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Happy turkey week everyone, and welcome to another edition of Go West!, your favorite [somewhat] frequent column about the latest Japan-only game releases. The holiday season is here, which means sales, lots of shopping, and no money. If you’re an import buyer however, it mostly just means no money because hahaha what are sales.

In the spirit of the season however, we can at least window shop and stare at all the stuff we can’t afford, and this week there’s a whole lot of releases. Fantastic!

So come along with em as we explore a new world filled with otome games, visual novels, RPGs, and one very big Nintendo 3DS release that might have to do with hunting monsters of some kind.

Tally ho!

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Here’s the first teaser trailer for Valkyria: Azure Revolution.

Enjoy.

I know I did.

Project Diva X scans and translations from this week’s Famitsu.

Ok, lots of big things this week, and lots of pretty significant changes to the PD formula. this week’s feature goes over the Live Quest Mode, which is brand new to the series. The basics of it is that you go along with Miku and pals to various areas, play rhythm games, talk to various characters back at your home, all in the hopes of making it feel like you’re rocking out on stage. It’s basically a story mode of sorts.

  • So there are five different areas. Neutral. Cute, Cool, Beauty, and Chaos elements are attached to each of these places. You can’t go to every area at first, but as you make progress, they get unlocked. You start at the Neutral area.
  • First you talk to the characters at home, and they’ll tell you what the situation and goal of the moment is. Yes, that’s right. Dialogue sequences with Vocaloids. Huh.

  • Next, you’ll actually play songs and build up Voltage. So in each area, there are specific songs which can be played. There are quests attached to songs, and by clearing those quests, you can store up Voltage. By storing up Voltage, You can make the Gems in each area shine brighter and brighter.

  • Clearing quests unlocks room items and accessories you can put on your characters. Also, by clearing a song and successfully making Chance Time happen, you’ll randomly unlock a module.

  • Next, by clearing quests and songs, a Medley Song appears. These are songs that popular artists have arranged the medleys to. Also by storing up Voltage, you unlock new areas to go to.

  • Medleys are songs that were arranged specifically for this game. By storing up Voltage and making the area’s gem shine, you unlock the next area.

Famitsu introduces four songs, one from Cute and Beauty each, and two Chaos, along with the various modules associated with them. 

  • Cute: Umi Yuri Kaiteitan. The module is Sea Lilly.
  • Chaos: Streaming Heart. The module is Bandage Heart. 
  • Beauty: Amazing Dolce. The modules are Strawberry Witch, Patissier Gretel, Patissier Hansel.
  • Chaos: Slow Motion. The Module is High Fever.

Valkyria: Azure Revolution, the next game under the “Valkyria” namesake, aka: Valkyria Chronicles. PS4 release, late next year.

The development team is primarily composed of folks who worked on the fabulous Valkyria Chronicles 3. Heading up on development duties is Media Vision of Wild Arms, VC3, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth fame, while the always talented Flight Plan (All the recent Atelier games) is handing the beautiful character models. Youichi Shimosato is  chief producer alongside Katsura Mikami on standard producing duty. Bringing this all together as director is Takeshi Ozawa, who has been with the series since the very beginning, and headed up development of VC2 and VC3. Unfortunately, Raita is no longer designing the characters, replaced by the pair of Hiro Kiyohara and Takayama Toshiaki.

  • Valkyria: Azure Revolution takes place in the Rus Empire.
  • Rus Empire has begun to expand its boarders and technology after discovering Ragnite.
  • Jutland is a neighboring smaller nation economically blockaded by the Empire, that’s trying to regain its freedom and independence from the Empire. They launch an attack on an Imperial base, marking the start of what would be called the Kiseki no Kaihou Sensou (The Miracle Liberation War or something to that effect).
  • Amleth is the protagonist, a captain in Jutland’s Anti-Valkyria Squad. He steps onto the battlefield seeking revenge against the Empire.
  • Ophelia is the heroine. She’s the princess of Jutland, which has been economically blockaded by the Empire. Is capable of using special powers to do combat.
  • Brynhildr is Rus Empire’s Valkyria, she stands before our main characters as a huge obstacle to be overcome.
  • Azure Revolution uses the GOUACHE shader to make the game look like a moving picture book of sorts. While CANVAS was more focused on rendering surfaces, GOUACHE is more about how we express colors. We’ve basically laid that on top of the old system.
  • LeGION is the new real time combat system. “Lead a Group Into Outrage & Numerous Army.” Basically they wanted the image of leading a smaller squad into a huge mass of enemies. It’s more action based, with a maximum of five characters in your party. You only control a single character at any given time. After getting into combat, it’s possible for nearby enemy squads to link up and join the battle.
  • There are two lead character designers on the game, and they’re basically designing characters from different sides of the war, so that clothing and various visual traits can be unique to a country. 
  • There’s a lot of characters in the game who don’t ever participate in battle, on both sides. They wanted to make a game with the story volume of a two cour anime series, so they made lots of characters that could each have their own problems and thoughts on the war. The war isn’t just about two countries, but about the people who actually live there. 
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My history with Japanese developer Imageepoch is no secret. They’re a developer that started with noble ambitions, creating fun RPGs, but then totally lost track of what people wanted from those games. Imageepoch then collapsed on itself before it could release its final game, Stella Glow, leading Sega to step in over in Japan and publish it themselves.

Atlus picked up the title for western release, and here we are with Imageepoch’s last hurrah.

A spiritual successor of sorts to Imageepoch’s Luminous Arc SRPG series (the brand is in Marvelous’ hands now), Stella Glow follows the story of Alto, a young man with no memories of who he is or where he came from. He lives together with Lisette, the young woman who found him three years ago, and her mother. Despite his lack of memories, Alto is not living an unhappy life, spending his days helping out around the village. One day however, a mysterious witch named Hilda appears before him, heralding the end of his once peaceful life, and the beginning of the end of the world.

Was Imageepoch able to pump out one last quality game before shutting down, or is this another swing and a miss?

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Project Diva X feature from this week’s Famitsu.

Looks like SEGA is trying to shake things up in their popular rhythm game franchise with the addition of the Live Quest Mode. Fans of The Idolmaster should be fairly familiar with some of the new gameplay features I’m about to go over.

In the Live Quest Mode, raising your “Voltage”is the key to clearing a song. By equipping certain accessories and modules, you can activate bonuses that allow you to boost your voltage significantly more than if you didn’t. All accessories, modules, and even songs are classified by different Elements: Neutral, Cute, Cool, Beauty, and Chaos. By having the right things equipped during certain songs, you can get your Voltage to skyrocket.

We also get a new look at some of the modules and their respective Elements. Hatsune Miku V3 is a Neutral module. Astray (?) is a Cool module. Pumpkin Dream is a Chaos module, Pizzicato is a Cute module, and Ambivalence is a Beauty module. 

I’m digging these new additions to the game thus far. I always liked how the outfits and accessories had an affect on performances in The Idolmaster, and I’m interested in seeing how this plays out in the new Live Quest Mode in Project Diva X.

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While they’ve existed for decades at this point, light novels are still a relatively new concept in the west. The closest English-language equivalent is a young adult novel, but even then the comparison isn’t one to one. I wrote about it in-depth here, but light novels are effectively the middle ground between manga, anime, and traditional books. They’re huge with kids anywhere from elementary school age to college age, and plenty of adults enjoy them too. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that one of the biggest light novel publishers, Dengeki Bunko, would want to capitalize on their immense stable of IPs.

And what better way to do a crossover than with a big ole fighting game?

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is Sega’s latest 2D fighting game, featuring characters from 22 different Dengeki Bunko light novels. In this seemingly endless sea of new fighting games, does Fighting Climax manage to stick out among the rest?

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Hey there buttercups, and welcome to another episode of Go West!, your not-quite-weekly column about new Japanese video game releases. I’m hoping that if I keep using out-of-fashion words to describe you all, eventually it’ll catch on. It probably won’t.

This week brings with it… not a whole actually. That said, it’s not a completely empty schedule. We have an unlikely sequel and another game in that one franchise that keeps getting new games. Not exactly drowning in riches, but hey, you take what you can get.

Tally ho!

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Famitsu’s cover this week goes to 7th Dragon III Code:VFD, illustrated by the always great Miwa Shirou.

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Do you like dancing?

I love dancing. Dancing is cool.

Apparently the cast of Persona 4 also enjoys dancing. As it turns out, they do it pretty damn well too.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a rhythm game developed by Atlus, and has the honor of canonically taking place the furthest on the P4 timeline.

If this is the last game we get featuring the P4 crew, I can think of a host of much worse ways they could close out this series. Let’s bust a groove.

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