Yo-kai Watch 4 Hands-on Impressions - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, June 24, 2019

Yo-kai Watch 4 Hands-on Impressions

by Danny Bivens

The yo-kai are back, but are they better than ever?
Yo-kai Watch is BACK! After being absent (in Japan) since the late 2017 release of Yo-kai Watch Busters/Blasters 2, this not only marks the first release since then, but also the first release of a mainline game on a home console. Although the series and anime have been in somewhat of a slump, Level 5 really put a lot into this release.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but you will start off the game as our good pal Keita/Nate. He’s on summer break from school and is spending his days just lounging around trying to stay out of the heat. After running an errand for his mom, he runs into some yo-kai causing mischief around town and that’s where this journey really begins. There’s time travel, the ability to play as multiple characters and tons of yo-kai running around to discover and battle.
Gameplay here is pretty smooth. While you will spend a lot of your time exploring the town and surrounding areas, you will also spend quite a bit of time battling. Battles have players controlling up to three yo-kai as well as their human partner. This is all done from a third person perspective. This time, the battles are very action oriented. You can freely switch between all of the yo-kai (and human character), with the other characters battling automatically. The human characters can do physical attacks, ranged energy attacks, and can even zap energy from enemy yo-kai to fill up your YP (basically MP) meter. The yo-kai handle similarly, having basic attacks, special attacks (sometimes ranged, energy based) and a special “Shadowside” attack that can be performed by pressing X and A together. You can even choose to do an auto battle by pressing the select button. It all feels pretty good and is quite different from other entries in the series.

Visuals in Yo-kai Watch 4 look fantastic. Although previous entires into the mainline series did a pretty good job at replicating the look of the anime, the lack of power on the 3DS made the games fall just short of achieving the same level of visual fidelity. That’s not to say that the previous games looked bad. This time around though, the engine really takes it to the next level. The only thing holding it back is the framerate. It’s not terrible, but it becomes noticeable in several situations. For example, when there are a lot of characters on the screen. Also, certain environments can really show the engine struggling to keep up. Early on in the game, players are put into a gorgeous forest area leading up to a temple. Doing a simple camera spin with the right analog stick shows how the framerate can dip when showing too much foliage on the screen. It should be noted, this is FAR from the worst I’ve seen in terms of framerate issues in a Switch game. It is noticeable, though, and a bit disappointing considering everything else about the visuals are spot on.
Although I’m very early into the game, I’m enjoying my time with Yo-kai Watch 4. Framerate issues aside, the goofy story, fun characters, and nice visual presentation really set the game apart. Also, even if you have a limited knowledge of Japanese, the on screen map and green exclamation points on the map can help you get through the game. I’m hoping to come back for a review after putting significantly more time into the game.

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