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How to play the best Japanese games on your PS3

Here's how to import this generation's hidden Far East gems at the best prices

Page 3 of 3

The game itself is incredibly polished. Combat is weighty and well-animated enough to be enormously satisfying, as well as being so in-depth you're constantly spotting new subtleties and coming up with new ideas.

You might start feeling your shield isn't sapping hits well enough and try and decide to keep your eyes open for a slightly wider one, or you'll notice with glee that the monster you've been having so much trouble twitches in pain when exposed to fire. Or most likely you'll simply have to grit your teeth in terror as you fling yourself out of the way of killing blows, your mind racing as to how you can end whatever battle you're locked in.

But that's just the crust on some kind of pie. Full of, er, demons. Yes. Demon's Souls also features stunning level design, a flawless difficulty curve, endlessly surprising enemies and inventive multi-player - anyone can get their stronger, physical body back temporarily by dropping into someone else's game (chosen at random) as either a murderous black phantom who has to kill the other player or a friendly blue phantom who must help them defeat a boss.

When Demon's Souls comes out in the West it's going to be massive. If you're only going to import one game, and have even a passing interest in demanding RPGs, pick this up.

Import Rating: 5/5

Holy Invasion Of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This? 2
Hectic dungeon-keeping on a small screen

Format? PSP
How much? £20 + shipping from Renchi.com
English available? No
What is it? A tricky, speedy dungeon-builder
Why do I need it? It's hectic but deep throughout

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Known in Japan as For a Hero, You Are Quite Bold/Cheeky, this series challenges you to quickly develop a dungeon that'll prove dangerous enough to kill the increasingly tough waves of heroes that come trundling down. If the heroes make it to your tiny dungeon overlord they truss him up and begin the journey back up to the surface with him. If they make it out alive, it's game over.

What's fun about HIOPBWDIDTDT is that more than the traditional dungeon-building thing of juggling resources and placing traps, it's about managing an ecosystem of monsters. Before you know it you're trying to keep a sprawling labyrinth full of lizardmen, faeries, skeletons, dragons, spirits and demons fed and healthy, which is just about impossible while trying to maintain a decent dungeon's deathtrap layout.

The first game just got released in North America in English, but if you're not put off by the idea of muddling your way through some simple Japanese menus then the sequel, currently only out in Japan, is a fair bit deeper and features a story mode you can actually win. It can be found by searching import sites for Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaikida Or 2.

Import Rating: 2/5

Half-Minute Hero
Not your average JRPG...

Format? PSP
How much? £28 with free shipping from yesasia.com
English available? No
What is it? A whole mess of RPGs that take place in 30 seconds or less
Why do I need it? Whether you love it for the in-jokes or taking the piss, it's a funny and fun game - a real rarity

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The horrible mutant offspring of an RPG and an arcade cabinet, Half-Minute Hero lets you play through four distinct riffs on the RPG genre that have two things in common - cute, crisp pixel graphics and a 30 second time limit.

To use Hero mode as an example, your goal is to level up enough to defeat the evil devil king. This involves sprinting around looking for lightning-fast random battles that you win by flinging yourself at enemies and occasionally hitting r to use a healing item. Eventually (after a minute) the time will come for a final dash for the end boss' fortress where you'll engage in a final drunken slapfest before scraping through with milliseconds to spare.

As well as Hero mode you've got Princess Mode, Knight Mode and Devil King mode, which experiment in blending RPG stereotypes with shooters, Zelda-like action games and strategy games.

Whatever mode you're playing, the ridiculous time limit never goes away. Anyone interested can find Half-Minute Hero by searching for Yuusha 30 on the import sites.

Import Rating: 4/5

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