Top 10 Games by Aksys Games [Best Recommendations]

Have you ever been excited about a new video game announcement, only to learn there aren't any plans to bring the title to the west. Forums are flooded with posts of "Localize this please", "Announce a Western release!", "I need this! They better localize it", and the dreaded "This isn't getting an English release". More times than not, it's that last message that proves true. But sometimes, just sometimes, our prayers are answered, and the game makes it way to the West.

Founded in 2006, Aksys Games is among the names you should know if you plan to write any thank you letters. Here are 10 games we in the west, have the most to thank Aksys for.

10. River City Ransom (Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari)

  • System/Platform: Wii (Virtual Console)
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Technos
  • Release Date: April 21, 2008

Who doesn't like walking down the street punching posers? Unfortunately, in the real world, that usually comes along with criminal charges and jail time. That's where beat 'em up games come in. It's a simple genre, in which the player walks through the streets and confront opposing gangs in attempt to protect their city.

The original River City Ransom was released during the "Golden Age" of beat 'em ups, alongside classics such as Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. River City Ransom, however, set itself apart from the crowd by adding RPG and open world elements to the standard gameplay. As a result, River City Ransom has withstood the test of time, earning a sequel and several ports to recent generations of consoles.


9. Ragnarok Tactics

  • System/Platform: PlayStation Portable
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: ApolloSoft
  • Release Date: November 6, 2012

Those interested in Ragnarok Online, but put off by the prospect of an MMO need look no further than Ragnarok Tactics. Serving as a spin-off, Ragnarok Tactics features some gameplay and other aspects from the original massively multiplayer online role playing game it's based on. Ragnarok Tactics, is an tactical RPG, and isn't too different from many other tactical RPGs in its core gameplay.

Ragnarok Tactics does manage to set itself apart from the crowd by featuring an emphasis on customization, leaving almost every aspect of the characters available to be customized. Additionally, the ability to choose different factions, throughout the game and alter the game's plot by making certain choices helped to make Ragnarok Tactics a tactical RPG for the annals.


8. Fate/Extra

  • System/Platform: PlayStation Portable
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Imageepoch
  • Release Date: November 1, 2011

A familiar name to any anime fan, Fate/stay night is a 2002 visual novel that went on to spawn several sequels, anime, and manga. Fate/Extra is an RPG taking place in a universe parallel to that of the original Fate/stay night. It features many characters from Fate/stay night and games by Type-Moon.

Fate/extra featured a simple, yet innovative turn-based system, and story progression bearing some similarities to visual novels. Fate/Extra didn't do anything that shattered the genre or even added much to the fate/ lore. Yet, for fans of the series, the chance to play another entry in the series was greatly appreciated.


7. Exist Archive: The Other Side of The Sky

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: tri-Ace
  • Release Date: October 18, 2016

One of the games that earned heavy cries for localization was Spike Chunsoft and tri-Ace's Exist Archive. Announced in early 2015, Exist Archive is a side scrolling JRPG. The huge influx of support for a western localization was due to the similarities to tri-Ace's classic.Valkyrie Profile.

Exist Archive is about 12 individuals who die in an accident in Tokyo, and find themselves reborn in the world of Protolexa. Reborn with new powers, they must settle the power struggle in Protolexa in hopes of making it back to Earth. Exist Archive features extensive dungeon exploration options, an innovative combat system that allows for extensive combos, and an assortment of interesting characters.


6. Tokyo Xanadu

  • System/Platform:
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Falcom
  • Release Date: 2017

Another game that has long and deep roots in old school gaming history. Released in 1985, the original Xanadu set itself as being ahead of its time by implementing serious puzzle and adventure aspects in its gameplay. It went on to produce several remakes and sequels, as well as inspiring other fantasy games like the Ys series.

Looking to revive the series, Tokyo Xanadu ditches the fantasy world, and places the character in a modern city. Fans of the Persona series will probably love Tokyo Xanadu, as the overall premise is the same: high schoolers by day, alternate dimension heroes by night. The core gameplay is a bit the same, but the real-time battle system is what sets it apart from its turn-based brethren. An enhanced version, Tokyo Xanadu eX+ was released in Japan, but Aksys' doesn't plan localize it. Let's hope they change their minds.


5. Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late

  • System/Platform:
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: French-Bread
  • Release Date: February 24, 2015

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late is the spiritual successor to French Bread's Melty Blood series. Like the Melty Blood series, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late is a visual novel and fighting game hybrid. Although a spiritual successor to Melty Blood, great care was put into developing Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late to ensure that it felt like a completely new game.

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late featured high definition, hand-drawn sprites, new stages, modes, and gameplay elements from its earlier arcade incarnations. Under Night In-Birth featured many updates, but never got the direct sequel it deserved, like many other games of its type. Fortunately, it has continued to receive updates and even a port to PC recently.


4. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (Kyokugen Dasshutsu 9 Jikan 9 nin 9 no Tobira: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors)

  • System/Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: ChunSoft
  • Release Date: November 16, 2010

Everyone knows Danganronpa, the visual novel game where the player must survive the killing game led by the devious MonoKuma. Before Danganronpa, however, there was Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the first game in the Zero Escape series. In the series, the characters have been kidnapped and the player must help them find a way to escape their deadly situation by solving different puzzles and making choices to help progress the story.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors establishes itself as one of the hall of fame cases of localization success stories. The game didn't do well in its Japanese release. Aksys acknowledged that it was taking a risk by localizing the game. In localizing the game, Aksys made an effort to truly localize it, opting to make the dialogue and jokes much more natural.The overwhelming success of the American release, however, opened the doors for the two sequels to be produced. Aksys' decision to localize saved an entire series, and perhaps even genre. Thank you Aksys!


3. Bit.Trip Runner

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Wii
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Gaijin Games
  • Release Date: May 14, 2010 (EU & AU), May 17, 2010 (US)

Bit.Trip Runner is the fourth entry in the Bit.Trip series. The Bit.Trip series is a throwback to old school arcade games. Everything from its 8-bit inspired graphics, to its difficulty is trip down memory lane. Bit.Trip Runner takes some of the excruciating difficulty from the first entries, and dials it back a bit. The Bit.Trip games, though similar, all feature completely different rhythm-based gameplay, ranging from Pong-esque to shmups.

The first games in the Bit.Trip series featured only three levels but due to the increasing difficulty of each level continued to provide a challenge for gamers. Bit.Trip Runner, in which players control Commander Video running through the world, shortened the levels and increased the volume significantly to nearly 50 levels. The shorter levels make Bit.Trip Runner a more accessible game and it helps flesh out the Bit.Trip world.

If you're looking for a good, challenging rhythm game, and Dance Dance Revolution on its highest difficulty with invisible arrows is too easy, check out the Bit.Trip series!


2. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Release Date: October 24, 2013 (JPN), March 25, 2014 (US) / Apr 24, 2014 (JPN), June 23, 2014 (US & EU)

In a world of Tekken, Street Fighter, King of Fighters and Guilty Gear, it's hard to establish yourself as a new fighting game. In 2008, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger managed to find its way into the conversation about fighters; as a new, original 2D fighter nonetheless! What made BlazBlue: Calamity trigger succeed as a new entry in an established market was its story, simple yet effective gameplay mechanics, great character design, and most importantly a roster of characters where each one had their own unique playstyle.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is the second to most recent entry in the series. It featured significant changes to the game's gameplay, and an updated roster. These changes to the gameplay helped to improve an already successful fighting engine. The next game in the series, BlazBlue: Central Fiction further improves on Chrono Phantasma's changes, and adds an additional 7 characters, rounding the roster off at 35 characters, and completes the story arc that started in the first game.

Chrono Phantasma edges our Central Fiction as the better localization because Central Fiction lacks an English dub. Regardless, in less than 10 years, BlazBlue has established itself as a serious contender in the world of fighting games.


1. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Release Date: June 7, 2016

Easily the most recognizable series to have Aksys' name attached to it, the first Guilty Gear made its way onto the PlayStation back in 1998. Again, its impressive roster, characters, high speed gameplay, and totally awesome soundtrack helped Guilty Gear to become an instant hit among fighter fans. Fast forward nearly 18 years, and Guilty Gear is still going strong with the newest entry in the series, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-.

-Revelator- is a sequel/update to Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- that features additional characters, including a few classic characters that were missing from the -Sign-. -Sign- and -Revelator- both featured improved graphics, but held onto everything that made the Guilty Gear series a success. It was made with the hope to appeal to new players of the series, as well as appease its longtime fans. With a continuation of the story, easy to pick up controls, a new, challenging survival mode, and great online play, Guilty Gear -Sign- and -Revelator- were able to do just that.

The Guilty Gear series, along with the BlazBlue series, a spiritual successor to the Guilty Gear series, has established itself as Aksys Games' hallmark for great games. Aksys has been bringing the Guilty Gear series to western audiences for the last 10 years. Let's hope the standard of excellence continues!


Final Thoughts

Dear Aksys Games,
Thank you for having bringing a whole slew of games to the west. Whether a fighter, RPG, visual novel, or rhythm game, every time we see your name attached we know that we're bound to get a quality game. You're to thank for some of the best modern 2D fighters, and JRPGs.
Thank You,
Honey's Anime

P.S. Check out the comments below to know what readers think of the list other games they're happy you localized.

Jabulani Blyden

Writer

Author: Jabulani Blyden

This feels like I'm writing a dating profile... Am I pretty enough? In addition to watching anime I like playing video games, mostly RPGs and indies. I lose a lot of Otaku street cred for the games and shows on my backlog (TTGL & FFVII for example #FeelsBadMan). I run a podcast with my friends where we talk about video games and anime. Nice to meet you... or something.

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