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About Dokusha

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    I live for stories.
  • Birthday 09/17/93

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    History, language, culture, reading novels, stories in general!

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  1. Oh, how this haul pleases me! Wonder Boy marks the first Asian import in my collection, a proud step in my journey towards becoming the weebiest of the weebs~!
  2. Perhaps they chose today for their announcement because the Japanese fiscal year starts on 1st April? I remember several cases in the past where a Japanese or Japan-adjacent company announced something on the first, only to be met with "haha, yeah, right" responses at first.
  3. Oh, I'm definitely up for this! Never got to play the original NieR, and I have to say I don't mind that they chose Replicant instead of Gestalt - at all. That always did seem like a cynical decision by Square's marketing team to me: "Western people won't play anything unless it's got a grizzled badass dude as protagonist", or something like that. Automata's success is one of my favourite feel-good stories of this gen. A Yoko Taro/Platinum collaboration that not only received rave reviews but sold really strongly too. It'll be interesting to see if Square is interested in doing a thing or two with Drakengard again, too, now that Taro-san's star has risen.
  4. Level 39 Thank you! Clear the Finale. No, thank you for bringing the entire Yakuza main series to PS4, Sega! One of my favourite franchises of all time, it really feels like I can't go wrong with a game developed by the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. It feels pretty good to level up on such a note of gratitude~
  5. : Substory Completionist "Complete all substories." It's been an utter joy to complete my collection of all Yakuza games available for PS4 in the West. One of my favourite franchises of all time, I knew I was guaranteed a good time with Yakuza 3 - but I wouldn't have expected beforehand just how much I'd end up loving it. There's an emotional warmth in this story that I felt was sorely lacking in Kiwami and Kiwami 2 - and, indeed, the physical case for the Yakuza Remastered Collection features various developers' commentaries inside the slipcase that contains the discs. I wasn't imagining things: the Ryu Ga Gotoku oyabun himself, Toshihiro Nagoshi, writes that Yakuza 3 marked a change in overall theme for the franchise. Instead of a serious manly crime drama, Yakuza became more about personal bonds and personal betterment even if you have a dark past. Some people were undoubtedly left disappointed by this tonal shift, but I lap it up, eagerly! Yakuza 3 has a running theme of yakuza trying to leave the criminal life behind them and trying to go legit. Some manage to do this, some do not. It feels more nuanced than Kiwami 2's cavalcade of increasingly twistier twists. Anyway, I'm digressing. Completing all substories takes quite a bit of effort: not only do you have regular substories found across Kamurocho and Okinawa, there are also several minigame-based ones (to be specific, there are substories involving bowling, darts, pool, golf, and baseball - fortunately, as far as I can tell, only the baseball story demands a victory, you can lose in all the others and still complete the substory), as well as substories for each cabaret club hostess. Now, I'll be honest, I wholeheartedly support the PS4 version's content restoration. It really blew that the PS3 version of Yakuza 3 missed a bunch of things. The hostesses, though... I'm not entirely sure if people really missed out on them. There are ten of them, you see. Ten. It takes a lot of time to finish all of their arcs, practically a dozen hours - and I'm not exaggerating here. I enjoyed hostess chats in previous Yakuza games, but having ten just felt wholly excessive. Once you've cleared 118/119 of the substories, a Yakuza series staple awaits you: Amon, the deadliest assassin. Amon is, as always, tough-as-nails, and will constantly perform moves with knockback on them. It's a lengthy fight, but as long as you're wearing decent accessories and brought plenty of health-restoring Staminan drinks, it'll be challenging but certainly not impossible. If I could do it, then so can you!
  6. Massive Attack - Man Next Door The official anthem for people with aggravatingly noisy neighbours. I dedicate this one to you, Mr. DiY-addict Neighbour!
  7. Always appreciate a generous Day One Edition with a fancy collector's box! Raging Loop is held in high esteem by Japanese visual novel fans, and going by my first impressions, it does seem like a potential kamige! I'm veeeeeery much looking forward to sinking my teeth into this. It helps that the dangerous game of Werewolf/Mafia the plot revolves around is reminiscent of favourites like Zero Escape and Danganronpa.
  8. #110: Okami HD What a beautiful, beautiful game this is. It brims with creativity and colour, it's a true feast for the eyes, and barring some mild frustrations here and there, it also plays like a dream. I'm so glad Capcom re-re-released this true classic for PS4, finally allowing me to give it the time it deserves. You play as an avatar of the Shinto Sun Goddess Amaterasu, who has manifested in the form of a white wolf. The people of ancient, mythological Nippon are plagued by demons, and a curse spread by the vile eight-headed serpent Orochi chokes the land. Although there is a well known legend of a white wolf defeating Orochi 100 years ago, the people nowadays have all but given up on the gods, not even recognising Amaterasu for who she is any more. It's up to you, and your sprite companion Issun, to work miracles, to restore Nippon's natural beauty, to slay demons, and to defeat the darkness so that the people can live their lives in splendour once more. There's something endlessly satisfying about using Amaterasu's divine powers to rejuvenate withered landscapes. Even if the game didn't feature a satisfying (if perhaps not as intricate as you'd expect from a Clover Studios game) combat system, I would've had lots of fun merely exploring dungeons and healing the land. It's also hard to understate just how important Okami's famous art style is: I genuinely believe the game wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable had it sported generic PS2-era graphics instead of the wonderful style inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts and watercolour paintings. If ever there was a game to prove that graphics do matter, it would be this one. Whilst I have no reservations calling Okami a classic, that's not to say it's flawless. My biggest gripe comes with the aforementioned sprite companion Issun. Put simply, the little bugger is grating. He consistently gives everyone rude nicknames (calling Amaterasu "furball", the dread Orochi is "serpent-breath", and so on), is incapable of addressing female characters without constant come-ons ("cutie", "sweetie", "babe", "don't you worry your pretty little head over it, honey", even frequently using "busty babe" to a girl's face multiple times), and since he is based on the infamous fairy companions that tend to speak for Link in the Zelda games, he also frequently explains very simple game mechanics to you over and over and over again. I understand the writers tried to give him a distinct personality instead of simply having him screech "HEY! LISTEN!" for 50 hours, but I personally could've done with less of the annoying bug's chattering. It's not enough to ruin the game by any means, but I'd be lying if I said he didn't annoy me. The trophy list is in line with most lists for Capcom remasters: you effectively have to do everything, and do it in the best way possible. So don't just expect the standard completionist tasks like finding all collectibles and maxing out your abilities. At the end of the game, you'll also be ranked based on the amount of deaths you've suffered, the quantity of demons you've slain, the total sum of yen you've accumulated, the Praise (EXP) you've earned, and the number of Demon Fangs (special currency) you've wrested from demons. I wouldn't say it's extremely difficult, but it certainly requires some effort. Now all that's left for me to do is to let loose one of Amaterasu's signature Victory Howls!
  9. Joining the choir for Ape Escape! And even though they're not really franchises, I'd love to see Soul Sacrifice and Freedom Wars revitalised for the PS5. Those games burst at the seams with potential, I'd love to see them given a second chance! Also, a Soul Nomad remake would be preeeeeeeeeeeeetty sweet...
  10. #109: Tokyo Dark: -Remembrance- (screenshot cropped on account of spoilerz, but I rather fancy the way it turned out - might do this more often!) Boasting a pleasing art style and a story promising psychological horror set in contemporary Japan, Tokyo Dark greatly appealed to me when I first learned about it. You play as Detective Ayami Ito, a stressed-out Tokyo Metropolitan officer haunted by a case involving her partner and an unhinged red-headed murder suspect. Her investigation into her partner's disappearance stretches her sanity to the limit as everywhere she goes, she keeps hearing about a mysterious place called The Dark... but is The Dark real, or is it a figment of her increasingly unstable mind? It's important to keep in mind this is an indie game. It has nice ideas, nice writing, nice music, nice art, it's nice... but it isn't outstanding. I'm not saying indie games cannot be outstanding, but in my experience, quite a few of them are hampered by having more ambition than funds to realise them. Tokyo Dark is one of these productions, with an unsatisfyingly short run time, small locations to explore that don't have a lot of interactive things in them, and as far as I can tell, this PS4 "Remembrance" version does have some extra content when compared to the original PC release. About fifteen minutes' worth of extra content, that is. Nothing spectacular. So am I saying this is a bad game? Not at all. I had fun with it, the psychological horror aspects to the story were very well done, and I liked its approach to New Game+. I simply felt it wasn't as fleshed-out as it could've been, had the development team had the time and funds to include all of their ideas; as it stands, the final product ended up being more shallow than I personally like to see. A more fully realised Tokyo Dark 2 would really hit the spot! Trophy-wise, this is an easy experience to be sure. Since the game is essentially a visual novel with some limited walking around small locations, it follows that its trophy list too is mostly like a visual novel's: obtain all endings, and you're more or less set.
  11. Was very glad to see this one appear seemingly out of nowhere! I'm certainly up for a psychological horror story, wondering whether there really are supernatural spookies hiding underneath contemporary Tokyo, or if our heroine is simply going stark raving mad~
  12. PSA for those, like myself, whose stats are messed up: in order for your PS4 stats to have been recorded, you need to have enabled additional data collection in your system settings. I assume this cannot be fixed retroactively, so if you didn't allow such data collection in 2019, no stats for you. Sadly, as a result, I can only see some Vita stats.
  13. Fatal Twelve, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, London Detective Mysteria, and Worldend Syndrome would be my highest recommendations on the list. Looking at your trophy list, I wonder, have you also considered Collar x Malice, The House in Fata Morgana, or Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony?
  14. 2019 has been one of my best gaming years ever, if not the best year. I had three resolutions: reach 10,000 trophies in total, reach 100 platinums, and play nothing but Japanese games or games that might as well have been Japanese. I’m happy to report all three of these resolutions have been successful! Below I’ll list the games I’ve actually completed this year, along with some brief thoughts on each of them: - Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk (PS4, 56/58 trophies) A wonderful dungeon crawler that is a worthier sequel to Nippon Ichi’s diamond in the rough The Witch and the Hundred Knight than the actual The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2. The Gothic little town of Refrain has a mysterious labyrinth underneath its foggy cobbled streets, and the Dusk Witch Dronya has come to explore it and uncover all of its secrets. I loved the story and presentation, and the dungeon exploration was very satisfying too. - Yomawari: Midnight Shadows (PS4, 34/34 trophies) Another Nippon Ichi gem, this is an excellent horror story with genuinely unnerving ghost designs. Not so much about jump scares as it is about building suspense and making you wonder what you’ll encounter next. Surprisingly emotionally poignant story too. - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Vita, 31/46 trophies) I unironically join the side that believes MGS2 is a masterpiece. It’s downright eerie how accurate the predictions here ended up being for a game made in 2001. - Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, 46/46 trophies) My biggest disappointment this year. I adored the original and II as a child, but playing III as an adult, I found the writing juvenile, it felt like fanfic. Yes, the graphics were pretty and yes, combat played nicely, but overall this game – and especially that bloody ending! – severely damaged my affection for the Kingdom Hearts franchise. - Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal (PS4, 51/51 trophies) Senran Kagura continues to be a delight with its surprisingly heartfelt storytelling and breezy musou action gameplay. I could’ve done with less of Yagyu’s ridiculously one-note personality, though. - Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Book (PS4, 40/45 trophies) Wonderfully cheery, my introduction to the Atelier franchise was a pleasant one indeed. No pressure, just live your life as a cute girl trying to become a master alchemist. Just like with Yagyu from Senran Kagura Burst, however, I was rather annoyed with Oskar here. Please, writers, stop it with the characters who only talk about a single topic. It’s beyond tedious. Onimusha: Warlords (PS4, 52/56 trophies) Definitely my biggest surprise of the year, this was an incredibly moreish game. Great gameplay, a good balance between combat, exploration and puzzle-solving, and whilst the plot was a bit basic, I was invested in it, nonetheless. More of this, please, Capcom! - Fate/extella: The Umbral Star (PS4, 47/53 trophies) I definitely understand why people felt the gameplay here was a bit on the repetitive side even for a musou/Warriors game, but I stayed thoroughly entertained thanks to a well-told story spanning multiple arcs. - Resident Evil 0 (PS4, 31/48 trophies) Honestly, I’m not sure whether I liked RE0 or not. Yes, the atmosphere is great, and general puzzle-solving and exploration felt lovely. The lack of an item box, as well as the overly bullet-spongey enemies, however, made especially the final few stretches an exasperating exercise in praying you have enough bullets left to take down these darn leeches. - The Caligula Effect: Overdose (PS4, 37/37 trophies) A rock-solid JRPG with an interesting premise, although the villain route is complete nonsense and the overall story quality sadly doesn’t live up to genre greats despite the involvement of the Persona 2 lead writer. - Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (PS4, 38/38 trophies) Whilst I still think I like 999 more, Virtue’s Last Reward is still a superlative visual novel and a wonderful example of how interactivity can improve storytelling rather than getting in its way. - Death End Re;Quest (PS4, 39/39 trophies) My game of the year. Compile Heart has come a long, long way in this decade, and Death End Re;Quest is without a doubt their best game to date. Visually pleasing, with a strong combat system and a breathtaking narrative featuring one of the most precious cinnamon rolls in gaming. I love you so much, Shina. - The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince (PS4, 24/24 trophies) Gorgeous art, lovely heartfelt little story, but 30 euros/dollars is a big ask for a game that won’t last you more than 4 hours. - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (PS4, 31/31 trophies for all three PW games) The best music in the trilogy, but in my (admittedly unpopular) opinion, the weakest story. Still, I’m delighted to see Phoenix Wright make his PlayStation debut. - Muramasa Rebirth: Genroku Legends (Vita, 45/66 trophies) My favourite Vanillaware game. Incredible art, tight swordfighting, and a great story. The DLC episodes were a cherry on top of this delicious cake. - Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (Vita, 44/44 trophies) The Utawarerumono games deserve far more credit. Their stories are some of the best I’ve ever seen in any game ever, and Atlus USA’s localisation makes it a true joy to read. The SRPG combat sections may not be the most difficult, but they’re highly enjoyable, nonetheless. - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All (PS4) The franchise black sheep, I’ve always had a soft spot for Justice For All. The case Turnabout Big Top is a perfect encapsulation of what makes these games so loveable, with its mix of zany screwball comedy and serious courthouse drama. - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations (PS4) The way Trials & Tribulations’ cases seem disconnected at first but end up being more interconnected than in either of its predecessors will never cease to wow me. - The Evil Within 2 (PS4, 45/52 trophies) A rare case of a sequel to a linear game going open world without said open world actively getting in the way. The Evil Within 2 is a top-tier survival horror game, if you ask me. Great stuff. - Secret of Mana (PS4, 32/38 trophies) An enormous let-down. I just can’t get over the awful design decision to make you incapable of attacking more than once in a row without triggering a cooldown that makes all your attacks dramatically unlikely to hit. The story might have redeemed it, but it’s ho-hum and tedious. I simply think this one hasn’t aged well. - Our World Is Ended (PS4, 40/40 trophies) A surprisingly poignant science-fiction mystery visual novel about a group of deeply strange people banding together and being their best selves in the face of a dangerous conspiracy involving virtual reality. Definitely deserves more recognition in my opinion. - London Detective Mysteria (Vita, 16/16 trophies) My new favourite otome visual novel. Set in Victorian London, it’s thanks to its incredible localisation that it reads like a Victorian lady truly is narrating all of this. Great plot, great romances, great art, just great great great. - Blue Reflection (PS4, 47/47 trophies) Oh, how I wanted to love this. It’s a Persona-esque JRPG set at an all-girls’ school, but sadly the execution is dreadful here. It doesn’t know whether it wants to target a male or female audience, the soundtrack is a bizarre combination of orchestral and electronic wub-wub-wubbing, and one of its main characters is beyond insufferable yet the narrative pretends like she’s the most loveable of them all. - Aragami: Nightfall (PS4, 52/52 trophies) A great sneak-‘em-up where you play an aragami, a shadow spirit capable of using various magical powers involving shadows. Definitely give this one a try if you’re looking for a stealth game where you get to choose between being a sneaky assassin or an unseen merciful ghost. - Judgement (PS4, 33/47 trophies) Although it’s rougher around the edges than I’m used to seeing from the Yakuza team, Judgement is still a wonderful spin-off with a great protagonist, trademark blood-pumping action combat, and a variety of new detective minigames that mostly pan out okay. Tailing gets somewhat dull after the umpteenth time, but there’s enough variety here to keep you engaged until the very end. - Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (Vita, 34/34 trophies) Another fantastic otome visual novel, sporting a delightfully Gothic tale of afterlife in an enormous mansion as its central cast – heroine and love interests alike – slowly come to terms with the events that led to their premature deaths. Is resurrection possible? Maybe… - Period Cube: ~Shackles of Amadeus~ (Vita, 34/34 trophies) Sadly, going from Psychedelica to Period Cube gave me whiplash, as the latter is quite possibly the worst otome VN I’ve ever played (although I’m not sure yet exactly how it compares to the infamous Amnesia: Memories). It has the unappealing premise of a stuck-in-an-MMO plot a la Sword Art Online from the perspective of a girl who has never even seen a video game in her entire life, let alone played one. With condescending dictionary entries explaining such high-concept ideas as “server” or “HP”, as well as truly godawful romances, I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone. At least Amnesia: Memories has so-bad-it’s-good appeal, Period Cube is just dull. - Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4, 36/45 trophies) Another game I desperately wanted to love. Two things ultimately sapped my enjoyment here: dodgy voice acting (including one of the worst faux-British accents I’ve heard in years) and overly punishing contact damage. I died so many times just because I bumped into an enemy. Yes, yes, I know, git gud, but I simply wasn’t having fun any more towards the end. - Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PS4, 36/54 trophies) The mechanics and animations are clearly dated, but the art style has aged gracefully, and the story is top-notch. An A+-grade JRPG. - The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS4, 51/51 trophies Speaking of A+-grade JRPGs, the sprawling Trails of Cold Steel series is a phenomenal achievement in worldbuilding and storytelling. This has officially become my longest-played individual game, and each and every one of the dozens upon dozens of hours I’ve spent with it was a delight. - Catherine: Full Body (PS4, 46/56 trophies) An elegant remake of an enjoyably bizarre game, I had a much better time with Full Body than I remember having with the original Catherine on PS3. Some of the new endings – I shan’t mention which ones specifically – soured me on the experience a little, but not enough to keep me from describing this as a great and creative game. - A.I.: The Somnium Files (PS4, 45/45 trophies) My runner-up game of the year. A phenomenal murder-mystery adventure game with humour and poignancy alike, wonderful and memorable characters, and a satisfying True Ending that wrapped up most loose ends in a satisfying way. I really hope this gets a sequel someday. - Worldend Syndrome (PS4, 23/23 trophies) With a great art style combining sharp character portraits and pastel animated backgrounds, a relaxing soundtrack, and a story that boasts one of the best and most satisfying conclusions I’ve seen in anything this year, Worldend Syndrome is an easy recommendation. If you’re even remotely interested in visual novels, please do yourself a favour and play this one. - Fatal Twelve (PS4, 25/25 trophies) Is it becoming obvious yet that my favourite genre is visual novels? Fatal Twelve started slow but gradually won me over with its tale of an unconventional death game: instead of a group being trapped and forced to kill each other, Fatal Twelve’s cast has already died, only they’re being given a shot at resurrection if they manage to eliminate every other participant of this fateful game. Although the heroine is a little stupider than I personally would’ve liked, it was still an incredibly compelling experience once the story got going. - Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout (PS4, 49/49 trophies) If Atelier Sophie introduced me to the world of Atelier, it was Atelier Ryza that made me fall in love with the series. Heartfelt, cheerful, small-scale, I had a smile on my face playing this lovely game. - Spirit Hunter: NG (PS4, 26/26 trophies) A great sequel to last year’s Death Mark, and a fantastic horror visual novel. Oozing with dread atmosphere and some delightfully creepy spirits to pursue, it’s just a shame that the developers appeared to have run out of funds about halfway through as the last two cases are bizarrely short when compared to the fantastic first three. - Tales of Berseria (PS4, 34/51 trophies) Such an incredibly good JRPG! Tales of Berseria tells a nuanced story where neither the protagonists nor the antagonists are truly good yet neither party is cartoonishly evil either. Also, it has my favourite Tales cast to date. - WILL: A Wonderful World (PS4, 52/52 trophies) Easily the grimmest game I’ve played this year thanks to its harsh subject matter: you play as a goddess of fate who receives pleas from humans and rearranges their fates by shuffling sentences in their stories around to change the outcome. It turns out that people don’t beseech a goddess of fate for intervention in trivial matters, however, so expect some truly heart-wrenching and difficult stories. If it wasn’t for the fact that the entire point is to change these situations, I might’ve called it quits prematurely because of how dark it gets. Whew. My experiment with playing nothing but Japanese/Japanese-adjacent games made me realise that I simply don’t have any more desire to play Western games. I’ll embrace the fact that weebery is my comfort zone and turn this Year of the Weeb into Years of the Weeb. Many thanks to my lovely bestest friend and significant other @Larx for guiding me and helping me stay true to my resolutions!
  15. #108: WILL: A Wonderful World (Missed opportunity to call it A Wonderful Platinum, if you ask me~) It's honestly not something I've thought about before, but it makes sense, doesn't it? The god or goddess in charge of listening to desperate prayers and granting miracles would need nerves of steel and the ability to listen to unpleasant stories without being overwhelmed. WILL: A Wonderful World is a Chinese visual novel that lets you play as such a god/goddess pair, in charge of reading the pleas from a varied cast of characters and changing their fates by rearranging passages in their stories to alter their situations. It's a creative idea, and I am pleased with how these logic puzzles never quite stray into moon logic territory. Each "letter" has various endings which can in turn influence the way things go for other characters, reminding me rather a lot of 428: Shibuya Scramble's butterfly effect system. There are two caveats that hold me back from heartily recommending this to all and sundry, however. The elephant in the room is the subject matter. People don't beg the gods of fate for intervention unless their need is really high, of course, which means that WILL's overall plot deals with some seriously grim stuff. Whilst it manages to handle things tastefully enough to avoid feeling outright exploitative, I really cannot overstate here how dark this game gets sometimes. I'm hard pressed to think of many other games that feature main characters who are human trafficking victims, or severely mentally unstable children in broken homes, or suicidal painters with stomach cancer. Yes, there are brighter storylines - one of the characters is in fact a stray cat who tends to have rather amusing scenarios, after you've sat through their absolutely heartbreaking introduction scene - but remember, you're gods of fate, you're not here to help people mow their lawn. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that I was actively helping these people avoid all their misfortune and misery. Other than the subject matter, the other issue this game has is its graphics... or rather, its lack of graphics. Unlike most visual novels, WILL does not use the standard "character sprites in front of various detailed backgrounds" presentation. Other than occasional (admittedly well-drawn) CGs, you're mainly looking at solid colour backgrounds with text overlaid and a character silhouette in the corner. Lots of scenarios, therefore, rely on your own imagination to provide the narrative with visuals - this visual novel is more novel than visual, is what I'm saying. Interestingly, the trophies do not exactly boil down to "get all endings" like most VNs do. You won't have to grab each and every ending from each individual letter, instead you'll need to aim for specific outcomes, or having to replay a letter in which a character plays Street Fighter to have them perform all possible combos. It's fine, really. So yes, overall, I did enjoy WILL, although I'm in desperate need for something more cheerful now. So if you'll excuse meeeeee...