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

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Think about in the event you had been actually right into a online game collection, however nobody launched a controller that allow you to play it correctly for 14 years. Sadly, that’s precisely the state of affairs that followers of Densha de Go! discovered themselves in till lately. Taito’s quirky train-driving franchise has been round for the reason that mid-‘90s throughout numerous methods and units, nevertheless it simply isn’t the identical in the event you can’t slam the brakes with an enormous lever as you pull into the station 17 seconds late.

This month, although, an organization referred to 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 for the reason that Wii iteration in 2007.

In equity, the collection isn’t even presupposed to be a going concern as of late. Ostensibly the final ever model, Densha de Go! Last was launched for the PS2 in 2004. However numerous spinoffs and ports continued to seem, and the sport bought a full-on reboot for arcades in 2017, merely titled Densha de Go!. An adaptation of that sport made its strategy 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 in a position to play this model with a prepare controller.

The arcade reboot supplied a stable foundation, and Hashirou Yamanote-sen is a superb addition to the collection. It makes use of the Unreal Engine and is much extra technically superior than some 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 will not be fairly as sparkly clear as what you get on the PS4, unsurprisingly, nevertheless it acquits itself properly sufficient. You’ll see the decision drop visibly occasionally, however the factor about Densha de Go! is that you simply’ll principally be concentrating on the icons and stats within the HUD fairly than pixel-counting the graphics, and on the Swap the constancy is respectable sufficient to offer a convincing impression of a prepare journey in the event you don’t pay an excessive amount of consideration. The PS4 model has VR assist, although, which relying in your perspective might be roughly immersive than utilizing a devoted prepare 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 in contrast to an computerized shifter on a automobile. Virtually every little thing is plastic, however the controller feels top quality — it has a hefty construct that received’t transfer round in your espresso desk whilst 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 assist, nevertheless it was nonetheless well-received in Japan. While you use a PS4 or Swap controller, although, it’s important to maintain an analog stick in place to keep up your pace or brake pressure, 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 pressure 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 whilst you’re cruising, with two greater speeds that snap again in the event you don’t maintain them in place.

The controller makes taking part in the sport a way more bodily, reactive, and satisfying expertise. Densha de Go! is all about modulating your pace — you should 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 in the event you get both fallacious. It’s a type of arcade video games that may be each enjoyable and anxious, with a easy, difficult idea that gives immense reduction if you pull off an excellent run. That feeling is just amplified when you have got extra direct management over the sport.

I’ve owned numerous iterations of Densha de Go! over time. From the Dreamcast model with the favored Kind 2 controller, to the Osaka Loop Line-specific PSP sport 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 most effective dwelling expertise but, although. I might have most popular a PlayStation-compatible model for the higher graphics and VR assist, and Hashirou Yamanote-sen doesn’t have probably the most content material of the collection, however this Swap launch bodes properly for the way forward for the franchise.

That mentioned, 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! Last in-built a couple of 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 sport, which hasn’t been launched outdoors Japan.

Nonetheless, this can be 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 assist. I do know I’d be down to make use of it to journey past Tokyo’s metropolis limits.