The Best 30 Japanese Games Overseas, 2009


A ranking of the Japanese games which received the most critical acclaim overseas in 2009 seems to indicate the industry is increasingly capable of delivering only handheld games of any great quality, not that this necessarily means bad sales

The ranking, based on aggregate scores from various English language publications:

1. 93% – Street Fighter IV (360/PS3/PC)

“By striking a balance between fresh and familiar, and by delivering the best aspects of Street Fighters past, Street Fighter IV is easily one of this console generation’s best fighting games.”

2. 92% – Bayonetta (360/PS3)

“A beautiful and graceful fighting game that lets imagination loose, and winks before slapping Dante, Kratos and every other hero back to the drawing board.”

3. 90% – Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS)

“Easily best in the series thanks to its focus on a completely outlandish script and the epic battles.”

4. 89% – Demon’s Souls (PS3)

“Tough and unforgiving, Demon’s Souls is nevertheless a breath of fresh air in a very stagnant games market.”

5. 88% – Blazblue (360/PS3)

“BlazBlue’s online system puts titles like Street Fighter IV to shame, and the overall beauty of high-def 2D sprites put it at the top of the graphics department as well.”

6. 87% – New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii)

7. 87% – Little King’s Story (Wii)

8. 87% – The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)

9. 86% – Biohazard 5 (360/PS3)

10. 84% – Dragon Quest V (DS)

11. 84% – Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS)

12. 84% – Half-Minute Hero (PSP)

13. 84% – Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS)

14. 84% – Disgaea 2 Portable (PSP)

15. 83% – Ryu ga Gotoku 3 (PS3)

16. 83% – Rhythm Tengoku Gold (DS)

17. 83% – Pokémon Platinum (DS)

18. 83% – Dragon Quest Wars (DS)

19. 83% – Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)

20. 82% – Tekken 6 (PSP)

21. 82% – Space Invaders Extreme (DS)

22. 81% – Muramasa (Wii)

23. 81% – Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP)

24. 81% – Madworld (Wii)

25. 81% – Patapon 2 (PSP)

26. 81% – Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi (DS)

27. 80% – Rune Factory Frontier (Wii)

28. 80% – Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

29. 80% – Wii Fit Plus (Wii)

30. 80% – Soul Calibur Broken Destiny (PSP)

Japan’s gaming industry seems not to be having much luck with non-handheld games of late, hardly a reassuring sign.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    12:39 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I am very disappointed to not see Persona 4 on this list.

    Avatar of AlphaMeridian
    Comment by AlphaMeridian
    14:59 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    According to Metacritic, P4 came out December 4th, 2008. It was ineligible for the list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:06 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Street Fighter IV revamped the interest for fighters in the console generation. I bought it on launch day and till today, it is the only game I play on my PS3 (besides MGS4) and I have clocked around... 600 hours on it. If it wasn't for SF4 and it being a great gateway into fighters (not too hard, but is still a very deep fighter) BlazBlue and even Tekken wouldn't have sold as well as they did. Hadouken!

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:27 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    14 of these 30 games were non-handheld. Thats almost half. Not sure how that indicates that Japan is only capable of making good handheld games...

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:51 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    16/30 means only handhelds? I think your exaggerating:p

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:48 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    half ain't that bad

    plus it's weird how people are being so uptight about the quality of handheld games.

    I don't think people should bash the DS or PSP for having great games equivalent to the consoles

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:21 03/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How is Yakuza 3 (ryu ga gotoku 3) ranked so high?

    I mean, I have the game, but I bought it used.. and it isn't English friendly.

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    11:17 04/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not very surprising list. Was expecting most of those titles.

    Avatar of GodOfSpeed
    Comment by GodOfSpeed
    11:02 01/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just wait for FFXIII gets translated into English and it will get the first place XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:21 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    My vote for the best non-Japanese game is Dragon Age.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:25 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bayonetta sucks monkey balls.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:26 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ha! Demon Souls is only 4! About the top 3 Anon is not convinced.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:29 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Heresy! Shinkuuu HADOUKEN!

    Avatar of Reimu Hakurei
    Comment by Reimu Hakurei
    21:03 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    21:03 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So glad to see BlazBlue in the top five.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of izu taisa
    Comment by izu taisa
    20:47 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    what?thats soo wrong.y?becoz theres no love plus at the top

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:31 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Agree, Love Plus FTW! (´o 3 o`)

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:05 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    hardly few people overseas can understand japanese not to mention their thousands of different letters/characters

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:23 01/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ummmmmmm thousands? There is only 1945 officially recognized kanji with an additional 200+ kanji planned to be added soon. Japanese writing isn't as ridiculous as people say. Also, the japanese syllabary is only 46 characters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:04 01/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I was given to understand that it is that way because most of those kanji have multiple meanings: that moonspeak expresses as many things as other languages do by cramming as many multiple meanings into its spoken & written words as they've been able to get away with so far. Kind of Orwellian if that's the case.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:15 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not if written in romaji sucker.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:59 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    if u see a string of fucking romanji u not going understand anyways idiot

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:51 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sadly, its not available in English which is why it does not qualify in this list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:14 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You loser, Ryu Ga Gatoku has no English version.

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    01:35 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Because EQUALITY NOW is at Customs, watching your every shipment of goodies overseas...

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:57 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You must be Canadian.

    Avatar of GHS
    Comment by GHS
    20:56 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    An altogether not too surprising a list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:01 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Devil Survivor is for DS, not PSP

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:44 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    the list is based on review score and not by the players themselves.

    1- I mostly find myself in disagreement with review scores, they might give a game ~60% yet I'll find myself wasting hours to no end on the game. And they might give a game >90% but I'll end up regretting purchasing the bloody thing.

    2- Unless the game is really something or a brand name, some of the reviewers seem to be racist to me. Few reviewers have written off games just because "Japanese people who want to see girls in strange reveling cloth"

    3- most of the western reviewers come with western style games as their background. Therefore when they come across a jRPG, they are been put off by the different style of story telling (specially the romantic side of it or teen main characters), character design and game system. So they end up not liking the game, I don't understand why they still wish to review the game if it is not their type of game?

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:08 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What makes you think the players are able to give a more accurate review score? Because they do not get any advertising money?

    You think you can find fair reviews from all the teeming masses of fanboys and haters?

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:46 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    no dear sir/madam, I do _NOT_ expect the masses to write a better review. But I expect a *FAN* of the type of game to be the one reviewing it.

    in other words, in the same way that reviews made by a FPS fan about a RTS game would be rejected. I expect the same treatment when someone write a review about "anime style" or "story based" games while the person is clearly having an issue with those type of games (don't let them read... even though they are *writers* themselves!).

    In some cases, the reviewer can't even look beyond the fact that the girls are wearing miniskirts! (how many teen girls in the west wear a miniskirt? clearly from the problems some reviewers have, I'd say not many). The strange thing is, the same reviewers *enjoy* a western games that have a sexy woman wearing tight cloth, but have a major issue with a *Japanese* title.

    I don't have exact quote, but I do remember reading things like: "even though it looks like action figures on fire, the fighting is intense", "when are they going to shout-up and let me kill someone?", "Japanese people seem to be obsesst with seeing girls in miniskirt fight each other while flashing their panties!", "When are the Japanese going to make games for grownups". Also someone wrote about "Tomoyo After -It's a Wonderful Life-" that it will be a wonderful life in "prison" (even though he was writing about the PSP version!)

    oh, and don't let us forget..... *cartoons* is what reviewers call *anime*.

    reviewers can go ahead and write reviews. But if they are biased from some reason or another, then they should declare that at the beginning of the review or better yet, don't bother reviewing it. If the reviewer view anime as "for children" or simple doesn't like long stories, then please do us a favor and don't do the review. Let someone who like those type of games review it and let this person give a proper score based on the quality of the story, game play and character design.

    Avatar of A_Moose
    Comment by A_Moose
    23:47 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    2 & 3 are G4 in a nutshell, except add "WAAHHHH THE MALE CHARACTERS ARE PRETTY" to #2.

    Game journalism is 50% bullshit.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:24 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    That is exactly why reviews are trash. Most reviewers just write their personal, biased opinions on the game, usually boosted by the hype (MW2 anyone?) and with much disdain to foreign productions. Sadly, most western gamers share the same opinions, and good eastern productions are thrown aside. I find it amazing that Dragon Quest and Shin Megami Tensei even appear on the list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:36 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ummmm, not to sure if you realize this but a review IS AN OPINION JACKASS! Open a fucking dictionary you retarded fanboy weaboo.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:33 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They probably just pick out one random review and rate it based on that review alone

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    22:03 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    10. 84% – Dragon Quest V (DS)

    It surprises me greatly to hear anyone even mention the name 'Dragon Quest'

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:48 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What the fuck? No Rapelay at #1? Damn you, Equality Now! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELLLLLLLLL!!!

    Ahem. To be honest, I'm kind of glad the eroge and dating sim industry isn't going global just yet. My dear Nene-chan remains mine, all mine ... *cackle*

    Avatar of Rokudaime
    Comment by Rokudaime
    07:53 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I actually recently downloaded and tried Rapelay just out of curiosity, and I have to say, while I hate Equality Now and all their bullshit, I can kind of understand why many people would react negatively to a game like this. It has flat out rape of a pre-adult teen, with crying and screaming, and in the introduction part you even kick her while she's lying down...more than once. And this is all in 3D btw (for those that didn't know) I find it rather disturbing. What I also wonder about is how on earth they get japanese women to voice the girls in these kinds of games...I mean, if a company tells you (the potential girl for the voice acting role), "hey, we're gonna make an interactive game where you rape and beat an underage girl, and we'd like you to voice her", why would they do it? I'm not a girl, so I can't put myself in their mindset, but I find it all to be rather strange, and hard to understand. I'm a pervert and all, and I love eroge and stuff like that, and I'm not gonna try and hide it, but I don't understand this crap...I kinda prefer the girls to ENJOY the sex...I'm deleting this game from my harddrive right now...

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:27 01/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Same reasons actresses take the roles of rape victims in movies: It's a paying job; they're under contract to work whatever roles are offered; appearing in as much stuff as possible keeps their name known & current in the industry, which keeps them employable for when the big role they really want comes along.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:20 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hope it never gets global.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:17 30/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Awesome Blazblue is top 5!

    10:14 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I don't get it, first Steroid Fighter IV is listed as one of the worst game of 2009 and all of sudden it scored the first spot here?

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:34 31/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think that posting was based on some fans opinions

    I really don't see why people complain so heavily over SFIV, calling it worst fighting game of the year

    KoF12 anyone?

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