Wednesday, 22 January 2014

News roundup: Sengoku Basara 4 is released today!

It's finally time for the release of Sengoku Basara 4!

Quite a few people have already received their copies so live streams and spoilers are appearing all over the Internet. People have posted alternate costumes, unlock details, trophy lists and all kinds of juicy details - which I'm trying to ignore until I have my copy of the game in my hand! One interesting note I have seen confirmed with a screenshot is that gamers who have saves for Sengoku Basara 3, Sengoku Basara 3 Utage and/or Sengoku Basara HD Collection on their PS3 will be eligible to receive some bonus weapon enhancement items and play books in-game instead of having to earn them the usual way.

In the meantime, here are the latest news updates.

Sengoku Basara 4 makes the cover of Weekly Famitsu magazine

Today's issue of Weekly Famitsu (dated 6th February 2014) has dedicated its cover to Sengoku Basara 4 as well as a generous number of pages within the magazine. A gorgeous advertisement spread over two pages helps make the game's release date feel more real, too.

Inside is another introduction to the game and some tips to get players started.

Several people are already posting the unlock requirements for the characters which aren't available at the start on forums. I'll be adding this information to my guide in bulk as soon as it's all confirmed, but until then I'm only going to post the unlock requirements which are confirmed to be correct to avoid confusion. Weekly Famitsu confirmed two of these: to play as Gotou Matabee, the player must clear the game as Shima Sakon. To play as Yamanaka Shikanosuke, it's necessary to clear the game as Maeda Keiji.

There are also a pair of interviews; one with musicians SCANDAL and another with Kobayashi Hiroyuki and Yamamoto Makoto together. Neither says anything much that wasn't already known long ago, though YamamotoD recommends that seasoned players who want something more should make sure they check out Keiji's drama route.

Incidentally, it was poor Yukimura who suffered the indignity of a misspelt name in this issue. Someone at Weekly Famitsu really needs to brush up on their Japanese history!

Lastly, there's a list of items that will be available in the Basara-ya Online Shop (i.e. paid DLC):
  • Unlock all playable characters (¥200).
  • Date Masamune special costume DMC Dante Ver. (¥300).
  • Classic Sengoku Basara series music collection - set of 70 tracks (¥1,500).
  • Sengoku Starter Pack (¥300).
  • Creation Starter Pack (¥100).
The last two are booster packs containing in-game weapon enhancement items. The Sengoku Starter Pack includes 100 pieces of tamahagane steel, 10,000 whetstones, 750,000 ryou in cash and 450,000 experience points for you to distribute from your Inrou box. The Creation Starter Pack is the one that PSN preorders receive for free, with 30 pieces of tamahagane steel, 3,000 whetstones, 250,000 ryou in cash and 150,000 experience in your Inrou. I think I'll save my money for costumes.

Unrelated to Sengoku Basara 4, the magazine included an article about trends in the popularity of various Sengoku-era commanders amongst gamers. I figured that this might interest some people so here's a translation. First is the list of the top twenty from a survey of 2,805 gamers:

1. Oda Nobunaga
2. Date Masamune
3. Uesugi Kenshin
4. Sanada Yukimura
5. Takeda Shingen
6. Toyotomi Hideyoshi
7. Tokugawa Ieyasu
8. Akechi Mitsuhide
9. Mouri Motonari
10. Maeda Toshiie
11. Ishida Mitsunari
12. Katou Kiyomasa
13. Shimazu Yoshihiro
14. Azai Nagamasa
15. Tachibana Muneshige
16. Saitou Dousan
17. Uesugi Kagekatsu
18. Houjou Souun
19. Matsunaga Hisahide
20. Toudou Takatora

They also listed the ranking for non-gamers, though it was extremely similar. The only person who wouldn't have made the list was Matsunaga Hisahide as he ranked 21st for non-gamers (unfortunately, the person who would have replaced him wasn't shown). The gaps between each 'tier' of popularity were much greater for gamers; 24.9% ranked Nobunaga in first place while only 17.6% of the general public chose him, and for Date Masamune it was 20.2% of gamers to 14.2% of non-gamers. Again, the full information is missing but it seems that the general public spread their votes over a large number of warriors who didn't make the top twenty.

Analysis suggested that the Sengoku Basara series might be contributing to Masamune's high ranking especially as he ranks higher with women. Additional statistics showed the top five for male gamers (1,902 votes):

1. Oda Nobunaga (28.2%)
2. Date Masamune (21.1%)
3. Uesugi Kenshin (19.4%)
4. Sanada Yukimura (17.2%)
5. Takeda Shingen (16.8%)

And for non-gamers (3,294 votes):

1. Oda Nobunaga (20.2%)
2. Uesugi Kenshin (16.2%)
3. Date Masamune (15.7%)
4. Takeda Shingen (12.8%)
5. Sanada Yukimura (12.6%)

The female gamer top five (903 votes):

1. Date Masamune (18.5%)
2. Oda Nobunaga (17.9%)
3. Uesugi Kenshin (14.8%)
4. Sanada Yukimura (11.5%)
5. Takeda Shingen (10.0%)

And the female non-gamer top five (2,873 votes):

1. Oda Nobunaga (14.7%)
2. Date Masamune (12.6%)
3. Uesugi Kenshin (9.4%)
4. Sanada Yukimura (7.6%)
5. Takeda Shingen (5.6%)

Sengoku Basara 4 strategy guide goes on sale

The usual authorised strategy guide for the game will be made available today too for those who want more information about the unlockable content and some nice pictures.

The 248-page V Jump guide is titled Sengoku Basara 4 PS3 Edition: Sengoku Sousei Eiyuutan Dramatic Heroes Guide and costs ¥1,400. It can be purchased from websites such as Amazon Japan, e-Capcom and HMV Japan. You should also be able to order it at any other store with its ISBN number (978-4-08-779680-3).

As well as the usual information, illustrations and tips, the book boasts three additional bonuses for buyers:

1. The one-shot manga which ran in Jump SQ a few weeks ago will be included in the strategy guide. I reviewed Kawahara Kanji's Sengoku Basara 4 ~Shima Sakon Ga Umareta Hi~ ('The Day Shima Sakon Was Born') a few weeks ago and it will be good to have a more durable copy for future reference.

2. Buyers will receive a password to watch a video showing seiyuu Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie) and Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika) playing and commenting on Sengoku Basara 4.

3. The book will also include a code for a unique PS3 custom theme redeemable through PlayStation Network.

Interestingly the official content listing mentions a total of 39 stages, so some secret or alternate stages must be missing from the guide. We already know that there are more than 40 in the game from staff interviews.

'Secret' character figure from the Mame Sengoku Basara trading figures set is revealed

This news article contains spoilers for some merchandise, so please skip ahead if you prefer 'secret' characters to remain hidden until after you buy something.

The new set of nine Mame Sengoku Basara trading figures started to appear on store shelves at the beginning of this week and I can now confirm that the secret character is sadly not Keiji as I'd hoped (why am I always chasing after Keiji figures?). It's actually just another Date Masamune except his outfit is white instead of blue, like the special edition Revoltech and one of the secret variants in last year's trading figure set. Oh well!

I can also confirm that the secret metal strap characters are Motonari and Motochika, and that both the collectible stickers and mini clear files have a secret variant with Masamune in the hakama costume from his 'BSR48' video. Meanwhile, the 'last one' variants of Yukimura and Masamune from the Ichiban Kuji lottery are the same as the normal ones except with a 'pearl' finish to the paint on their outfits.

I've been putting my time and energy into useful research during this holiday...

There have been a bunch of new videos over the last few days

The two commercials (action and drama versions) have been playing on Japanese television and in train stations throughout Tokyo for a while now, and you can barely go anywhere in the heart of the capital without seeing Sengoku Basara 4 somewhere nearby. The marketing push for the game has been truly fantastic.

A short clip with KobaP and Mami from SCANDAL (the performers of the game's ending song) has also been uploaded.

The last two countdown videos were Katsuie on Maria's Tango: Sengenji stage and Sakon on Yoshiteru's Eiroku Palace: Resolution.

Meanwhile, the hardworking fan team of Nine Demons Yoshitaka and PSandNintendFreak have produced a subtitled version of the third character trailer to help English speakers get a full idea of what's going on.

Tune in tonight for another official Sengoku Basara 4 streaming show

Tonight is the next episode of the official fortnightly Sengoku Basara 4 broadcasts, and the special guest is Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie). He's really sweet and interested in the game so it should be quite a fun one to watch. The stream will start at 22:00 Japan time as usual.

There will apparently be another Hagi-Toko stream too earlier in the day. The dates posted by the Famitsu website were jumbled when I checked, so I think it begins at 12:00 Japan time. I won't be around to confirm nearer the time, so I hope that fans can find it if it goes ahead.

6 comments:

  1. "Analysis suggested that the Sengoku Basara series might be contributing to Masamune's high ranking especially as he ranks higher with women."

    Hah, I've been saying this for years and nobody believed me! :D There's been a sort of Masamune boom since the SB anime, he's definitely gotten a lot more popular in pop culture. And NHK's Historia decided to air an episode about the real Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune, and their relations (such as they were), which JUST happened to coincide with the movie's release... :D In general, Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune are such an unexpected pair, historically speaking, that whenever I see the two of them as any sort of "set" I automatically assume that the creator was influenced by SB.

    I guess it's time to start looking for reviews... The comment about Keiji's drama route gives me hope for his story, though I hope he won't angst too much.

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    1. By the way, about misspelled names - how do they even misspell "Yukimura"?? I can see how a careless writer may mix up the two Masamunes, and there are quite a few "ko" options for poor Kojuurou, but I thought Yukimura was pretty straightforward... Did they spell it with "雪" or something? ^^;;

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    2. I'm afraid that he was indeed Snowymura this week! Worse still is that the line where it was written that way was a 'quote' from Takeda Shingen explaining the game. Oyakata-sama, forgetting your own treasured subordinate's name is terrible...

      It's funny seeing the subtle ways in which Sengoku Basara has inspired a lot of creators (and general depictions for merchandise purposes). I hope that there's a second wave of interest with the anime looming on the horizon and all of the merchandise lately :D

      Even though the azure-crimson side of things has taken a back seat lately, the commercial which keeps looping on the trains here at the moment is the one which ends with Yukimura and Masamune facing off. Whenever I've been traveling anywhere I've ended up feeling very hot-blooded!

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    3. Oh my... poor Yukimura would be crushed! ^^;; Or perhaps he'd just change his name because if Oyakata-sama says so it must be true. :D But seriously, what with Sengoku Basara, Sengoku Musou, and a bunch of other games and properties, one has to wonder why the people who write for these magazines don't have the names of these guys on autocomplete or something... (I mean, they should, shouldn't they? My Sony phone has had not only the usual full names of several historical figures on autocomplete out of the box, but also simple "幸村" "家康" etc.)

      Yes, the SB incarnations have really become iconic in a way, maybe because they're so over-the-top and fun, with image colors and all - actually, it may be just me, but aren't there more blue-ish Masamunes running around in the recent years? Maybe it's just my experience but I remember pre-SB-induced-popularity Masamune incarnations being mostly green or purple, if they had a theme color at all, but nowadays there seem to be more blue ones. It may be just me, though. (And then there's the fact that if you google images for say, "Mouri Motonari" in Latin letters or in Japanese, you get nothing but Sengoku Basara for the first few hundred hits, with a handful of depictions of the real person... :D)

      I'm glad to hear that that particular CM is used like that! I don't really know what to expect on this front... (I'm not hoping for much based on the reactions I heard so far) but eh, hope dies last?) ^^;;

      In any case, I look forward to your review(s)!

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  2. I guess I missed this initially when the game came out, but I find the survey for the most popular warlords very interesting. I honestly had no idea Kenshin was so popular in Japan given how poorly received (compared to other characters) both Basara and ESPECIALLY Musou Kenshin have been, looking at fanworks and all. I suppose people might be caught up in the mystique of a female warlord, or of Gackt's portrayal, or one of several uh... well, ecchi series featuring Kenshin.

    ...Or perhaps it's just they like the characters in the series... but they like certain characters in each series more and prefer the historical figure to their faves in-series. Yeah... That's probably more likely, haha!

    A bit concerned Kiyomasa's ranked so highly. I'm not fond of him at all for reasons I imagine would be obvious to anyone with knowledge of him... given his uh... vigorous approval of Hideyoshi's Korea invasions and the bigotry (culminating in a very cruel execution of pregnant women) he displayed towards Christians. He was a skilled warrior, no doubt, but as a person, even given the cruel time the Sengoku was, I find him rather despicable.

    Hojo Souun is a pleasant surprise given how rarely he shows up in popular media. He's truly one of the most skilled and capable leaders of the era, so it's good the Japanese appreciate him without any additional help from pop culture, at least, to my knowledge. Same with Dosan, though at least his daughter shows up enough for him to be mentioned.

    I also find it somewhat amusing and nice that Kagekatsu's more popular than Kanetsugu. I'd never have guessed that in a million years given how much Kagekatsu seems to stand in his father's shadow and Kanetsugu is portrayed as like the "true heir" or whatever. I appreciate that though, as the historical Kanetsugu wasn't up to much of note that couldn't also be attributed to Kagekatsu, IIRC. He was basically a Sengoku era forum troll, sending letters to aggravate Ieyasu and such.

    Speaking of Ieyasu, poor Tanuki is least favorite unifier it seems! I always liked him a bit more than Hideyoshi, though naturally Nobunaga's my favorite of the three given his enigmatic nature and how much I adore the historical Ranmaru.

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    1. Thank you for the interesting comments!

      I have to say that Kiyomasa isn't on my list of most wanted potential Sengoku Basara characters either. I visited Nagoya Castle some time ago and there he's lauded as a hero for his magnificent feats of castle building, but... the exhibits actually made him sound like a jerk despite ostensibly praising him ^^;

      I can overlook his brutality to some extent owing to the era and his position, but he just doesn't get me excited the way some of the more awe-inspiring historical warriors do. Ah well, he already appears in the game as an accessory (well, in the games which actually have accessories...) so I guess they might leave him that way for now and prioritise other historical figures first, especially as the Musou version is reasonably well known and there are other factions which could use more members.

      I wonder whether they'll delve deeper into the history of the Houjou clan whenever Ujimasa gets to come back, now that they've started developing Kotarou's ties to it? That could be interesting. I feel as though a lot of the 'classic' characters from the first game deserve a big story focus to tie them into the developments the newer warriors have brought to the series since the jump to PS3.

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