By Joseph Puntschart / August 21st, 2016
Disclaimer: The following Top 5 list is the author’s own opinion and does not reflect the views or opinions of oprainfall as a whole
Contrary to what some people will say, the PS Vita is alive and well and there are still many games coming out for the system that many people are interested in. I wanted to share with you, my top 5 most anticipated PS Vita releases for the rest of 2016. Hopefully, this list may pique the interests of some of the readers out there and stimulate discussion.
1 – Root Letter
Root Letter was one of those games that appealed to me from its very first reveal – a murder mystery visual novel taking place in modern day Japan. If you’re not already aware, the basic premise of this game is that you receive a letter from your pen pal – 15 years late – where she confesses to a murder. To solve the mystery, you have to use the pen pal’s letters to find and identify the truth, as well as interrogate your former classmates. It sounds like a very interesting title, and what appeals about to me are the mature themes. For example, it discusses how identities can be forged through written communication, and how much of it is actually true. Reconstructed memories also appear to be a theme. The art also looks very appealing, and I personally cannot wait for this title to be released for PS4 and PS Vita this year.
2 – Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
Coming September 16th in Europe, this Kenichiro Takaki produced yuri action title intrigues me because of its daft concept, where the female characters can literally transform into weapons and be used in battle, which plays out in 3D open fields. Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni did quite well in Japan, and it also is on my radar simply because it’s a lesbian themed game. I’m not expecting a technical masterpiece with this game, but a satisfying button masher with a quirky sense of humour and tone akin to Senran Kagura would be fine with me. It’s also an exclusive, which is also pretty neat in its own right.
3 – Sengoku Otome: Legend Battle
This one I’m more on the fence about, but I fancied drawing attention to this title as it appears to be import friendly. This title is releasing in Japan on August 25th, and it’s a spin-off of a pachinko franchise starring anime girl personifications of historical figures from the Sengoku era, akin to Koihime Musou. It’s by a fairly unknown studio, however, if the trailers are anything to go by, it appears to be well optimised for the Vita with a lovely, if simplistic, aesthetic. Sengoku Otome also has ad-hoc multiplayer alongside the story mode, which would be good for any of Vita’s many community groups. Given its obscurity both of the IP it is based on and the studio behind it, I do not think it will be localised. However, if the game is good, I’ll happily dig into this, localised or otherwise.
4 – MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
Keeping with the all-girls theme, enter MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death. This dungeon RPG stars cute girls and customisable mechs. This is easily my most anticipated Vita title for the rest of 2016, as the amount of customisation within this title appears to be very deep and complex and the dungeon crawling is supposed to be quite challenging. The aim of the game is to scale the four towers and restore the alignment of the stars, so saving the world basically. The overall lighthearted sci-fi is also very appealing to its target audience, myself included. Hopefully, the dungeon RPG will be up to scratch and not a fanservice-dependent slog along the lines of Moe Chronicle. The battles between the mechs and the enemies are in 3D (with the exception of the portraits for the heroines), so the game is definitely standing out against virtually every other dungeon crawler on the system so far.
5 – Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
Haters are going to hate with this pick, but you see I had played Project Diva f 2nd on a whim a while back, and ended up really enjoying the core gameplay of the title and the tracklist too (even though there a couple of the Vocaloids I cannot stand). Hence why I am also interested in this sequel that adds variety to the playstyle through 5 new modes. Hopefully, the replay value through these modes will compensate for the small tracklist of 30 songs (though it’s more than Miracle Girls Festival’s 22-song tracklist). The DIVA engine itself is actually a really well-developed engine that was well optimised in Diva f 2nd, with this series existing since the days of the PSP. It’s also clear that passion goes into developing these games and I would like to pick this title up at some point this year when it releases on August 30th for Vita and PS4.
Honorary Mentions: Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, Muv-Luv Alternative, Rabi-Ribi
I also wanted to include a couple of localisation wishes for games I would also like to see before the end of 2016 as an added bonus. Publishers have this knack of surprising us, you see.
This is one of those games that got a leaked trophy list when the game released in Japan, which usually signals a localisation is at least being planned. And Net High is one of those games that I hope does get brought over – it’s basically 1984 crossed with the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. It’s a visual novel set in a dystopian future where everybody has a smartphone connected to a social network called “Tweeter” and the government watches over the users of this network. Like Root Letter, this game explores mature topics but I hear the Japanese script adopts a lighthearted tone and also uses memes and obscure references to convey the story. Localising this game could be a challenge, even more so due to the potential for there to be obscure memes and cultural references that cannot be translated into English. The right localiser could do this game justice, and my gut is telling me that somebody is already working on it, but haven’t announced it yet. Hopefully, somebody will announce it before the end of the year. I need dystopian memes in my life!
Yuusha Shisu (Hero Must Die)
I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t been announced by NIS America yet. This Vita remake of a mobile phone game stars a hero whom only has 5 days to live, and must live out these five days meeting new people while getting progressively weaker over time. It sounds like a really innovative concept, and it plays out like a turn-based RPG. Not to mention, this is also a 3D game which the Vita could do with more of in the West – particularly as most of Nippon Ichi’s output (both in Japan and global) in general are 2D games which do not push the platforms as much (even though I really want Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain too out of the crop, but I digress). I don’t recall if the mobile game was localised and if it did I could understand why we’ve heard nothing yet, but I have not given up hope on this intriguing looking role-playing game.
And that is that for my top 5 most anticipated Vita games for the rest of the year. Feel free to post in the comments below what yours are, and happy gaming!
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Xhero must diemeiq labyrinth of deathnet highopinionPS VitaRoot Lettersengoku otometop 5Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni