There’s lastly a brand new Densha de Go! practice controller, and it’s superior

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Think about if you happen to have been actually right into a online game sequence, however nobody launched a controller that allow you to play it correctly for 14 years. Sadly, that’s precisely the scenario that followers of Densha de Go! discovered themselves in till just lately. Taito’s quirky train-driving franchise has been round because the mid-‘90s throughout numerous methods and units, but it surely simply isn’t the identical if you happen to can’t slam the brakes with a large lever as you pull into the station 17 seconds late.

This month, although, an organization known as Zuiki got here to the rescue with the discharge of an formally licensed Densha de Go! controller for the Nintendo Swap. It really works with the newest model of the sport, Hashirou Yamanote-sen, and it marks the primary console controller to be launched because the Wii iteration in 2007.

In equity, the sequence isn’t even alleged to be a going concern lately. Ostensibly the final ever model, Densha de Go! Ultimate was launched for the PS2 in 2004. However varied spinoffs and ports continued to look, and the sport bought a full-on reboot for arcades in 2017, merely titled Densha de Go!. An adaptation of that recreation made its option to the PS4 final 12 months as Densha de Go! Hashirou Yamanote-sen, and subsequently to the Swap in March. Till now, although, you weren’t capable of play this model with a practice controller.

The arcade reboot supplied a strong foundation, and Hashirou Yamanote-sen is a superb addition to the sequence. It makes use of the Unreal Engine and is way extra technically superior than every other Densha de Go! title, with near-photorealistic 3D graphics. The sport facilities across the JR Yamanote line, the round route that loops round Tokyo’s busiest districts, and the expertise feels deeply genuine — buildings and station options are clearly recognizable, with an audio combine that’ll sound acquainted to anybody who’s ever visited the town. Actually, the one factor that’s lacking is the station-specific jingles that play upon departure.

The Swap model just isn’t fairly as sparkly clear as what you get on the PS4, unsurprisingly, but it surely acquits itself properly sufficient. You’ll see the decision drop visibly sometimes, however the factor about Densha de Go! is that you simply’ll principally be concentrating on the icons and stats within the HUD slightly than pixel-counting the graphics, and on the Swap the constancy is first rate sufficient to present a convincing impression of a practice journey if you happen to don’t pay an excessive amount of consideration. The PS4 model has VR help, although, which relying in your perspective may very well be kind of immersive than utilizing a devoted practice controller.

So about that controller. As with the latest arcade model, Zuiki has gone with a “one-handle” design, versus many conventional Densha de Go! controllers which have separate levers for acceleration and braking. With this one, you push as much as brake and pull again to speed up, with a thumb button to unlock the latter vary of movement. It’s not not like an computerized shifter on a automotive. Nearly every thing is plastic, however the controller feels prime quality — it has a hefty construct that received’t transfer round in your espresso desk when you’re utilizing it, and the deal with has satisfying clunks between every setting.

Do you want it to play the sport? No. But in addition… sort of? Hashirou Yamanote-sen has been out on the PS4 for nearly a 12 months with none controller help, but it surely was nonetheless well-received in Japan. Whenever you use a PS4 or Swap controller, although, you must maintain an analog stick in place to keep up your velocity or brake drive, and the sport acknowledges fewer levels of every. With this Zuiki controller, you get eight ranges of brake energy plus an emergency setting that requires extra bodily drive to activate. The ratcheted stick design means every brake place stays the place it’s as soon as you progress to it, versus a controller analog stick that springs again with out fixed strain. Acceleration, in the meantime, has three ranges that may be left as they’re when you’re cruising, with two greater speeds that snap again if you happen to don’t maintain them in place.

The controller makes enjoying the sport a way more bodily, reactive, and satisfying expertise. Densha de Go! is all about modulating your velocity — it’s essential speed up and brake on the proper time between stations, and are available to an ideal cease on the proper level on the platform. You’ll be penalized if you happen to get both improper. It’s a type of arcade video games that may be each stress-free and anxious, with a easy, difficult idea that gives immense aid whenever you pull off an incredible run. That feeling is barely amplified when you may have extra direct management over the sport.

I’ve owned varied iterations of Densha de Go! over time. From the Dreamcast model with the favored Kind 2 controller, to the Osaka Loop Line-specific PSP recreation again once I was dwelling in that metropolis, to the oddly compelling monochrome WonderSwan port from 1999, all of them have had their very own attraction. The Zuiki controller gives arguably the perfect residence expertise but, although. I’d have most popular a PlayStation-compatible model for the higher graphics and VR help, and Hashirou Yamanote-sen doesn’t have probably the most content material of the sequence, however this Swap launch bodes properly for the way forward for the franchise.

That stated, that is clearly going to be a distinct segment product. Zuiki says it received’t make any extra as soon as inventory runs out, and at 14,850 yen ($135), it’s clearly focused at transformed followers. Taito launched a plug-and-play controller with an HD port of Densha de Go! Ultimate in-built just a few years in the past for nearly precisely the identical worth, which might most likely be a greater entry level for novices. The Zuiki controller doesn’t even embody the Hashirou Yamanote-sen recreation, which hasn’t been launched exterior Japan.

Nonetheless, it is a well-executed product, and its existence is a welcome shock. Hopefully it received’t take 14 years till the following one — and even higher, hopefully this one will get 14 years of help. I do know I’d be down to make use of it to journey past Tokyo’s metropolis limits.