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Future punk

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of this year’s most eagerly anticipated games, taking inspiration from “Blade Runner,” anime such as “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell,” and Japan more generally, with katakana signs and katana swords featuring in the gameplay.

Part of a dystopian tabletop board game universe of the same name, Cyberpunk 2077 is set in a megalopolis called Night City and follows the exploits of a mercenary named V, who’s searching for a unique implant that can lead to immortality. The game’s developer, CD Projekt Red, is already known for its meaty roleplaying games like The Witcher III, and Cyberpunk 2077 is no exception. Players have the freedom to explore the open-world Night City, talk to other characters or engage in gunfights.

One of the game’s biggest surprises was the reveal that Hollywood star Keanu Reeves would be appearing in-game, playing the character Johnny Silverhand. It’s a nice continuation of Reeves’ cyberpunk pedigree, which includes “The Matrix” series and “Johnny Mnemonic” (the latter of which also starred “Beat” Takeshi Kitano).

Priced at ¥8,778, Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Dec. 10.

bit.ly/cyberpunk2077-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/cyberpunk2077-en (English)

Longstanding success: Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend marks the SaGa series’ 30th anniversary. | © 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Longstanding success: Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend marks the SaGa series’ 30th anniversary. | © 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

An epic saga

After the Game Boy was first released in 1989, it became a smash hit. One reason, of course, was the global phenomenon Tetris, but another was that the handheld supported deep roleplaying games like the SaGa series.

In North America, the first three SaGa games were known as The Final Fantasy Legend, Final Fantasy Legend II and Final Fantasy Legend III. The series was created by Akitoshi Kawazu, who worked on the original Final Fantasy, but with SaGa, he focused on nonlinear play and open-world elements to great success: The Final Fantasy Legend was developer Square’s (now Square Enix) first title to ship a million copies.

To mark SaGa’s 30th anniversary, Square Enix is re-releasing the first three games on the Nintendo Switch as Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend. The games retain their original Game Boy graphics, giving them a retro charm. However, Square Enix added a helpful high-speed mode so players can traverse the in-game world more quickly. There are other new features, such as customizable backgrounds, commemorative music and the option to adjust screen magnification.

Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend will be released on Dec. 15 as a Switch download. It’s priced at ¥3,100.

bit.ly/sagacollection-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/sagacollection-en (English)

All aboard: With Densha de Go!! Hashiro Yamanote Sen, players can ride and control all their favorite train lines. | © TAITO CORPORATION 1996, 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. / © 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
All aboard: With Densha de Go!! Hashiro Yamanote Sen, players can ride and control all their favorite train lines. | © TAITO CORPORATION 1996, 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. / © 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Train man

The Densha de Go! train simulators are some of the most interesting games to come out of Japan. First released in Japanese arcades back in 1996, it lets players operate trains on the country’s major routes. Now Densha de Go! is back, but this time with a home console edition for the PS4 and Switch.

With Densha de Go!! Hashiro Yamanote Sen, players get to ride the rails along the Chuo-Sobu Line, which connects Chiba and Tokyo; the Osaka Loop Line; the Hanshin Main Line, which connects Kobe and Osaka; Tokyo’s iconic Yamanote Line, including the newly opened Takanawa Gateway Station; even the Narita Express. If you are into Japanese trains, there is not a better game for you.

The home console versions also have a variety of modes, including an arcade mode, mission-based mode and a free-play mode that lets players pick the train and the weather. Densha de Go! has always done an excellent job at recreating what it’s like to be in charge of a Japanese passenger train, and the PS4 version gets even more immersive with PlayStation VR capability. All aboard!

Priced at ¥8,580, Densha de Go!! Hashiro Yamanote Sen was released on the PS4 on Dec. 3. The Switch version will be released at a later date.

bit.ly/denshadego-jp (Japanese)

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