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A PSP Video Game Review: Densha de Go! Pocket: Osaka Kanjousen Hen (電車でGO! ポケット大阪環状線編)

For the fans of “Densha de GO!” who are familiar with the Kanjousen Hen in Osaka and have a Sony PSP, this is a pretty cool video game to pick up!

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Densha de Go! Pocket: Osaka Kanjousen Hen(電車でGO! ポケット大阪環状線編)

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

COMPANY: Taito

The third PSP game for the “Densha de Go! Pocket” series is here and this time it leaves the Tokyo kanto region and goes to the kansai area with the Osaka Kanjousen-Hen, which you get to be part of West Japan Railway Company and drive the passengers to their destination through the Osaka Loop Line to 20 stops such as Tennoji, Ashiharabashi, Noda, Osaka, Tenma, Kyobashi, Teradacho and more.

Densha de Go! Games are games that are an acquired taste. In a million years would I ever thought I would be into train simulators but since playing the original Playstation game and the other two PSP releases and enjoying them, I figured that I’d give the third game a try and also see how things look in Osaka through the game, since I have not traveled to the Kansai area.

MODES:

DRIVER’S WORK: Your role is to drive the train to each destination and taking care of your passengers New to this game is the ENJOY MODE where you don’t worry about timing or arrival schedule but you have control to select two items to either boost/slow down your speed x2. double your points or stop the timer and more.
CONDUCTOR’S WORK: Your role is to make sure the train goes to the right destination and you signal the correct time for the announcement. More or less a way to watch the train drive to destination from outside of the train in different camera modes.
DRIVER’S ROOM: Your stats
BUSINESS CARD EXCHANGE: This will allow you to trade business cards (think of it as a trading card) with others who own the game to play different trains they have accessed via wireless.
MUSEUM: Train Introduction and videos that you have opened
OPTIONS: Sound, Display and Controller settings

GAMEPLAY:

The gameplay of “Densha De go! Pocket – Osaka Kanjousen-Hen” is the same as the other games but interesting enough much more challenging than the other two.

The goal is to transport passengers to different stops and in Driver’s Work mode, your goal is to control the speed and the brakes. By having the correct speed and timing your stop at the station, you gain points which translates to money to buy more sections. Better stops translates to bonuses which you can open things up in the game.

Like the second “Chuou Line” game, there are lights which dictate a speed you must go by. In “Osaka Loop Line”, what will make things more challenging to people is that the speed is not displayed as much in this game. Using your experience from the previous two games helps. Fortunately, when you go faster, the indicator will tell you to slow down but there is a lot of guessing of what speed you have to go by and also, looking at the slights (look at the manual to see what km/h you must drive in, when you see these lights)

Also, this version seems to be strict on arrival times and stopping at the station. Where in the previous games, I had the luxury to slow down early and coast to the stop line and use the brakes to get a fantastic rating. Now, in this game…slow down early and I go past the arrival time and get docked big points. Thankfully there is ENJOY MODE to stop the arrival time.

Also, a big difference than previous games is the Osaka Loop Line. Imagine having to go through every station and playing for nearly an hour. Thankfully, the PSP has sleep mode but too bad you can’t save where you last left off.

Conductor’s Work Mode works the same. Your main goal, choose the map and close the doors at the right moment. Gives the game the outside look of the train as it travels to destinations, if you prefer this mode.

YAMANOTE & CHUUOU vs. OSAKA KANJOUSEN-HEN:

Gameplay is more challenging in Osaka Kanjousen-Hen as mentioned above. There’s a lot more precision and focus involved in this game and with arrival time being strict, getting those Fantastics are a little more complicated. If you want to choose one game to start off with, I highly recommend Yamanote but if your preference is more to Kansai surroundings, then this third release is what you want.

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are improved it seems in this game. The buildings look more sharp and nice. Also, it’s nice to see the dark rain clouds moving. I looked at the other two games and the clouds are moving but for some reason, I guess it looks nice in the third release.

AUDIO:

The audio in this game makes the game very much appealing and if you are nostalgic of the voices. I will say that the Osaka Kanjousen-Hen features more male voices in the announcements rather than female, if that matters to you.

CONTROLS:

In Driver’s Work: Controls are actual very simple. Directional pad up and down to control speed and square button to break and X button to release breaks. That’s pretty much it. In Conductor’s Work, direction pad selects the stops you are announcing and the shoulder buttons will be used to play the audio needed when riding the train.

USER FRIENDLINESS TO NON-JAPANESE READERS:

The game is actually very user-friendly for Driver’s Work mode. Although the tutorial is an animated character explaining the game, diagrams and arrows telling you to press a button to break or to speed up is pretty self-explanatory. For Conductor’s Work mode, it may seem unnerving at first if you have to select a city when the map comes on. Fortunately, you have seconds (enough time) to quickly guesstimate the stop that you are going to next by selecting stops on the map as quickly as possible. I do highly recommend looking at the manual since there are lights which indicate a certain speed you need to go by.

All in all “Densha de Go! Pocket – Osaka Kanjousen-Hen” is a very enjoyable but much more challenging than the previous games in my opinion. Although, I was able to get “Fantastic” a few times, this third release is very strict on arrival time. Moreso, that instead of slowing down early on and coasting until you get to the final stop, this game requires you to time your brakes right when going full speed and getting close to the stop and then utilizing a lot of the brake and then moving on. To make matters worse, those lights that determine slow down speed are there and you will find yourself going 80 to 45 km/h and thus really putting pressure on you to make it to the stop on time.

So, all in all, this game is challenging and I recommend this game for those who played the game before or have played any of the first two PSP games. They’ll help you prepare and understand what to do, otherwise, newbies may become frustrated. Fortunately, it’s not a hard learning curve to get things right in this game, so newbies may learn it quickly. Again, if you are frustrated, the good news is you can go to ENJOY MODE and eliminate the arrival time.

OVERALL SCORE: 86%/100

PROS:

+ A train simulator going through major stops through the Osaka Line or the entire Osaka Loop.
+ Graphics seem sharper and nicer in this latest version.
+ Addition of ENJOY MODE to make the game easier for people who find the game challenging.
+ According to the case: Opening characters from EXIT And Rakugaki Oukoku.
+ For people wanting more of a challenge, this is the most challenging of the Densha de Go! Pocket series
+ You can play the driver or the conductor
+ Ability to open up new routes and bonuses
+ Business cards allow trading of trains with people who have the game
+ Driver’s Work mode is pretty user-friendly for non-Japanese readers
+ Quick load up time

CONS:
– Although the control scheme is simple, maintaining happy passengers and breaking exactly in the stop areas of the station is a challenge.
– With a greater emphasis on arrival time, it may make the normal mode for some people a bit more unforgiving. (fortunately there is ENJOY MODE)
– Even less use of speed monitor in this game makes guessing speeds a challenge.
– The most challenging game of the three. Not entirely difficult but a more challenging to get bigger points and a fantastic rating.
– Wireless trading is great but chances of finding people living outside of Japan owning the game may be a bit rare.
– Conductor’s Work mode maybe a challenge for non-Japanese readers or people familiar with the stops.
– In Conductor’s Work mode, I wish there are people moving around instead of photo cutouts of people in line waiting for the train.
– For people who want negligence in the forms of bad accidents, you are not going to find it in this game. This is not Burnout Legends.
– BEING NITPICKY: Taito’s opening theme sounds and looks like it came from a Japan Railways training video and yes, uses the same theme as the first game.

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