Japan Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Japan RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 5 Weirdly Awesome Japanese Mobile Games You Need To Try https://www.gameskinny.com/t7efo/5-weirdly-awesome-japanese-mobile-games-you-need-to-try https://www.gameskinny.com/t7efo/5-weirdly-awesome-japanese-mobile-games-you-need-to-try Tue, 19 Dec 2017 12:00:02 -0500 Azreen_Azmi

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From cat stacking to idol dancing, these uniquely Japanese mobile games are definitely awesome to play. Now, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor and head over to their iTunes or Google Play page and download them immediately!

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If you rather play mobile games that are already available, check out the 7 scariest games that you can play on your mobile phone right now!

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Is there a mobile game that you hope to be released outside of Japan? Let us know in the comments below!

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Uta No Prince-sama Shining Live
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Developed by KLAB, the people behind the widely popular Bleach Brave Souls, Uta no Prince-sama Shining Live is a mobile rhythm game based on the widely popular anime series, Uta no Prince-sama.

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Similar to Love Live School Idol Festival, the game lets you collect character cards and play songs based on the anime. The game also features the anime’s idol units, STARFISH and Quartet Night, along with their songs. Despite being a rhythm game, Shining Live boasts a deep story mode with characters rendered in the Live2d animation system.

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Now, technically, this one is a bit of a cheat since the game is currently only available in Japan but an English version is being planned for release.

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Battle Cats
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Japan is not kitten around when it comes to games about cats. Battle Cats is definitely one of the more outlandish -- and fun-- mobile games.

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Developed by PONOS, Battle Cats is a tower defense game that’s free-to-play on both Android and iOS. In the game, you command an army of weirdly cute cats and wreak havoc on the world by battling various monsters. With the combination of addictive gameplay and bizarre humor, Battle Cats has amassed quite a rabid fanbase despite not being officially released outside of Japan.

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The iOS version has been updated to an English version but the Android version is still in Japanese.

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Moyashibito DX
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You know it's a weird Japanese game when the entire premise of the game is for you to harvest bean sprouts with weird faces. Everything from old men moyashi that have a desire to someday become artists, to moyashi that have pompadours, because why not, to moyashi that are also part bonsai tree, which confuses me more than moyashi growing hair for some reason. 

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Moyashibito DX (which stands for Delicious Xtacy) is the sequel to the surprisingly popular Moyashibito - Fun Game For Free, that was developed by Goodroid,Inc. The game basically has you harvesting different kinds of bean sprouts (over 50 kinds apparently). While also tasking you with watering the moyashi to help them grow. 

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Moyashibito DX's gameplay is a simple yet super-addictive loop of watering the bean sprouts and pulling them out when they've grown. It's sweet and simple while also being weird and somewhat unsettling. 

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MewMew Tower
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In Japan, games with cats aren't just a thing, they're practically their own genre. Okay, maybe that's a smidge dramatic, but while there are a number of weird cat games out there, MewMew Tower stands out thanks to its absurd premise.

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In MewMew Tower, all you have to do is just stack your cats. That’s it! The simple nature of the gameplay is what makes it uniquely addictive. Trying to stack one cat after another, each with their own unique shapes and sizes, can get pretty exciting. The higher you get, the harder it becomes to balance your tower of cats, which could end up in a cat-tastrophe (I will not apologize!).

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The game is available for both Android and iOS but only the iOS version is available internationally. Although it’s not fully translated, the game's simple nature makes this less of a problem than it'd be for other games. 

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Battle Champs (Little Noah)
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Right off the bat, we have Japan's take on the popular Clash of Clans style game with Battle Champs (or Little Noah as it's known in Japan). Developed by BlazeGames, Battle Champs stands out among the slew of real-time strategy games with its clever infusion of JRPG elements.

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Fans of Japanese RPG games will surely be attracted to the art design as it's headed by Akihiko Yoshida, the man behind big JRPGs such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and Bravely Default. With a perfect blend of recognizable yet refreshingly unique art, Battle Champs' character designs are absolutely adorable. The main protagonist, Nia, is a particular standout due to her mad scientist outfit.

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Of course, the gameplay is equally as good. You can expect to spend hours building and battling monsters while you unlock new job classes and build up your army of champs.

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Whether it be the anti-idol, metal group featuring 3 teenage girls, Babymetal, or things involving tentacles which we won't discuss further, Japan is known as the mecca for all things weird and awesome. Mobile games are no exception and you can bet that they have some weirdly awesome titles.

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From surprisingly robust JRPGs to weird puzzle games based on cats (and trust me, there are a lot of them), Japan’s mobile game industry is a treasure trove of fun titles that are uniquely Japanese. Now, finding the good ones can be overwhelming if you don’t speak a lick of Japanese but worry not, here are five games that you should definitely check out.

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If you’re ready to lose hours of your life with these games, then read on!

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Inazuma Eleven Ares Announced for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Mobile https://www.gameskinny.com/0duuk/inazuma-eleven-ares-announced-for-nintendo-switch-playstation-4-and-mobile https://www.gameskinny.com/0duuk/inazuma-eleven-ares-announced-for-nintendo-switch-playstation-4-and-mobile Sun, 22 Oct 2017 22:55:35 -0400 Erroll Maas

In the latest Inazuma Walker broadcast, Level-5 revealed that the upcoming soccer game and seventh entry in the main Inazuma Eleven series, Inazuma Eleven Aresoriginally teased for "higher-end consoles" in  March, will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, and iOS sometime in Summer 2018 in Japan.

It was stated that the game is being designed in a way so that players unfamiliar with soccer video games will still be able to enjoy it, while still keeping the strategic elements the series is known for. It was also said that the game will have higher quality visuals than what has been shown so far, and that they would like to have each individual character have the same high quality appearance as their anime counterparts. The developer is currently focusing on improving controls and making the game an enjoyable experience for all players.

Inazuma Eleven Ares in planned for release in Japan sometime in Summer 2018 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, and iOS. It is currently unknown if the game will release outside of Japan. 

Stay tuned in to GameSkinny for more Inazuma Eleven Ares updates.

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Yo-kai Watch Busters 2 for 3DS Announced for Japan https://www.gameskinny.com/wzxws/yo-kai-watch-busters-2-for-3ds-announced-for-japan https://www.gameskinny.com/wzxws/yo-kai-watch-busters-2-for-3ds-announced-for-japan Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:07:21 -0400 adelgirl

Developer Level 5 has announced that there will be a new game in its Yo-Kai Watch Busters series for 3DS. Dubbed Yo-Kai Watch Busters 2, it's set to release in Japan during Winter of 2017. But currently there's no release date for North America or other countries. 

The Yo-Kai Watch Busters series takes place in the same world as the original Yo-Kai Watch series, but you play as a Yo-Kai instead of a human with the Yo-Kai watch.

The first game in the Yo-Kai Watch Busters series was released in Japan on July 11th, 2016. It was never released in any other country, though, so there's no precedent for fans who want to see the series come to the West. But in the main series, Yo-Kai Watch 2 was released outside of Japan around the time that Yo-Kai Watch 3 launched in Japan. So there's a chance we'll see the original game in the Yo-Kai Watch Buster series drop for the West right around the time the sequel releases in Japan, though. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information about this launch as it's revealed! 

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The Switch Might Have Impressive Sales in Japan, But Is it Actually a Western Success? https://www.gameskinny.com/5i2mq/the-switch-might-have-impressive-sales-in-japan-but-is-it-actually-a-western-success https://www.gameskinny.com/5i2mq/the-switch-might-have-impressive-sales-in-japan-but-is-it-actually-a-western-success Sun, 09 Apr 2017 11:22:26 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

It’s officially been one month since Nintendo’s new console hybrid launched, and the sales numbers are in: the Nintendo Switch has moved over 500,000 units in Japan. To put this figure in context, let's take a look at the sales for the original Wii -- which was Nintendo's fastest-selling console in history, with a record of 600,000 sold in its first eight days. The Switch managed to beat this record in just three days, and now holds that title for itself.

While sales figures play a big role in measuring commercial success, they’re also a clumsily deceptive method of foretelling the longevity of appeal and overall sustainability of a new product. This is especially true when trying to measure its success in western countries like the United States, where the Big N has repeatedly failed to make the Wii a smash hit (not to mention its somewhat disappointing successor, the Wii U).

The Switch is great, but are its features tailored enough to a western audience?

The new hybrid console may have been able to right some of the more egregious flaws that Nintendo has made in the past decade, but it’s also guilty of some other mistakes that western consumers are far less likely to forgive. And that might just cost it more headway than the company had initially prepared for.

In the West, looks matter. Consumers pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics of a shiny new gadget -- how it looks, how it feels, and (more importantly) how it makes the person who's using it look. Nintendo is no stranger to this concept, as they were the ones who first acclimated their hardware to western sensibilities by pioneering a physical revision of the Famicom hardware prior to launch in America. 

They definitely didn't do this with the Wii and Wii U, though, and that was partially reflected in their low sales counts for both those consoles. The flimsy and somewhat childish designs of these machines was antithetical to the commanding look of beloved consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. (Let's be honest, that gamepad looks like a giant Fisher Price toy when you hold it.)

In this regard, the Switch has learned from the mistakes of its predecessors. Its surface finish has a silken look, it's got a minimal aesthetic with concise ergonomics, and feels discreet to use without sacrificing strong lines and overall polish. 

But the peripherals are a different story...

In a Western market that's already overburdened with add-on things like paid DLCs, Season Passes, and microtransactions, there's a stigma against locking part of the play experience behind a paywall. And when it comes to consoles, players tend to expect that everything they need to get the most out of their game experience will come in the box they paid good money for. 

That means Nintendo needs to address one of the biggest issues on the Switch if they really want to see it succeed on this side of the world -- the cost of its peripherals. While the Joy Cons are surprisingly robust in their range of utility, they're not always the ideal controller for every game on the console. Nintendo recognizes this, and already offers the option to pick up a Pro Controller. This upgraded accessory is a great option for games that have a more sophisticated control scheme, and gives the player a lot more functionality than the base Joy Cons. 

But that said, the price gouging with these controllers is a serious problem that's actively preventing western players from buying in. It's hard to justify paying $60 for a controller after forking so much money over for the console in the first place. And it seems especially ridiculous when you take into consideration that you can usually pick up a DualShock 4 controller for PlayStation at about $10 less. 

 

But the money-grubbing doesn't stop there. If you need another pair of Joy Cons, you'll end up paying $80 at retail. But at least if you just need one, you'll only pay $40....right? Wrong. A single Joy Con will cost $60 out the door. Just take a look back at this pricing model if you have to, because something really isn't adding up. These are the real prices Nintendo is asking for its peripherals. (And heaven forbid you want an extra dock to keep around the house, because that's going to take another $90 out of your wallet.)

There's no reason for this sort of pricing, especially when the cost of peripherals makes up a sizeable fraction of the whole console's price. This sort of thing might fly in Japan, but western gamers are much more discerning about this sort of thing -- and I'm willing to bet it's only a matter of time before the price gouging starts to hurt the adoption rate of the console by the end of 2017. Given the current economic state of this side of the world and the ever-increasing number of consoles/tech competing for gamers' hard-earned cash...Nintendo may find themselves in an unfortunate position sooner rather than later. 

But if the third-party software is good enough, western gamers will flock to it. 

Significant third-party software is probably going to be the determining factor in how successful the Switch actually becomes. During the Wii/Wii U's life cycle, Nintendo managed to deliver third-party exclusives that critically and commercially rivaled those available for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And that was a huge boon for moving units. 

Nintendo has already shown that they're looking to do the same with the Switch -- having announced a huge list of publishers and developers that are signed on to release games for the console. And smash-hit titles like Breath of the Wild are only serving to help the console sell in the West. 

Only time will tell if Nintendo can improve its third-party formula and turn the Switch into a truly lucrative hybrid console that fills the long-standing gap between home systems and handhelds. 

The Switch has still got a long way to go, and Nintendo is promising a lot that they haven’t shown us yet. Maybe the hype will be able to last long into E3, and we'll see some big reveals that gets western gamers hype for the console. That's the only way this machine will stay hot enough to sell out by the time that the holidays roll around.

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Tokyo Dark: Exclusive Interview With Jon Williams of Cherrymochi https://www.gameskinny.com/con8r/tokyo-dark-exclusive-interview-with-jon-williams-of-cherrymochi https://www.gameskinny.com/con8r/tokyo-dark-exclusive-interview-with-jon-williams-of-cherrymochi Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:23:13 -0400 Rob Kershaw

The Square Enix Collective has backed a number of interesting games since its inception in 2014, showcasing a thriving indie community while providing the marketing resources of a powerhouse publisher, which small studios usually only dream of.

One such title that's found its footing through the Collective is Tokyo Dark, a noir adventure game that simultaneously straddles the visual novel, RPG, and horror genres, and ties a unique aesthetic into a gripping narrative. It has a caliber of production that belies the size of the studio developing it.

Culture Shock

Recently, we spoke to Cherrymochi's creative director, Jon Williams, who has been absorbing the culture and atmosphere of Japan for some time.

"I moved out to Japan from the UK in 2009; initially I only intended to stay for a year, but life happened and I'm still here now. For the past 3 years I've been running Cherrymochi, a small game dev studio I co-founded in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo."

Williams runs the studio with his wife and eight years of cultural immersion has certainly helped imbue Tokyo Dark with its own character. As an Englishman in a new land, we asked if the culture shift has proven significant?

"There are good and bad points to every country in the world and subtle cultural differences everywhere. Japan, when the ground stays still, is a very pleasant place to live."

Williams has done plenty of research on the city, its sewers, and its overall vibe. Japan is a country that has its ups and downs -- often literally, given the frequency of earthquakes that have wreaked havoc upon the nation. Yet, inspiration often springs from dark times, and it was one particular event which led to the idea for the game.

The themes and ideas in Tokyo Dark originated during our experiences of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, particularly the blackouts that affected our area during the nuclear disaster. Tokyo without its neon, giant TV screens and lights is a very different place. Tokyo was quite literally dark. We started brainstorming ideas for an urban horror set in Tokyo besieged by earthquakes, while sat in blackouts in Tokyo, besieged by earthquakes -- well, they do say write what you know!

Darkness Falls

Urban horror is an apt description of a game that has been inspired by many facets of popular culture, including House of Leaves -- a horror novel where it is implied that the titular house actually eats people. As to whether supernatural events are more literal or metaphorical in Tokyo Dark though, we're told to "wait and see."

However, the Eurogamer Expo showing in 2016 revealed a sinister undercurrent to the game, as Detective Itō goes off in search of her missing partner and encounters him in the sewers with a maniacal woman holding a knife to his throat. 

Dark themes such as sanity, neurosis, and suicide are featured in the game, and some of the mechanics revolve around the mental health of Itō herself -- an intriguing premise, but one which, in conjunction with other aspects of the horror genre, might not be to everyone's taste. Williams isn't concerned.

The SPIN system (SANITY, PROFESSIONALISM, INVESTIGATION, NEUROSIS) takes influence from pen-and-paper role-playing games. Tokyo Dark is an anime-inspired work of noir fiction; we hope that players will find our approach to these issues satisfying.

EGX and other playthroughs have certainly helped shape the game's development. Originally, some of the toughest puzzles were designed to require actions "outside of the game" to solve. Thanks to feedback, this has since changed.

It might seem obvious, but an important lesson we learnt from playtesting is that any action that requires you to minimize the game window and head to Google quickly leads to a loss of immersion and damages the experience rather than improves it. We've focused on keeping these additional elements within the experience of the game itself.

An End In Sight

As development continues, one of the more interesting features is the New Game+ option. Unlike other games, NG+ in Tokyo Dark allows you to work your way around the different choices that influence the 10 different endings in the game (11 including the additional NG+ ending). Essentially, you will be able to see everything there is to see on your second playthrough.

Does Williams see this as a necessary compromise for an oversaturated games market, where players are simply time-limited in what they can complete?

Tokyo Dark is a passion project. It exists because it's the game we want to play. When I think of my experience playing adventure games and visual novels I love, I might play through the game twice to see some different branching and endings, but I simply don't have time to complete the same game 10 or 11 times. We think it's unreasonable to demand this from our players.

Indeed, with so many games on the market -- many with multiple endings, such as the staggering 26 in Nier: Automata -- time is often the most precious resource gamers have, especially if you consider that plenty of them clock up to dozens if not hundreds of hours. But is there a risk that Cherrymochi risks diluting the experience by revealing all of Tokyo Dark's remaining narrative secrets second time around? Williams thinks not.

NG+ makes it easier to unlock all endings during a second playthrough. I don't think this dilutes the experience but adds to it. There is a lot of content in Tokyo Dark that is impossible to see in one playthrough; by giving players easier access to this the second time around, I think many more players will experience all that Tokyo Dark has to offer.

Players will hopefully agree, and Cherrymochi has been proactive on its Kickstarter campaign in keeping backers informed. Like many titles from small studios, the release of Tokyo Dark has slipped from its original date. While backers on crowdfunding sites can often put pressure on developers to deliver products before they are ready, Williams has had the opposite experience.

Our Kickstarter backers are incredibly supportive. Throughout production, we post detailed fixed scheduled monthly updates covering both good and bad news. We try to be completely transparent about development. I think our backers appreciate our approach.

Indeed, it seems as though Cherrymochi has avoided the pitfalls that many studios stumble into -- simply by being upfront. Even veteran developers like inXile came in for criticism by withholding the fact that stretch goals had been cut. Williams takes a far more upfront approach to bad news.

As soon as we realized we could not hit our Q4 original Kickstarter release date, we let the community know as early as possible. The overwhelming response was:

      'Thanks for letting us know, no problem, take your time.'

We consider communication absolutely vital and try to make ourselves as accessible as we can with our Kickstarter updates, weekly backer forum updates every Saturday and Twitter and Facebook posts.

Collective Power

Cherrymochi has had significant help in the form of the Square Enix Collective, which has allowed Williams to focus on the game and leave the majority of the marketing to them. His enthusiasm for the indie initiative is apparent -- but are there any restrictions in dealing with them, and how much influence do they truly have on the vision for the game?

Square Enix Collective have been great. They are completely hands off when it comes to development, no restrictions, no influence or input that we haven't requested. They've offered flexibility, help, and support. The Collective are a small team within Square Enix who are passionate about indie games and have understood our approach with Tokyo Dark from day one.

It sounds like a great deal for both parties, and for a first project with such a small team, it's no doubt helped Tokyo Dark  hit the ground running. But as with any game project, there have been issues to overcome -- yet Williams is buoyant about the experience.

We've made mistakes, we've had challenging technical issues, we've spent time on features that we later removed from the game, we've had times of intense stress and pressure. In every one of those situations, we've learnt something that made us a better team and made Tokyo Dark a better game. So I wouldn't change a thing.

It's incredibly exciting to be approaching the end of this journey and launching Tokyo Dark later this year.

We're just as excited to play it, and if the vision of Jon Williams and Cherrymochi pans out the way we're hoping, there's the potential for Tokyo Dark to set a new bar for the way visual novels are designed.

Tokyo Dark will be playable at EGX Rezzed London in the Square Enix Collective area between March 30 - April 1.

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Ranking the Hitman Episodes from Worst to Best https://www.gameskinny.com/z485m/ranking-the-hitman-episodes-from-worst-to-best https://www.gameskinny.com/z485m/ranking-the-hitman-episodes-from-worst-to-best Thu, 03 Nov 2016 06:00:01 -0400 StraightEdge434

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1. Sapienza

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Sapienza takes place in Italy, and has Agent 47 eliminate Silvio Caruso and Francesca De Santis, as well as neutralize a deadly virus.

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Sapienza is my favorite level out of all them. It has gorgeous world design; there is a mansion, a church, a crypt, a beach, even a cave that holds the virus! Adding to that, Sapienza has those little alleyways and boutiques that resemble real life versions of those places. It's a very classic European town that certainly sets the mood for the assassination mission.

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Sapienza is big enough for you to explore since you are not limited to a big building, and you can go anywhere you want... except the water.

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The level also has a unique assassination opportunity in which Agent 47 dresses up as a plague doctor, and pretends to be a mannequin, waiting for the perfect opportunity to slit Silvio's throat. Or, if you prefer a more classic opportunity, there is a clock tower and a church tower, both of which present excellent sniping positions.

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What were your favorite episodes? Did you enjoy Colorado more than Sapienza? If so, leave a comment down below! 

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2. Bangkok

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Taking place at a resort hotel, Bangkok has two targets for elimination: Jordan Cross and Ken Morgan.

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Bangkok's hotel is absolutely breathtaking. There are tropical plants, flowers, trees, butterflies right inside the building! As for the outside, there is a huge river, a gorgeous sunset, and a city in the distance.

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Also, the hotel provides many fun opportunities to assassinate the targets. For example, dropping coconuts on their heads is one of those opportunities. But the most unique one is impersonating a bug exterminator, and pouring gas (that is actually meant for bugs) into the ventilation system, thus knocking out everyone in the hotel's atrium, including the two targets who happen to be there at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

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The only problem with Bangkok is that it is much smaller than Sapienza (coming next), as you are limited only to the hotel, and a very small bit of the exterior (the garden). If it was bigger, it would easily be my number one favorite location!

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3. Hokkaido

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The final episode in season one takes place in a hyper-exclusive hospital facility, known as Gama. Agent 47 must eliminate Yuki Yamazaki and Erich Soders.

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Though it's a hospital facility, it feels more like a scientific laboratory. The main reason is because of the wing where Soders is located. There are advanced operating machines, computers, oh, and a live-beating heart that is located in the basement, and that pumps blood to Soders to keep him alive...

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This level also has a Kill Bill easter egg. One of the corpses in the morgue has a jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet very similar to the Bride's. There are also two challenges that deal with the movie. One of those challenges is to kill eight masked guards with a katana, while wearing the yellow jumpsuit.

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The facility itself is located high up on a mountain. When you first start playing and go to the balcony, you'll see another enormous mountain out in the distance, as well as a little town at the base of the mountain.

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Hakkaido has many interesting assassination opportunities, many of which deal with you tempering with the operating equipment. But one that I found most enjoyable was the assassination opportunity in which Agent 47 pretends to be a yoga instructor. He baits Yuki all the way to the edge of the area while doing yoga, only to push her off the edge, and see her plummet down the mountain...

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Though Hokkaido is all sci-fi and is set in a snowy mountain, it didn't stick to me as much as the next two levels. Don't get me wrong, I loved Hakkaido, but the setting was once again inside a building, and not as gorgeous as the next level.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/h/i/t/hitman-2016-b2e41.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/h/i/t/hitman-2016-b2e41.png","type":"slide","id":"138710","description":"

4. Paris

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The first episode in the game takes place in an enormous mansion, during a fashion show. You must eliminate Victor Novikov and Dalia Margolis.

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Back when I first played it, I enjoyed this level. It was big, there were many opportunities to assassinate both targets, and the setting really impressed me. But as more episodes came out, this one kept getting pushed down the list simply because I enjoyed those episodes more than this one, and would come back to replay them more than Paris.

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On a side note, Paris has a very unique and interesting assassination opportunity. When Victor has to give a speech at the end of the fashion show, you can break the winch that is holding the decorative ceiling, thus making the ceiling come down and crush Victor, as well as any other unfortunate soul standing too close to him.

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For a level that mostly takes place inside a building, it's not too bad. It was pretty good when it first came out, but lost its title as my favorite episode when other episodes debuted.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/h/i/t/hitman20episode20320marrakesh2004-056cc.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/h/i/t/hitman20episode20320marrakesh2004-056cc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"138715","description":"

5. Marrakesh

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This whole level takes place during a riot, and has you kill Claus Hugo Strandberg and General Zaydan.

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When I first played this, I absolutely hated this level. The crowded streets seemed like I was in a labyrinth, getting to Zaydan was tough because the location that he was present at was full of soldiers, and the Swedish embassy was almost impossible to enter due to tight security (not to mention trying to find Claus since he moved all over the place and every room looked almost the same to me).

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I had to replay this mission several times in order to map out my route, or wait for the perfect opportunity to kill my targets.

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The map itself is pretty big, but since there are so many people (and when I say many, I mean a lot... like, really a lot...), it looks like it's pretty small.

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On a positive side, one opportunity that I enjoyed was pushing a toilet onto Zaydan's head!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/5/8/2/5821893280935-605-47832044399c10b11ea2be0a0fedaab0-15d66.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/5/8/2/5821893280935-605-47832044399c10b11ea2be0a0fedaab0-15d66.jpg","type":"slide","id":"138721","description":"

6. Colorado

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Where to begin...? Well, let's see. For one, this mission makes you assassinate four targets (I'm not even going to bother naming them all). The other episodes had two targets instead. This one has double the targets, meaning double the effort to succeed.

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Second, everyone on this level is armed with shotguns or fully automatic weapons. I'm not kidding! Even the chef who is cooking food for the militia has a sub machine gun strapped to his back! A bit excessive, don't you think? One small mistake, and you're dead in a fraction of a second.

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Next, the whole level takes place on a huge farm. But the problem is the world design. It's ugly, boring, depressing, and not as colorful as the other episodes (if you're from Colorado, I apologize).

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The only thing that I did like was how you could pretend to be a scarecrow by wearing a scarecrow costume. Other than that, nothing really impressed me about that level.

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But one redeemable factor that this level has is the background music. I enjoyed this level's music more than any other level. But unfortunately, that wasn't enough for me to bump it up the list.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-43fe9.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-43fe9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"138700","description":"

Now that the latest Hitman episode is out, the first season is complete. We got the basic plot of what is going on, and can now predict how events will unfold in the second season.

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While we wait for the second season, let's take a look at all the episodes that are available, and compare them in terms of world design, size, assassination opportunities, and general gameplay.

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Note: The tutorial stage and the "Summer Bonus Episodes" will not be compared in this list. Instead, all the other locations will be talked about.

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(CAUTION: If you are waiting for the disk version, and want to avoid spoilers, don't go any further!)

"}]]]>
Monster Hunter XX (Double Cross) Coming to 3DS on March 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/2d6j1/monster-hunter-xx-double-cross-coming-to-3ds-on-march-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/2d6j1/monster-hunter-xx-double-cross-coming-to-3ds-on-march-2017 Thu, 27 Oct 2016 04:10:57 -0400 Pablo Seara

During today's Monster Hunter Direct, Capcom announced Monster Hunter XX (Double Cross), an upgraded version of Monster Hunter Generations. The game will come to Nintendo 3DS on March 18, 2017 in Japan.

Monster Hunter XX will add two new Hunting Styles, one of them known as Brave Style and the other one still unannounced. There will also be a whole new area, a new main city, a new Diablos Variant, the highly-requested G-Rank for quests and a new monster called Barufaruku, who will star in the art cover of the game. Additionally, Prowlers will learn the ability to jump off monsters, and much more.

Those who have previously played Monster Hunter Generations will be able to transfer their save data. Monster Hunter Stories players will also receive a Nabiru outfit for their Palicoes. We will have to wait a little while longer to learn more about a possible West release or even a potential Nintendo Switch port.

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Persona 5 Releases in Japan Next Week! https://www.gameskinny.com/mppji/persona-5-releases-in-japan-next-week https://www.gameskinny.com/mppji/persona-5-releases-in-japan-next-week Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:00:01 -0400 ThndrMge

Persona 5, which experienced a massive spike in sales recently due to the delay of Final Fantasy XV, is one of the most hotly anticipated RPGs of the last five years. Fans of the series have been eagerly chomping at the bit to get their hands on any information they can, and that wait is finally over. Eight years after the release of Persona 4, Japan and China will finally have the next entry in the series on September 15th.

Set in modern day Tokyo, Persona 5 begins after our protagonist receives probation for assault on a stalker. He is transferred to the fictional school of Shujin High, and over the course of a school year he and his companions will awaken to their powers of Persona. Using their new found abilities they will explore the supernatural realm of "Palace" to steal the corrupt hearts of adults, and are given the dubious title of "Phantom Thieves of Hearts".

As with previous games in the Persona series the title focuses on supernatural elements, turn based combat, social simulation, and time and party management. It will feature the character designs of acclaimed artist and designer Shigenori Soejima, music by series legend Shoji Meguro, and is produced and directed by series veteran Katsura HashinoPersona 5 was first announced three years ago alongside three spin-off titles: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Persona 4: Dancing All Nightand Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.

Persona 5 is scheduled to release on September 15th for PlayStation 3 in Japan and PlayStation 4 in Japan and China. Persona 5 will be released in North America and Europe on February 14th, 2017 for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Until then, join me watching the amazing animated intro on repeat until the day the game comes out, won't you?

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Gacha Games Worth Your Time: Mobage’s Shining Lights https://www.gameskinny.com/8bsg1/gacha-games-worth-your-time-mobages-shining-lights https://www.gameskinny.com/8bsg1/gacha-games-worth-your-time-mobages-shining-lights Tue, 06 Sep 2016 08:41:42 -0400 ForTheTwo

Mobile gaming’s growth and size isn’t a surprise. The first step to selling a product is finding an audience for it, and mobile has a huge audience. For a self-proclaimed gamer, the only problem with what has become the world’s most popular games-playing device is the games.

The perception of mobile gaming tends to revolve around how shallow so many of the titles are -- and in fairness, the most popular mobile gaming titles are the ones with the broadest appeal, with their depth and challenge often lacking as a result. The fact is that there are a number of surprisingly deep, thoughtfully crafted and complex titles for mobile: it’s just that playing them means embracing a number of unique, foreign and frankly opaque game mechanics popular in their country of release.

The one word that connects all the titles in this roundup is the “Gacha.” The capsule-machine isn’t as big in the West as it is in Japan, but ‘Gacha’ is just that same ‘insert resources, receive a random prize that’s never as good as the one you wanted,’ system in video-game form. Often meant to facilitate the paid component of F2P titles, the use of a gacha is a fairly standard convention.

Seen in games where party-building is a key component, gachas are often used as the main recruitment mechanic. Characters, instead of being unlocked through story progression, or directly through in-game currency, are ‘rolled’ for. While a set number of rolls are given away as a reward for playing, the standard approach is to allow players to pay for additional rolls.  

For well-designed titles, this allows for better balance, while also providing tangible rewards for spending money. Since only a set number of characters can be used in a single encounter, the player is less likely to encounter ‘unwinnable’ scenarios where they might be forced to spend money to progress. On the other hand, an ‘unlucky’ player with common units, has plenty of incentive to try their luck again.

These games below stand out from the crowd. They're engaging, mechanically complex, attention demanding, addictive and sublimely enjoyable. They make a perfect first for someone eager to see what mobile can offer a seasoned gamer, or a new fix for a mobage veteran. They come fully recommended, and are available on both iOS and Android.

Phantom Of The Kill [iOS / Android]

Publisher: Fuji&gumi Games
Genre: TRPG

Phantom of the Kill is bad at first impressions. From its ludicrously shonen-esque promo-art, to the armor-bikini glad heroines in the game’s opening cutscene (a spectacular affair by noted animation studio Production I.G.) to the 15-minute long post installation download of game resources, the game does everything in its power to start prospective players off on the wrong foot.

A forgiving attitude is the best choice in this situation: players who enjoy the game’s polarizing aesthetic will find a robust tactical RPG. PotK has its roots firmly planted in the TRPG genre, with gameplay and complexity akin to Nintendo’s long standing handheld franchise, Fire Emblem.

Players familiar with Fire Emblem will notice the similarities right away. The game’s battle mechanics are a straight adaptation of Fire Emblem’s weapon triangle (Lances>Swords>Axes>Lances), pairing units on adjacent squares generates support bonuses, movement on a grid and all the familiar staples of the genre are right where they should be.

To PotK’s credit, none of these make the game seem like a clone or a derivative work. If anything, these familiar mechanics are well implemented and their inclusion justified, representing the best-practices of the genre. Unit classes are an important mechanic as well, with certain classes having access to different weapon types, movement abilities. PotK does have some interesting innovations, like the new gunner class: however, at the early stages of the game, these differences tend not to matter. There's an novel twist on the gacha formula as well; repeated rolls on the same type of gacha will have increased drop rates for rarer classes and characters. 

Phantom of the Kill is a solid adaptation of the TRPG genre to the mobile platform. While the style and story might be a point of contention for some, the solid mechanics, and involving game-play make it an easy title to recommend to fans of the genre.

Puzzles and Dragons [iOS / Android]

Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment
Genre: Puzzle/RPG Hybrid

Influential, genre defining, and fun as heck, Puzzles & Dragons is one of the big names in the mobile game genre. The popularity of the property is difficult to understate: it’s spawned its own trading card game, an arcade machine and two different 3DS spinoff titles, including the Super Mario Bros edition. It’s even directly inspired the official Doctor Who mobile game, with various characters from the show taking the place of the Dragons.

In terms of gameplay, around 50% involves the ‘matching orbs of different colors’ seen in almost every hit mobile puzzle game of the past decade. P&D’s twist to the formula is to create an RPG component: the bottom half of your screen is the matching baubles, while the top is devoted to a 90’s era RPG battle screen.

A team of five (with an advertised pool of over 2000 characters to draw from), each associated with a different orb color form the linchpin of the battle system. As you build matches and combos of the various colors, you deal damage to the enemy above, with each colored unit doing more damage as orbs of their color are paired. In addition, units have a unique skill which can be activated after a certain number of turns have passed. These can be used to regain missing health, deal large amounts of damage to an enemy, or change the layout of the puzzle section.

While some units can be obtained as rewards from battle, these are most useful as sources of experience for more powerful units acquired elsewhere. All units have levels but they don’t gain experience through battle. Instead, to raise their stats, other monsters are fused, sacrificing them in the process. Units can rank up through what the game calls ‘Evolution’, although this requires using a specific combination of other unique units as fuel.

The gameplay is in the ‘easy to pick up, impossible to master,’ category. Players can accumulate tricks and techniques with the Puzzle half of the gameplay, but the bulk of the game’s skill is in effectively managing the Dragon half. Careful team selection is key, as is flexibility. The strategy in team composition is left to the player, but certain strategies prove beneficial for certain levels, encouraging constant planning. Continual updates from the developer and a shockingly deep late-game make Puzzles & Dragons a must-play, and the most likely candidate to leave players saying they’ll put it down, but just after they do this one last dungeon.

Terra Battle [iOS / Android]

Publisher: MISTWALKER
Genre: ‘RPG’

Other mobile games seek to emulate or evoke the feeling of other extant genres, but MISTWALKER’s Terra Battle manages to feel like a game entirely unto itself. While the game bills itself as an RPG – some familiar mechanics are involved – the gameplay is so uniquely designed and so deftly implemented that it requires some description.

The core of Terra Battle’s battles take place on a 5x8 grid, where friendly and enemy units alike occupy a single grid. Rather than moving pieces about a larger map, this 40-square grid is the entire map: battle occurs, not through a menu, but by strategically maneuvering your units, “striking from both sides in a pincer attack,” as the game says. Placing units on opposite sides of an enemy triggers an attack, and having units positioned just so can unlock chain attacks. The constant struggle to free entrapped units, to set up the optimal attack on a vulnerable enemy in this new shifting battlefield is shockingly intuitive and engrossing.

Character advancement comes from experience in battle, acquiring and selecting skills, and a job system (with a maximum of three pre-selected jobs per character). Team building is equally important, with weapon and elemental triangles playing a strong role in determining battle effectiveness.

A top-tier outing from some of JRPG’s most venerated developers, Terra Battle provides a glimpse into mobile gaming’s ‘Good Future.’ That it also happens to have one of the most deviously thought provoking battle-systems that technically replicates a turn based JRPG is a nice bonus. Other Tactical RPGs can only dream at the level of thought Terra Battle requires players to put into their positioning.

Honorable Mention: Granblue Fantasy

Publisher: Mobage
Genre: RPG

For those interested in other gacha-based mobage, and aren’t afraid to go the extra mile, Granblue Fantasy is the only place to go. Universally acclaimed, visually stunning, class-system featuring, English-translated, scored by the guy behind every Final Fantasy song you love, yes especially that one, Nobuo Uematsu, and “a shining example of JRPGs making the most of their new home on mobile devices,” Granblue still has no future as an official release in the west. Make no mistake, that's still a recommendation: it’s technically playable through your browser, and worth playing in any form. 

As mobile games enter their adolescence, the gacha method provides an appealing way to manage game balance while keeping high-quality mobile titles free to play. Offering plenty of characters, hundreds of hours of content, and challenging gameplay, these gacha based games are some of the best mobile gaming has to offer. Try them out, tell a friend, and consider telling us below!

Mobage FAQs

Gacha, is short for Gachapon, the Japanese term for those machines. The use of the term ‘gacha,’ as shorthand came from the mechanic’s repeated appearance in mobile games from that region of the globe. Asian-developed mobile games are called ‘mobage’ for similar reasons.

These games have a few mechanics that, while conventional in their home market, benefit from a short explanation.

Stamina

Most of these games will have a stamina meter: it goes up with player level, is depleted by taking quests, and is restored over time, by (paid) items, or by leveling. The higher the quest/the rarer the reward, the greater the stamina cost.

Gacha Types

It’s rare for games to only have a single type of gacha. Typically, they’ll have a combination of three main types.

  • Standard
    • The gacha you’re expected to use. Rolling requires a resource given in small quantities for quest completion. The units in here are of mixed rarity, and the rates at which they dispense are fairly static.
  • Event Gacha
    • Tied to seasonal quests and ‘event’ mechanics, these typically use the same resources as the standard type. The difference is that a number of specialized units may be available. Higher drop rates for certain units found in the standard pool, variants of existing units with different skills, and in certain cases, units and items exclusive to that event.
  • Friend Gacha
    • Often tied to a social mechanic, these types of gacha take points earned by adding friends, using a friend’s guest units, or similar low-cost actions by the user. As a result, while rarer units may be available, the expectation is that this gacha is used to obtain common units, consumables, and power-up items.
Quests

Most mobage present the player with a set of levels or scenarios. To progress the story and unlock more areas and units, story quests form the bulk of the game’s content.

Event quests and daily quests are presented as additional options, providing an opportunity to obtain resources, experience or items that can be taken into the main quest. Event quests are added and removed on a regular schedule. Exclusive items and characters are sometimes rewards for finishing a certain number of a given type.

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Thieves Strike Again! Japanese Persona 5 Pre-orders Increase After FFXV Delay https://www.gameskinny.com/0he12/thieves-strike-again-japanese-persona-5-pre-orders-increase-after-ffxv-delay https://www.gameskinny.com/0he12/thieves-strike-again-japanese-persona-5-pre-orders-increase-after-ffxv-delay Tue, 16 Aug 2016 12:28:48 -0400 ThndrMge

Everyone's favorite thieves have struck again, this time they've begun stealing pre-orders on Amazon Japan. Persona 5 has experienced a large increase in pre-order sales thanks to the delay announcement of Final Fantasy XV made by Square Enix. Originally, Final Fantasy XV was scheduled for release on September 30, 2016 worldwide, only two weeks after Persona 5's September 15th Japanese launch.

However, due to Final Fantasy XV being pushed back, Persona 5 has experienced a surge in pre-orders according to sales charts on Amazon Japan. Almost overnight the title has reached the second most popular game on the website's "Best Sellers" list. Prior to the Final Fantasy XV delay Persona 5 was ranked as low as 15th.

In December of 2015 Square Enix provided a survey asking fans about their interest in purchasing Final Fantasy XV as well as Persona 5. This included questions asking about likelihood of purchase if the games came out in a similar time frame. Additionally, the release date for Final Fantasy XV was announced on March 30, 2016 while the Japanese release date of Persona 5 was announced about one month later on May 5. This has lead to speculation that perhaps the delay was intentional by Square Enix to elongate the gap between the two games being released in Japan.

Persona 5 will be available in North America and Europe for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on February 14, 2017. Final Fantasy XV will be available worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 30, 2016.

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Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension Gets Western Release https://www.gameskinny.com/pgyf0/nobunagas-ambition-sphere-of-influence-ascension-gets-western-release https://www.gameskinny.com/pgyf0/nobunagas-ambition-sphere-of-influence-ascension-gets-western-release Thu, 11 Aug 2016 05:14:05 -0400 Glitchieetv

Koei Tecmo America has announced that Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension will be released in the west on October 25, 2016. A historical simulation strategy game revolving around the Sengoku Era of Japan, Ascension is the latest in the acclaimed series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. Bringing to life the Warring States period of Japanese history, Ascension will be available on Playstation 4 and PC through Steam.

Boasting a massive cast of 2000 characters to choose from, players will be able to form clans and alliances, develop armies and strongholds, and experience the fracture of the country. Beginning as an officer and working your way through the ranks to warlord, Ascension pays special attention to Yukimura Sanada, whom many think of as the strongest Japanese Samurai of his time. The player can follow him from age 16 to his defeat at the Siege of Osaka. Other prominent figures during this time will also receive tailor made content that the player can experience, such as exclusive missions and events.

The game play itself has introduced new Naval and Siege battles. Normal battles have also been improved, allowing the player to play as a retainer. The ability to command soldiers and rush through the battle adds a new perspective the fighting. During battles, the new Combat Quest system may occur, where various missions can start during battles, causing them to change in real time depending on the missions' results. The new Officer Play gives a variety of styles that the player can use, giving many different options to rising in status.

Will you be playing Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension? Let us know in the comments!

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Pokemon Go is a Go in Japan https://www.gameskinny.com/v2gf5/pokemon-go-is-a-go-in-japan https://www.gameskinny.com/v2gf5/pokemon-go-is-a-go-in-japan Fri, 22 Jul 2016 05:31:09 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

Last week, it was reported that Japan would not be able to get their hands on Pokemon Go, the latest worldwide craze, until the end of the month. However, the end of the month has been pushed up to now, as Pokemon Go is finally available in Japan, the nation that birthed the franchise.

While Pokemon Go has already been out in other countries, it was originally relegated to the end of July for parts of the world. Niantic CEO John Hanke said the game wouldn't be available in Japan due to issues with server capacity.

Prior to the game's release, the country’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity released a one-page flier advising players to watch the weather, where they walk, and look out for scams -- among other things (as seen below).

Pokemon Go was first released on July 6th for both Australia and the United States, followed by a European release on July 13th.

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Japan will have 3,000 Pokemon Go Gyms in McDonalds across the country https://www.gameskinny.com/pw6ud/japan-will-have-3000-pokemon-go-gyms-in-mcdonalds-across-the-country https://www.gameskinny.com/pw6ud/japan-will-have-3000-pokemon-go-gyms-in-mcdonalds-across-the-country Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:44:52 -0400 Erro23

Pokemon Go has been out for a while almost everywhere in the world, but the birthplace of Pokemon has still yet to be able to enjoy the game that has been sweeping the globe. Due to server issues that have plagued Pokemon Go, the launch of the game was pushed back in countries across the globe in order to compensate for the huge demand. Well finally according to Techcrunch the game will be launched tomorrow!

Not only that but for the first time, Nintendo will be partnering with another company in order to promote its products! Niantic already stated that they would increase the revenue created by the in-app purchases by allowing businesses and locations to become gyms for a fee -- and as we understand it, McDonalds will be the first company to take advantage of this offer! Over 3,000 of their restaurants across Japan will become Pokemon Gyms for any and all that wish to challenge and claim them. 

If this scheme works well and produces a marked increase in profits for McDonalds in these locations, we could see it replicated across the world -- allowing businesses of all sorts to register as a Gym. Often we're seeing reports of businesses that are investing in lures in order to increase their profit from any would-be trainer, now we can see the next step in incorporating Pokemon Go into other businesses and our day-to-day lives.

This could be the beginning of official partnerships, with the potential for these companys to have special events at their locations. Who knows what the future may hold if Pokemon Go keeps up this momentum. 

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Pokemon Go won't hit Japan till end of July https://www.gameskinny.com/t1uc0/pokemon-go-wont-hit-japan-till-end-of-july https://www.gameskinny.com/t1uc0/pokemon-go-wont-hit-japan-till-end-of-july Sun, 17 Jul 2016 10:32:09 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

In case you haven't heard already, Pokemon GO is now a worldwide phenomenon. Okay, so it's not quite all over the world, but it is one in the US, Australia, and most of Europe. With that said, you think that Japan, the county Pokemon originated in, would also be on the bandwagon. Sadly that's not quite the case yet.

In an interview with Forbes, Niantic CEO, John Hanke, said Pokemon GO isn't available yet in Japan due to Server Capacity.

“At present, the server capacity in Japan is not powerful enough. We are working hard with our partners in Japan to enable the servers to keep up with demand once the game goes online there. We expect it to be released by the end of July,”

Hanke also noted the difficulties in introducing the game to countries like China and Korea.

"Google's map information system in Korea is limited due to security concerns over North Korea. In China, however, it is technically possible, but difficult to introduce due to the many hurdles, or should I say regulations we'd have to clear to get it to users."

Pokemon GO was released first in Australia and in the US on July 6th.

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Neko Atsume - What the heck is this pig on my deck? https://www.gameskinny.com/iyodd/neko-atsume-what-the-heck-is-this-pig-on-my-deck https://www.gameskinny.com/iyodd/neko-atsume-what-the-heck-is-this-pig-on-my-deck Thu, 14 Jul 2016 14:36:34 -0400 Tobbpitt

If you updated Neko Atsume today to get your hands on the new rare cats, you surely noticed the little "piggy bank" sitting calmly on your deck. 

Isn't it a cutie?

This little guy isn't a new animal companion to keep your cats company, but he does have his use... at least in the world of Neko Atsume.

The pig is known as a katori buta in Japanese, which in English translates to "mosquito pig". It's a common Japanese household item that has a special use: killing mosquitos.

(Image source)

Japanese-style houses often keep their doors and windows open during the summer, and mosquitos can be a real issue just like anywhere else. The ceramic katori buta helps deal with these pests via a special type of coiled incense you place inside the pig and burn to kill nearby mosquitos.

Neko Atsume is developed by a Japanese studio, which is why we see things like the distinctly-Eastern temari ball goodie item and the temporary katori buta for the summer. It's a cute cross-cultural addition to the game and makes the heat outside seem to make its way into the game.

You can get katori butas even if you're outside Japan via retailers like Amazon and most of them are cute as buttons, but their prices really vary. For instance this white glazed cherry blossom print pig and clover print sitting pig are about $60 while this miniature black pig is only $25.

So in case you forgot outdoors is swarming with mosquitos in the summer while you're comfy inside with your phone and virtual cats, Neko Atsume's katori buta is here to remind you they're an irritating issue during the hotter months!

The katori buta in Neko Atsume does not have any bearing on your gameplay, but it is a welcome seasonal addition that not only adds to your cultural awareness but makes it feel more like summer while you're pushing along with your cat collection.

(Image source)

Want to know how to get all the rare cats in Neko Atsume? Read my rare cats guide here!

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Mobile is eating the JRPG genre whether you like it or not https://www.gameskinny.com/bckor/mobile-is-eating-the-jrpg-genre-whether-you-like-it-or-not https://www.gameskinny.com/bckor/mobile-is-eating-the-jrpg-genre-whether-you-like-it-or-not Sat, 30 Apr 2016 12:26:51 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Did you ever expect turn-based RPGs to be essentially exiled from consoles? I certainly never did, considering the genre's popularity on the Super Nintendo, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2. But here we are in 2016 with an ever-diminishing trickle of the genre on the Nintendo 3DS and the rest on mobile.

There are so many mobile-focused RPG developers these days, it's hard to keep track. There's no reason to want to, anyway: most mobile RPGs are not very good from a gameplay nor overall quality standpoint.

But just because most aren't all that good doesn't mean they're all that way. That's something I didn't bother thinking about until I gave Granblue Fantasy, Japan's biggest mobile RPG, a shot. The game's general classic Final Fantasy feel made me step back and reevaluate my opinions on the genre on mobile--it is possible for quality, memorable titles to come out on mobile after all.

Japan and mobile RPGs

I briefly touched on the plight of the Japanese RPG developer in the modern market in my Granblue Fantasy review. Budgeting has always been an issue for Japanese studios that focus on RPGs -- and it's only natural this genre, which traditionally has had small budgets, moves to mobile as development costs rise and interested install bases shrink on consoles.

The one JRPG developer that most in the West know of is Square Enix, and based on our own Westernized perception of the market we assume they are primarily console-oriented. Their English mobile releases are mostly ports of classic titles, but it's a different story on Japan's Google Play.

Oh look, it's not 90% Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest ports.

Not only are there multiple Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and other series spin-offs and new iterations; but there are also new IPs like Popup Story, Million Arthur, and the upcoming Samurai Rising.

Now, I'm not saying Square Enix's mobile offerings are amazing -- usually they're mediocre at best -- but you take notice when you see a big developer like SE start putting as much effort, artistic talent, and marketing towards these games on what is very much still a new and growing platform. It's a telling sign of what's to come. And they're not the only JRPG developer/publisher placing their bets on mobile.

The F2P = P2W issue

Free to play mobile titles do not have a good reputation in the West, while Asian markets more or less accept them for what they are. It's not uncommon to hear about players spending the equivalent of hundreds of even thousands of dollars on character/unit pulls in mobile RPGs, especially among Japanese mobile RPG players.

East and West see free to play monetization in different ways. While we here get in a tizzy over even the smallest microtransactions, they are more or less an expected and even accepted part of Japanese gaming in the current market. Paying the equivalent of $5 for a single unit or character pull in a F2P game is a lot less painful than coughing up $5 to $30 for a costume or other fluff in a game you've already paid for, which is more common in Japanese console gaming than most Western gamers realize.

I know a guy who's spent over $100 on Bravely Archive D's Report just last month.

You can see free to play models taking over outside of the mobile space, no matter the kicking and screaming from the core gaming community. I don't like it, you probably don't like it, but there is no stopping the money train that is F2P monetization.

The JRPG genre is slowly becoming free to play + mobile exclusive, for better or for worse. Many are borderline if not outright predatory in not only the amount of cash shop-buyable in-game currency that's needed to make tangible progress, but also in how low good character pull rates are.

Character pulling is one of the biggest aspects of mobile JRPGs and it generally has huge amount of control over how well you do and how you progress, no matter the game. Often these games give absolutely abysmal chances to get a character worth using at mid to late game.

This is the biggest problem with the JRPG shift to mobile and the only way to divert some of that soul-wrenching depression that comes from repeated bad pulls is to make a game fun and enthralling outside of character pulls--which is something much of the genre is currently having trouble with.

The need to grow

While games like Granblue Fantasy and Mistwalker's Terra Battle do a great job of keeping players engaged by being high quality (for mobile) games despite their terrible pull rates, most others can't quite get there. Even much of Square Enix's mobile library, as mentioned above, is less than stellar in the gameplay and story departments, and plagued with awful pull rates to boot.

Console JRPGs went through a lot of growth from the Nintendo to the PlayStation 2, and the mobile market is still essentially in its infancy. Mobile JRPGs are finding their way now very much like they did in the 90s. And while one can certainly argue the titles from Japanese RPG developers even in the early 90s were of much higher quality than what we see on mobile today, the areas that need improvement (the extent of monetization and innovation) in the current market are still being tested and honed.

Mobile-only Mobius Final Fantasy.

With the mobile market oversaturated no matter the region, developers are going to have to really step it up over the next decade to make their games stand out. I don't like what was once my favorite genre making the migration to mobile as its home, but there is no denying nor stopping a transition that's already at this late of a stage. All we can do is hope more developers figure out the magic combination of totally reasonable in-app purchases, good gameplay, and pleasing presentation sooner rather than later.

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Use QooApp to download and install Japanese and Korean Android games https://www.gameskinny.com/q6xjd/use-qooapp-to-download-and-install-japanese-and-korean-android-games https://www.gameskinny.com/q6xjd/use-qooapp-to-download-and-install-japanese-and-korean-android-games Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:48:08 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Dealing with the English side of Google Play is an easy process. You browse or search, download, and then install. Update your games/apps when you have to. Bam, you're done.

It's easy enough to grab games off Google Play from your region...but what about from others? Getting games from countries like Korea, Japan, and China is often a conundrum for foreigners due to region locking the downloads themselves on Google Play.

The usual advice to those wanting to play Asian Android titles is to download the APKs from third-party websites. This does work, but it can be either risky (there are a lot of risky APK download sites) or too much of a pain to bother in the long run once big updates come around and you need a new APK download.

One alternative that has proven to not only be reliable and trustworthy, but also easy to use, is Chinese app QooApp. QooApp keeps track of popular Asian-region Android releases and updates their APKs the day of updates.

QooApp functions much like the Play Store in action. You can browse based on language and genre, then download directly from the app without dealing with region restrictions. User ratings are generally reliable and screenshots are abound, but don't expect English game descriptions. Most are in Chinese.

Getting QooApp

The one issue with getting your hands on this baby is it is not hosted on the Google Play store. Instead you have to manually go to the QooApp website and download it onto your Android device.

One thing to note is that if your phone or tablet browser has trouble with websites opening separate tabs to download is that the actual QooApp download will not start.

If the above happens to you (like it did to me) you can instead download the APK onto your computer, upload it to a service like Mega or Mediafire, and then manually type the download URL into your phone's browser to get the download. Here's my own QooApp upload that I manually downloaded, uploaded, and downloaded again for my own use. Please note this download or the install may not work at a later date.

I jumped on the QooApp bandwagon to get access to the many Japanese RPGs on Android these days. Anyone itching to do the same would do well to grab this valuable tool and get ready to eat their bandwidth with game downloads. Thanks, China.

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The Best 7 Perfect Historical Leaders Based on Europa Universalis IV's Standard https://www.gameskinny.com/wh12t/the-best-7-perfect-historical-leaders-based-on-europa-universalis-ivs-standard https://www.gameskinny.com/wh12t/the-best-7-perfect-historical-leaders-based-on-europa-universalis-ivs-standard Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:23:57 -0400 StratGamer48

Europa Universalis IV is a grand strategy game that features historical events and people. Its developer, Paradox Interactive, is doing their best to simulate global history from 1444 to 1821. Within these 377 years, there were many great rulers and generals from different parts of the world who rose to power. In game, Paradox gave historical rulers stats with 0 being the lowest to 6 being the highest based on their administrative, diplomatic and military performance. If a ruler has 6 monarch points in all three skills, it means the ruler is perfect in all perspectives. Technology research will be faster if rulers have higher monarch points.

There are seven "perfect rulers" throughout the whole game. As all of them are "perfect rulers", I ranked them on their availability in game and their fixed military stat for firing, shocking, maneuver and siege, which are rated by their performance in historical battles. I will refer to them as the "four military stats" in the list below. 

7. Mori Takachika

Takachika is the Daimyo of the Mori Clan in1837. In that period, the Tokogawa Shogunate were facing imperialist threats from the Western world. At first, he was loyal to the emperor and tried to expel foreign imperialists and let Japan stay in isolation. However, it resulted in defeat at Shimonoseki. Afterward, he proposed to westernize and became a major player in the Meiji Restoration. 

Takachika is only playable if players modified the timeline in game. Even though he is playable, it isn't until the very end of the game and he can hardly be used, hence the reason I put him in last place.

Mori Takachika statue in Yamaguchi, Japan

6. Noriaki Uesugi

Noriaki is the Daimyo of the Uesugi Clan. He is the shogunate who united Japan from the Nanboku-Cho, a period of time when there were two imperial courts rivaling each other and claimed to be emperor of Japan. They were the Northern Imperial Court of Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and a Southern Imperial Court of Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino. In 1392, the southern court declined being united by Noriaki. Later, he started a centralization reform and eventually held more power than the Takauji.

Unlike Takachika, Noriaki's timeline is placed before the game starts. If players modified the timeline, they still can use Noriaki until his death. At the same time, neither of them are playable without  modification.

Statue of Nariaki Uesugi in the Golden Pavilion at Kyoto, Japan

5. Pyotr I Veliky

Known as Peter the Great, Peter is the Russian Tsar who studied shipbuilding in the Netherlands at a young age and initiated a revolution against the traditionalist and westernization of Russia. Also, he won the Great Northern War, which resulted in the rise of the Russian Empire and the decline of Sweden and Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth after claiming Baltic ports from Sweden.

Peter is actually a playable "perfect ruler" in 1682. Because he lacks a fixed military stat, he is ranked after the following Top 4.

Portrait of Peter the Great

4. Henry VI

Known as "Henry the Great" and "Good King Henry", Henry VI rebuilt France after destruction from the French War of Religion. In the administration, he promoted education, agriculture, and expeditions to Canada. Nevertheless, he is known for his benevolence and love for his subjects. He is one of the few kings loved by the people during the French Revolution.

Henry VI is a playable French king in 1589 and has a 4,4,2,0 in the four military stats. With such stats, he definitely is able to "make France great again" after the French War of Religion.

Portrait of Henry IV 

3. Akbar I

Similar to Good King Henry, Akbar the Great is Known for his expansion of the Mughal Empire, religious tolerance and a centralized taxing system on military and subjects. Akbar also rewarded his officials based on merit instead of ethnic and religion background. He conquered most of neighboring powers during his military campaigns.

Akbar has a military stat of 4,4,2,2. He is evenly matched as Henry IV, but as he conquered other neighboring factions, a 2 in siege is given by Paradox.

Drawing of Akbar the Great

2. Gustav II Adolf

Gustav is one of the best generals in the list as he innovated new formations and weapons for the Swedish army. In the Thirty Year War, the Protestant League usually referred to him as "Lion of the North" since he defeated Catholic armies multiple times. One of the notable examples would be the Battle of Breitenfeld in which he defeated a much larger Catholic army. As a result of the battle, German Protestant states ensured their freedom of religion not being prosecuted by the Catholic Church. In the same time, Sweden became a strong and influential power in Europe.

Gustav's excellent performance in the the Thirty Year War led Paradox to give him a 6,5,6,1 in military stats.


Gustav II Adolf being presented in EU4 loading screen

1. Frederick the Great

Frederick's reign is an example of Enlightened Absolutism. As a monarch, he modernized the Prussian bureaucracy, civil service and encouraged religious tolerance. Similar to Gustav, his achievements in the military are more famous than administration. Frederick led Prussia to win the Seven Year War, which historian argue is the first world war as European colonies and natives were fighting as well. In North America, it is known as the French-Indian War. Although he did not make Prussia as strong as great powers like Great Britain and France after the Seven Year War, Prussia was able to maintain their state of existence before entering the war. 

Paradox rated Frederick 6,6,6,1. It means he is the most prominent general in the battlefield within this list.

Frederick the Great and his generals during the Seven Years War

Almost made it to the list

There are more great leaders in this period of time other than the seven I listed above. Perhaps they had some "flaws" in their political life, so Paradox did not rate them with 6s across the board. However, they are indeed great leaders in history. Here is list of "Almost Perfect Historical Leaders Based on EU4 Standard" and their major achievements: 

  • Gjergj Skanderberg, (6,5,6) Albania, 1443, defended Albania from Ottoman invasion for 20 years
  • Elizabeth I, (6,6,5) England. 1558, economic reform, defeated Spanish Armada and united religion in England
  • Minjo, Kaffa, (6,5,6) 1390, founder of Kaffa, first to innovate a method for roasting coffee 
  • Ang Chan I, Khmer, (5,6,6) 1516, defended Khmer from Siam and conquered land from it
  • Zhu Di, Ming, (5,6,6) 1402, won succession war at Jingnan Campaign, conquest of Vietnam, defeated Northern Yuan and initiated treasure voyages
  • Ismail, Morocco, (6,5,6), 1672, defeated Ottoman invasion and stayed independent, reconquered North African port cities from Spain
  • Abbas I, Persia, (6,5,6), 1587, military reform and reconquered lost territories from Uzbek, Ottoman, Portuguese and Mughal
  • Catherine the Great, Russia, (6,6,5), 1762, conquered Polish-Lithuanian, Persian and Ottoman territories, patron of art, literature and education, and issued paper money
  • Suleiman the Magnificent,  Ottoman, (6,5,6), 1520, conquered Persian, North African, European and Arabian territories, reformed education, taxation and criminal law
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Nintendo Employee Fired Over Moonlighting https://www.gameskinny.com/0c098/nintendo-employee-fired-over-moonlighting https://www.gameskinny.com/0c098/nintendo-employee-fired-over-moonlighting Thu, 31 Mar 2016 14:56:33 -0400 JunaeBenne

Update 4/16 10:48AM: Alison Rapp is receiving backlash for using a fake name for moonlighting to pay off her student loans. In her response she said she wasn't doing it in secret. 

We received information that Rapp's second job included her selling photos of herself. 

Nintendo employee, Alison Rapp, was fired today. While some believed that her severance was due to harassment she's received via social media, Nintendo says it was because she was holding a second job. Her tweets reported she obtained a second job to  help pay off her student loans. She who had previously been a marketing officer, tweeted the announcement of her termination.

In Nintendo Of America’s response, they denied firing Rapp because of the harassment she’s received in the past. Fans on social media had lashed out at Rapp due to the desexualization of Xenoblade Chronicles and Fire Emblem Fates characters. Though she had nothing to do with Nintendo of America making the decision to alter the looks of the female characters, Rapp became the scapegoat because she has history of supporting feminism through her Twitter posts.

Nintendo went on to explain that Rapp's termination was due to her maintaining a second job which “conflicts with Nintendo’s corporate culture.” Rapp says she was moonlighting (working a second job) under a fake name to pay off her student loans, and moonlighting is legal with Nintendo. 

Nintendo’s statement read:

“Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.”

The harassment mentioned in the statement has been going on for a while, but Nintendo of America never released any statements for or against Rapp. Rapp said Nintendo stripped her of spokesperson status and moved her away from product management on games. Among the criticisms are complaints about Rapp's tweets. One reader even went so far as looking through her college essays from 2011, one of which explained how Japanese culture views the sexualization of teens (especially in games). That person made it seem as though Rapp was in support of pedophilia, which sparked a new line of attack from anti-sex trafficking group.

We can't say for sure what the real reason was for Rapp's termination -- and it's possible that she may not really know herself. Perhaps more information could illuminate the situation. 

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Dark Souls 3 going to be a lot harder than the other games in the series https://www.gameskinny.com/1dzq3/dark-souls-3-going-to-be-a-lot-harder-than-the-other-games-in-the-series https://www.gameskinny.com/1dzq3/dark-souls-3-going-to-be-a-lot-harder-than-the-other-games-in-the-series Sun, 27 Mar 2016 13:02:48 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Dark Souls 3 isn't really for the faint of heart. As previous experiences with the Souls games tell us, the learning curve is pretty high -- and by learning curve, we mean death, death, do something right, and try to avoid more death. This game series in particularhas a cult fan-base that was built around its high difficulty. From doing hive-minded Twitch plays to using a Guitar Hero's controller, fans have tried to create new ways of beating the world's hardest games.

But Dark Souls 3 will be the end of the era. The Game Director and President of FromSoftware, Hidetaka Miyazaki mentioned in the press release that this is the last one. And while the fan-base holds a candle that flickers with hope; if that candle goes out doom will envelope the world. (That's an actual game mechanic. You can check out the list of the Dark Souls 3 "features" here). But not all things that come to an end are bad. The ending of this Dark Souls Triology combines the best of the predecessors. Simply put, it is giving new and old players a chance to fall in love all over again.

Not only are there the environment and combat system overhauls, but you will also be getting 2 new characters to play in addition to the already established eight. The first is the Assassin - a magical merchant of death who stabs and casts magic. And the second is the Herald, a holy seer with a penchant for healing and stabbing things to death. Both of these would help offer players a chance to play as a jack-of-all trades.

But for the daredevils out there who'd like an early start -- if you like challenging yourself then you can take advantage of a loophole and start playing the game by registering your base country as Japan. (Follow this guide if you are interested.) The game will be in Japanese, and you still need to pay, but nothing will be more bad-ass than beating a game with a Guitar Hero stick while blindfolded in a foreign language.

And until the world wide release on April 12th, that is something you can boast to your friends about. At least till they come up with a way to do better on Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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