Is America ready to date virtual women?

Japanese developers have been gradually inserting "dating sim" games that have made it over to our shores without going full creep into virtual relationship territory. Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and 4 immediately come to mind, which offered streamlined JRPG experiences enriched by a subtle relationship building mechanic that powered up your characters in combat. The social link system of those games made virtual high school dating seem much less disturbing in-game than it did on paper.

This style of "combine pretend dating with something that takes gamers' minds off of pretend dating" is starting to be a trademark of Atlus, since the upcoming Catherine is using pretty much the same formula, though significantly less veiled. Catherine even has different routes players can go down based on how they treat their lady of choice, with eight different endings. There's even a drunk texting mechanic! Unfortunately, the accompanying gameplay seems like an acquired taste, even more so than the dating sim aspect. Almost 30 levels of what's been described as glorified Q-bert, with the equivalent of an optional dungeon considering over 100 more. The jury's still out on how that's going to fly.

Still, I'm really looking forward to how this game does, though I predict it's going to be close to how Atlus' other games fair. I.e. great amongst fans with little exposure elsewhere. I'm hoping I get proven wrong about that. If it's any consolation, Famitsu gave it a promising 35/40. Maybe the Giantbomb crew can rub some of that Zojirushi magic off on it. And let's hope more dating sims make it over here for everyone to enjoy! I have no shame in saying that!

Also, has anyone seen the limited edition for this thing? I don't usually jump on LEs, but...

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That pizza box is so hot.

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