10 of the best picks from the September 2021 Big in Japan sale on PlayStation

It’s sale time! And, as usual, it rolls around just a little before payday, just to keep you in frustrated suspense for a few days before you open your wallet and pick up a few little treats for yourself.

Sony’s Big in Japan sale is a fairly regular feature on the PlayStation Store these days, occurring at least a couple of times a year and providing a rare sighting of actual support for eastern developers from the company. So if you’ve been holding fire on picking up a few titles — the “eh, I’ll wait for a sale” approach… well, now there’s a sale, so you’ve got no excuse any more, have you?

The full Big In Japan lineup can be found on the PlayStation Store, but here’s ten of our favourite highlights you might want to investigate if you haven’t already.

In no particular order…

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Big in Japan sale: Yakuza Like a Dragon

£32.99 (40% off)

There was some hesitance over this one when it was first announced due to what a radical departure it was from the rest of the Yakuza series. No more Kazuma? No more 3D brawler combat? What was the world coming to?

Thankfully, Like a Dragon quickly proved itself to be a wonderful game in its own right, featuring not only a memorable protagonist but all the delights that the Yakuza series had become known for up until this point. Plus delightfully silly turn-based RPG-style combat. Winner. A definite highlight of the Big in Japan sale.

Atelier Firis DX

Big in Japan sale: Atelier Firis DX

£24.74 (25% off)

With it being such a sprawling series at this point, opinions vary as to which Atelier game is the “best”. This is my personal favourite; featuring a wonderful take on open-world gameplay, some of the series’ most memorable characters and character-driven narratives plus some excellent mechanics, it’s definitely a game well worth immersing yourself in.

It’s actually the second of the Mysterious series so you may also want to consider Atelier Sophie and Atelier Lydie & Suelle either side of it, too; both of these are also in the Big in Japan sale at the same price and discount as Firis.

Root Film

Big in Japan sale: Root Film

£22.74 (35% off)

Offering a series of compelling mysteries to solve plus a delightful virtual recreation of scenic Shimane Prefecture in Japan to explore, Root Film is a highly enjoyable modern adventure game that features a fun cast of memorable characters.

Taking on the role of film director “Max” and actress Riho, you’ll be tasked with uncovering the truth behind a series of tragic events — and perhaps even coming to understand the true nature of a mystery that has remained unsolved for years. As a relatively recent release, this is a nice discount for the Big in Japan sale.

428: Shibuya Scramble

Big in Japan sale: 428 Shibuya Scramble

£6.74 (85% off)

Without a doubt one of the most memorable visual novels you will ever play, 428: Shibuya Scramble combines photography of live actors and settings with short video sequences and some astonishingly well-written prose to create a compelling, involving story. It strikes the perfect balance between gritty realism and anime-style exaggeration — and features probably the most secrets you’ll ever find in a single visual novel, including a whole section by Fate creators Type-Moon.

Its parallel timeline structure, whereby the actions of one character can affect another who is doing things at the same time, makes for an intriguing puzzle to solve, and it’s fascinating to see how everything comes together in the end. Not to be missed, especially at the price you can nab it for in the Big in Japan sale.

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories

Big in Japan sale: Disaster Report 4

£24.99 (50% off)

With summer coming to a close (although you wouldn’t know it from the blazing sunshine outside as I type this), what better time is there to explore how you would deal with being in the middle of an earthquake in a large Japanese city? This fascinating adventure from R-Type Final 2 creators Granzella may be a tad shaky on the technical front, but its fascinating narrative and uncompromising depiction of how shitty humans can be in bad situations will keep you playing until the wee small hours.

Rescue survivors, involve yourself in the situations plaguing local communities in the midst of the disaster and dress yourself up in silly hats — this game is a real delight, and strikes a very pleasant balance between serious tragedy and some very welcome light-hearted moments. A very worthwhile use of your money in the Big in Japan sale.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

Big in Japan sale: White Day

£4.99 (80% off)/£16.49 (50% off) for Ultimate Horror Edition

With spooky season coming up, the Big in Japan sale is a great time to get in the mood with some creepy games — and this fine piece of Korean horror is a great piece of horror. Taking on the role of new student Hee-Min Lee as he attempts to confess his love to the girl he has his eye on at school, you’ll find yourself locked in a scary ol’ school after dark, haunted by the souls of the dead and pursued by a murderous janitor. Always the way, huh?

The game features randomised elements to ensure no two playthroughs are quite the same, and this version features a number of enhancements over the original 2001 release. The Ultimate Horror Edition includes a variety of costumes for the game’s cast, so you can enjoy the darkness in some stylish swimwear if you so desire.

Gravity Rush 2

Big in Japan sale: Gravity Rush 2

£17.49 (50% off)

Ah yes, the best game by Sony that they completely forgot to market. At this point, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a new Gravity Rush game — so it’s fortunate that the series went out with such a strong entry. Featuring thrilling open-world gameplay, an endearingly awkward superheroine and an absolute ton of things to do, this is one of the best games that the dearly departed Japan Studio ever put out — and it’s an absolute tragedy it is consistently so overlooked and underappreciated.

Kat and Raven are some of the most memorable and well-realised women in gaming, the setting is astonishingly well-realised and the game is simply a pleasure to play. If you own a PlayStation platform and haven’t tried this yet, it’s high time you treated yourself — and the Big in Japan sale knocks it down to a pleasantly affordable price, too.

Code Vein Deluxe Edition

Big in Japan sale: Code Vein

£16.24 (75% off)

This bundle is an absolute steal at the Big in Japan sale price, since it contains the game itself, the Season Pass and a bit of extra content, too. And for just over fifteen quid, that’s a whole lot of game to enjoy. We liked Code Vein a lot, but it’s one of those games that seems to have mostly been forgotten about since its release — and that’s a bit of a shame, because it’s a thoroughly interesting take on the modern action RPG formula.

Featuring an excellent character creator, enjoyable dungeon exploration and some entertaining interactions with the various characters you encounter over the course of the story, many people describe Code Vein as “anime Dark Souls”, but it’s actually something quite distinct well worth exploring on its own terms. And at this price for the complete experience, now’s a great time to dive in.

Our World is Ended

Big in Japan sale: Our World is Ended

£13.49 (70% off)

Directed by Naoki Morita (Sakura Wars), featuring art by Eiri Shirai (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash) and a scenario by light novel author Tarou Achi, this visual novel was extremely well-received in Japan, and a pleasant surprise to see localised for the west. Following the tale of an indie game development company and the mystery they find themselves involved in when their augmented reality experiments go awry, a lot of the speculative sci-fi in Our World is Ended is frighteningly plausible, making it an extremely effective story to read today.

Fantastic characters, wonderful art and a thought-provoking story that contemplates the idea of “living forever” in the digital world, Our World is Ended is an excellent visual novel that will keep you busy for quite a while. Definitely a worthwhile pickup from the Big in Japan sale.

Everybody’s Golf

Big in Japan sale: Everybody's Golf

£14.99 (50% off)

Been feeling jealous of Switch owners and Mario Golf? Don’t be; Everybody’s Golf for PlayStation 4 is a brilliant arcade-style golf game, featuring an absolute ton of things to do both on and offline. Featuring friendly mechanics, a ton of customisation options and a fun metagame to enjoy over the long term, this is a game you can keep coming back to time after time, whether you fancy a quick 9-hole round or a whole evening of the world’s most gentle sport.

Everybody’s Golf provides plenty of variety through a range of ways to play, including different types of cup to sink the ball into, the opportunity to play mirrored versions of courses, and variable times of day and weather conditions to compete in. Combine that with a deep progression system and the opportuntiy for online competition and this one can keep you busy for a long time if you let it. A very good use of your money in the Big in Japan sale.

So those are our picks from the Big in Japan sale — don’t forget to check out the full lineup on the PlayStation Store. What are your highlights from the Big in Japan sale? Anything you’re going to be spending your hard-earned on? Let us know down in the comments, via the usual social channels — or write to us for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page with the widget over on the right!

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Pete Davison
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