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PSP Video Game Review: Densha de Go! Pocket: Chuuousen Hen (電車でGO! ポケット 中央線編)

The second game with more modes and bonuses and less concrete jungle!

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Densha de Go! Pocket: Chuuousen Hen (電車でGO! ポケット 中央線編 )

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

COMPANY: Taito

The second PSP game for the “Densha de Go! Pocket” series is here with the Chuuou-Sen Hen, the line that bisects the Yamanote Line (the first PSP DDGP release) in Central Tokyo. The goal is to drive the orange densha (train) aka Kaisoku and the white train (futsu) through Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Kanda, Ochanomizu, Yotsuya, Kunitachi and over 20 more stations.

And now, the drive through Tokyo is through areas where you see more homes, warehouses, store buildings as opposed to the major concrete jungle in Tokyo that is on the first PSP release.

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 for nostalgic reasons, remembering the “riding the densha in Tokyo” experience, I have enjoyed the games. But how does the second game compare to the first?

Since I prefer the city locations and more excited driving through the busy concrete jungle in the heart of Tokyo as such in the first release, I score this second release a bit higher than the first because it has a lot more features than the first game.

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 speed and brake.
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:

Starting off as a driver, your goal is to maintain the speed of the train (a indicator on the bottom right screen tells you of upcoming speeds (KM/H) that your train will need to be and also utilizing the brakes. The goal is to make it to your destination (the next stop) and stop exactly where the indicator says you have to stop. Go passed it or way before the stop area and you will receive negative points. Brake to hard and do something crazy and you will injure your passengers.

You start off with figures that represent your passengers (a total of 10) and you have to make sure you don’t lose them all. By missing a stop or by braking too quickly, you will lose passengers and when you lose them all, your game ends. Fortunately, you can continue and start over.

You start off with three levels. The first is a tutorial and when you scroll through the list, you see several opened levels which you can test your speed and braking skills through several stops on the Chuuou Line.

By successfully completing your stops and beating a stage, you earn money which can be used to buy new levels in the game. Otherwise, you replay the stages you played to earn the money needed to access the next level.

Also, by doing well, you will be able to access several bonuses and videos.

As conductor, it is very different. It’s actually quite easy. The main goal of the conductor is making sure you announce the right stops. This may be difficult for non-Japanese readers or those not familiar with the Japan because you are told where to go, then given a map, you will need to select the area where you are going. Fortunately, the instruction booklet has the translation of the city stops (or you can select via direction pad and guesstimate the cities quickly). Otherwise, the main reason for this mode is to watch the train from the outside (overhead or sideways) as it is driving towards a destination.

YAMANOTE vs. CHUUOU: Gameplay is a little more challenging in Chuuou because there will be times you will be guessing the speed that you must go (more than likely 80-100 kmph). Where the first game kept an indicator of how fast you go, for some reason Chuuou does it a bit less. Also, since you are going at faster speeds, you will definitely need to time your braking to the stops much sooner than Yamanote Line. Also, you will notice hills that increase your speed when going downhill, so fine tuning with your speed decisions come in to play much more in this game. Also, arrival time in certain points of the game is even more important.

Also, new to the Chuuou Line is the light indicators (similar to stoplights) which you will see a few times when going through the line. Seeing a yellow light means you go 45 km/h, 3 white lights at 25km/h

Last, with the addition of ENJOY MODE, people who want things easier can now just worry about just the basics…speed and braking.

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are very well done. I played the original PlayStation version and the PSP version is such a big leap in terms of graphics. How they captured the buildings, trees and local areas around the station while riding the train is beautiful. Only in Conductor’s Work Mode, will you see something which I didn’t like which was the people at the station. They are photo cutouts of people waiting. I wished that Taito would add possibly several 3D characters waiting or moving around the station like real life than just photo cutouts of people that are just standing there.

The difference with this game versus the last is that you get more scenery and you see more homes and warehouses, whereas the first game (Yamanote Line) features many buildings. Also, marker indicators have changed in this game and you will see more light indicators now on your indicator.

Also new is museum mode which if you do well, you unlock weird things such as UFO’s and other Taito trademarks (Space Invaders).

AUDIO:

The audio in this game makes the game very much appealing. Hearing the music of the station before boarding to the female voice explaining about procedures for people to leave the train and much more. Also, the conductor talking about upcoming stops and much more. Just like riding a real train around Tokyo.

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 – Chuuou Line” is a very enjoyable game for the PSP. It’s really hard to promote a game like this for American video gamers and will appeal to those who enjoy trains and want a simulator or those like myself who reminisce about being in Japan and riding the JR trains everyday to get to destinations.

The second game adds a little more to the train experience which makes the game a bit more challenging and fun but also the addition of the ENJOY MODE, makes it easier for people who are challenged by the gameplay. Also, the wackiness of MUSEUM MODE and the addition of the Narita Express (yes, that long ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo is in this game and can be earned).

As I enjoyed the first game (Yamanote Sen-Hen) because you ride through the busy Tokyo areas, Chuuou Sen-Hen is more about driving through neighborhoods and warehouses which you see a bit more scenery but nevertheless, if you need to choose one game to get, because this version features less high rises and buildings and more scenery, with two DDGP Tokyo games out, you now have a decision of which Tokyo backdrop that you prefer to drive in.

I still have the same feelings for this game that I had with Yamanote in exact stopping but I learned that the rule of thumb is not to be exact and that stopping before the exact point is still good.

Nevertheless, this game does what the game is intended to do. Operating a major train through Tokyo and stopping around 25 stations while maintaining happy passengers and getting them to their destinations in time. For me, it’s more of a nostalgic feeling of riding a train to various locations and Tokyo (minus the large crowds) and thus making it enjoyable.

OVERALL SCORE: 86%/100

PROS:

+ A train simulator going through major stops through another line of Tokyo but more near residential versus in the metro area makes things different.
+ Addition of ENJOY MODE to make the game easier for people who find the game challenging.
+ Wacky additions to MUSEUM MODE
+ For people wanting more of a challenge, with less reference to a speed monitor and downhill speeding makes focusing on speed a major factor in Chuou Line.
+ 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
+ Chuuou Sen-Hen is more scenery based with more homes and store buildings and greenery and less concrete jungle.
+ The ability to open the Narita Express route and reminisce of that long ride from Tokyo to the airport.

CONS:
– Although the control scheme is simple, maintaining happy passengers and breaking exactly in the stop areas of the station is a challenge.
– Less use of speed monitor in this game makes guessing speeds a challenge.
– 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.
– If you prefer city lights and tall buildings, then the first game – Yamanote Sen-Hen is for you because driving through neighborhoods, store buildings and warehouses may not appeal to certain people.
– 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.

Reviewer’s Score: 8/10

Nintendo Wii Video Game Review: Furu Furu Park

What could have been a fun Wii game with interesting and cute mini games gets lost in translation with the removal of two key single player modes for the US release.

VIDEO GAME: Furu Furu Park (ふるふるぱーく)

COMPANY: TAITO / Distributed by Majesco

RATING: E (Everyone) – Cartoon Violence

Spin It! Shake It! Swing It! Even Rev it? Your Wii Remote is your golden ticket to the Furu Furu Park from retro Taito classics to quirky new experiences, this collection of ultra fun mini-games features outrageous characters and unique gameplay challenges that will keep you oving!

30 Mini-Games in All!

Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Sonic Blastman, Pocky & Rocky, Pinch Hitter, Super Karate, Safe Cracker, Rev the Engine, Skateboarding, Camel Maze, Swan Runner and many more.

Compete against a friend in 3 different multiplayer modes, including the Love Challenge that lets you test your compatibility

I am typically fond of video games with a Tokyo flavor. The more Japanese games-style games that are over-the-top, I certainly welcome them. One such game that we had such high hopes for is “Furu Furu Park” a Wii spin-off of a Japanese arcade game titled “Mawasunda”.

“Mawasunda” was released on the Nintendo DS as “Turn It Around” and now we have “Furu Furu Park”, the US release to feature 30-mini games and for Taito fans, there are some classics that get the mini-game spin that we can’t help but be excited.

Unfortunately, our enthusiasm started to wane when we found out the “Ikemen Challenge” which was part of single mode in the Japanese version, where you had to wow a girl (ala dating sim) and win mini-games to win the girls affection. Of course, possibly to make things more politically correct, Majesco chose to remove that part of the game from the American version of “Furu Furu Park”.

For Okonomi mode in the Japanese version, you had 24-mini games which you would challenge yourself to open up the locked mini-games but for some reason, Majesco chose to remove that and just give you all 30-mini games to play.

So, all mini-games are opened up in single player mode (called “Free Play”) and what is left is you choosing a game and play for a minute or two and then go on to the next mini-game.

One thing we do like about the mini-games is that they are challenging and some games are so wacky and over-the-top, you can’t help but laugh or smile about it. Also, for Japanese pop culture fans, there is the inclusion of Japanese-style games such as the two sushi games, takoyaki game and more.

Another thing that I liked is the price point. $19.99 is pretty low for a Nintendo Wii game and also, some games are easy enough for toddlers and young children to learn and play.

There are some games that utilize the wii-mote and nunchuk really well but some games that you really want to play (especially games such as “Arkanoid”) are really hampered by terrible controls that the games are simply just not fun to play.

Now, of course there are other modes in single player such as “Challenge Mode” which you choose five games and impress the judge who will rate your style of gameplay.

For dual play mode, there are three choices. There is “Free Battle” (competing with another friend in playing any of the 30 mini games. “Love Challenge” is where you battle against a friend and play mini-games to test your compatibility in the eyes of Afro Love. “Panel Attack” where you face off against your opponent in split screen and turn-based competition.

So, there is somewhat a party game mentality with this game (although only two players) which is not bad. But I’m quite bummed that they really changed things with the first player mode.

J!-FACTOR:

Japanese pop culture fans will love the Japanese style of gaming and wackiness such as the sushi games which three people eating at a Zaiten-sushi (conveyor belt) want a certain sushi (sushi shows up on top of their head) and with the wii, you try to rotate the conveyor belt to give them what they want.

The Takoyaki cooking game is something that seems so “Cooking Mama” like but yet cool to play because it’s so easy and fun.

A wacky game titled “Hammer Throw” features three men with afro’s and your character must swing the afro men in a javelin-like competition and wherever the afro-sporting guys land, you get points. Get 200 points, you win.

Another game titled “Snow Cone” is where you motion your wiimote like a lever to make a lot of variations of shaved ice.

“Pocky and Rocky” features a NES style of game where you shoot enemies. “Bubble Bobble” is like the classic and “Dragonfly Hunter” features dragonflys which you use the Wiimote to make them dizzy and Afro dragonfly’s that you flick off.

And there are many other games that find a use for the Wiimote.

For me, the price point was low, the mini-games interesting and fun but some games just hampered by the janky control.

Also, the removal of the challenges and other single player modes that were on the Japanese version but removed from the US version is just not cool at all!

But you take what you can get and “Furu Furu Park” is not horrible. For it’s price, it’s a game with a lot of mini-games but the potential just lost because Majesco just removed the other single player modes. Why? Who knows…

Another thing that I didn’t like was that on free play, if you lost and want to retry, you are taken back to the main screen, selecting the game all over again and having to repeat each time you complete or lose a game. Why not just give an option to retry. For me, the time you waste having to go back to the main menu after each game, just to replay a game just totally blows.

But for those who enjoy games with Japanese culture elements, like we do…then the game can really be fun and at the price point it is right now, it is one of the cheaper WII games out there that utilizes the Wii mote in a variety of ways.

POSITIVES:

+ 30 cute, wacky and Japanese style mini-games with some Taito classics included

+ One of the cheaper Wii games at $19.99

+ Mini-games utilize the Wiimote in a variety of ways

CONS:

– Removal of the Single Player Modes that were on the Japanese version, but eliminated for the US version.

– Bad controls for a number of the mini-games

– Other issues in the game that made us want to shut our Nintendo Wii off

PSP Video Game Review: Mobile Train Simulator + Densha de GO! Tokyo Kyuukou Hen (Mobile Train Simulator+電車でGO! 東京急行編 -)

Interesting concept of using full motion video… but compared to other “Densha de GO!” games on the PSP, this video game is average at best!

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Mobile Train Simulator + Densha de GO! Tokyo Kyuukou Hen (Mobile Train Simulator+電車でGO! 東京急行編 -)

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

COMPANY: Taito

“Mobile Train Simulator + Densha de Go!” is another train simulator game released for the PSP but how does it rank among the many train simulator games out for the portable console. Let me just say that I enjoy these train simulator games. I enjoy DDG for the gameplay, the ambience and the fun of obtaining chain combos and earning money to open up new routes. With “Mobile Train Simulator + Densha de Go!”, this game is quite different with the fact that instead of 3D environments and train, this time around, it’s full motion video.

The following game is published by Ongakukan and in conjunction have teamed up with Taito’s “Densha de Go!” team (for the video) to provide you two games. Same tracks but different presentation. Where DDG has focused on Japan Railways, this game focuses on Tokyu Corporation and lines in Southern Tokyo (Den’en Toshi Line, Toyoko Line and Oimachi Line). One may assume that because the game utilizes full motion video that it’s a better game. So, is it?

GAMEPLAY:

Before I compare this game vs. the difference with the other Densha de Go! Titles on the PSP, here are the differences between the two games: MOBILE TRAIN SIMULATOR is like an arcade game. Unlike the bells and whistles of graphics that are seen on DDG games, your treated by numeric counters. Without having to worry too much about passengers getting injured or falling over, the benefit is that you have a little more leeway when it comes to speeding up and braking. Unfortunately, you don’t have as much leeway in the actual game because several errors and the game is over.

DENSHA DE GO! Is similar to the other previous DDG games but with a different control scheme for braking and gas, the indicator of speed and station nearing you is on the bottom and you get to see the mascot and and passengers voice their concerns about your driving skill more.

This version of MOBILE TRAIN SIMULATOR + DENSHA DE GO! versus the DENSHA DE GO! Series on the PSP: This differences between this DDG versus the other DDG games on the PSP.

– One thing missing is the map indicator (showing you how many stations you will be visiting per route). There is no map indicator in the game.

– No chain combos or money to purchase new routes. This game is based on your skill of doing well and earning points.

– In the DDG games, you lose when 10 of your passengers are all lost. But you can continue a new game. You can continue on DDG but not on MTS.

– Controls are much more different. This version of DDG is up for brakes and down for gas on the D-Pad.

– The indicators are on the bottom and not as good as the indicators on a DDG game. You guess a lot more in this game of when to brake and you need to get the train within a meter or exact.

– When preparing for the next station, some want you to wait close to two minutes before you can get off and go. Sure, maybe in real life, a conductor or driver may have to wait but I didn’t want to wait just to start playing again.

– The mascot pops up if you mess up where in a tyical DDG game, mascot/host shows up only on tutorial.

– No ENJOY MODE in this version of DDG.

GRAPHICS:

I have to admit that I was very excited to hear that a train simulation was incorporation full motion video. What I can say is that when you are moving at a fast speed, the graphics look very nice. It’s just when you are driving at a slow speed or slowing down, things start to get laggy and instead of fluid video, it becomes frames of video and it can get ugly. Also, with DDG, since it’s 3D, they have more creativity to work with in terms of weather conditions and riding night and day, cloudy, rainy or sunny. You don’t have that in this game. My biggest complaint on DDG games are the cardboard cutouts of photos of people in the station, in this game you get to see people moving around. Which is nice!

AUDIO:

Missing are the sounds that I enjoyed from the DDG games. The music at the stations, the ambiance. Also, there is weird sound distribution of some audio coming from the right earbud and not the left and this happened quite a few times.

GAMEPLAY:

All in all, “Mobile Train Simulator + Densha De Go!” is a good buy for train simulator fans. The use of full motion video is nice and I can see fluidity on the console versions but to do this for the PSP was rather ambitious and when it works, it works and looks great. When it slows down, then the problems of using video is very evident when it slows down by frame or lag.

I do like the utilization of the characters who are shown to vent out their frustration when you do something wrong. All in all, the graphic presentation and having it in video was amazing, unfortunately the lines are more residential than metro and you may find yourself driving underground in tunnels quite a bit. I like the fact that you get two different versions of the game using the same line. Different presentations for each game and I enjoy that there are two different games which adds to the replay ability. What I have a problem with this Ongakukan Densha de Go! Version of this game is the fact that it’s too different from the Taito DDG games on the PSP in terms of gameplay.

I enjoy the DDG games a lot and the new interface and how things were laid out were not too my liking.

With DDG games having the indicators on the right, it made it easier to navigate and enjoy the scenery. By putting it into the bottom, you miss out on the scenery if it’s a short ride to different stations. With this game being video based, you want to see the scenery. I felt that the DDG games on the PSP was much better in predicting where to brake and speed up. I felt that the brakes were not as responsive as I would have liked. And the fact that you need to be within a meter or exact was not to my liking. Last, the user-friendliness of this game is friendly for non-Japanese readers. You can figure it out the controls easily but what is missing is the tutorial found on Taitou DDG games. This game does not have a tutorial route.

So, overall, the interface of “Mobile Train Simulator + Densha De Go!” was too different for me that I didn’t enjoy it as much. There is a lot of potential for a full motion video densha game but what can be done on the PSP is quite limiting and the slow frame rate during slower speeds combined with a different style of interface for the Densha de Go! Version was too different from the other DDG versions that I couldn’t get excited for it.

OVERALL SCORE: 79%/100

PROS:

+ Game is in full motion video

+ Two games in one

+ Simple gameplay and easy to figure out


CONS:

– Video has glitching during slow down
– Limited to the video captured which there are no weather conditions, night driving or other sights that the other DDG Pocket games on the PSP have.
– No ENJOY MODE for newbies.
– Audio is not exciting compared to the other Densha de Go! PSP games.
– Controls and interface is to be desired
– Arrival indicator on the bottom instead of the side of this DDG version is just bad.

Reviewer’s Score: 7/10

A PSP Video Game Review: Densha de GO! POCKET – Yamanote Line (電車でGO! ポケット 山手線編)

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

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Densha de Go! Pocket: Yamanote Line (電車でGO! ポケット 山手線編)

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

COMPANY: Taito

Densha de Go! Pocket (Yamanote Line/Yamanote-Sen Hen) is the first Tokyo train game and the first “Densha de GO!” game from Taito for the PSP.

One of the highlights of the game is the ability to be a driver or a conductor as you drive passengers (and pick up passengers) to various destinations in the Kanto region such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Akihabara and around 30 stations.

I know many of you may be wondering why? Why a train game/simulator. I know, it’s hard to fathom of why even purchase a game about train simulations. But believe me, it’s fun (especially if you miss Japan and miss riding on the train to go to certain stops in Tokyo – I know…it sounds rather Japanophile geeky).

But with enjoyable gameplay, it may not be for everyone but if you give it a try, it will attract those who are interested in trying something that is very Japanese culture-based but at the same time, enjoyable to play or a person who is missing the riding of trains in Tokyo (like I do).

There are several modes in this game:

DRIVER’S WORK: Your role is to drive the train to each destination in the given time and taking care of your passengers (ie. not braking too fast and have your passengers falling on each other).

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 unlocked

OPTIONS: Sound, Display and Controller settings

Starting off as a driver, your goal is to maintain the speed of the train (a indicator on the bottom right screen tells you of upcoming speeds (KMPH) that your train will need to be and also utilizing the brakes. The goal is to make it to your destination (the next stop) and stop exactly where the indicator says you have to stop. Go passed it or way before the stop area and you will receive negative points. Brake to hard and do something crazy and you will injure your passengers.

You start off with figures that represent your passengers (a total of 10) and you have to make sure you don’t lose them all. By missing a stop or by braking too quickly, you will lose passengers and when you lose them all, your game ends. Fortunately, you can continue and start over.

You start off with three levels. The first is a tutorial, the second is where you need to complete around 8 stops and the next is where you need to complete around 4 stops. With each level, you get to operate different trains, in different weather conditions.

By successfully completing your stops and beating a stage, you earn money which can be used to buy new levels in the game. Otherwise, you replay the stages you played to earn the money needed to access the next level.

Also, by doing well, you will be able to access several bonuses and videos.

As conductor, it is very different. It’s actually quite easy. The main goal of the conductor is making sure you announce the right stops. This may be difficult for non-Japanese readers or those not familiar with the Japan because you are told where to go, then given a map, you will need to select the area where you are going. Fortunately, the instruction booklet has the translation of the city stops (or you can select via direction pad and guesstimate the cities quickly). Otherwise, the main reason for this mode is to watch the train from the outside (overhead or sideways) as it is driving towards a destination.

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are very well done. I played the original PlayStation version and the PSP version is such a big leap in terms of graphics. How they captured the buildings, trees and local areas around the station while riding the train is beautiful. Only in Conductor’s Work Mode, will you see something which I didn’t like which was the people at the station. They are photo cutouts of people waiting. I wished that Taito would add possibly several 3D characters waiting or moving around the station like real life than just photo cutouts of people that are just standing there.

AUDIO:

The audio in this game makes the game very much appealing. Hearing the music of the station before boarding to the female voice explaining about procedures for people to leave the train and much more. Also, the conductor talking about upcoming stops and much more. Just like riding a real train around Tokyo.

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.

“Densha de Go! Pocket – Yamanote Line” is a very enjoyable game for the PSP. It’s really hard to promote a game like this for American video gamers and will appeal to those who enjoy trains and want a simulator or those like myself who reminisce about being in Japan and riding the JR trains everyday to get to destinations.

In terms of gameplay, Driver’s Work mode sounds easy because the controls are simple but in actuality, it takes some patience and additional play to learn where to calculate your breaking as you try to stop in an exact area at the station without having your passengers rock around and fall (an indicator of people falling shows if you have done that). At times, I felt that I would receive a fantastic rating by landing in the exact spot to find that I went over the stop area by just a wee inch and that can be a bit unnerving.

For Conductor’s Work mode, it’s very simple; you only have a few things to do. With only a few clicks of a button for the right stop and at the right time and the beginning and of arrival or departure, that’s it. The main purpose of this mode is to watch the train travel from overhead or sideways and watch as it reaches the station.

Nevertheless, this game does what the game is intended to do. Operating major trains throughout Tokyo and stopping around 30 stations while maintaining happy passengers and getting them to their destinations in time. For me, it’s more of a nostalgic feeling of riding a train to various locations and Tokyo (minus the large crowds) and thus making it enjoyable.

PROS:

+ A train simulator going through major stops through Tokyo and with nice graphics and sound, it’s like riding in the train.
+ 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
+ Experiencing the ride through Shibuya and busy areas without having to experience the crowdedness in real life.

CONS:
– Although the control scheme is simple, maintaining happy passengers and breaking exactly in the stop areas of the station is a challenge.
– 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.