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Avatar image for xshinobi
#1 Posted by Xshinobi (560 posts) -

In the last few years there seems to be a belief that Japanese devs are unable to keep up with western devs and/or that Japanese made games are just not as good as western made games. I'm not sure how and why this view took hold but it couldn't be further from the truth. This year alone we got a plethora of great Japanese made games and it makes me wonder why this stereotype exist. I have put together a quick list of just a few of the great Japanese developed games released this year.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Super Mario 3D world

Gran Turismo 6

Anarchy Reigns

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner – Soul Hackers

Pandora's Tower

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Deadly Premonition The Director's Cut

Soul Sacrifice

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Project X Zone

Muramasa Rebirth

Shin Megami Tensei IV

Pikmin 3

Dragon's Crown

Tales of Xillia

Mario and Luigi Dream Team

Rune Factory 4

New Super Luigi U

Final Fantasy XIV

Killer is Dead

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

Kingdom Hearts HD

Puppeteer

The Wonderful 101

Armored Core: Verdict Day

Rain

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

Pokemon X and Y

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

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#2 Posted by Freshbandito (705 posts) -

Okay, thanks.

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#3 Posted by mercutio123 (531 posts) -

Wasn't aware that the Puppeteer was Japanese made. Seems very un Japaneseish. I would contest that GT6 is a good game..... But I personally can not stand Gran Turismo's particular flavour of half arsed bullshit

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#4 Posted by jimmyfenix (3941 posts) -

Tell Phil Fish that.

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#5 Posted by Crembaw (894 posts) -

This is just a list of Japanese Games.

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#6 Posted by lord_canti (1680 posts) -

its because the japanese developers tend to make games for a japanese audiance and they need to budget for a game to sell to that small market while catering to there sensabilitys. however people like platinum, capcom and nintendo have more of a world wide perspective so we consider there games "good".

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#7 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2971 posts) -

Whomever you heard say that the Japanese don't make great games was probably just being facetious.

Just putting that out there.

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#8 Posted by NMC2008 (1248 posts) -

This thread wasn't needed at all, we all know those statements are utter bullshit, you should be used to it by now.

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#9 Edited by maverick1 (95 posts) -

I've literaly never heard of this "stereotype" before.

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#10 Posted by Rebel_Scum (1235 posts) -

I've never found that stereotype exists really. Although I do find it funny how you spaced out the Nintendo games. A lesser man would've crumbled to copy/paste.

The only japanese video game stereotype I've found is how some of them are very 'japanesy." <<(referring to art style, fashion, mannerism, speech subject matter/personality). For some games that is very off putting. e.g. FFXII intro with the cheesy pop music (could be FFX but I can't remember which).

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#11 Posted by erhard (493 posts) -

I think you're imagining things.

It is true, however, that they can't make good menus.

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#12 Posted by Flappy (2415 posts) -

I don't mean to shit on your parade or anything, but some of those games are pretty...bad.

Examples!

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 - Essentially the same game as NUNS 2/Generations, but with a roster update!

Project X Zone - A shallow crossover RPG that is more about fanservice than anything else. Gameplay? Pfffft! Watch Kite and Blackrose beat shit up for 60 hours! You like .hack, right?

Killer is Dead - A stylish action game with the potential to be something special, but it doesn't have the best controls nor does it really do anything special. I still platinum'd it, though. Fuck me, right?

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - It's one of those divisive titles that people either love or hate, but much like KiD, it has the potential to be so much more if Capcom gets their shit together. To be honest, this game is probably more average than anything else.

There are some other games on that list that stick out to me, but my heart won't let me talk smack about them (Anarchy Reigns is a serious guilty pleasure of mine).

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#13 Edited by TruthTellah (9809 posts) -

@xshinobi: Thanks for the list of games, but really, I don't think this is necessary. I know a lot of fans get very defensive about this, but there isn't really some widespread stereotype that Japanese devs -can't- make good games. Unless someone is, like, 12 years old, they'd remember amazing, widely-acclaimed Japanese games in the 80s and 90s.

Japanese developers can obviously make good games. The question in recent years is simply whether they're evolving and improving as much as other non-Japanese developers, and as Keiji Inafune has mentioned over the years, some things have been holding many Japanese developers back. Obviously, many of these problems are ones that other developers have faced before, such as getting out of set ways and investing more in newer talent over older mainstays. And indie development has still bloomed more in other regions. Western developers had to work hard to catch up with Japanese developers in the past, and it's simply many Japanese developers' time to push toward improvement as well. Some developers have turned more isolationist, and that may work for them for a time. But as a fan, I still consider limiting games to just that market hinders them and keeps people like myself from getting to enjoy their games as much as we once did.

Yet, real progress is being made in Japanese development. There are still issues to be sure, but it would be absurd to suggest that simply because a developer is Japanese they can't make good games. Plenty make good games. The real question is whether they can make even better games, and I think there is still enough talent at Japanese developers to make them uncontested champions of the market once again. The majority of the games I enjoy most are still made by Japanese developers, but I can acknowledge that they have plenty of challenges to overcome. I'm confident they'll be able to do it, too. :)

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#14 Edited by bigjeffrey (5282 posts) -

Waifus in every single one.

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#15 Posted by Danteveli (1410 posts) -

Never heard that stereotype

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#16 Edited by Pezen (2142 posts) -

I think aside from some exceptions, a lot of Japanese games just come out feeling dated both stylistically and mechanically. Not to mention their font choices are often directly proportioned to how bad looking (and sounding) their menus are. I mean, shit games are made everywhere, but I think the "great" games overall does rarely come from there as much. But hey, why should a single country compete with the rest of the world anywhere other than due to nostalgia.

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#17 Posted by Christoffer (2325 posts) -

I think this preconception comes from when Japanese developers tries to mimic western AAA games. Clearly, they can still make great games

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#18 Edited by AlexGBRO (451 posts) -

@xshinobi: where is Dark Souls and Deamon Souls??

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#20 Posted by Nekroskop (2831 posts) -

@alexgbro:

xshinobi said:

In the last few years there seems to be a belief that Japanese devs are unable to keep up with western devs and/or that Japanese made games are just not as good as western made games. I'm not sure how and why this view took hold but it couldn't be further from the truth. This year alone we got a plethora of great Japanese made games and it makes me wonder why this stereotype exist. I have put together a quick list of just a few of the great Japanese developed games released this year.

Avatar image for lyisa
#21 Edited by lyisa (445 posts) -

I'll tell Phil Fish. I'm sure he'll be thrilled to know the crisis is over.

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#22 Edited by Akyho (2120 posts) -

Dammit @truthtellah stop living up to your username!

I agree with Truth teller, and add on my perspective of such "stereotypes" if there is one and Phil Fish's statement.

Japanese devs in 80s and 90s were whacky weird and wonderful. They experimented all the time and we end up with some cool new amazing stuff,.

Where they financially successful? not always.

Where they good? not always.

It was different, in recent times Japanese Devs have been chasing the american market by making American emulating japanese games.

Lost planet,Resident Evil 6, Binary Domain, Metal Gear Revengeance. Aswell as games like Rain and puppeteer that you could not tell are Japanese developed.

While we have Tokyo Jungle, Deadly premonition and Way of the Samurai games upholding the old steps of Japanese games. They are all terrible budget looking games, with such unique quirky Japanese ways that is charming and beguiles us in to loving them.

If you look @xshinobi at the list you threw out. How many of them are sequels or spin offs? 90% are. Look at some of the numbers.

Pokemon as a main RPG series has 21 games odd games with 7 generations over 14 years.

Super mario I have no clue what number this could be in the platformer series

Legend of Zelda a link between worlds in its most basic form is a remake of a link to the past. At most a sequel to a link to the past.

Gran Turismo 6....its the sixth one over 10 years.

Fire Emblem Awakening, its from a 20 year old series gone pretty much unchanged for that time

I shant list all, but you get my point. Which is REPETITION! they just keep doing the same over and over and over and over.

We want NEW japanese games. NEW exciting Japanese games.

The wonderfull 101 is doing that, Rain is doing that, Puppeteer is doing that.

Which probably leads to funny thing.....they are still emulating the west....the west is embracing the indie dev and now the Japanese are.

Lets hope it brings us more Japanese games with a Japanese twist yet with a solid core.

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#23 Edited by audioBusting (2523 posts) -

Wait... You mean a stereotype spanning thousands of video games coming from a certain country and time period may not necessarily apply to some of them? Why, I never.

Also weird that you didn't mention Dark Souls, even though that is one of the games that those silly indie devs mentioned to be good during the controversial Q&A session. (edit: Oh weird I remembered it being a 2013 game for whatever reason. Nevermind!)

Hey I just noticed: why isn't Hatsune Miku on that list?

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#24 Edited by Fattony12000 (8273 posts) -

@xshinobi:

WHAT ABOUT EASTERN BLOC GAMES, HUH? That's where the real important stuff is happening these days.

Also, neither of the Souls games make it onto the list?

Hahaha.

You utter fool.

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#26 Posted by XChairmanDrekX (418 posts) -

@akyho:

You talk about repetition with Japanese games, but look at western games, they are just as bad in that regard.

GTA 5

CoD Ghosts

Battlefield 4

Madden, and other sports games

AC4

Killzone: Shadowfall

Forza 5

Need for Speed: Rivals

These are all some of the biggest most recent titles. Lack of original IPs, is hardly an issue isolated to Japan.

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#27 Edited by EveretteScott (1649 posts) -

@flappy said:

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

WHAT! You take that back. That game is amazing.

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#28 Edited by Humanity (16244 posts) -

They make great systems and terrrrible interfaces. Their front-end is almost always a mess.

EDIT: Also @flappy you hold your tongue sir about the glorious gift from the gaming lords that is Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen.. If only more games aspired to be even half of what that game is we'd all live in a happier gaming world.

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#29 Posted by XChairmanDrekX (418 posts) -
@humanity said:

They make great systems and terrrrible interfaces. Their front-end is almost always a mess.

EDIT: Also @flappy you hold your tongue sir about the glorious gift from the gaming lords that is Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen.. If only more games aspired to be even half of what that game is we'd all live in a happier gaming world.

I don't know about that anymore, have you seen the Xbox One's UI?

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#30 Edited by Humanity (16244 posts) -

@xchairmandrekx said:
@humanity said:

They make great systems and terrrrible interfaces. Their front-end is almost always a mess.

EDIT: Also @flappy you hold your tongue sir about the glorious gift from the gaming lords that is Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen.. If only more games aspired to be even half of what that game is we'd all live in a happier gaming world.

I don't know about that anymore, have you seen the Xbox One's UI?

Yah it's squares. It's fairly clean and simple looking. Then again I must preface any future arguments in that I don't find anything egregiously wrong with the current 360 dashboard unlike so many others. I'm able to find my way around it just fine but different strokes for different folks.

I'm talking more about menu's and such in games. Most recent example that comes to mind is Resident Evil 6 - a fairly modern game in gameplay, tied down by completely archaic conventions.

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#31 Posted by Julmust (1640 posts) -

What's the stereotype about games made in space?

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#32 Edited by Flappy (2415 posts) -

@everettescott: Naaaah! The game set up a nice foundation for a sequel, but it has its fair share of blemishes.

As much as I enjoy climbing big dudes and stabbing them repeatedly, everything else feels pretty bland.. The game needs more life. Average game!

If it makes you feel any better, at least it isn't one of those Naruto fighting games. Those things are pretty bad.

@humanity: Hey man! I already acknowledged that it has the potential to be something amazing, but I can't excuse the faults based on that alone! If they go dig down deep and draw out more of that latent potential, they'll have something that makes Skyrim/Oblivion/fantasy-game-X look like shit in comparison. Step it up, Capcom!

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#33 Edited by Jeust (11739 posts) -

@flappy said:

I don't mean to shit on your parade or anything, but some of those games are pretty...bad.

Examples!

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 - Essentially the same game as NUNS 2/Generations, but with a roster update!

Project X Zone - A shallow crossover RPG that is more about fanservice than anything else. Gameplay? Pfffft! Watch Kite and Blackrose beat shit up for 60 hours! You like .hack, right?

Killer is Dead - A stylish action game with the potential to be something special, but it doesn't have the best controls nor does it really do anything special. I still platinum'd it, though. Fuck me, right?

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - It's one of those divisive titles that people either love or hate, but much like KiD, it has the potential to be so much more if Capcom gets their shit together. To be honest, this game is probably more average than anything else.

There are some other games on that list that stick out to me, but my heart won't let me talk smack about them (Anarchy Reigns is a serious guilty pleasure of mine).

Well at least most of them are creative. Not like Halo or Gears of War, or the number of clones that flood the market from everywhere non-japanese, like:

  • Syndicate
  • Bulletstorm
  • Rage
  • Call of Duty
  • Battlefield
  • Medal of Honour
  • Dead Space (sadly)
  • Bodycount

The most japanese games aren't perfect, but they do try to improve and make different, although there are those Resident Evil 8s, Super Hyper Street Fighter IV, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill that generally just look to be iterated to the infinite and beyond in similarly fashion.

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#34 Posted by Atlas (2575 posts) -

I think the problem is not so much that Japanese developers don't make objectively good games (for one thing, that's a silly notion), it's more that they make games that are more tailored to their domestic audience, which is extremely different from the Western audience in terms of expectations and mechanics. Japanese developers are no longer the mainstream in Western gaming, except for Nintendo, and as such they fill much more of a niche in the market, and are able to tailor their products to that niche, while other former big names in AAA Japanese development have come to make games in the West. This is both a good thing, in that people who like very Japanese games have plenty of choice, but it's also a bad thing, in that people who aren't so into Japanese games often find them to be insular, impenetrable, divisive, too over-the-top, and all the other clichés that are associated with Japanese games.

I'm sure that there are enough people who really enjoy the games you listed for it to warrant them having been made, but that doesn't mean that I like them (sounds egotistical, but I assure you there are a lot of people who think like me in this regard), and it doesn't mean that any one of them will have any great impact on all but the die-hard gamers who are already well inducted into the Japanese gaming mentality.

Also I know quite a few people who play a lot of very Japanese games who found themselves becoming increasingly indifferent to Shin Megami Tensei IV as the game went on.

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#35 Edited by Akyho (2120 posts) -

@xchairmandrekx: I did not say the west does not repeat itself. However when Nintendo alone has repeated the same games for 30 years now along with most Japanese developers it becomes a pool of stagnant creativity.

Throwing in sports titles is and shouting repetition is not helpful. Those are their own weird place that the only option IS repetition.

Also this list you mentioned. Battlefield 4 has gone to shit because EA wants repetition it is easier. COD is doing repetition to mine that gold min until its all gone. Need for Speed has been up down and all around the place in quality. Killzone has had its moments. Forza 5 has fucked up.

Assassin's creed 4 has mixed impressions.

GTA 5 is the only one to have been met with any sort of positivity.

You hear people screaming "Stop it, we are fatigued on your sequels give us something new."

What do we see, we have The walking dead, Last of us, Beyond two souls, Braid, Super meat boy, Brothers a tale of two sons, Dust an Elysian tale, Minecraft, Terraria, Sleeping Dogs, Journey and so much more.

Just take a look at steam or more so Early access, so many games. We have the bigger ones people have their eyes on such as Titanfall, Watchdogs, The Division, Star Citizen along with others we are waiting to see if they delivery but for now they excite and make us look forward to them.

The west is currently offering more variety and more experimentation. Something that was an attribute of Japanese game development.

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#36 Posted by Flappy (2415 posts) -

@atlas: Nice post. Feel free to lump me up with the people that like Japanese games, but couldn't quite deal with SMT IV. The game wasn't too hard or anything, but it was a bit of a drag. A nice set of characters and motivations to fall back on can go a long way.

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#37 Posted by Humanity (16244 posts) -

@flappy: It already makes Skyrim look like shit in comparison if we focus on gameplay and not graphics. When you consider how many classes there are with completely unique movesets and attacks compared to the what passes off as combat in Skyrim it's staggering.

@jeust: Syndicate and Bulletstorm were actually really innovative and fun first person shooters. The skill-kill system in Bulletstorm was great and the seamless hacking in Syndicate was also extremely innovative.

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#38 Posted by alwaysbebombing (2404 posts) -

I don't think anyone of any repute has ever suggested that the Japanese don't make great games. I would say that both East and West make both bad and good titles.

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#39 Edited by Flappy (2415 posts) -

@humanity: If we're being completely honest, it doesn't take much to make Skyrim's combat look like garbage. However, it makes up for the poor gameplay in other areas. Dragon's Dogma has good combat (no Pugilists, though!) and interesting character customization, but as a complete package, it's kinda difficult to put it up against Skyrim and other titles in the same vein. That's why I hope Capcom releases a proper sequel so that we have another quality franchise to enjoy in the future.

"You see that Harpy over there? You can punt it!"

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#40 Posted by ervonymous (1299 posts) -

You only have yourself to convince.

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#41 Posted by Leonshade (65 posts) -

The stereotype isn't that Japanese devs can't make good games, it's that a lot of them have certain elements (excessive tutorializing, bad menus etc.) that bring them down. The glory days of Japanese developers being the premiere developers around is over, with western developers leading the way in mainstream games these days. Obviously there's plenty of bad western games and good Japanese ones, but generalizations never apply to everything.

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#42 Posted by geirr (3311 posts) -

I'm sorry I can't hear these negative stereotypes over Dark Souls pounding my ass.

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#43 Posted by tsutohiro (371 posts) -

Half the games on that list have a "mechanic" or a "feature" that damn near breaks the entire game for all audiences, east to west.

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#44 Posted by Humanity (16244 posts) -

@flappy: Sure, I don't mean to be overly aggressive about this. It's only because I honestly really fell in love with Dragons Dogma and feel that most people think of it much like you do - an interesting but average game. I don't really agree with that assertion, because as a whole package I had way more fun playing DD than Skyrim for reasons I won't bother getting into as ultimately I have to accept it's a matter of taste. Still I like to spread awareness and hope that they will do a great sequel on next-gen hardware, which in the least should solve a great deal of technical issues the game suffered from.

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#45 Posted by ESREVER (2888 posts) -
@flappy said:

Project X Zone - A shallow crossover RPG that is more about fanservice than anything else. Gameplay? Pfffft! Watch Kite and Blackrose beat shit up for 60 hours! You like .hack, right?

Yes. Yes I do. I really liked PXZ. Just finished it a week ago.

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#46 Edited by Jeust (11739 posts) -

@humanity said:

@flappy: It already makes Skyrim look like shit in comparison if we focus on gameplay and not graphics. When you consider how many classes there are with completely unique movesets and attacks compared to the what passes off as combat in Skyrim it's staggering.

@jeust: Syndicate and Bulletstorm were actually really innovative and fun first person shooters. The skill-kill system in Bulletstorm was great and the seamless hacking in Syndicate was also extremely innovative.

Yeah, but how little changed from one game to another?

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#47 Posted by Justin258 (14378 posts) -

@jeust: Halo and Gears were pretty creative when they came out.

Syndicate, Bulletstorm, Rage, and Dead Space are also all distinct from other games in their own ways.

Anyway, who has said that all Japanese games are bad? Some people are put off by the difference in cultures, but that doesn't mean they think they're bad.

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#48 Edited by forkboy (1586 posts) -

@jeust: Halo and Gears were pretty creative when they came out.

Syndicate, Bulletstorm, Rage, and Dead Space are also all distinct from other games in their own ways.

Anyway, who has said that all Japanese games are bad? Some people are put off by the difference in cultures, but that doesn't mean they think they're bad.

Phil Fish. But he said it something like 18 months ago so this whole thread seems really weirdly timed.

For the record, I don't really play many Japanese games anymore, but part of that is because I don't have a 3DS at the moment, my Wii hasn't been hooked up for about 5 years & I mostly play games on the PC these days, & before that it was the 360. Neither of which are packed full of awesome Japanese games. I really missed out on getting to play Tokyo Jungle which is a bummer.

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#49 Edited by Abendlaender (3056 posts) -

I'm not japanese and I don't make games at all. So your theory seems legit.

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#50 Edited by EveretteScott (1649 posts) -

@flappy: I admit I actually enjoy the "blandness" (your words). I loved the atmosphere and the quiet moments that the game had. The exploring was one of my favorite parts in it. It didn't feel like any other game I've played in recent times. Very deliberate and "bland" in not being 'non-stop' action to the point I would have gotten bored. I enjoy those kinds of games of course but Dragons Dogma felt very different and stood out for me among a lot of stale, same-y games.