One of the many great things about the PlayStation 4 is that it’s not region locked, which means that if you’re in the US, you can use your PS4 to play games designed solely for the European or Asian markets. Past PlayStations didn’t offer this feature, so unless you were a bit handy with mods, you were stuck with the games in your market. Now, however, you don’t have to worry about being restricted from playing anything just because it wasn’t released in your area. This is particularly great news for fans of Japanese games, which rarely see a release in the States or the EU. The following is a list of some of the best of these Japanese titles for you to pick up and play no matter where you live!
The Yakuza series is beloved by gamers all over the world, a lot of which has to do with the fact that most of the Yakuza titles see a release outside of Japan. The spin-off Restoration, however, still hasn’t come to US or EU shores. Restoration is a bit different from other Yakuza games due to the fact that it takes place in the fascinating Bakumatsu period, when the way of Samurai was dying as firearms became the conventional weapon of choice. The story is interesting and the combat deep, and the game is definitely worth a playthrough just to experience this tumultuous time in Japanese history for yourself. There are no English subtitles, but you can find guides online to help you follow along.
One of my favorite things about Japanese games is the translation of the names, and Fighting Climax Ignition takes the cake. The 2D fighting game is centered around the most popular characters from the Dengeki Bunko light novels (Virtua Fighter, Sword Art Online, Valkria Chronicles), and while that fact alone is enough to warrant a purchase for any fans of Dengeki Bunko’s material, the game itself is actually a pretty tight and fun fighter with enough familiarity to allow you to easily get into it and enough uniqueness to set it apart from the countless other Japanese fighters. Best played with a fight stick, Dengki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition is definitely worth the import.
The Super Robot Wars series has been around since 1991, and each new release has been incredibly popular in Japan. The newest game The Moon Dwellers will eventually see an English release, but for now the only way to play is to pick up a Japanese copy. The game is a tactical RPG that plays like Fire Emblem, but instead of controlling knights and mages, in Super Robot Wars you’re fighting with mechas from a variety of different series such as Gundam, Getter Robo and Mazinger Z. You can upgrade your suits’ weapons and armor between battles, and even the pilots give you unique advantages. If you’re a fan of mechs in any capacity and enjoy turn based strategy, you’ll enjoy this one.
One of the best- and certainly most popular- Japanese puzzle games of all time will probably never see a release in the US due to licensing troubles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick still import Puyo Puyo Tetris and get in on the craze. As the title suggests, Puyo Puyo Tetris combines both of the falling block puzzle games into one, resulting in twice the level of addictive gameplay and bringing unique features from both titles into the other. There are a handful of gameplay modes, with the main objective of all of them being to beat your opponent in battle. You can do this by playing Puyo Puyo, Tetris or both at the same time. There’s also a cute adventure mode that’s worth a playthrough, so pick this one up if you’re even a casual fan of puzzle games.