Get Sen­pai to no­tice you with PlaySta­tion at its most won­der­fully Ja­panese

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - JAPAN -


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.


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.


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.


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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