It wasn't so long ago that games created in Japan were the only games that mattered. Nowadays, for better or for worse, it is the West that rules the gaming goose. Japan still has a few tricks up its digital sleeve, however. Here are reviews of some recently released gems that come straight from the land of the rising sun.
'Fire Emblem Awakening'
Console: Nintendo 3DS
In Japan, the strategy RPG is king. These games take some of the tropes of turn-based RPGs and mix them with lengthy and complicated battles. The end result resembles something more like chess than video games. This genre can be horribly frustrating but extremely addictive once you know the ropes.
"Fire Emblem: Awakening" is the newest entry in the SRPG canon and it's a doozy. It features an engrossing story, complete with voice acting, and a quest that could take dozens of hours to complete. It's also hard as nails. For instance, when a character dies in battle they are gone forever. You may throw your 3DS against the wall but you'll have a good time doing it.
'Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch'
Publisher: NAMCO Bandai
Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli animation studio are best known for feature length movies like Spirited Away and, most recently, Arrietty. However, for years now, the company has been slaving away on a video game. The fruits of their labor, "Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch," is as beautiful and whimsical as any of their films.
At its heart, Ni No Kuni is a JRPG. This means you explore a world as you fight enemies, level up and collect new items and weapons. Thanks to some innovative design choices, like a real-time battle system, it is a great deal more than that. This game must be seen to be believed. It truly does feel like you are controlling an animated feature.