Important Importables: 2011 console game gift guide

December 24, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: 2011 console game gift guide

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Ni no Kuni Magical PS3 BundleTime for another gift guide! This time, we’re looking at the slightly more expensive console games and special consoles that can only be found in Japan and Europe. You know, the delicacies most gamers can never see or experience because they require importing and cost so much money. That second part is especially poignant now that the dollar’s value has dropped against the yen. Still, if you want to pamper a gamer, one of these items could be the way to do it.

Now remember, only the PS3 is region-free. Any PS3 can play any PS3 game. However, Wiis and Xbox 360s are region-locked consoles. So before buying any import games for a Wii or Xbox 360 owner, make sure they have a way to actually play them! Both AmiAmi and Play-Asia are reliable sites to shop and order from, with AmiAmi usually being the cheaper of the two.

Before we launch into the six game recommendations, there are a few awesome, Japanese PS3s that make any gamer’s year if he or she received one as a present. There’s a 160gb Tales of Xillia X Edition PS3 bundle immediately available that includes an etched PS3 with the two main characters on it and a copy of the game. It’ll set you back quite a bit though, with an import price point of over $500. The same can be said for the 160gb Ni no Kuni: Shiroki Seihai no Joou Magical Edition PS3 bundle, which comes with a pearl white PS3 and a subtle gold etching one one of the main characters in the bottom left corner of the unit, a matching controller and a copy of the game. Just remember that import PS3s are only able to play Japanese DVDs, Blu-rays and PSOne games. So there is some region-locking, but it doesn’t apply to PS3 games. Also, you’ll be able to set the system language to English the first time you use it.

Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on to the game suggestions!

Idolmaster 2
Idolmaster 2
System: PS3
Price: $85 and $98
Genre: Music / Simulation
Description: In this direct sequel to Idolmaster, players once again are a 765 producer in charge of putting together a successful idol singing group. You have to pick your singers, train them, handle publicity, get them auditions and make them the most successful group in Japan.
Import Friendly: There is a lot of text, but there’s also an “easy” mode and you can usually get by pretty well just by playing the music-based mini-games. So I’d say go for it, as long as the person can recognize hirigana and katakana.

The Last Story
System: Wii
Price: Between $69 and $87
Genre: Action RPG
Description: A group of mercenaries who have come to Ruli Island to find work, and inadvertantly get hired by Earl Arganan and caught up in a war between humans and the beast-like Gurgs.
Import Friendly: Not really. You need a Japanese Wii, plus there’s a lot of text since it’s an RPG. If the person on your wish list can’t read Japanese, then it’d be better to wait and get him or her the European version, which will be in English and out in 2012.

Ougon Musou Kyoku X
Ougon Musou Kyoku X
System: Xbox 360
Price: Between $87 and $98
Genre: Fighting
Description: This is an Xbox 360 port of the Ougon Musou Kyoku spin-off fighting game inspired by Alchemist’s Umineko no Naku Koro ni visual novel series. You fight in tag team battles against other characters from the visual novel, occasionally going into the Meta World to make attacks more effective.
Import Friendly: Very, as long as the person owns a Japanese Xbox 360. You don’t need to know what’s being said to enjoy yourself and fight with Umineko characters.

Pandora’s Tower: Until I Return to Your Side
System: Wii
Price: Around $87
Genre: Action RPG
Description: A young woman named Ceres was cursed after performing at a harvest festival, and now Ende must go with her to go through 13 Towers to get flesh from the beast bosses that reside within and save Ceres. There are multiple endings, which are determined based on how Ceres is treated and actions the player takes.
Import Friendly: See the description for The Last Story, since it applies here as well.

Tales of Xillia
Tales of Xillia
System: PS3
Price: Between $70 and $98
Genre: Action RPG
Description: Jude is a doctor who is called to a military lab after an accident there. That’s where he meets Milla, a woman who claims she is a Maxwell and destined to protect the world. Because she felt the world and spirit in distress because of the lab, she went there. The two then set off to help save and protect the world.
Import Friendly: Several guides are in the works online, so I’d say it’d be okay for people who have played Tales games before or who have intermediate Japanese language skills.

Xenoblade Chronicles
System: Wii
Price: Between $60 and $80
Genre: Action RPG
Description: Xenoblade takes place in a world where two giants, called Bionis and Mechonis, once fought. The two waged war against one another, until both died. Now, there are beings living on both giants that are fighting. The humanoid-organic people on Bionis are being attacked by the sentient machines from Mechonis. A man named Shulk has found the Monado though, and he and his friends are now setting off to fight the machines and bring peace to their world.
Import Friendly: If you get the European version, very since it’s in English. And, though I don’t condone modding a Wii, it can be done to allow North American Wiis to play this particular, European game.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports has a 2011 general imported goodie gift guide.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports looked at some import DS and PSP games that would make great gifts this year

Site [Gamertell] Site [AmiAmi] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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