshingly quite different. This new version on PS4 and PC is effectively an update to Senko no Ronde DUO and is worth picking up.
7. Super Robot Wars V
The first mainline game in the Super Robot Wars franchise to get an English localization, that alone makes it an immensely important release this year. Released on PS4 and Vita, the game followed on from the Super Robot Wars Z series and added Space Battleship Yamato in the process. These are turn-based strategy games that leverage over half a century of mecha anime and games. Starting out on the Game Boy back in 1991, this series has some serious pedigree behind it and it is now available in English.
6. Nier: Automata
The Nier games tend to get an unfair amount of criticism but it finally seems that Nier: Automata changed all that and these games are beginning to be appreciated for what they have to offer. Developed by Platinum Games, the combat mechanics in this are really rather fantastic but it’s the story and how that is delivered that has really impressed people. In any case, this is worth looking at on either PS4 or PC.
5. Persona 5
The latest installment in the wonderfully stylish Persona series, Persona 5 on PS4 and PS3 did not disappoint. It has also gone on to sell around 2 million copies globally, which is considerably more than earlier releases in the series. However, Persona 5 is a very high-end game from a visual standpoint, so its budget will not have been trivial. In any case, you owe it to yourself to check this game out.
4. Gundam Versus
Considering that both the PS3 ports of Gundam Extreme Versus and Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost never came Westward, Bandai Namco has corrected this oversight by globally releasing Gundam Versus on PS4. This is effectively an updated version of the Byking developed arcade games and doesn’t really do anything overly new it is still a very good game. However, the fact we get to have a mainline release come Westward, with all the trimmings, is definitely noteworthy.
3. Zelda: Breath of the Wild
While this is not my favorite Zelda game and there are lots of things in it that I find annoying, I have still played over 150 hours of this game and unlocked pretty much everything (shown above). So on that front, the game is clearly getting something right. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch already, then you definitely need one by now and Zelda: Breath of the Wild is clearly one of the best games on the console.
2. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon
Following the excellent Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, we recently had the updated releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. These are effectively “deluxe” variants of the original releases but with more content, a much bigger end-game and a swathe of other improvements. Even if you played Sun and Moon, these new Ultra versions are worth playing especially as these may be the last Pokémon games for the 3DS.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
Undeniably the best game I have played this year and one of the best Super Mario games ever made. However, I still prefer Super Mario Galaxy and a few other games in the series over this but even then, Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch is utterly brilliant. Since its release in March, the Switch has only gone from strength to strength and Super Mario Odyssey has helped to end the year for the new console on a definite high note. So you need to play this but don’t let New Donk City melt your brain too much.
Overall, this was a fantastically good year for a very varied array of Japanese games. The PS4 is still doing very well here but it is the Switch that continues to surprise and impress with its series of amazing releases. Obviously, it goes without saying that there are some games I have not included here and that this is just my favorite Japanese of the year based on what I have played. However, it will be interesting to see what new Japanese games next year will bring and what the Switch has in store for us.
Read my Forbes blog here.
Powered by WPeMatico