Get Senpai to notice you with PlayStation at its most wonderfully Japanese
HATSUNE MIKU: PROJECT DIVA FUTURE TONE
While the West fears robots going Skynet, Japan embraces them in all walks of life, from services to entertainment – even pop stardom. How else to explain the success of virtual idol Hatsune Miku? And you can experience the best of her world in this package of vocaloid rhythm heaven.
FINAL FANTASY XV
It looks like a road trip through Americana, but at heart this is still a Japanese RPG: favouring teamwork through party-based combat, check. Impossibly spiky hair, check. Inappropriately dressed female mechanic, check. The standout feature is dinner time, when Ignus demonstrates the Japanese art of food presentation. Itadakimasu indeed!
It plays like a masterpiece as much as it looks like one, the traditional Japanese art visuals not aging a day. You’re the sun goddess Amaterasu in wolf form, but your sidekick is a thumb-sized wiseguy who treats you as a ‘furball’ while ogling all the ‘stacked’ female spirits, and the legendary hero Susano is a drunk. A bawdy good time through Shinto mythology.
Living the Japanese life is one of Persona’s greatest draws, especially now you can hang out in Tokyo. Explore busy Shibuya, the seedier sides of Shinjuku or play your Confidant cards right for some romance at Odaiba. Even in class, you can swot up on Japanese trivia, including just why the shape of Morgana’s head is so flippin’ cute.
You may be a gaijin in this story, but you still get to tour both Japan’s mythology and its bloody Sengoku period, rubbing butting heads with historical figures like Hattori Hanzo and the ruthless Oda Nobunaga. While many demonic yokai are out to kill you, there are still friendly faces in the form of kodama to lighten the gruelling challenge.
PARAPPA THE RAPPER
It’s generalising to say that the Japanese prefer following instructions, but it’s good to be a follower when you’re Parappa. It’s hip-hop given a sunnyside twist as you button-rap your way through an onion dojo to the front of the toilet queue. If only life were as easy.
DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS
You could call it the Japanisation of Minecraft – take all the open creative elements from Mojang’s game and add a proper story and quest-based structure. Being based on one of Japan’s most successful RPG franchises of all time also helps.
Okay, Toby Fox is American, but his indie masterpiece is a beautiful distillation of classic Japanese games, from 16-bit JRPGs to dating sims to bullet-hell, not to mention that distinct community and collective spirit that you build along the way with the Underworld’s denizens. And the brilliant PlayStation version even has a Japanese localisation!
Forget the convoluted crime soap and instead experience the ultimate Japan simulator: belt out karaoke tunes, pig out on a wide range of cuisine, and work your charms on a club hostess.
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