Japanese Gaming

Since coming to Japan i've purchased a couple games; most of which, i cannot play because i didn't bring that equipment with me.  So far i've purchased..

XII Stag on Playstation 2 for $5
DDR Extra Mix on Playstation for $18
Rez on Dreamcast for $15
Dragonforce on Saturn for $2
Shining Wisdom on Saturn for $2 (I'm not really sure why anymore...)
Some Kanji game on DS for $35 (oops..)
Rakubiki Jiten on DS for $42
Pokemon Diamond on DS for $42
Chososhu Mecha MG on DS for $18 (after points)

and probably around $30 on DDR Supernova in the arcade, including the e-Amusement Card.  That kanji game was really the only screw up so far.  I might try to trade it in when i pick up Phoenix Wright II at the end of the month.  I've written a little bit of a review for the Rakubiki Jiten, so here are my thoughts on Pokemon Diamond and Chososhu Mecha MG.

Pokemon Diamond.

Last Thursday, Pokemon Diamond was released to Japan and sold out sometime on Friday.  When we were walking around on Saturday, a copy of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl was no where in sight.  It's still as popular as it ever was. ^_^  Japan should gets it's second wave of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl this coming Friday, so little kids who missed their chance this past weekend will get another chance to pick it up.

The language barrier is rather amazing.  Since it's marketed for little kids, Pokemon is all in either hiragana or katakana.  There is no Kanji whatsoever, unless you count the yen kanji.  It's helps me build my reading ability of hiragana and katakana rather well ^_^, though i still don't have the vocabulary to know what's going on.

Pokemon Diamond plays just like any other Pokemon though, so finding out where to go and what to do is simply a matter of talking to everyone in the town and then venturing forth to places you haven't been yet.  I suppose later on in the game, this will become more of a problem.  Currently though, i've been able to get two badges and defeat Team Rocket twice without getting lost or frustrated because of the language..  It's not like Pokemon has much of a story anyways.  I can read about the new cool Pokemon online somewhere if i want the story.

Back to the yen, i always wondered what the currency actually was in the game.  When playing Pokemon Emerald, everything was in credits.  100 credits for a Poke-ball, 200 credits for a healing item.  I tried to figure out how much that would be in real-life currency.  Actually, i think about this quite often.  "How much would a Final Fantasy tent cost in real life.."  I mean, you make, like, thousands of dollars in the game.  It's not like the idea of going around killing monsters for a living hasn't crossed my mind before.  Anyways, it's 100 yen for a Pokeball.  That's $1.  What a fricken deal.  I'd buy tons of those, if there was a Poke-mart nearby.  Usually when you beat up some kid in the forest, you win $1 or $2 from him.  That's pretty mean.  It's like stealing milk money from children.  I liked my idea before where 1 poke-credit equalled 1/10 of $1.  Then a pokeball is $10 and a little bit more reasonable considering the amount of technology built in them.


The graphical style of Pokemon Diamond is quite impressive.  They have effectively transferred the 2D graphics into a 3D plane without screwing over any of the individual detail you'd find in previous titles.  The 3D plane is evident when you walk around and the foreground actually shifts along with your point of view.  It's a very subtle 3D effect that really looks amazing on the DS.

In battles the graphical style is alot like Pokemon Emerald, with a little bit more of a watercolor backdrop.  The pokemon still have little animations when they enter, ala Emerald.  This is where the touch screen is actually used.  All the battle commands are presented on the touch screen.  It's like Phoenix Wright, where you can either use the the directional pad and select options, or you can just touch the options to select them.  It's pretty slick.  I can still play pokemon one-handed!!  Whoo hoo...  guess who's driving while playing Pokemon when he returns to the states.

While walking around, you get a little pokemon gadget that keeps tracks on various data on your second screen.  It can keep track of your steps, the current time, your pokemon HP, and.. on other thing.  It's really helpful to have that info up front, especially the steps if you're trying to hatch eggs.

Speaking of time, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl use a real-time system, much like Animal Crossing.  When it's night outside, it's night in the game.  When it's day outside, it's day in the game.  My game is a little messed up since my DS is on US time, and i don't really want to change it.

One thing that i've also liked about Pokemon Diamond is the Pokemon themselves..  They aren't stupid looking, or ugly.  Most of them are ligitimitly cute.  I mean, when you began you have a choice between a leafy turtle, a cute little chilly penguin, or a cute little fire monkey. Awww..  I chose the Chilly Penguin ^_^. The first couple pokemon you face are actually pretty cute too.  There's a cute little bird and a beaver.  I picked up a cute little kitty mouse looking thing near the beginning of the game, which has turned out to be pretty slick too.  I've also been leveling up this Pikachu ripoff.

So anyways, i've played for about 9 1/2 hours and have beaten two gyms.  I found about 49 pokemon and captured about 29 of 'em.  Well on my way to the new pokemon total of around 500 or something.  I probably won't pick up Diamond or Pearl when they are released in the states, but i'll pick up the remake that combines the two.  Unless, i end up running out of things to play when it comes out.  :shrugs:

So yeah...  Pokemon Diamond is pretty damn slick, i must say.  It's a great pickup for the DS.

Chososhu Mecha MG

I found this game used over at Yamada on Saturday for rather cheap.  $32 is rather cheap for games in Japan.  Plus i had $13 something of store credit there, so i ended up getting it for $19.  Wheee..  that's rather cheap for US standards.

Mecha MG is basically a mecha game, but it has a rather unique control scheme.  You use the D-pad to move around your mech on the playing field, and then you utilize the touch screen to operate the mech..  Each mech has its own custom console, so you have plenty of different modes and attacks.

The first mission, you are given a regular 'ol mech that can pick up rocks and move them around.  In the middle of the mission, an enemy mech shows up and you must do away with it.  The console had two controls: a horizontal torso pivot and a vertical pivot.  However, there was a pretty big white-space on the side.  I accidently tapped the empty space, and it began to crack.  So i tapped it alot and it broke away to reveal a button to fire off missiles!  Oh yeah.. ^_^  I tore the hell out of that enemy mecha.

After the first level, you can move about the world.  It's a pretty linear map and you move about unlocking story points and uncovering missions.  Each mission has 4 difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and Superhard, which have an obvious difference.  Defeating a mission will give you some money depending on the difficulty you defeat.  Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Though, each level so far has given me a mech to use.  I don't actually own a mech to custom myself..  perhaps i'll get one soon.

Overall i haven't played it too much, but there is plenty game left.  Since i bought it used, there was some completed data on it at around 38 hours.  I played for about an hour to check it out before getting back to Pokemon.  So far, the game is quite slick is well worth a pickup.  If it doesn't reach the states, i suggest you import it if you can find it for cheap ^_^.

DDR SuperNova Arcade

So far during my stay i've spent a bit of cash playing DDR Supernova.  Konami has a card that you can purchase deemed the e-Amusement Card and all the recent Konami arcade games i've come across have used it.  It will save your scores, achievements, and other various data for the games you play.  I've only used it on DDR Supernova, but it can be used on Guitar Freaks V3, Drum Mania V3, Pop 'n Music Fever, this Martian Attack game, and so forth.  For DDR Supernova it will save your scores and rankings for applicable Non-stop mixes.

Supernova boasts nearly 300 songs that are new and old.  It has about 1/3 new songs for the arcade, and 2/3 revival songs from previous arcade mixes.  Of the 1/3 new songs, 1/3 of those are songs that are new to the arcade, but have been featured in console mixes before.  There's about 70 NEW songs featured in the arcade box.  I'm really interested to see how this compares to the US release of Supernova last week.  I'm really loving Xepher, the Seduction remix, AA, the new Des-Row songs, and the new Max 300 mix.  Otherwise i've been playing Quickening and Tsugaru Apple mix a bit, along with the occasional Paranoia Survivor.  Max 300, Maxx Unlimited, and Legend of Max are included, along with Paranoia Respect ^_^.  No Max Period though.

Overall, DDR Supernova is pretty slick, but it's missing a couple old songs that i would have liked to see.  I'm really sad that Rhythm & Police is not included, but oh well...  can't have everything.  The Non-stop mixes have been rather uninspired as well..

It's always fun to go into the arcade and dance up a storm to see the reaction of the japanese nerds playing their Dynasty Warriors game.  I've seen a few people who are pretty good at DDR, but overall, no one has really stepped up to kick my ass other than Kyle.

So yeah...  these 3 games, along with the Rakubiki Jiten have been my primary games at the moment.  I stopped playing Mario Kart after i defeated the Mirror cc class.  I'll probably get back into that later after i finish up Pokemon.

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