Every so often, Sony remembers that Japan exists, and celebrates that fact with a “Big In Japan” sale on the PlayStation store. During these events, you can pick up some great games and visual novels for some significant discounts.
The Big in Japan sale runs until February 24 at 11:59pm GMT, so you’ve got about two weeks to pick up some digital bargains for your PlayStation 4. And fortunately, you have us to guide you to some of the best titles you can grab during the discount period! So let’s take a look.
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir
If you’re new to Vanillaware in general — or perhaps you recently picked up the exceptional 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim and want to explore further — you could do much worse than grab Odin Sphere in the Big in Japan Sale.
Originally released on PS2, this is a stunning side-scrolling action RPG with some of the most delightfully delicate and magical artwork you’re ever likely to find. The trademark Kimitami visuals are wonderfully striking in this remaster.
Interestingly the mechanics were given something of an overhaul here, making the game faster to play and, some might say, easier than the original. If you consider yourself a purist, then you’ll be pleased to know the original, in Classic Mode, is still present for the playing.
All things Gal*Gun
Both Gal*Gun Double Peace and Gal*Gun 2 are part of the Big in Japan sale, allowing you to pick up the “Complete Edition” bundles of both games for significant discounts.
In Gal*Gun Double Peace, you’ll take on the role of Houdai as he works alongside the angel Ekoro (voiced by Best Girl Yui Horie) in an attempt to find true love before the sun goes down. In Gal*Gun 2, you’ll fight alongside the angel Risu to help her meet the unreasonable demon busting quota set by her corporate employers in the celestial realm.
Both games play quite differently, with Gal*Gun Double Peace blending rail shooter, visual novel and dating sim elements, while Gal*Gun 2 adopts more of a first-person shooter/adventure-style approach. Both are worthy pickups from the Big in Japan sale — particularly with the release of Gal*Gun Returns imminent. Just the thing to get you in the mood for pantsu paradise!
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Obviously there’s a distinct lack of waifus here for sure — but bear with us!
The Ace Combat series has been quietly going about it’s accessible flight sim business for many many years, but we have to admit, we’ve lost many hours to this series and Ace Combat 7 in particular.
It’s a game that is absolutely not short on content, is actually hugely enjoyable with a rather nice story campaign to play through and, last we checked, is still getting updates. If you fancy an interesting change of pace one lazy Sunday, and a really meaty action game to get your teeth into (you don’t have to go full “no-assist” sim if you don’t want to!) then we would highly recommend you put your preconceptions to one side and try it out. If you’ve got a PSVR, you’re in for a real treat with the VR-specific missions and a great Free Flight mode.
Tales of Berseria
Okay, not going to lie. This is the Tales of… that a lot of people quite often forget exists.
That’s not to belittle it – we actually enjoyed this, the sixteenth entry in the Tales series, a great deal during our review.
Solo female lead (in itself an interesting facet to the game) Velvet Crowe is an altogether darker protagonist that you may be used to in this series. And with her comes a host of interesting tweaks to the usual battle system.
It’s also notable for taking place in the same universe as Xillia — and so if you already enjoyed that particular strand of Tales, then this will be well worth investigating.
Resident Evil Revelations 1&2 Bundle
For £13.99 there is an awful lot of Resi goodness to be enjoyed here.
Sure they may not be as sophisticated as the more recent Resis – Revelations 1 is particularly showing its age — but they still have their charms.
Many criticised the episodic nature of Revelations 2 — but honestly, in retrospect, it actually gives the experience an added dimension. Each self-contained stage actively encourages you to replay, upgrade and really intimately know each stage in the game.
As a result, Revelations 2 is possibly one of our most-played and replayed games in the series as we’ve strived for perfection in each bite-sized run.
Is there anything quite as pleasantly bright and breezy as Sakura Wars?
Part theatre troupe, part mech defence unit, the cast of Sakura Wars is a delight. The game itself is mostly VN/dating sim, with action combat as a notable aside.
There is practically nothing to dislike about Sakura Wars – it comes from a happy, heartfelt place and presents itself like a whimsical Saturday morning anime and, frankly, is the perfect antidote to a world of over-serious videogames.
If you haven’t tried it, you really should.
We’ve covered Code Vein rather a lot on Rice Digital – most recently here – and with good reason.
Superficially you could say it’s the anime-style Dark Souls and… to a point… you’d be right.
What we really enjoy about Code Vein is that, while it retains many of the elements which make Dark Souls so good, it also brings something extra to the party. In particular a companion that doesn’t make the experience quite as solitary, and a decidedly brighter colour pallete which often reminds us of God Eater.
We sincerely hope to see Code Vein coming back in some way shape or form.
Featuring a narrative written by Zero Escape creator Kotaro Uchikoshi, Punch Line is an unusual game in which you play the role of a friendly ghost. You’ll solve puzzles, play pranks and cause trouble in a house full of girls, but you’d better be careful; see too many pairs of panties and you’ll obliterate all of humanity.
As you progress, you’ll take on the quest to recover your body — with the assistance of a pervy ghost-cat, of course — and also indulge in a spot of time travel to deal with terrorist attacks and the destruction of the Earth.
Wilfully ridiculous and blending a variety of disparate game styles together, Punch Line is an experience well worth having; you certainly won’t forget your time with it in a hurry.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
Now here’s an interesting one: the Yakuza game that no-one knows about. Yes, really; this is a game developed by Sega’s Ryu Ga Gotoku studio based on the classic, hyper-violent manga series. And it brings with it everything you’d expect from a Yakuza game: a solid story, excellent combat… and sidequests. All of the sidequests.
The game was a huge hit in Japan but passed by largely unnoticed over here, making it the very definition of a “Big In Japan” title. If you enjoy the Yakuza games and are open to the idea of people being turned inside-out with the judicious application of a solid punch to the solar plexus, then this is definitely one you’ll want to give a go.
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School
Sometimes, the perfect thing to take your mind off the horrors of everyday life is a nice bit of horrific interactive fiction. And over the last few years in particular, Korean developers have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be absolute masters of this very specific craft. White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a great example.
In White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, you’ll take on the role of new student Hee-Min Lee as he attempts to hide a box of candies for the girl he fancies at school. Unfortunately, in traditional horror game fashion, he ends up locked in the school after dark, pursued by an apparently murderous janitor and haunted by the souls of the dead. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
Featuring randomised elements to ensure no two playthroughs are quite alike, along with a variety of new features and enhancements over the game’s original 2001 release, White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a classic horror title sure to give you a scare — although you can take the edge off a little with all the DLC that allows you to put the characters in swimwear.
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