John McCarroll
GungHo Releasing Japanese RPG PSone Classics This Week
Quite an interesting strategy, considering how text-heavy they are.
03.12.13 - 9:22 AM

GungHo Online Entertainment America has announced that they are releasing several Japanese PSone RPGs via the PSone Classics program on PSN. These are a unique bunch of titles - ranging from RTS/RPG hybrids to dating simulations, and even non-RPGs like Mahjong Uranai Fortuna ~Tsuki no Megami Tachi~, a Mahjong/fortune telling crossover.

It should go without saying, but all of these titles are presented in their original, Japanese forms. As RPGs or simulation titles, there is bound to be a great deal of text, so brush up on your kanji.

First up is Sentimental Graffiti, a visual novel/dating sim:

This classic dating simulation was first released in the late nineties. It was popular enough to spawn various sequels, an anime series, and even a radio drama! The story revolves around a protagonist who was constantly moving about during his childhood, so he never had time to form deeper relationships with those around him. He receives a much unexpected letter from a mysterious paramour which simply states, "I want to see you." Heís got it narrowed down to one of the 12 special women he met in his younger days, and itís up to the player to decide how this tale ends...

Players control our hero by making use of his incredibly tight schedule. You've only got so much time to spend with these ladies, so you have to make it count! Carefully plan out each day by studying your calendar and preparing potentially romantic encounters with the 12 candidates. If you get it right, you might just figure out where that mysterious letter came from...

The game is very text heavy, but there's a lot of great art and charming event scenes to enjoy. If you are a fan of visual novels, this is one you wonít want to pass up.

Next is First Queen IV, which sounds a little like Growlanser:

First Queen is a classic RTS/RPG franchise that first introduced the "Gocha-kyara" (tons of characters) battle system. Players control several units by issuing turn based orders then watching the attacks unfold in real time. While the game starts with just a handful of units, your army will grow as your foes bend the knee or you seek out additional recruits via side missions. The ultimate goal is of course to unite (conquer) the entire area and ultimately bring peace to the land. Remember, when you play the game First Queen IV, you win or you die.

While the story contains a lot of Japanese text, the battle controls are pretty straightforward, and you should have little trouble conquering the world with your merry band!

The last RPG on the block is Favorite Dear ~Enkan no Monogatari~, which melds dating simulation with RPGs:

Japanese RPGs are common enough, and the dating simulation/virtual novel genre is no stranger to the west. It is, however, quite rare to see the two genres so delightfully melded into a beautiful, character-driven gaming experience. For the first time (officially), the Favorite Dear series hits the US with its third installment Ė donít worry, the stories arenít exactly sequential, so you won't have missed anything important.

Players must control their team of warriors in battle against various monsters as they bring peace to the land, but off the battlefield, the main objective is to promote and maintain harmony in the group by visiting with allies. Once you select your date and location, you are treated to an event scene where you need to make the right choices to keep everyone happy. People who like you tend to fight harder, right?! Before you head back to the battlefield, make sure you outfit your soldiers with the best equipment possible so you can smash your foes to bits!

Favorite Dear ~Enkan no Monogatari~ has a combination of anime event graphics and isometric, sprite-based battle sequences. Like any RPG, it's very text heavy, so make sure to bring your Berlitz Japanese/English dictionary with you when you want to take Tia out for a walk about town!

Each of these titles will be $5.99 USD and will be available on the PSN store later today. No word if these titles will be playable on the Vita at launch. For a full list of the six PSone Classics GungHo is releasing, check out the PlayStation Blog post by GungHo Community Coordinator Antonio Cara.