Okay, since I had work today in the general area, I decided to stop by the only known arcade in Japan with the test location version of ReRave by Step Evolution LLC. The game has already appeared in arcades in the West but the expansion to Asia is relatively recent.
So anyways, the arcade that has it is called "Tokyo Gulliver" (東京ガリバー) and it is right by the East exit of Matsudo Station in Chiba (on the Joban line). Once you take the elevator down from the main concourse, you can see it on your right almost immediately
In the arcade, the games are broken up by floor, which is nothing that special, actually. The pachinko games are on the 3rd and 4th floors. Music games are normally in the basement according to this (there are some Project DIVA arcade machines there), but the Bemani and ReRave was on the 2nd floor for some reason.
So anyways, after sorting through the initial confusion of where the games even were, I found the ReRave game on the 2nd floor near the elevators (one of the sets of elevators). More precisely, my son was drawn to it.
The screen and sound system were both eye-catching and looked/sounded great, no doubt about that. In comparison, the volume on the other music games nearby (DDR, Beatmania IIDX, Beatmania The Final, GF/DM, etc.) were quiet.
While I was trying to
sneak blatantly and obviously photograph the game, a few people did go up and read the instructions/play a game.
Note that the in-game instructions are all in English. For music and action games, this really isn't a problem though I suppose some in-game localization would have been a nice touch. There were a few cards stuck next to the machine in Japanese saying what to do, however.
Of course, whenever I tried to have a round, my son was either bashing on the screen or running around the arcade screaming and I had to forfeit my game to catch him, so this is the only result of mine I could get without any of that.
So there it is in a nutshell. After this last gratuitous photo, I will note the major points I observed as well as what the staff noted since the game arrived two days ago (Friday)
Observations from myself/staff/staff comments:
- The game only just arrived on Friday (13th), 2012
- The general reaction has been all right. A number of people have tried it but a notable issue is that Matsudo Station is pretty far from the central part of Tokyo and many of the more hardcore music gamers that would probably love to play this are a bit alienated with the machine so far out. If the machine were closer to central Tokyo, say one of the Leisure Land arcades, St. Tropez in Ikebukuro, and of the Taito Stations or even any of the Round One arcades, it would probably draw more players, at least initially
- (Update) Granted, DJMax Technika had a pick of great locations for their localized release and it still ended up secluded to a small cult following.
- 100 yen for two songs isn't bad (100 yen for three songs tends to be the standard for music games, though (Taiko no Tatsujin being a notable exception, though even then a number of them are set to 3 songs)
- With the Konami games there is an eAmuse card the player can use as an ID card linked to an account that stores scores and rivals, personal progress, etc. and requires the player memorize a 4 digit number. There is a longer (8 in many cases) game ID number associated with the eAmuse account for the player and a 16 character (20?) string used to identify the card...but in the end the player only has to worry about a 4 digit code of their choosing.
- With ReRave, it asks for a login ID and password. If you don't have one you can register one from the ReRave site, but it would have been nice to be able to do this from within the game somehow. Many arcades have internet connections anyways, though some of that is for proprietary networks like eAmuse.
- Not having to use a card is very nice, though the ID/Password strings could get quite long. Gamers are impatient in that way. Is there a way to shorten this whole process somehow?
- The banners are nice and clear, but is there anyway to sort the songs or display them other than a huge long single-line stream of cover art? It feels like it takes forever to sift through the song list
- (Update) I understand there are different sorting methods but I was talking more in terms of displaying more songs on the screen. Jubeat manages to fit 12 on a smaller screen. Maybe have an iOS-like pinch/expand gesture feature that lets the user zoom in/out to see more songs, with there being two, three, etc. columns when the covers get small enough.
- One of the big complaints from the staff (through beginner players) is that the game fails you out a bit too quickly, even on the easier settings. You do get to select another song, but it just seemed too harsh for the beginners. The hardcore players probably wouldn't care so much, but they are outnumbered by the casual gamers anyways, and it makes the game seem too intimidating to have it so readily fail out the player
- Players sometimes don't know you can play a 2nd song even if you fail the first and walk away at the "failed" results screen
- (Update) I understand the act of failing out the player as that is done in other games and has been so for a long time, but for beginners especially, maybe let the player at least finish his/her song? (Maybe only do that if the song is on basic difficulty?)
- The actual judgment timing-wise is fine if you are on beat. The position judgment looks fine too, though it is a bit hard to determine so early just how it sits with the players. Some think the positional accuracy may be slightly subjective based on how the players angle/position their finger to touch the screen. There isn't any way for a player to have a custom alignment, is there?
- No problems with the music. It all sounds good but there are no noted favorites at this time; that would take a while to form a basis, anyways. Nothing is really 'hated' at this point at least.
- Not much to say, but the symbols, once they are understood, are easy to see and everything is crisp and clear for the most part. The higher difficulties get a bit muddy and confusing to read, though then again I suppose that is the point.
- Everything is very vibrant and colorful.
- The game is getting some decent game play despite the location and it is interesting to the players, though perhaps slightly intimidating to some for reasons listed above
- DJMax Technika was released in Tokyo a while ago but it never really took off. It had a cult following as an import game at World Game Circus but when there was a localized release it didn't really take off.
- I would definitely like to see more of these machines in arcades across Tokyo. Maybe shuffle the "test location" arcade around once in a while? (I can speak with Odaiba Tokyo Leisure Land if you are interested. That is still a bit out of the way but it is in the middle of Palette Town near Odaiba and draws a lot of traffic)