Best Upcoming Japanese Games of 2019
2019 has already gotten off to a strong start for Japanese games with titles like Resident Evil 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3, but the year has barely just begun. From JRPGs to visual novels, there are a ton of promising Japanese games releasing in the rest of 2019, so we’ll help highlight everything that should be on your radar.
15. Steins;Gate Elite – Upcoming Japanese Games 2019
Steins;Gate is widely renowned as one of the best anime series of all time, and Steins;Gate Elite hopes to merge the successful anime with the original visual novel. Elite is a fully animated visual novel, using all of the footage from the anime as well as brand new animation, used to flesh out the scenes that weren’t adapted for the show.
You’ll still be able to play things out at your own speed, and Elite is a fully-featured visual novel, with everything the original had. Whether you’re a longtime fan or have never experience Steins;Gate, if you’re a fan of Japanese games this is a must.
14. Dead or Alive 6
Dead or Alive has long been one of the most iconic fighting franchises around, and now it’s finally making its return on the scene. Dead or Alive 6 is making the series more accessible than ever before, introducing a streamlined control scheme and features like the Fatal Rush, letting you unleash combos with just one button.
DOA6 is also more detailed than ever before, realistically detailing damage on characters and adding in some flashy slow-motion attacks. Japanese fightings games have had a strong couple years recently, and DOA6 could easily keep that trend going.
13. One Piece: World Seeker
One Piece: World Seeker is the rare anime game that we almost never get, an ambitious open world title with a completely original story. Luffy travels to Prison Island where he’ll face a deadly group of new enemies, and familiar foes, along with the helps of the Straw Hat Pirates.
World Seeker is an entirely open world game with traversal mechanics, stealth, combat, leveling, and more. It looks like Bandai Namco is throwing everything into this project, and the sheer scope of the game is far beyond what we usually see. Hopefully, all that ambition pays off.
12. The Caligula Effect: Overdose
The Caligula Effect was an overlooked RPG on PS Vita, taking place withing a computer program called Mobius, where people can escape the pain of their lives and live out an idyllic high school existence indefinitely. The main character and their group of friend realize they’re being held in this program against their will, and form a club to try and break out.
Overdose adds on a host of new features like a female protagonist, new characters, endings, and more. It also looks to fix most of the original game’s technical problems, making it easier to take in the fascinating world and story.
11. Our World Is Ended
Our World Is Ended has the perfect setup for a visual novel, focusing on a team of young game developers named Judgement 7, who are working on a revolutionary new engine called W.O.R.L.D. In a freak accident the real world starts overlapping with the world of Judgement 7’s past games, and it’s up to the team to return it to normal.
Our World Is Ended sports a gorgeous watercolor art style, and its eclectic cast of main characters look like they’ll be great fun.
10. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth – Upcoming Japanese Games 2019
Persona has quickly become one of the top JRPG franchises out there, and Q2 is a fan’s dream come true. Bringing together the casts of Persona 3, 4, and 5, New Cinema Labyrinth tasks all the groups with solving a brand new mystery.
The handheld title has improved mapping mechanics and more balanced difficulty, meaning it should be easier for more casual fans to jump in and get those sweet character interactions.
9. Digimon Survive
Digimon Survive is a huge departure for the franchise, a choice-based strategy title with branching narrative paths that can even lead to the death of important characters. This darker tone is backed up with grid-based strategy battles and visual novel-style segments.
Digimon Survive has a gorgeous anime art style, and the tone of the game makes it seem more in line with something like Danganronpa and Zero Escape, and that’s a hugely exciting prospect.
8. Astral Chain
Platinum Games is renowned for their quality action titles, and Astral Chain brings together a dream team of talent. Supervised by HIdeki Kamiya (known for Bayonetta), directed by Takahisa Taura (Senior Developer on NieR:Automata), and art by Masakazu Katsura (famed creator of Video Girl Ai and more). <br><br>
Astral Chain sports all of the intense action you’d expect from Platinum, taking place in a cyberpunk future where you play as a police special forces unit. As a Switch exclusive, it looks like Astral Chain is yet another reason for fans of Japanese games to pick up Nintendo’s newest system.
7. Kill la Kill IF
Dragon Ball FighterZ took the fighting scene by absolute storm in 2018 with fantastic easy to pick up mechanics, stunning animation, and an all around great style. Anime fans should be excited, as the developer behind FighterZ is now taking on the cult-classic Kill la Kill.
Arc System Works has done stunning work with IF, as it seriously looks like the anime in motion. The arena fighter lets you take control of multiple characters from the series, and it’s aiming to be just as accessible as Dragon Ball FighterZ.
The Yakuza series has found a serious fan following in the west recently, and Judgement represents something new from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Taking place in the same Kamurocho as in Yakuza, you play as a Judge turned detective, trying to track down a dangerous murderer.
Over the top combat, minigames, witness questioning, disguises, and more make up the core gameplay of Judgement. It looks like the game will have just as much quirkiness and variety as Yakuza, and it’ll be great to see Kamurocho from a new point of view.
5. Daemon x Machina – Upcoming Japanese Games 2019
Fans of mecha anime need to take note of Daemon x Machina this instant, as the Switch exclusive looks like it could be everything you’d hoped for. Made by former Armored Core devs, Daemon x Machina has you controlling a mech called an Arsenal, fighting both on the ground and in the air.
You’ll be able to customize your Arsenal with different guns, cannons, swords, and other weapons that you can swap on the fly during missions. Mech Japanese games are few and far between these days, so Daemon x Machina may be just what we need to scratch that itch.
4. Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
Zanki Zero is a survival-RPG from the minds behind the acclaimed Danganronpa series. You’ll play as eight different clones who have a life cycle of thirteen days, trying to discover the sins of their past and what happened to the world, before they die and the next clone is born.
Zanki Zero sounds nuts, but it’s the perfect kind of nuts for Spike Chunsoft to pull off. There’s more variety than in Dangonranpa, however, with a mix of turn-based battles, visual novel story segments, and puzzle solving.
3. Code Vein
If there was ever an “anime Dark Souls” it has to be Code Vein. Taking place on a post-apocalyptic planet taken over by vampiric creatures, you’re humanities last chance at survival. Code Vein has the same methodical combat as Dark Souls, but your vampiric “Gifts” allow you to use a variety of powerful abilities in battle.
The game is much more story-centric than Dark Souls, and you’ll be able to bring a partner character with you the entire time, each of whom have a unique backstory, personality, and abilities. Code Vein’s anime aesthetic looks phenomenal and considering its developed by the team behind God Eater, it deserves to be on your radar.
2. Catherine: Full Body
Catherine was an instant cult classic when it released on the PS3, and Full Body makes it bigger and sexier than ever before. Full Body adds on an entirely new character by the name of Rin, making Vincent’s love life more complicated than ever before.
Along with a new character there’ll be new endings and story elements, an online battle feature, and even a new block pushing mechanic. If you happened to miss this gem the first time around, don’t let it pass you by again.
1. AI: The Somnium Files – Upcoming Japanese Games 2019
AI: The Somnium Files comes from the mind of Kotaro Uchikoshi, the director and writer of the Zero Escape series, some of the best visual novels out there. Set in a futuristic Tokyo, you play Kaname Date, an ace detective who investigates serial killers and enters witnesses memories to gather evidence. <br><br>
Uchikoshi’s work is always heavy on philosophical themes and mature storytelling, and it looks like AI is going to be very much the same way. The game has a substantially larger budget than that of Zero Escape, so fans of philosophical techno-thrillers should be marking their calendars.
Those are the best upcoming Japanese games of 2019.
Steins;Gate Elite - Feb. 19
You'll still be able to play things out at your own speed, and Elite is a fully-featured visual novel, with everything the original had. Whether you're a longtime fan or have never experience Steins;Gate, if you're a fan of Japanese games this is a must.