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Important Importables: 2011 handheld game gift guide

Sections: 2D, 3D, Action, Adventure, Casual, Columns, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Exclusives, Features, Fighting, Genres, Gift Guide, Handhelds, Japanese Imports, Music, Originals, PSP & PSPgo, Role-Playing, Sim

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The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for an Important Importables tradition. Yes, it’s time for our gift guide extravaganza. We’re starting off, as always, with our portable games gift guide. All of the following are import games you may want to pick up for a special someone.

Now, before we start, don’t expect to see any 3DS games. The system is region-locked, which makes importing a pain. You’d actually have to make sure the person you’re buying for has a Japanese 3DS or actually buy them a Japanese 3DS to go with the import game. It’s a hassle, so we’re only focusing on the region-free import DS and PSP games this year that can play on any DS or PSP, regardless of where you originally bought it.

As for places to go to for the following games, I recommend Play-Asia or AmiAmi. AmiAmi is usually cheaper, but Play-Asia has more payment and shipping options. Since the currency exchange rate favors the yen right now, you may want to go with AmiAmi.

Nora to Koku no Koubou Kiri no Mori no Majo

DS

Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS
Price: Between $59 and $75
Genre: Edutainment
Description: Learn to type by going through mini-games and trying to catch pokemon. Apparently, it’s educational and fun.
Import Friendly: Surprisingly, yes! The keyboard is a standard, English language keyboard that works with any DS. Also, the typing challenges involve typing things out in Romanji (standard alphabet) or tapping the correct key.

Gyakuten Kenji 2
Price: Between $52 and $64
Genre: Adventure
Description: Capcom’s already said it won’t release the second Ace Attorney Investigations game in English, so we’ll have to import it again. Once again, players help prosecutor Miles Edgeworth solve some cases and save the day.
Import Friendly: Nope. It’s incredibly text heavy. Only get it for someone who is fluent in Japanese.

Nora to Koku no Koubou: Kiri no Mori no Majo
Price: Around $74
Genre: RPG / Simulation
Description: A time alchemist named Nora gets mistaken for a witch, and has to create items for the villagers to earn their trust and find out more about the real witch. It’s similar to Gust’s Atelier games.
Import Friendly: Only get this for someone who can read Japanese, otherwise they won’t be able to fulfill requests and make items.

One Piece: Gigant Battle 2 Shinsekai
Price: Between $53 and $65
Genre: Fighting
Description: This is just like the One Piece: Gigant Battle game released in Europe a few months ago. Players get to pick characters from One Piece and fight around maps against up to four other opponents, trying to prove who’s best. This entry has 40 fighters, around 100 support characters and online multiplayer.
Import Friendly: Very. It’s a fighting game so you don’t really have to read anything to win. Also, it’s similar to the Jump Ultimate Stars and Smash Bros. style games so people will have no trouble figuring out how to play.

SaGa 3: Jikuu no Hasha Shadow or Light
Price: Between $57 and $62
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Description: SaGa 3 is a time traveling RPG. In the future, the Pureland Water Entity has flooded the entire world, and so three people from the future and one person from the present travel through time to collect pieces of a ship so that can defeat the monster and save the world.
Import Friendly: I want to say it would only be good for people who can read Japanese, but it also is a pretty straightforward RPG. Plus, it’s a remake of the original GameBoy game Final Fantasy Legends 3 which was released in English. If the person you’re buying it for isn’t fluent but does know some basic hirigana and katakana, I think he or she could handle it.

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX

PSP

Final Fantasy Type-0
Price: Between $81 and $91.
Genre: Action RPG
Description: This is a new and original Final Fantasy game where players control a student from a military academy and try to protect their homeland and reactivate their country’s crystal to keep out invaders. You can take on missions alone or, if you have a friend nearby with the game, work together.
Import Friendly: If the person you’re shopping for can read Japanese, there’ll be no problem. If not, then pass. Otherwise, he or she won’t be able to figure out what to do to complete each mission.

Eiyuu Densetsu: Ao no Kiseki
Price: Between $64 and $73
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Description: If you know someone who loved XSEED’s localization of Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, then get them the newest entry in the series, Trails of Blue. Players have to help new characters save Crossbel and the world from the Uroboros’ drug.
Import Friendly: Nope. There’s lots of text here. So make sure the person you’re buying it for can read Japanese.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Extend
Price: Between $55 and $64
Genre: Music
Description: This is a straightforward music game featurng the Vocaloids, primarily Miku Hatsune. It’s essentially an updated and slightly larger version of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd.
Import Friendly: Very. Even though the menus and songs are all in Japanese, it’s like the DJ Max series and other music games and just requires players to press the X, O, square, triangle and D-pad buttons to play. Plus, there are translation guides online so anyone can play.

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan Saisen
Price: Between $66 and $76
Genre: Fighting
Description: This is a standard, 2.5D fighting game featuring the cast of Rurouni Kenshin. There’s a decent selection of characters to choose from, quite a few different gameplay modes and assorted special moves. Players can even try to knock opponent’s swords out of their hands to make matches easier.
Import Friendly: Quite. It’s a fighting game and you can find help if you search online when it comes to deciphering menus. It’s pretty easy for anyone to pick up and play.

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX
Price: Between $50 and $65
Genre: Music
Description: Like all of the Taiko no Tatsujin games, the point is to play the drum in time with the music to earn a high score. Or, in the case of some of the other modes, to beat an opponent. It’s simple at the core, but can get quite difficult once you pick harder difficulty levels or more complicated songs.
Import Friendly: Very. The menus are all in Japanese, but it’s easy to figuring out what to do via trial and error or looking online for help. Plus, there are lots of songs from video games to drum along with.

Finally, there’s one last importable item to consider splurging on as a gift. The PS Vita will be released in Japan in December. If you pre-order at an online site, you may still be able to get one. The PS Vita will be region free, so you won’t have to worry about any barriers when it comes to playing games. Just make sure you get the Wi-Fi model, not the 3G one, and you’ll be fine. Play-Asia is selling them for $525 each.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables has a 2011 console game gift guide.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables previewed the Idolmaster 2 PS3 demo.

Site [Gamertell] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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