Important Importables: 10 best import games of 2010

January 2, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: 10 best import games of 2010

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Consoles, PS3, Wii, Xbox-360, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, PSP & PSPgo, Genres, 2D, 3D, Action, Adventure, Shooter, Music, Party, Role-Playing

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With 2010 drawing to a close, it seems only appropriate to salute some of the best new games released in Japan this past year. Which means it’s time for one of those lists. This year, I’m going to try and be a little less objective though, focusing on games that were just unique, fun and really well made. Also, the games won’t be numbered or ranked. They’re all wonderful and anyone would be happy to own them. Plus, almost all of them are region-free and can be played on any system regardless of where you purchased it.

Espgaluda II Black Label (Xbox 360)

Cave shooters are among the best you can buy, so naturally Espgaluda II Black Label is worth a players’ time and efforts. Technically, it’s an old game since it appeared in arcades in 2005, but the 2010 Xbox 360 port enhances the experience with new gameplay modes, HD graphics and online leaderboards. Plus, the normal edition of the game is region-free so any Xbox 360 owner can enjoy it.

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Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd (PSP)

While Project Diva 2 does contain a number of songs from the original Project Diva, it has more additions that make it better than just a slightly updated version of the first game. You can now customize and watch all of the Vocaloid characters, as they’re a little like virtual pets. There are new songs for all the characters, including duets. Plus, you can import all of your own custom tracks from the original game. Of course, DLC and the custom track creator return again as well. It’s quite possibly the best music game on the PSP.

Inazuma Eleven 3: Sekai e no Chousen!! Spark and Bomber (DS)

The Inazuma Eleven games have been a fantastic hit series in Japan, so of course the most recent entries would be worthy of looking at. It’s a soccer RPG, which means part of the time is spent running around, performing tasks to recruit teammates and such, and the other is spent participating in soccer battles to prove your superiority. Like the Pokemon series, there are two versions, each with different characters and opponents. Plus, it supports the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection so you can play with friends. Even if you don’t normally like sports, it’s worth checking out.

Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (DS)

If you’re wondering what happened to Kyle Hyde after Hotel Dusk: Room 215, then jump into Last Window: The Secret of Cape West. It continues the story after the original game, giving Hyde the opportunity to find out everything he can about the Cape West Apartments, his home, before it is demolished. It may be a bit of more of the same, but the first game was fantastic so it doesn’t matter. Plus, it has a built in Last Window novel that is written while you play and the story changes based on the decisions you have Hyde make.

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MonHun Nikki Poka Poka Ailu Mura (Monster Hunter Diary) (PSP)

This is what Monster Hunter would be like if it were saccharine sweet and filled with felynes. You create a felyne character and take on quests, just like a normal Monster Hunter game. Only it’s cuter, because everything is super-deformed and colorful. Even the monsters look like they need snuggling. The battling part is a bit like Patapon since the game turns to a sidescroller and you control a party of felynes on a hunt. If that isn’t enough to sway you, there are poogie races, where the felynes ride the little pigs to victory!

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP)

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is has been setting all kinds of sales records since its release, so a best of 2010 list would be remiss if it didn’t mention it. Essentially, it follows the same formula as every Monster Hunter game ever. Come to a village, start a life as a hunter, take down monsters and customize your character and his or her felyne companions so he or she will be a more competent hunter. There are new monsters, of course, new equipment and new areas to explore. It’s very similar to Monster Hunter Tri (Wii), except it doesn’t have underwater areas to hunt in. Also, as usual, you can hunt alone or with friends.

Ni no Kuni (DS)

Ni no Kuni DS isn’t selling all that well yet, but let’s still give the game the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps people are waiting to pick up the PS3 version instead, and aren’t jazzed about getting a portable version of a game that requires you to keep a spellbook handy. Regardless, it’s the first video game Studio Ghibli has worked on and it’s a Level-5 product, meaning it is an RPG that just oozes with quality.

Pokemon Black/White (DS)

What would a best of list be without a Pokemon game? Seriously though, Pokemon Black and White do deserve a spot as one of the best import games of 2010. It looks gorgeous, introduces a number of new features and storyline elements (like lots of Wi-Fi and multiplayer options, dual rivals and new kinds of battles) and is just a very solid game. It’s something you can play and enjoy for months, thanks to the main storyline adventure and end-game and epilogue quests and areas. Not to mention the constant battling and new pokemon to train.

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Tales of Graces F (PS3)

With Tales of Graces, we’re going to go with the PS3 version (Tales of Graces F) rather than the Wii version that debuted earlier this year. The Wii version had a number of glitches and bugs, which keep it from being a good candidate for a game of the year. The PS3 version, however, fixes all of those issues, adds in an epilogue and extra abilities and is overall just a better version of this delightful entry in the Tales series.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Minna de Party 3 Yome! (Wii)

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Minna de Party 3 Yome! is the kind of game you break out when friends come over for a laugh. It’s a four player music game where you play a drum in time with beats on the top screen. The best part is, it has a fantastic track list of classic, pop, game and other songs and seven fun little mini-games. Sometimes the simplest games can be the most fun. The only downside is, it’s the only game on this list that isn’t region-free.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Lucky Star

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week reviewed Wand of Fortune Portable for PSP.

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