...unless you count the idea that Americans overlooked the Sengoku Basara series and made it so they wouldn't make an American version.
We finally picked up our first import game, Sengoku Basara Utage. It's a companion game to the Capcom hack and slash set in the Sengoku period, Sengoku Basara 3. While it's not the only game of this style using historical characters with fantastic abilities (Sengoku Basara is basically a clone of Konami's Dynasty Warriors series), it's not really a common or popular game style in the west. You can read some of my rambling about it here.
It's been out for a while but it had been $80 or so on amazon every time we thought to look for it. We were looking for some other things and saw that there was a copy that went down under $40, so we picked it up. The game controls the same as the American version of Sengoku Basara 3, but the menus are a little bit different because Utage3 has some additional game modes, and we don't read any Japanese yet so we're winging it a little bit. This isn't like trying to play a game in Spanish or Italian where we understand the alphabet and some of the Latin root words. This is only working because the language of the gameplay itself is familiar to us. I think my older son has unlocked all of the new characters, but he has a long way to go to get all the weapons and allies unlocked.
The most amusing thing about the game so far is which words do end up in English. The combo counter is in Arabic numerals, and the combo descriptors that show above the combo count are in English. I'm sure that there are other funny parts of the game, but we're losing all of the story and character comments.
The biggest difference in this game is that most of the new playable characters in the game were all the non-playable major opponents from the last game, and all of the other playable characters return. It uses your game data from Sengoku Basara 3 and uses it to establish
what level and what skills your old playable characters have available
to them. It was nice that even though the primary bad guy (Nobunaga Oda) is rather time-consuming to unlock and difficult to defeat in Sengoku Basara 3, he unlocks fairly soon in Utage even if you hadn't unlocked him in the other version. There are some new areas, but I haven't seen anything spectacular yet. There is one additional character that didn't show up in the original version of 3, and it's the character most prominently featured on the cover of the game, but I'm not 100% sure about his name. I think it's Hisahide Matsunaga. (Yay! I got it right - thank goodness for the Wiki.)
Sengoku Basara 4 came out in Japan in January, so I presume that's why the price dropped on Utage. I also presume that Sengoku Basara 4 will not be localized for any other countries, so I can only guess that we'll be trying to muddle our way through in Japanese again if everybody decides that we want to play it.
Part of me hopes that my younger son gets into the game enough to start learning some Japanese.