Random Thoughts on the PS Vita Japanese PSN Sale

The Playstation Network is currently in the middle of a massive PS Vita sale in which Japanese-developed games are available at significant discounts. I had the opportunity to try out a number of these games and have provided mini-reviews for most of them:

CURRENT DEALS (available through Tuesday)

Dead or Alive Plus
Dead or Alive 5 Plus
The last time I played a Dead or Alive game was back on the Dreamcast. I’m not usually into fighting games, but that was one series that I always enjoyed playing. A major reason why is that it’s so easy to pick up and play. There are quite a few modes available in this latest entry, including a cutscene-heavy story feature. So far this has satisfied my fighting fix, though I have struggled to find any online opponents (a common problem with many of these Vita games, unfortunately). Tentative rating: 8/10

Dynasty Warriors Next
Dynasty Warriors Next
Confession time: I have never played a Dynasty Warriors game. As someone new to the series, Next seems to be a good introduction. The gameplay is pretty basic — run around mashing the square button while slaughtering thousands of enemies — but there’s something to be said about mindless action sometimes. Some of the touch screen features feel a bit gimmicky and unnecessary, but for the most part this hack ‘n slasher is hitting the spot. Tentative rating: 6-7/10

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
For as much as I loved the original Metal Gear Solid back in the day, I never got into the sequels. I had some ill will toward MGS2 for forcing the emo-esque Raiden on us, and that kind of soured me on the franchise. With this HD collection, however, I am willing to give it a second chance. I am playing through MGS2 at the moment — the first time in 10 years — and enjoying it more than I remembered. I just got to the Plant though, so we’ll see how much Raiden bugs me. Still, at $15 for a portable HD collection of two of the PS2’s most highly regarded games, this is a no-brainer. Tentative rating: 9/10

Muramasa Rebirth
Muramasa Rebirth
Dragon’s Crown is one of my favorite games from this year, so I was eager to check out Vanillaware’s previous title, Muramasa Rebirth. This is another side-scrolling 2D hack ‘n slash with fun combat and gorgeous visuals. The constant backtracking is rather obnoxious, but I am frequently finding myself in awe at how beautiful this game looks. I’m also enjoying the character banter (good call on leaving the original Japanese voices). Tentative rating: 8/10

New Little King's Story
New Little King’s Story
This reimagining/sequel of a popular Wii game has taken a lot of flack for its framerate issues. While I have only put a couple hours into this, I am already noticing occasional slowdown, especially when I have 10+ people following the king around. It’s inexcusable for this game to have this problem, but so far it hasn’t been a major issue. The gameplay, a mix of action RPG and town simulation, has a surprising amount of depth, and there appears to be a lot of content. Not bad for $10, but I wouldn’t go much higher than that. Tentative rating: 7/10

Ragnarok Odyssey
Ragnarok Odyssey
I was warned not to pick this up since an expanded version of the game, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE, is coming out at some point in the future, but for $15 this seemed worth a shot. I’m new to the monster hunter scene, but this has me starting to understand the appeal. This is a grindy game for sure, and the solo campaign is a bit barren, but co-op is a blast. Occasionally I get shaky connections, but overall the online has been a pleasant surprise. Tentative rating: 7/10

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
This is my first time playing this fighting series, and it’s quite a bit different from what I’m used to. The 3-on-3 battles require some serious strategy, and the move lists look incredibly complex. On the plus side, the roster is impressive, and the graphics are gorgeous. This one seems like it’s going to take some time to learn, but it should be rewarding in the end. Tentative rating: ???

DEALS FROM WEEK ONE

Gravity Rush
Gravity Rush
This was one of the very first Vita games I played last year, and it immediately sold me on the system. While I still need to go back and finish it, this open-world adventure just oozes style and grace. Some of the controls and gravitational effects take some getting used to, but this is still a beautiful title that is rightfully a centerpiece of the Instant Game Collection. Tentative rating: 8/10

Silent Hill: Book of Memories
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
The idea of a Silent Hill dungeon crawler is intriguing, even though series enthusiasts will likely cry foul at this diversion. After playing a few zones, the repetition is already kicking in, but the Silent Hill atmosphere is bound to keep drawing me back. Just wish the loading times weren’t so long. Tentative rating: 6-7/10

Soul Sacrifice
Soul Sacrifice
Here we are, arguably the Vita’s biggest exclusive so far. I was excited to finally get my hands on Soul Sacrifice after digging the demo months ago. The full game does not disappoint. This monster hunting action is perfect on the go, as each mission usually takes 5-10 minutes. Being able to save or sacrifice each enemy is a nice touch, and the overall dark tone works wonders. Best if played with friends, but the computer AI seems decent so far. Tentative rating: 8/10

Touch My Katamari
Touch My Katamari
Time for another confession: I have never played a Katamari game. For $4, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to change that. I was drawn in right away by the quirky Japanese storyline, and it’s kind of ridiculous just how much fun it is to roll around and collect stuff. This seems light on content, and the difficulty just spiked up rapidly where I’m at in the game, but so far this has been a nice surprise. Tentative rating: 7/10

Have you played any of these games? What did you pick up in the Vita sale?

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4 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on the PS Vita Japanese PSN Sale

  1. Becca Bear says:

    So much good information I had no idea they were doing a sale much less on these awesome games! I will definitely have to check out some of the titles you mentioned. I played a lot of the originals or watched others play them, it seems they have a lot of sequels out I had no clue about! Thanks for the post 😉

  2. Gary Smith says:

    Ah! Really wishing I had a Vita right now. Don’t know if you have a Wii, but if not I’m glad you’ve gotten to check out New Little King’s Story and Muramasa Rebirth. Little King’s Story for Wii was really good, and IMO Muramasa: The Demon Blade was one of the best third party games for the Wii. Would love to play Rebirth as it looks great, and the style seems well suited for a handheld game too.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      I don’t have a Wii, so I’m pretty happy that some of its best games have been ported over. I have been hooked on Muramasa the most lately — I still can’t get over how gorgeous it looks. Really fun game, too, especially since I just discovered the option to fast travel to new areas. My only real complaint has been the frequent backtracking through desolate areas, but that option helps take care of that.

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