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New Releases: January 16th-22nd, 2020

With a new, open-world Dragon Ball Z game, a Switch port of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and a collection of six retro shmups in Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha, this week offers a few remarkable releases. Meanwhile enthusiasts of unabashed fan service might be interested in Maitetsu: Pure Station, while those with a tender side might need some tissues for To the Moon’s Switch port.

Header image: Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore, Switch

PlayStation 4
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (physical and digital, $59.99)
Lumini (digital, $9.99)
Shadow Legend VR (digital, $24.99)
Soccer, Tactics, & Glory (digital, $39.99)

Switch
Adventure Pinball Bundle (digital, $8.99)
Anime Studio Story (digital, $14.00)
Arcade Archives: Exerion (digital, $7.99)
Caveman Chuck (digital, $4.00)
Curious Cases (digital, $4.24)
Doggie Ninja The Burning Strikers (digital, $8.00)
Dreamwalker: Never Fall Asleep (digital, $14.99)
Dungeon Shooting (digital, $4.99)
Ember (digital, $14.99)
Extreme Trucks Simulator (digital, $14.99)
Jurassic Excite (digital, $5.50)
Lydia (digital, $4.00)
Maitetsu: Pure Station (digital, $34.99)
Planetary Defense Force (digital, $3.49)
Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha (physical and digital, $39.99)
Red Bow (digital, $4.99)
Robots Under Attack (digital, $5.99)
Sea King Hunter (digital, $9.99)
Seek Hearts (digital, $14.99)
Self (digital, $6.29)
So Many Me: Extended Edition (digital, $14.99)
Soccer, Tactics, & Glory (digital, $39.99)
Sorry, James (digital, $4.99)
Spider Solitaire (digital, $8.99)
Super Crush KO (digital, $13.49)
The Station (digital, $9.99)
To the Moon (digital, $9.59)
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore (physical and digital, $59.99)
Witch & Hero 2 (digital, $4.99)

Wii U
Regina & Mac (digital, $9.99)

3DS
Small World Z (New 3DS Only, $5.99)

Xbox One
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (physical and digital, $59.99)
Far-Out (digital, $14.99)
Hovership Havoc (digital, $9.99)
Lumini (digital, $9.99)
Red Bow (digital, $4.99)
Soccer, Tactics, & Glory (digital, $39.99)

PC
A Long Way Down ($16.19)
Areia: Pathway to Dawn ($8.49)
Country Girl Keiko ($TBA)
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot ($59.99)
Ether Loop ($TBA)
Firefight! ($1.99)
Juken Jigoku ($2.39)
Red Bow ($4.99)
Self ($6.29)
Solitaire Call of Honor ($6.39)
Super Crush KO ($13.49)
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered ($35.99)
The World Is Ruled According to Sexual Prowess So I’m Playing Dirty to Get My Harem Episode 1 ($TBA)

Robert’s Pick: Vertex Pop’s Graceful Explosion Machine is one of those indie Switch games that deserved more notice. Essentially, the game was rooted in Defender’s freely horizontally scrolling formula, flinging a multitude of different types of foes at players. Progression came in the form of a combo system that encouraged you to play at a breakneck pace. Sure, you’re tempted to reset the level after crashing resets the score multiplier, but that’s an advantage for obsessives like me.

When I first heard that the developer’s next game would have platforming elements, I was worried that Super Crush KO wouldn’t retain some of the qualities that made GEM so compelling. But I’ve been chipping away at stages, trying to earn a succession of S grades, and got hooked anew. I’m not sure that KO is a better game, but it’s a different take on combo-chasing, combining Guacamelee-like close combat with a bit of shooting. And it’s addictive as hell if you like arcade-style action. Don’t let this one go unnoticed.

And of course, I’m picking up Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore, even if the gravure idol aspects have been downplayed like it’s 2007. I’m not one of those perpetually angry gamers, but when Japan dials back certainly elements in the name of global appropriateness, I worry.

Ryan’s Pick: It’s time once again to channel my Performa and get my creative energies flowing. Luckily this week’s pick was really easy for me. Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore arrives on the Switch this week and since I didn’t get a chance to play it back when it was released on the Wii U I feel like it’s a solid choice. The game features turn based combat with characters from both the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei series, so fans of either series should probably pick this one up if they missed it like I did back in 2015.

There are some really great music tracks included in the game, so if you like JPop I’d definitely consider picking it up. I’ve always felt that turn-based RPG games on the Switch are great for when you are on the go, so again, I can’t think of a better console for this game. I do also have to give a quick nod to another re-release of an older RPG, this one being Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls. I just love first-person dungeon crawlers so I may have to pick this one up as well on Steam, it hits January 15th.

Matt’s Pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): Tokyo Mirage Sessions is the obvious pick this week. I’ve got to say it (sorry Robert, for the inevitable cranky comments), no, I do not believe it has been “censored”. It’s been localised. The gravure stuff from the Japanese Wii U original has no equivalence in the west, and while some might argue that gravure=swimsuit models, I would suggest that if you make that argument, you’ve got a very limited understanding of gravure. In terms of cultural response, the “swimsuit models” that are plastered over our few remaining sports magazines are not the same as gravure. Localisation is the art of preserving the meaning of a text, not making a literal interpretation, and in my view the fashion model stuff that is in the western take on TMS is genuinely closer to the reality of gravure than it the had have retained the bikini wear and gravure context.

Also, you all should see how Shakespeare is handled in Japanese if you think TMS is “censorship”… Play one of the Wii U’s masterpieces now on Nintendo Switch, or don’t. It’s not going to change that I love the game (yes, the western version) and it’s a 5/5 from me.

Putting all that aside, I gotta say Maitetsu: Pure Station is, well, fascinating. This Chinese VN, localised by Circle Entertainment, appears to be a hyper-fanservicey loli game. I’ve only played about 30 minutes of it at time of writing, but it does seem that that is the case. That being the case, this thing is fascinating, because it’s trouncing over all the taboos, and I find transgression to be inherently interesting. I don’t know if it’s right putting it here because we’re meant to be recommending games, and I’m not sure I want to be a person recommending Maitetsu, but seriously. In this climate, someone thought it would be a good idea to localise a fanservice loli game into English. If nothing else, the gonads to do that is self-evidently hilarious. And, as I said, fascinating.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

9 comments

  1. as for TMS, it’s not really localization when the Japanese version is based on the US version.

    During the Wii U era, Nintendo played it more cautious. Now that’s the new baseline.

    • Robert, any response to Matt’s take?

      • I remember Yakuza 3’s release vividly. At the time SEGA took out the hostess club elements from the game, claiming that people from other territories wouldn’t understand them. Of course, in the ensuing years, many people have learn what hostess clubs are and what they aren’t.

        Yes, Gravure doesn’t have a fitting Western analog. But instead of removal or having to tweak it, another approach is just leaving it in. Players without an understanding of it are the ones are the ones who should do the work. And it’s not really that much of an ordeal to read up on things a bit, is it? People might actually learn something in the process.

        But that point is moot since the Japanese version includes the NA changes, which even irritated the game’s co-director, Mitsuru Hirata. The exclusion of midriff here or a reduced cleavage isn’t enough to completely spoil the game, but the idea of Western puritanicalism is disheartening.

        • Times have changed. You can’t just put out a game in 2020 with teenage girls showing cleavage without the risk of a backlash that could hurt sales. It’s about risk management.

          I don’t like it, but that’s where we are right now.

        • The real point that I was making here is that none of this is “censorship.” The game may or may not be poor localisation. It’s cool if you believe it is poorly localised. I’m actually ambivalent with regards to my thoughts there either way, but on a personal note I do understand gravure so wouldn’t have had an issue with seeing that left in the game. But it’s *not censorship*.

          As a critic – and one that cares deeply about art first and foremost – for years now people have overlooked TMS’ broad themes (all of which are intact across both “versions” of the game), and the many truly fascinating discussions that you can have about the game. Instead they fixate on some changes which were made, mistakenly or not, in an attempt to make the game relevant to western territories.

          And it’s not because those people genuinely care about art or thematic integrity. If they would they would be talking about more than just vagina bones. No. They just want to see semi-naked anime girls. And I love semi-naked anime girls as much as the next person, but you don’t get to fixate on that, ignore everything else about a game, and then argue that it’s the *art* that you care about.

          This isn’t a response to Robert’s site, mind you. Rather a broader response to what I’ve seen out there in the ether about the game. I just find the discourse around TMS exhausting. I’ve now tried twice with my own reviews to engage with it on a broader thematic level and still, all anyone talks about is the “censorship”. It’s one of those games that leave me genuinely wishing that I was writing about books or theatre or, hell, even cinema. In those art forms people don’t tend to flip out about localisation. Or if they do it’s within the context of a broader, healthier discussion.

          • How is it not self-censorship (which is different from government censorship) when Atlus Japan decides for their characters to wear clothes that are less revealing?

            That was a decision they made and if you follow gaming in Japan, you’d know that people were pissed. Nintendo had to issue refunds, which is unprecedented.

  2. Wait, Robert isn’t picking a RPG set in Tokyo but what looks like an indie flash game?

    Say it with me everyone, “WTF?”

  3. My two cents on Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore:

    I don’t like the changes but I’m not going to cheat myself from a Persona-like RPG just because some fake cleavage not covered up.

  4. Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha and Bravo should have been combined on a single cart. \

    Greed….

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