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Important Importables: 2009 import games to watch

Sections: 2D, 3D, Action, Adventure, Columns, Consoles, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Exclusives, Features, Genres, Handhelds, Japanese Imports, Lists, Originals, PSP & PSPgo, Role-Playing, Sim, Wii, Xbox-360

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The end of 2008 really came quickly, didn’t it. It was a great year, but 2009 may be even better. At least, when it comes to video games, there is a lot of potential.

Starting at the end of January, a wide variety of games are coming out for most of the major systems in Japan. The majority of them are new entries in established series, but a few new properties are also making their debut in the first few months of 2009.

So, before you head back to playing with all the new gifts you received yesterday on Christmas or return to spending time with relatives you only see once a year, take a quick peek at nine games Important Importables can’t wait to see released in 2009.

Idolm@ster SP Perfect Sun PSPTitle: Idolm@ster SP: Perfect Sun/Missing Moon/Wandering Star
Release Date: January 22, 2009
Genre: Simulation/Pet Raising
System: PSP
Any Chance of a US Release: Very unlikely.
Main Draw: The Xbox 360 Idolm@ster games are a huge hit in Japan, and this release puts the game on a region-free system. Each version of the game has three idols in it, and you must help raising them into superstars. You make friends with them, send them to classes, pick out their clothes and songs and then hope for the best.

Title: Another Code: R – Kioku no Tobira
Release Date: January 22, 2009
Genre: Adventure
System: Wii
Any Chance of a US Release: Since Trace Memory was released on the DS in the US, the Wii game in the series should be released stateside as well.
Main Draw: Trace Memory was a somewhat successful adventure game that was essentially a point-and-click title. Now, it’s coming to the Wii, a system that seems practically tailor-made for point-and-click games. It could end up being very interesting.

Fragile Wii Namco BandaiTitle: Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo
Release Date: January 22, 2009
Genre: Action RPG
System: Wii
Any Chance of a US Release: Hopefully. It’s by Namco Bandai, so there is a good chance we’ll see it in the US.
Main Draw: In Fragile, a young boy named Seto explores abandoned cities in an apocolyptic world. You have to face off against ghosts and explore the environment in this dark RPG to determine if there are any other survivors. The Wii could use some good RPGs, especially ones that are geared towards an older audience.

Title: Vampire Kishi DS aka Vampire Knight DS
Release Date: January 29, 2009
Genre: Otome aka Girl’s Dating/Life sim
System: DS
Any Chance of a US Release: Nope
Vampire Kishi DS Vampire Knight DSMain Draw: Vampire Kishi DS, or as most people will probably know it – Vampire Knight DS, is an otome game based on the popular manga and anime series Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. Players step into the shoes of Yuki Cross, Prefect at Cross Academy who is tasked with keeping the day class, filled with normal students, and night class, filled with vampires, in line. You basically live through Yuki’s life, and also have the opportunity to date the other boys from the series, like Zero and Kaname.

Title: Mario & Luigi RPG 3
Release Date: February 11, 2009
Genre: RPG
System: DS
Any Chance of a US Release: Definitely. The portable Mario RPG series always get US releases.
Main Draw: Even though very little information has been leaked about the latest Mario & Luigi RPG game, it still is receiving a lot of hype and many people are excited about it. And why not? All the previous Mario & Luigi RPG games have been entertaining and very well made.

Title: Ninety-Nine Nights II
Release Date: February 19, 2009
Genre: Action
System: Xbox 360
Any Chance of a US Release: It seems pretty likely.
Main Draw: The original Ninety-Nine Nights was a hit or miss among people. Some people really enjoyed the beautiful hack and slash game, but others felt it was repetitive, simple and had a cliched story. I enjoyed the original game, and am looking forward to the forthcoming sequel Ninety-Nine Nights II. Sometimes, you want a simple, pretty game where you can just beat stuff up.

Game Center CX 2 DSTitle: Game Center CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2
Release Date: February 26, 2009
Genre: Action/Old School Mini-games
System: DS
Any Chance of a US Release: Surprisingly enough, the original Game Center CX is being localized and brought to the US as Retro Game Challenge by Xseed, so who knows. If Retro Game Challenge does well, the sequel may get a US release.
Main Draw: Game Center CX 2 looks to be very similar to the original Game Center CX. This means more original, but retro, style games where you have to meet certain challenges in each one. Plus, they’re full games that you can play as much as you want. It looks both stylish and charming.

Title: Bokujou Monogatari: Sugar Mura to Minna no Negai
Release Date: March 19, 2009
Genre: Farming Simulation
System: PSP
Any Chance of a US Release: Since Harvest Moon games do well in the US and typically get releases, it’s likely we’ll see this PSP game. It may take a while though.
Main Draw: It is the first, original entry in the Harvest Moon series for the PSP. Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl was a port of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, and while it was fun, it also felt a bit old. It’ll be great to see a fresh entry on the PSP.

Title: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Release Date: Spring 2009
Genre: Action RPG
System: DS
Any Chance of a US Release: Definitely
Main Draw: Kingdom Hearts II’s Organization XIII quickly became very popular with fans, as did Roxas and Axel, two of its members. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days looks at Roxas’ time before KHII. Despite the inclusion of possible potential Mary Sue Xion (Don’t scowl at me like that – suddenly a third female character is created to be best buddies with Roxas and Axel?), it looks like it is going to be a wonderful new adventure for Kingdom Hearts fans.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Portables reviews La Corda d’Oro for the PSP.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables looked at some exclusive, Japanese PSPs.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [JBox]

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  • Excel

    Needs Ryu Ga Gotokou 3, Demon's Souls, and Ninja Blade.

  • Janine

    I'm really excited about Idolmaster! However, I'm not sure which one I should get though :/ What are your thoughts?

    I wasn't too crazy about the Vampire Knight game though since it's so text heavy. I don't think there's much spoken dialogue in that one…or at least in the version I tried at TGS.

    Fragile was scary…….running around in the dark with a flashlight and a golf club. It takes a lot of coordintation :P

    I can't wait to see what you think of Kin'iro Corda…..I think it's rather difficult XD

  • Jenni Lada

    @ Excel: I forgot all about Yakuza 3! >.< It does look interesting though. I actually hadn't heard about Demon's Souls till you mentioned it (the screenshots look cool though). I'm still a bit iffy on Ninja Blade – I'd want to see more about it first.

    @ Janine: I'm excited for Idolm@ster PSP too! I'm going for Perfect Sun. Because its pink. Also because the three characters in it look cute. The only difference in each is what three characters are in it, so I just recommend picking out the ones with characters you think are cutest.

    http://namco-ch.net/idolmaster_sp/index.php – The official site breaks down who's in what version. It was either Perfect Sun or Wandering Sun for me.

    I've heard that Vampire Knight is going to have a lot of text. I did hear that there was going to be some personality building aspect (kinda like in TMGS and Princess Maker), and it has vampires, so I'm pretty much sold either way. XD

    Fragile really looks cool. The Wii needs more scary/thriller games. It almost seemed Silent Hill-ish.

    Kin'iro Corda is kinda difficult… I found I enjoy it more when I don't really pay attention to what I'm doing in it. Its a horrible playing strategy, but it works for me! I didn't do too well my first time playing it (and I just kind of tossed it aside), but I made myself play it again recently and enjoyed it.

    I really want Neo Angelique (PSP) – I've heard its wonderful. Have you played it? I've never played an Angelique game before (I was leary about whether or not I could handle the whole city management aspect), but since its more of a straight RPG, it sounds easier.

  • ruru

    Actually, the CERO rating (Japanese equivalent of ESRB) rates Fragile as a A game, which means it is targeted for everyone.
    So it's not targeted to older audiences

  • Janine

    Each version of Idolmaster has at least one girl I like….I feel like I'm leaning towards getting the version with the twins though. I think the whole the twin edge thing is so adorable.

    About Neo Angelique: I actually do have this game and it was one of the first titles I picked up for my PSP when I was in Japan. The other titles was Princess Maker 5 :p
    It's the first in the series that I've ever played and I must admit that it definitely has a lot of substance to it. It feels like I haven't spent all that much time with it even though I'm pretty sure I've clocked in at least anywhere from 5 to 10 hours. I'm not sure if I really like the fact that it's basically an rpg with a little bit of dating sim elements on the side. You don't ever really go on any dates with any of the guys and their fondness for you increases so long as you take them to battle with you or you complete quests together. Everything is completely voiced (except for the main character) which makes understanding a whole lot easier!
    You can converse with each of the guys but it rehashes the same topics over and over again…..

    I'm just dying for another game like TMGS!! Games like Hiiro no Kakera just don't cut it for me….there's too much story where I can't even participate. It's basically a novel! Although, I am a little tempted to pick up the PSP version since it's completely voiced unlike the NDS one :/

    Whoo……if you ever want to talk more about these dating sims, just e-mail me :P

  • Estefany

    i love Vampire Knight but i live in the U.S.A so its not fair.i really want to know when the game for the DS well come out in the U.S.

  • Jenni Lada

    @ Estefany – There's really no chance of the Vampire Knight DS game being released in the US, sadly. So far, no video game publisher seems to want to take a chance on an otome game localization.