What’s Poppin’: PS4 Japan Launch Preview Spetacular!

Welcome to Japan, the land of Playstation! Sony’s base of operations where PS3 dominated the last generation after the Wii died (by default) and where the Vita is selling (mumble, mumble) units! Yes, it seems remarkable but thanks to a general lack of competition we haven’t received Sony’s new wonderbox, the Playstation 4 yet. But! Next week that all changes as Japan is dragged kicking and screaming into the next gen. So here then, is the day zero guide to the Japanese PS4 launch.

What’s in the box?


There are two SKUs for the Japanese launch; one with and one without the PS4 eye camera for use in motion based gaming and capturing your ugly mug while streaming games. Both come with a download code for Knack in the box; a make good for the delayed Japanese launch, but which, judging by reviews, not everyone will be best pleased by.

But what of PS Plus?

ps4 knack boxWhen the initial announcement of the PS4 was made, Evo Studios’ troubled racer Driveclub was still scheduled for launch, and still set as the initial Plus offering in all territories alongside Resogun. Since then, Driveclub was delayed, and European and US markets got Contrast instead. A quick perusal of the PS Plus section on Sony’s official PS4 site however, reveals no free game details at all, instead focussing on the Plus requirement for online play and remote play to Vita. It does seem we will get Resogun in the Japanese market for nothing as well, but whether the other game will be Contrast, Don’t Starve (not Outlast, the current Plus giveaway in other markets but with a TBA release in Japan) or, indeed, nothing at all, remains to be seen. It’s worth noting though that new PS4 owners in Japan will receive a three month Plus trial for free while other markets only get one.

And the games?

Sony will tout 28 games for the PS4 launch here, though the true number is a little smaller for reasons we’ll go into lower down. Here’s what you will be playing (or not).

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn Beta

FFXIV So, first title in Sony’s big list of PS4 games, and already we have to break out an asterisk. Yes, this is the beta for FF14 on PS4, not the whole shebang, but apparently the MMO has progressed pretty far since a dismal launch a few years back. It’s free so you might as well, kind of thing.

Call Of Duty Ghosts

Call-of-Duty-Ghosts-Multiplayer-screenshot-Arctic-Lumber1 Yes, in all its 60 frame glory COD Ghosts appears on PS4, months after Japanese gamers already played it on PS3 if they were into this kind of thing. As with the western release, there is an upgrade program in place for those who bought the last gen version, though those punters may have already gotten everything to get from the experience by now. See also: Battlefield 4.


contrast-15 Compulsion’s indie platformer was the initial free PS Plus giveaway, and may or may not debut on the service in Japan. General consensus is that it’s worth a pop if it is, less so if it isn’t.

Shin Sangoku Musou 7 with Toukiden

Dynasty-Warriors-8-46 Dynasty Warriors has to launch with every console ever in Japan, an act passed into law long ago. This one has elements from TecmoKoei’s Monster Hunter competitor to boot, which is a good thing for fans of the Vita game, and less so for fans of original content.

Tomb Raider Definitive

tombraider Not played last year’s, by all accounts excellent Tomb Raider reboot? You can play a prettier version of it on the PS4. This writer might.

Strider Hiryu

strider-research-12-1 Capcom’s cross hardware generation reboot of Strider has KP intrigued. Its visual flash, and apparent merging of both NES and arcade interpretations of the Strider Hiryu character masked a convincing argument for one’s first paid PS4 download. In the meantime, check out our Strider retrospective, why don’t you?

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

asscreed4 To our surprise, Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag snagged quite a few of our year end awards a couple of months ago. Again, this benefits from a PS3 trade in program, but it’s probably mainly worth a look for those that have yet to swash their buckles in this open world.

Totemo e mahjong plus

totemo# A Mahjong game has to be included in every console launch, an act passed into law even before the Sangoku Musou one. This title is a Vita/arcade port that also features dubious moe character models. No thanks.

Dream Club Host Girl Onstage

Dream-Club-Host-Girls-on-Stage-PlayStation-4 If you took Totemo e Mahjong Plus and removed the Plus and Mahjong, you’d have this, probably.

Nicori no Puzzle 4 sudoku

nicori Sudoku. Sudoku. SUDOKU. On the PS4.

Battlefield 4

bf4 See also: COD Ghosts. And multiplayer is still broken.

Blacklight Retribution

Blacklight-Retribution-2 Want an FPS on your new console but don’t want to drop any cash? Blacklight is free to play. The largely departed Jason Stillwell played it with us at TGS and said it was ok, but he’s dead to us, so there.

Don’t Starve

Don’t-Starve-PS4 The second western Plus giveaway on PS4 will likely be paid in Japan. Still, Klei’s enigmatic survival game will be worth the cash to those fond of a challenge.  We were fond of the PC version.

Need For Speed Rivals

nfsrivals Rivals, it seems, wasn’t quite able in full retail form to live up to the multi/single player promise it had in a controlled environment, as when we played it last. It’s another title you could have played in old console form a few months back, diminishing its Japanese PS4 appeal, but still seems like solid knockabout fun.

Escape plan/Sound Shapes/Flower/Flow

flower Asterisks to all four of these PS4 ports of Vita or PS3 titles. If you have these on other formats, they’re yours for free. If you haven’t gotten around to them, get Flower, consider the rest.


Knack-15 The game that can boast a 100% conversion rate with PS4 hardware in Japan day one has proven to be divisive; the only issue is that divide is between ‘complete bollocks’ and ‘come on, it’s not that bad’. What a pack in!

Killzone Shadow Fall


Shadow Fall became the defacto standard for multiplayer first person shooting in the weeks following the western PS4 launch, with Blacklight and Warframe being free to play, Call of Duty not offering much new and Battlefield broken. That’s selling a decent shooter short though, and if that genre’s your bag, its a decent pick.

Ryo ga gotoku 4 Isshin


The next instalment in what the west know as Yakuza in period dress is a cross generation release launching alongside a PS3 version. It’s being pushed as the lead title in Sony’s launch with good reason- Gotoku is still a huge draw- and covers an interesting period in history in which the age of samurai draws to an end, though mechanically will tread little new ground.

Nobunaga’s Ambition


The long running and immensely detailed simulation appears in 1080p on PS4, so all those text menus look sharp. And there’s trees in it. Seriously though, if you have the kanji skills to pay the bills, NA is compelling stuff.



It’s football. Dave likes it.

NBA 2K14


It’s basketball. Dave likes it. This one has microtransactions up the wazoo.



The unofficial pack in game with every PS4 (it’s been on Plus worldwide since launch) Resogun is also probably still the best PS4 exclusive. This Defender for the modern age is not something you want to pass up, as we covered in our (now slightly dated to western eyes) preview.

Doki Doki Universe


This socially experimental personality test cum point and click adventure seemed a little bit clunky when I had a go on the Vita version, but its concept is a winner. Placed in control of a soon to be decommissioned robot, it’s your job to prove you have a shred of humanity before being taken to the knacker’s yard.

Warframe warframe-3 The free to play shooter has been on PC for a while, where CJ and Dave played it a bit and liked it. So, yeah. It’s free to at least try.



Another free to play MMO rounds us out, this time one with apparently 1.2 million subscribers across Asia in its computer incarnation. We’ve never heard of it. And that’s yer lot. Underwhelming? Perhaps a touch, but representative of the lineup in other territories today. Those getting a console will have plenty to play, but there’s no individual game to buy a system just to play.

KP Coverage

There will be some. Plenty, in fact. Impressions with the machine and of the launch, reviews of some titles where impressions seem relevant a little bit later on, and some streams, why not, out of our Twitch presence at that link, there.