on Feb 22 by I love Japanese games
There are loads of games I loved on PSone and PS2 – forgotten games that, for whatever reason, didn’t get much love in the current generation. The more I think about it the more astonished I am by how much the pool of games in any particular genre has shrunk, how many great series have simply fallen by the wayside. Time for Playstation 4 to bring them back!
So I thought I’d take some time to pick out some games that I’d like to see make a return. As an aside, if you’re wondering why stuff like TimeSplitters isn’t here? It’s because… well… that would be too easy. As always – please give further recommendations – or just straight-out abuse – in the comment section below! ; )
The original was a revelation, the second sublime, the third…. hmmm, not so great. But one thing really ties all the Grandia series’ together – the fact that the battle system is one of the finest the JRPG genre has ever seen. An elegant turn-based system that often feels like you’re playing in realtime. Relying on distance, speed, positioning, teamwork and careful battlefield analysis – even when all seems hopeless, with the right judgement and decision, you can turn the tide of battle in your favour.
It’s a mystery why no one has ripped this system off . If I had the skill and talent to make my own RPG, I would totally steal it. It’s testament to the battle system’s strength that while Grandia III was certainly mediocre in terms of story and characters, the battle system kept me interested. Not many RPGs can say THAT!
The gadgets! The apes! The satisfaction of sneaking up on an unsuspecting ape and capturing it! Ape Escape was the product of a happier, more colourful time – when games developers were less obsessed with realism and being ‘serious’ and more concerned with creating good old fashioned and completely unadulterated fun. Ape Escape was hugely charming.
The controls were beautifully implemented and the overall design was strong – which is more than can be said for the woeful PlayStation Move ‘Ape Escape’ which was not only a departure from the platforming roots (it was more like an on rails shooter) but was so frustrating, I went out into the street after playing, and beat my neighbour’s dog to death with a fishing net.
One of those strategy games that rarely gets good service in the West. Front Mission 5 never made it outside Japan, and for the current gen, the series took a misguided step into online third-person shooter territory – which was, frankly, rubbish. The core, numbered entries in the series however are exceptional, with unbelievably deep mech customisation, great (if slow-burning) stories and grid based battles which boast some brilliant features. A link system where allies nearby will join in the action so positioning in the field is even more important, sweet cinematics for the combat itself. The ability to aim for body parts – so you can immobilise and disarm as much as kill.
While the likes of Fire Emblem, Disgea etc are undoubtedly great games, Front Mission wins out for me, thanks to sheer wealth of tactical options available to you. The result is a feeling that battles are very much your own - and you’re not just going though motions laid out by the development team.
PARAPPA THE RAPPA
Come on – who DOESN’T want to see this made?! And no, All Start Battle Royale isn’t enough. PaRappa is one of the most iconic stars of the PSOne era – but the incredible fusion of Masaya Matsuura and Rodney Greenblat hasn’t been seen for more than 15 years.
Oh wait – tell a lie – it has, for the dreadful, DREADFUL Major Minor’s Majestic March. A game so pure in it’s demonic awfulness that every time someone buys it, God kills like, a whole bunch of orphans and kittens as punishment. It’s less of a game, and more of a sick, sick joke.
Anyway, back to PaRappa. I want it, you want it – everyone wants it. We’re not asking for much – all we want is five or six more awesome songs – maybe beef up the rappin’ system a little – hell, why not make it a digital download. Just make it will you for goodnessake – if you do, people will buy it. You gotta believe!
It was Resident Evil with Dinosaurs – or rather the Shinji Mikami original was. Subsequent iterations, gradually took the series in more action orientated directions, including an ill advised light-gun spin-off (sound familiar?!) – but the original still holds very fond memories for me.
Firstly – no Zombies – which is always a bonus. Rather than shuffling, groaning flesh-men – Dino Crisis was more about fast moving, chew-your-face-off scares. In fact, I’d say that Dino Crisis was a much more panic-inducing game than the original PSone Resident Evils, especially as the enemies were so much more relentless. I also loved the fact that Dino Crisis showed a development team completely unwilling to rest on their laurels. Shinji Mikami’s team could so easily have just churned out another Resident Evil clone, but they didn’t. Dino Crisis was really accomplished for a PSone game, full polygonal environments, nice lighting effects, much smoother gameplay – it really pushed the boat out for its time, and I’d love to see Capcom show a return to that spirit.
I love Darkstalkers. Way before Guilty Gear and BlazBlue were doing their thing – Darkstalkers showed an early glimpse of how, in the right hands, 2D fighters could blossom into something fantastical, hugely imaginative, flamboyant and gorgeous. I’m kind of annoyed at DarkStalkers Ressurection (coming next month on PS3 and 360) because, well, it takes a game I love and have fond memories of, and then throws into sharp focus just how much like ass it looks to the modern eye.
Arc System Works have long since take the art of the sprite-based fighter and elevated it to a fine art – so much so, that we’re positively spoiled by how utterly sick those games look. Hell, even SNK and KoF13 look a little ropey next to Arc System Works games. I would LOVE for Capcom to ditch the freaky, dead-eye puppets of Street Fighter 4 and Marvel v Capcom 3 and make a real effort to deliver a proper 2D fighter. Preferably as a new Darkstalkers…
As the old saying goes ‘if someone wrote down ever single complanit anyone ever made about Sonic the Hedgehog on the internet, the weight of all the ink alone would be so huge, that gravity would collapse in on itself creating a black hole so gigantic that the iuniverse as we know it would cease to be’.
Actually, that’s not an old saying – I just made it up. But this doesn’t make it any less true. Where was I, oh yeah, Klonoa. While people bitch and moan about how brilliant it would be to have a proper 2D Sonic – then moan about how it doesn’t live up to their expectations – Klonoa devs have been quietly delivering grade A platforming action. Brimming with charm, imagination and a magical whimsy that evokes the best of the 16 bit era, Klonoa, to those who have played them are among the finest examples of platforming ever made. Someone needs to make note of that. Fuck Sonic – we need another Klonoa.
There will be two kinds of people reading this bit. One group will be going – ‘What? What the hell is a Swi-ko… sukiko… sucky… WHAT?!’ the other half will simply be nodding their head sagely, maybe stroking their chins a little – but nodding all the same. As though some truth has been spoken, and nothing more need be said.
Frankly Suikoden is amazing for one very important reason – it allows you to recruit over 100 different characters to your party – and so posse formation becomes as compulsive an endeavour as any Pokemon game. Likewise the stories for the Suikoden games has always been excellent… er… maybe with the exception of Suikoden IV. The Suikoden games have a pretty devout following – such is their quality- and barring an (actually quite nice) foray onto DS – we haven’t been blessed with a PS3 version. A next gen offering needs to be on the cards – pronto.
What the hell happened to Onimusha? I remember back on PS2, Samurai’s Destiny was one of my favourite games for the system, and subsequently the coming of Onimusha 3 felt like a real event – like everyone was hyped for it – and the game really delivered. I though it was awesome.
Then after that – nothing – it was like everyone forgot about it (and don’t get me started on the awful spin offs). A hack and slash adventure – with elements of Feudal Japan and the supernatural and a reasonable story. Plenty of blood and a dark brooding atmosphere, a solid combat system with enough depth and reward for proficiency – there’s really nothing not to like – and I think it still holds the same appeal now as it ever did. I’d love to know why it was decided to leave it alone.
ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are not those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners.