Monday, July 21, 2014

Vita Games That Need to Come to the West

There's a secret that a lot of gamers don't know: The PS Vita is awesome. Though the handheld hasn't sold well and Sony has announced that less first party games will be coming to the system, there are still plenty of great games out now for the Vita. The future of this amazing gaming device is in limbo right now, with Sony's uncertain of what to do with the device while most developers are taking a 'wait and see' approach towards development with the system, and that frightens me.

There is so much great about the Vita, and so much potential to be pulled out of the handheld. Japan is finally starting to get why the Vita is so great, as game releases are starting to ramp up in the Land of the Rising Sun. With all the recent and soon to be out releases available for Vita owners, I wanted to point out a few great games that need to come to the West. Not only will these titles add to the already great library the Vita has, I personally believe that these games will be able to help drive sales for the handheld and push developers to creating more games for the system.

Gravity Rush 2

So let's start with the obvious one. Gravity Rush released within the launch window of the handheld and has since maintained a cult following of rabid fans. Sure, the original has a few problems, such as limited draw distance and a sometimes frustrating battle system, but Gravity Rush fulfills so many promises that Sony made about the Vita. A full 3D open world allows players to sore as Kat amongst the flying cars, traveling from one island to the next in Hecksville with ease, taking on missions and battling the evil Nevi with a battle system surrounded by a single, unique idea: controlling gravity.

This is still the single best example of how the Vita can adapt console quality games (i.e. an open world to fully explore with interesting combat and story) while utilizing the characteristics of the Vita in smart and non-obtrusive ways. Though there has been a lot of uproar over the battle system, once you get used to the controls it works surprisingly well, especially when you take into account just how unique the combat in the game was.

Gravity Rush 2 is currently in development, though the last we heard anything about the game was in December of 2013. Hopefully with Tokyo Game Show around the corner we will see more information about the sequel and possibly even get some release dates. If the next game can improve on the battle system by making it a little tighter and flesh out the open world so that Kat can interact with citizens (similar to say inFamous), this game will be a sweeping success. This is probably my number one game to come to the West.

Likelihood of coming West: Almost a Sure Thing

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

In the late 90's/early 00's Digimon was trying very hard to catch up to the popularity of Pokemon. Though the franchise might not have reached such heights, there are plenty of reasons to appreciate the world of Digimon. The old PS One Action RPG's were amazingly detailed, with a mixture of combat, exploration and pet rearing that was very addictive. Cyber Sleuth looks to be taking these characteristics and wrapping them all into a tight, unique story.

Cyber Sleuth has the players pick a male or female protagonist who has the ability to enter the Digital World. A virus has started taking over the Digital World and is slowly making it's way to the real world, and it is up the player to save both realms before it's too late. By traveling back and forth between both realms, the player will bring along his/her Digimon to help topple opponenets and get to the bottom of this mystery.

The game is being developed by the same team that created Valkyria Chronicles III for the PSP, so there is a solid pedigree behind the development and masters of crafting interesting combat systems. The game is getting some major traction in Japan, however there has been no mention of a Western release what so ever. The game is being published by Bandai Namco, which does bring over a lot of it's catalog, so there is hope. Here is a petition that gamers can sign to help sway Bandai Namco to put some money into it.

Likelihood of coming West: 50/50

Danganronpa: Another Episode

WARNING! Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havok SPOILERS!

The Vita has seen a recent slew of story driven adventure games that have really changed how we look at games. These titles would include Zero Escape and Danganronpa, two sides of the same coin. Both game franchises focus heavily on the unique stories they are telling and require puzzle solving and using your brain over action sequences. Zero Escape is currently an unknown, though the creator of the series is working on finding a way to create the third entry in the series. However, Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair will see a release in the West this September while Japan will see Danganronpa: Another Episode.

The unique adventure game is getting another iteration on Sony's handheld, this time in the form of an action adventure game. Another Episode takes place in between the first two games and is being developed specifically for the Vita (rather than ports of PSP games), which means the game uses full 3D models and anime cutscenes rather than the cardboard cutout style of previous games. Playing as Makoto Naegi’s younger sister, Komaru Naegi, players will use a megaphone in action style combat to battle out Monokumas (evil killer bears). Her megaphone has multiple capabilities, including electrocuting enemies and turning Monokumas against each other. Toko Fukawa also makes an appearance, with players able to use her in combat with her signature scissors.

The unique take on the franchise sounds really refreshing, and game play footage is showing some real promise. Action games on the Vita tend to be shoe horned to okay shooters or Monster Hunter clones, so the more variety in gameplay, the better. And seeing as the other two games have already made their way Westward, I would be very surprised to not see this game with a Western release date soon after the Japanese release (or maybe at Tokyo Game Show!).

Likelihood of coming West: Almost a Sure Thing


Corpse Party: Blood Drive

Recently, it feels like the horror genre is coming back to life, especially in the handheld and indie scene. Vita already has Lone Survivor: Director's Cut and indie hit Home is on it's way, but there's always room for more horror in your life. Enter Corpse Party: Blood Drive.

Corpse Party is a unique horror franchise with a humble past, starting as a game created using RPG Maker that was picked up to be moved to PC and PSP and hasn't turned back ever since. The games are renowned for presenting players with characters that are easily likeable before ripping them apart in typical horror fashion, and Blood Drive seems to  continue this trend. With gameplay that revolves around exploration and driving the story forward, Corpse Party is more about building up the tension and driving the story forward. The Vita game will include 3D models as well as enhanced soundtrack.

This is a tough one to judge. The US has already seen the release of two Corpse Party games on PSP, but the sales were only okay. Xseed has said that it has an interest in bringing Blood Drive over, but the company is still on a 'wait and see' before determining if it will localize it for the West or not. My guess is that it truly depends on the sales in Japan. Seeing as this is the first Corpse Party to utilize 3D art and design, I'm sure a lot more money went into the development of this game and Xseed wants to see a return on it's investment before moving forward with localization. That being said, Xseed is also very good about bringing smaller titles across the drink, so cross your fingers and share your thoughts with the publisher.

Likelihood of coming West: 50/50

Every game on this list so far is part of a franchise, and therefore has had a previous installment make its way West. This is only going to help them make their way across the Pacific, but these next two are brand new franchises developed for the Vita, which can be a tougher sell.

Lost Dimension

 As I stated above, action games on the Vita are typically put into the 'okay shooter' category or the 'Monster Hunter' clone category. There are exceptions of course (Y's Memories of Celceta and Uncharted: Golden Abyss to name a few) and it looks like we might be able to add another to the list.

Lost Dimension is an Action RPG in which a man named End is planning to destroy the world in 13 days unless someone can reach the top of his tower and stop him before time runs out. Enter the S.E.A.L.E.D., a division of psychic warriors each with unique attacks and special abilities. Players take on the role of Sho Kasugai, a member who has the ability to see into the world's possibilities. This means he can see what is and what could be.

With this power of 'Vision', he works with his team to take on the tower and reach End. Each characters uses various weapons and has a unique mental ability that helps shape his/her fighting style, including a really powerful special attack. Through out the progression to the top, players will have to sacrifice members of S.E.A.L.E.D. in order to move forward. Using Vision will be the key to finding the best person to sacrifice, such as any traitors, while keeping the right people that Sho can trust in combat.

The unique story and concepts behind seeking out traitors makes this game seem really enticing. The combat looks good, though it does lean a bit towards the Monster Hunter style, but I am hoping the interesting story and Vision aspect really helps lessen the blow. Regardless, this would easily be a worthy addition to the Western Vita library.

Likelihood of coming West: Possibly..But More Than Likely Not

Judas Code

When the Vita was announced, Sony made a promise that console quality gaming would be available on the go. That promise has been kept, with one exception: shooters. For every hand full of shooters available on the system, there are only one or two okay shooters. The two best shooters are an HD remake (Oddworld:Stranger's Wrath) and Killzone Mercenary. Judas Code may be the next great shooter on the handheld.

Created by tri-Ace, Judas Code is a free to play shooter. I know, I know, free to play isn't the greatest buzz word to hear, but if the micro-transactions are reasonable, this game could be killer. Players pick a male or female protagonist to guide through a World War III Tokyo as aliens start to invade the Earth, stopping the war and causing nations to band together. The premise alone seems to be a mish-mash of terrible tropes that in any other developer's hands would be worrisome. But tri-Ace has enough cache that I trust the team to make the story interesting and the gameplay to be spot on.

Aside from the typical story missions there are also objective based missions, such as 'Earn x amount of headshots', which reward players for reaching the goal. There is also a card battling system in place for multiplayer. Players earn cards while progressing through the single player campaign that can be used to build decks and take on friends online.

The game is looking to hit the Vita in Japan this summer. The fact that a solid shooter is coming to Vita is great, and the genre bending multiplayer is a great bonus. However, because it's free to play and the very strange blend of genres within the game, it is probably a long shot to expect this game to come to the West. If it makes enough money and received well as a shooter that may change, but only time will tell.

Likelihood of coming West: Possibly..But More Than Likely Not

There are plenty of other great games coming out of the Land of the Rising Sun, but these on the list are the ones with the biggest potential to bring up the perception of the Vita in the East and the West. Feel free to leave some comments below and tell me what you think. Do you agree with my list? Are you excited about anything on this list? Comment below and please keep the conversation going.

*Thanks Siliconera for all of the screen shots above


  1. Today, Lost Dimension's localization was announced! Hopefully Digimon's announcement will follow soon.

    1. Haha I know! So excited! Plus Danganronpa: Another Episode has been announced to come to the West as well! And Digimon has sold very well in Japan, so there is hope. Unfortunately, Judas Code is shutting down in Japan, so there's pretty much chance at that coming out in the West, but hey, two great games heading our way is great! Are there any other games on Vita you'd like to see come over?