Sick of reading about big guns and the bigger dudebros wielding them at this E3? Well, thankfully, EGM’s resident Japanophiles—myself and Eric L. Patterson—will offer a more, er, “cultured” take on what to anticipate at this year’s show. There’s nothing inherently wrong with American and European developers—and I’m looking forward to several of their games at this E3—but my top five picks all hail from Japan.
1: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360, PS3 / Konami)
Look, I get it. It’s not a stealth game—but no true fan ever expected it to be. I think this one’s in far less trouble than some observers assume. You’ve got the minds behind Okami, God Hand, and Bayonetta involved in making Hideo Kojima’s vision of slicing, dicing cyborg-ninja Raiden come to life, and that sounds like a pretty sound bet to me. These are some of the sharpest, most confident minds on the Japanese side of the industry—and I trust that they know what they’re doing in making a game that lives up to the Metal Gear name.
2: Suikoden: The Woven Web of a Century (Vita / Konami)
OK, unlike Xillia, this one has almost no chance of making an appearance at E3—but a fan can always dream. While it’s no twisty masterpiece on the level of Suikodens II or V, Web of a Century is, at the very least, supposed to be an improvement over 2009’s disappointing DS effort, Suikoden Tierkreis. It’s not even that I think a localized version would absolutely blow me away—it’s more that I want to believe Konami still thinks there’s life in this excellent series on Western shores. As with Eric’s wish for a localized Final Fantasy Type-0, though, I think a Vita port is the only hope this game has for North America.
3: Tales of Xillia (PS3 / Namco Bandai)
This one isn’t yet confirmed for E3, but Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Graces f are two of my top RPGs this console generation—Japanese or otherwise—and the announcement of Xillia hitting Western shores would be the perfect way to see off the genre in the 360/PS3 era. And what if Xillia isn’t at E3? Well, then you should immediately play Vesperia and Graces f if you’re any kind of RPG fan!
4: Persona 4 Golden (Vita / Atlus)
Sure, I pumped over 100 hours into Persona 4 the first time around on the PS2, but I’ll gladly do it all again for the enhanced edition on the Vita, which includes new characters and a host of additional Personas. Plus, I’m curious to hear how the rumored new voice actors for Chie Satonaka and Teddie pan out; the talents of Tracey Rooney and Dave Wittenberg were both big reasons P4 had one of the top localizations of the past decade, and any potential replacements will have a lot to live up to…
5: Way of the Samurai 4 (PS3 / XSEED)
Why, you ask, should you possibly be interested in a game in which you play a wandering ronin who kicks ass, takes names, and can serve several factions—including the British Navy—during the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate in 19th-century Japan? I just answered your question for you. Samurai developer Acquire put together one of the Vita’s stronger launch titles in Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen, and I’m confident XSEED will deliver a translation worthy of this game’s intriguing, branching plot.