Archive for April, 2012

Volks releasing Persona 4 Rise doll

April 26, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Volks releasing Persona 4 Rise doll

A new luxury item will soon be available for Persona fans. Volks, creator of fine, ball joined dolls has decided to immortalize Rise Kujikawa from Persona 4. If you have $605 to spare, you can get a 60cm, limited edition likeness of her in her school uniform, complete with glasses.

The Rise Dollfie Dream doll will come assembled, with Dollfie Animetic Eyes installed and an original wig. She will also come with an outfit that includes glasses, earrings, a two shirts, a skirt, underwear, socks, shoes and a scarf. You’ll have to pierce her ears yourself though, and Volks recommends using a pin vise. She’s compatible with all other Dollfie Dream outfits, eyes and wigs, so you can customize her look if you’d like.

Want to know the craziest thing about Volks dolls? They’re renowned for their quality and are incredibly popular among collectors. Which means you can’t just outright buy one of these special release dolls.

Between May 6-9, 2012, from 11am to 11am PST, people can enter a raffle for the chance to purchase Rise and the other two Volks girl dolls from Doll Party 27. You’ll get an email at the end of May letting you know if you were picked and will get your doll in August, 2012.

Read [Tenshi-no-Sumika in LA Blog] Product Page [Volks USA]

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Japan Import: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers ported to 3DS

April 26, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers ported to 3DS

Japanese 3DS owners have good reason to be excited, as a new RPG is headed their way. On August 30, 2012, Atlus will release a slightly updated port of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers on the handheld. It’s basically the same game, only this version will have a new opening animation, full voice acting and greatly reduced loading times.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hacker was originally released on the Sega Saturn in 1997, then ported to the Playstation two years later. Players help a hacker named Keiji, who’s a member of a hacking group called Spookies. They all reside in Amami City, a test town to see what would happen if computers control absolutely everything. It even has an entire virtual town attached to it, called Paradigm X. Spookies is investigating and hacking into Paradigm X because they feel something isn’t right, especially with the Argon company that manages Amami’s computer network. While hacking into the system with the COMP one day, a demon called Nemissa is released and ends up sharing the body of the Keiji’s friend Hitomi. This action also gets Spookies involves with something dark happening around Amami.

As with all Shin Megami Tensei games, Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is an RPG. You can build relationships with your acquired demons, fuse them and acquire more through conversations. Battles are turned based and first person, so you don’t actually see all your characters fighting on screen. If you’re familiar with and enjoy the series, you’ll be pleased with it.

Now all we have to do is hope Atlus decides Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is worth bringing to North America. Cross your fingers! It would mark the first appearance of this game outside of Japan if the company does. It is pretty good about releasing the Shin Megami Tensei games overseas, so maybe we’ll get lucky.

Especially since we can’t import it. Because, you know, Nintendo decided to region-lock the 3DS. By the way Nintendo, thanks again for doing that and severely limiting everyone’s game libraries!

Read [Famitsu (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: Tokyo Jungle

April 22, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Tokyo Jungle



A really incredible and unusual game is arriving in Japan this June, and it’s called Tokyo Jungle. What makes it special is that it’s a genre-bending survival simulation with lots of action elements with people stepping into animals shoes. I guess in this case, it’d be paws and hooves. PlayStation C.A.M.P. and Crispy’s game makes you play as animals to help them survive so they can either accomplish personal goals or just, well, get to live another day.

Now, you’ll have to wait until June 7, 2012 to import it. Since we still have two months two wait, let’s go over everything we know about Tokyo Jungle right now.

The animals rule Tokyo now.

Tokyo Jungle begins after Something Happened. We don’t know what, but whatever went on made every human on the planet disappear. The animals survived though, and have taken over the planet. In this adventure the focus is on Tokyo, which is now home to a veritable zoo of different animals. To be exact, there should be around 80 different kinds of animals, some of which have to be unlocked with survival points you acquire by playing the game and completing challenges. Each animal can be used in both Story and Survival modes, which means in Story mode each will have its own specific mission/storyline.

The Story mode of Tokyo Jungle follows multiple “characters,” each with his or her own motivations. You’ll have to help them complete challenges while also surviving. Do well, and you’ll learn how Tokyo became the way it now is and why animals are roaming free. For example, there is a racehorse that is a playable character and you have to help it find other horses to race against. Another mission involves a lion who has to protect his pride from hyenas. Two deer need to find their way back to their missing mother in another case. Then there’s Pomeranian, which has even secured a spot on the game’s cover and is considered to be the “mascot” character, which now has to fend for itself after its owners are gone.

Before we get into the Survival mode, let’s check out a video.

Yup, there are apparently dinosaurs in here too. Raptors, I think.

Survival focuses solely on survival. A player picks an animal to begin with and then has to survive as long as he or she can. You can choose from herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, with each animal having its own strengths and weaknesses. On the selection screen, you can check its life, attack, defense, stamina, hunger and speed to determine which you want to send into Tokyo. You then have to fight for your life. You can try and go it alone, or build up a pack of animals to lead to make things easier. Just be sure to avoid predators while also finding enough food and water to stay alive. If you don’t keep eating and drinking, your health goes down. If you do really well, your animal may become desirable to other member of your species, allowing you to find a mate and raise your own pack rather than trying to recruit other animals to your side. Hunting with a pack always works best, as it means you can send them all out after a single enemy for stronger group attacks. You can also sacrifice one member of the group to allow everyone else to survive if an opponent proves too strong. After a play session, Tokyo Jungle will look at how long your animal survived and how much it ate to award you a score. It will then assign you a spot on the leaderboards to show how good you are at staying alive.

In both cases, the environment will play a big part in keeping your animals alive. Various human structures and devices can be quite useful as cover. You could probably even use some as a den or place to live. Plus you always want to earn as much territory as possible to show your animal’s strength. Weather will also influence survival. Sometimes the world could get foggy, which may make hiding easier but could also hurt food. Rain could make more food available, but could also make traveling trickier.

Did I mention you get to dress the animals up? Because you do. I know it doesn’t seem to make much sense since these are only animals, but keep in mind that this is also a Japanese game and you pretty much expect weird stuff like that to happen. There will be hats, accessories and outfits for animals to wear. These items don’t just make animals look adorable, they also influence an animal’s stats and abilities. Wearing a complete ensemble will offer a larger stat boost.

COMING IN 2 WEEKS: Hot Japanese Imports talks about EasyGameStation.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Idolmaster 2 for the PS3

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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Important Importables Review: Idolmaster 2 for PS3

April 8, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Idolmaster 2 for PS3



Title: Idolmaster 2
Price: It’ll probably cost at least $89 to import a copy.
System(s): PS3 (Also Xbox 360)
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Publisher (Developer): Namco Bandai (Namco)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero B for Ages 12 and up
Pros: There’s a good assortment of songs and tons of costumes and accessories included in the game, the PS3 version includes the first few rounds of Xbox 360 DLC, there are 9 idols to choose from, there are three different kinds of classes, you can send them off on promotion events and there are three kinds of performances to choose from. Amulets can be purchased after shows to boost stats. Producer level, money and purchased clothes/accessories/amulets carry over from one playthrough to the next. There’s also a mode to just watch the idols sing and dance and online leaderboards. You can have the idols automatically train and perform on their own, without your supervision.
Cons: You can’t produce Jupiter (the boy idol group). You can’t have Iori, Azusa, Ritsuko or Ami. It’s pretty much impossible to get one of the best endings on the first or second playthrough.
Overall Score: 9/10

The Idolmaster series a huge in Japan. It’s in arcades, on consoles and on handhelds. However, for a long time it was an Xbox 360 exclusive. Namco Bandai decided it was time to do the unexpected with Idolmaster 2 – bring the series to the PS3. While the move may break some Xbox 360 owners’ hearts, as the PS3 version included all the DLC from the Xbox 360 version’s first three “catalogues,” it also meant people worldwide would finally get a chance to import and play since the PS3 is a region-free system. It was worth the wait, as Idolmaster 2 is wonderfully difficult and it’s easy to plan multiple replays in the hopes of forming the best pop group ever.

“Ready!!”

Idolmaster 2 takes place in a world where the original Idolmaster never happened. That producer never joined 765 (Namco) Productions. All the idols from that era were signed, but most never went anywhere because they didn’t have the right guidance. The only exceptions were Iori, Azusa and Ami, who were turned into the trio Palace of the Dragon by former idol Ritsuko.

Which means it’s up to you to give these girls a second chance at stardom. The player is a new producer for 765 Productions and has been tasked with picking three of the girls working for the company and turning them into a successful singing group. You have to pick ones whose abilities compliment each other and will be able to work together as a cohesive unit.

Of course, your idols aren’t the only ones out there. You’re competing against Palace of the Dragon as well. Also 961 (Kuroi) Productions, the constant “villain” of the series, is working on a new boy band group called Jupiter. Your goal is to sell lots of singles, make lots of fans and get awards for your performance from the Idol Academy at the end of the year. You have 55 weeks, use them wisely.

“My Song”

The Idolmaster 2 is a management simulation where you have absolute control over the fate of your trio. When the game begins, they’re all novices who’s idol levels are abysmally low. You have to send them to super or regular Voice, Dance and Visual classes to build one of those three stats. Voice involves pressing the right button when a circle reaches an onscreen indicator, Dance requires pressing the L1 and R1 buttons in time with a metronome and Visual makes you click the right colored words floating on the screen. All three classes are times, with a status bar on the top. Getting “perfect” scores means they’ll level up quicker. Shopping is also critical at this stage as the right outfit can boost the singing, dancing and appearance levels.

Then there are the performances. There are three kinds, auditions, lives and festivals, though they proceed in somewhat similar manners. In each one, your group is being judged. Auditions has them in front of a director, Lives in front of an audience and Festivals against another singer or group. The goal in each is to get the highest score possible, though with Auditions and Lives you’re told beforehand a minimum score you have to reach. You then have a short period of time to Appeal by pressing the square, triangle and circle buttons in time with the music. Each Appeal button relates to a certain stat. Pressing it gets a score based on that stat. However, Appealing too often to one stat decreases its multiplier, making it less effective, but increasing the multiplier of an opposing stat. Appealing successfully raises a Voltage gauge that can result in a Burst Appeal that lets one member of the group break out and perform even stronger and more valuable Appeals than usual. There’s also a Memory Appeal, determined by how many hearts you’ve collected, that allows a single girl to do a series of Appeals automatically to boost the score and Voltage gauge.

You can’t forget about communication events though. These happen every day in the morning and evening, as well as at promotions. The morning and evening communication helps determine the group harmony. You want to pick the answers that will make the most girls happy. If one or two girls feel left out, then the group harmony suffers, they get into fights and they won’t work or perform. Promotion events allow you to get closer to a single member of the group while also boosting fans in an area and building up the Memory Appeal gauge.

What people don’t often realize is the strategy that has to go into an Idolmaster game. They look it and think it’s all about fanservice, but it’s not. It’s actually challenging. While you can build a level of trust with the characters during promotion events, it’s more about getting close enough to get more Memory Appeals during an Audition/Live/Festival than it is about relationship building. (Though that is there too.) Likewise, if you just go in randomly, you’ll crash and burn. You have to carefully plan schedules, using the beginning of the game to build the idols’ vocal/dance/visual skills and then the second half to work on building a fanbase and keeping singles as high on the charts as possible. You also have to keep track of which reporters are following you and what they’re

In fact, the Dotop TV show should be a primary focus in Idolmaster 2. You want your idol group’s songs to be in at least the top 20. That means actually paying attention to the kind of performances you do. After releasing a new single, you want to do a Festival or a Quintet Live within 10 days. That will result in a Break, where the single will break onto the charts. Then you want to do a Live or two, to make sure the song keeps climbing. If you don’t have any new singles, then you may want to do an Audition, to Revive and old single and make it sell again. You also should be trying to get at least 10,000 fans in one area of the map, so you can get an award from that area at the end of the game. Namco Bandai gives players everything they need to win in theory, it’s just about people knowing how to use the tools and events in the right way.

“The World is All One!”

Idolmaster 2 is a really complicated game. Adorable and easy to play, but still very complex. If you enjoy simulations where managing every single aspect can mean huge profits and rewards, then this is definitely a game for you. Every single idol in Idolmaster 2 has the potential to be a huge star, and if they fail it’s because you did something wrong. The result is a game that’s challenging and incredibly fulfilling. Just avoid the DLC, as it’s ridiculously overpriced.

Just don’t get disgruntled if you get the Acapella “Bad” ending after your first playthrough. It happens to everyone. Just pick yourself up, perhaps consult the Idolmaster Gameplay Wiki and try again.

COMING IN 2 WEEKS: Hot Japanese Imports will look at Tokyo Jungle.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about Sega’s Shining series

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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