While there was a LOT to get excited for in the English versions of February 13th’s Nintendo Direct, the Japanese one actually had even more games stuffed into its runtime. Now, most of those exclusive games have already been announced to be coming out in the West (or are already released in certain cases), but it’s still nice to take a look at what’s coming to Japan. And for those games that have no chance of coming over, they’re easy to play regardless, though many you will need to know Japanese to get anywhere. Because the Switch is region-free, you can either import the physical title or buy it off the Japanese eShop by making a Japanese Switch account.
A crossover game between Doraemon and the Story of Seasons franchise. For those who don’t know, Story of Seasons is made by the people responsible for the original Harvest Moon games after they were laid off by Natsume. The gameplay looked pretty similar to past Story of Seasons games, but it looks like you’re forced to play as Nobita. Still, it seems like there are several sidequests that play off the specific characters in the Doraemon series. Plus, you can even ride a donkey. I know this has no chance of ever coming outside Japan since Doraemon has no presence outside its home country, but if you know Japanese and love the franchise, this looks like a fun little game to pick up.
There wasn’t a whole lot changed from the English Direct, but the way it was presented was extremely different. The English Direct had a long intro hyping up the game in general, while the Japanese trailer excised most of that (since getting Japanese players hyped for Dragon Quest doesn’t take much) and instead mostly focused on the player’s ability to switch from 3D gameplay to a retro 16-bit 2D look, showing off a lot of comparisons between the two. The Japanese trailer also gave us a sample of the orchestral field and battle themes that will be added to the game and man, are they glorious to hear. If they do indeed add a Dragon Quest character to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I hope these two tunes are brought over as well.
This is basically a Dragon Quest TCG game. Originally released on mobile, this game was released shortly after the Direct in Japan. Using cards based on heroes and monsters from across the Dragon Quest franchise, you can battle to prove who’s the best. There’s even some cool event cards, one which depicts Hero from Dragon Quest VIII getting married. There will also be special promo cards offered based on Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest Builders 2. What’s really cool is that the game will enable crossplay between the Switch and mobile versions.
Yes, Konami is actually making something other than Pro Evolution Soccer and Yu-Gi-Oh! games. This game uses a cute SD style as you play through any of Japan’s pro baseball teams. What’s pretty cool is that you can play this as 4-Player co-op using sideways JoyCons. That will likely result in lots of craziness and arguing when a player screws up. There’s also a story mode and power ups to get to make things even crazier. It honestly looks a lot more fun than the RBI Baseball games we’re saddled with over here. It’ll never happen, but it’d be cool if Konami and MLB teamed up to make an English version of this to release over here.
There were several games in the quick-hit Headlines portions of the Direct, which the YouTube channel all grouped together in two handy videos. The Switch port of the Ace Attorney Trilogy comes out on February 21st and looks gorgeous, though the various voices and effects still sound like the GBA versions, which creates a bit of an odd disconnect compared to the HD visuals. Then there’s Super Robot Wars T, basically the Smash Bros. of mecha anime, which looks so awesome. This go around includes, among others, Captain Harlock, Magic Knights Rayearth, G Gundam, Mazinger Z, GaoGaiGar, and Gun x Sword. I know this would be a license nightmare in America, but I wish they would do a English localization anyway so it’d at least be worth it to import. The game comes out March 14th. There was also a brief trailer for the game Atelier Lulua: The Alchemist of Arland 4, which is known as Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland when the game drops in the West late March. The game will focus on using alchemy to craft better items and weapons to aid you in battle.
After that was a trailer for Zoids Wild: King of Blast, and arena fighter based off the newest Zoids anime currently airing in Japan. Doubt this one will show up here since the franchise is mostly dead, but if you want to try it out for yourself, the Japanese eShop does have a demo available. It’s a decent arena fighter, but not as deep as, say, the Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm games. There was also footage of Destiny Connect, coming out March 14th. It’s a turn-based RPG by Nippon Ichi (makers of the Disgaea games) that has you exploring a desolate town where all the humans have vanished and replaced by machines and then travel to the past to prevent the calamity from happening. It might come to the West, but I’m not holding out any hopes. And in case there weren’t enough RPGs in the Direct, there’s also Caligua Overdose, a very stylish RPG which has you exploring a fancy town (that actually seems like it’s supposed to be France) while using various costumes and weapons to defeat monsters.
There was also a reminder that Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission was coming out next month. This is based on the popular arcade card game where you use cards based on various Dragon Ball characters to fight. The game was already announced to be releasing in the West, so I dunno why it wasn’t in the English Direct. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Horizon also got a brief spotlight, which showed off some fun fights against giant monsters. It’s releasing in April. Also releasing in April is Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition, which includes all the extra DLC from the previous editions of the game. Like the previous two games, this one has already been announced to come out to the West. For something that isn’t an RPG, there’s Cytus Alpha, a rhythm game that looks fairly cool and kinda similar to Voez (though I don’t play rhythm games so my observation may be off). Finally, it ended with all the Final Fantasy stuff we got in the English Direct, but the Japanese one included reminders about the release of X/X-2 and XII: The Zodiac Age.
While the first headline montage focused on titles that are either getting a physical release or have gotten a physical release in the past, this montage was focused on titles that are strictly download-only. First up is Forgotten Anne, which seems to be an adventure mystery game. Apparently this game was already released out West on the Switch and is just now arriving in Japan. There’s also Goat Simulator: The GOATY, which showed off nothing new. After that was a brand new River City Ransom/Kunio-kun game that still uses pixel art for the characters, but has them brawl in a 2.5D polygonal world rather than the traditional pixel backgrounds previous games used. That one comes out later this Spring in Japan. There was also some new footage for Steamworld Quest, a.k.a. the TCG Steamworld game, along with a similar Spring 2019 release date. Finally, there was a brief look at A Hat in Time, also with a Spring 2019 date.
Aside from that, there were some trailers with either more footage or minor details added. Box Boy + Box Girl was revealed to have a price of 1,111 yen, which translates to a little over $10, so the US release will likely be $9.99. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 got a bunch of new snippets of footage showing off all the playable characters announced so far, even Storm. Starlink oddly didn’t even mention the new campaign with the rest of Star Fox and Star Wolf, but was instead a general overview of the game, as it apparently hasn’t released over there yet. Dead by Daylight got a major focus, with more emphasis on the gameplay, including explaining what needs to be done to win, while the English trailer just kinda hurried past it.
That pretty much ends the major differences between the English and Japanese Directs. Most of the games I didn’t mention had the exact same trailers between English and Japan, although the Tetris 99 trailer straight up called the game a battle royale game. Most of the quick headline games are releasing over here in the West, so I don’t know why they weren’t stuffed into the English version of the Direct.