When you needed to clarify Yo-kai Watch in a nutshell to somebody who’s by no means heard of or performed it, you may boil it right down to “Pokemon however with Japanese ghosts” or “Child’s first Shin Megami Tensei.” Something grim or distressing a couple of child who can discuss to ghosts goes by the wayside when the ghosts are comical entities like a lacking left sock or a possessed police automobile. On this third expansive and quirky outing for the Yo-kai Watch collection, our hero Nate has to tackle a quest much more daunting than something he’s confronted to this point: shifting to America.
Particularly, Nate’s household finally ends up shifting to BBQ, an over-the-top caricature of Texas, for his dad’s job, and finds that the U.S. has supernatural issues all its personal that he and his greatest yokai buddies, a cat named Jibanyan and an uber-effete ghost butler named Whisper, must deal with. In the meantime, again in Nate’s hometown of Springdale (which is positioned in Japan), a bubbly ball of nerdy power named Hailey-Anne is enticed into shopping for a Yo-kai Watch of her personal, which ties her to Usapyon, a ghost astronaut rabbit. Caught with one another, they kind a detective company.
That is actually over-the-top so far as a recreation aimed squarely at a youthful viewers goes, and that is largely a results of the way it’s been localized. Yo-kai Watch three was initially two video games in Japan, with Nate and Hailey-Anne’s tales comprising a recreation every. The model launched within the West has mixed the 2, permitting gamers to modify to the opposite marketing campaign at will, earlier than the 2 tales converge within the later hours. It is a daring selection that permits you a ton of management over the way you expertise the sprawling narrative, however it additionally highlights simply how a lot the narrative did not must sprawl to start with. The primary main plot factors of each stories–Nate assembly a boy in BBQ who can see yokai as properly, and Hailey-Anne beginning the detective agency–are a great 5 or 6 hours in. Having each tales in the identical package deal is a constructive, however having to manually thread collectively two tales that might already stand to be a bit of extra concise is much less so.
On the plus aspect, that does provide you with ample cause to decelerate and actually absorb your environment, which is actually one of many better joys on this recreation. Regardless of the aesthetic, the interpretations of Japan and Texas are surprisingly intricate locations full of individuals price chatting with and locations to wander away to. As the sport went on, one among my favourite issues to do in it was to journey the trains in Springdale, lacking stops simply to go searching. As well as, Nate’s story has the compelling aspect of him attempting to get accustomed to American tradition, and from time to time, work you do in one of many towns–unlocking an app, or asking somebody for a favor–affects the story within the different. However by and huge, a lot of the primary half of the sport has each Nate and Hailey-Anne doing random fetch quests or being distracted with the sport’s quite a few aspect missions, that are enjoyable however wholly tangential from the primary recreation. That creates a serious drawback with pacing early on.
Yo-kai Watch has all the time been an accessible collection, and this third entry is not any totally different. The cycle of gameplay often boils right down to Nate discovering a possessed human doing one thing uncommon, utilizing the watch to disclose the yokai controlling them, and getting right into a easy showdown with it. After these battles, there is a sturdy likelihood it joins your menagerie of pleasant yokai who can be utilized to battle different yokai–of which there are a whopping 600-plus. There are only a few of what seasoned RPG veterans may contemplate a dungeon, and when there are, so long as you have discovered no less than six yokai you want, you’ll be able to blow via almost all of them in mere minutes, with no actual urgent want to gather extra apart from the sheer pleasure of gathering them.
Fight does ostensibly have some measure of depth in comparison with the collection’ predecessors, with the addition of a 3×3 grid system that lets you transfer yokai round to dodge assaults and decide up particular objects. There’s additionally loads of details about every yokai which you’ll be able to put to good use, corresponding to elemental weaknesses and their most popular meals. That is all alongside acquainted mechanics like quirky mini-games used to heal yokai which have been bothered with standing results or to cost up final (or extra precisely, Soultimate) assaults. However aside from the occasional boss battle and the quite welcome problem spike of the ultimate third of the sport, it is uncommon that you simply really must make the most of any of those mechanics. A lot of the sport’s fight is a passive expertise, however neglecting to have a full grasp of it when the sport lastly expects you to be proactive in battle will ultimately get you in deep trouble.
These are the issues that make Yo-kai Watch wonderful as an introductory RPG for newbies. For everybody else, nonetheless, the sport has to endear itself in between main plot factors on sheer attraction which, fortunately, it is greater than able to delivering. On the Hailey-Anne aspect, what comes off as grating over-enthusiasm in the beginning settles down over time to grow to be unflappable optimism and curiosity. The woman fears completely nothing, even when large demons begin displaying up that ship her working via the streets. Her alliance with Usapyon evolves from one among comfort to a genuinely candy elementary faculty partnership over time, particularly as the small print of Usapyon’s origins grow to be clearer.
Having each tales in the identical package deal is a constructive, however having to manually thread collectively two tales that might already stand to be a bit of extra concise is much less so.
As talked about, Nate’s aspect has an much more intriguing angle. For some cause, the localization obscures the truth that Nate’s hometown of Springdale is in Japan, however the touchstones of a child coping with extreme tradition shock are nonetheless right here. Even when American tradition is as hilariously exaggerated as it’s, there’s one thing subtly poignant about an ostensibly Japanese child exploring an all-American metropolis for the primary time. And as his circle of associates expands to incorporate Buck, a wild-haired child with a deep southern drawl, so too does his expertise with American yokai and all of the loud and proud points of such.
It is nonetheless a recreation aimed toward a younger crowd, although, and the sport’s poignancy is undercut a bit by wild reactions, non-sequitur humor, and impromptu j-pop musicals. Many of the scarier points of the sport coping with the existence and administration of the afterlife have been softened to absolutely the excessive. The sport was solely ever going to get so critical, and the winking nods to extra grownup fare like The Godfather, Fist of the North Star, The X-Information, and Twin Peaks are certainly simply that: playful winks. It is much less the aggressive Growlithe-eat-Growlithe world of Pokemon than a cheerful, wacky playground the place Pokemon-like creatures occur to dwell.
There’s not a lot to Yo-kai Watch three, however there’s nonetheless a whole lot of attraction to be discovered. The cities of Springdale and BBQ are each vibrant, nice locations to be; the individuals in it are much more so. Visiting the world of Yo-kai Look ahead to the third time is a enjoyable time, despite the fact that you’ll find yourself staying quite a bit longer than maybe crucial.