Densha de Go! Hashirō Yamanote-sen | Preview | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, February 22, 2021

Densha de Go! Hashirō Yamanote-sen | Preview | Switch

by Danny Bivens

All aboard! 
The Densha de Go series has been around since the mid 90s, first appearing in the arcades and then making its way to a variety of home and handheld platforms including the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, WonderSwan, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS and smart devices. A new version of the game released on the PlayStation 4 in December (Japan only) and publisher Taito (via Square Enix) is set to release the game on the Switch on March 18, 2021. But what can gamers look forward to in this Japan only train simulation? That’s what we’re here to talk about.

Let me start things off by saying this - I’m definitely not one of those crazy train people, or somebody that’s stands on the train platforms snapping photos while the trains roll into the station. So if you’re looking for an in depth look at something…like that, there are probably some other articles out there for you. Of course, having been in Japan for over a decade, I’ve rode trains all around the country, including the famous Yamanote Line which runs through the heart of Tokyo. So, while I’m not an expert on trains, I think you’ll be able to get a fairly good understanding of what this game is about by the end of this.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's talk about what Densha de Go is and the focus on this title, Densha de Go!! Hashirō Yamanote-Sen (Let’s Run on the Yamanote Line). The series itself is a simulation style of game that puts you in the drivers seat of a variety of trains across Japan. In this case, and as the title indicates, you will be mainly driving trains around the Yamanote Line which runs through the heart of Tokyo. Each station along the line here is faithfully reproduced. Not only that, but the latest addition to the Line, a first in 49 years, Takanawa Gateway is here as well. 
Train Driving Basics
There are a few basic things that you’ll need to keep your eye while behind the “wheel” here.

You will have to mind your speed as you are zipping around the various stations in Tokyo. The game displays your current speed and the speed limit in the area. 

Distance to Stop Position
There is an on screen gauge that tells you the distance from your current location and your final destination. The closer you get to the final stop position, the higher your score. 
Arrival Time
Right below the “distance” marker is the time you have left before your next stop. The goal here is to try to arrive right on time. The closer you are to the mark, again, the higher your score. 

The Train Operator’s Job

Operating the train is a tough job with a lot of things to remember. Such as:

Door Closing Sign
When all of the passengers are boarding the train, you will eventually need to turn on the “door closing” sign. This is done by pressing the X button when prompted. Don’t forget to turn that thing on! This is 

Dimming Your Lights
When passing an oncoming train, as a courtesy, you’ll want to dim your lights so that you don’t blind the operator on the other side. This can be done with the press of the B button. 
As with cars, speed limits are usually put into place for a reason. The same goes with trains. Here, you’ll want to stick to the speed limit as much as possible but at the same time be speedy enough to arrive to the next station on time. Your score depends on it!

The Train Whistle
As part of safety protocols, it’s your job to blow the train whistle from time to time. For example, you’ll need to do this when passing through bridges or when there are maintenance personnel out on the tracks. Sometimes it’s even done as a a bit of fanfare when the train is already pulled into the platforms or when there are people checking out the train from an overpass. 

Of course, there are quite a few different ways to play the game here through a variety of modes. 

Ouchi de Go! Mode
Engineer’s Road
This is the main mode of the game and likely where you will be spending a majority of your time. Divided into chapters, there are a variety of missions that you can clear, each with five difficulty settings. By completing the missions, your “driver” rank will increase. 

Daily Roulette
Once per day, you can play a random mission that is set at a random difficulty level. The missions reset daily at midnight. The available routes will tie in with the progress you’ve made in Engineer’s Road.

Free Run
Here, you can fully customize your train type, settings, departure and arrival stations and even alter the weather. Like Daily Roulette, the trains that you can select depend on your progress in Engineer’s Road. 

Arcade Mode
Aim for Being the Ultimate Engineer
In this high score mode, the game features arcade-like gameplay as you try to reach your way to the top of the rankings. There are multiple difficulty levels to challenge here, too. The goal is to hone your skills to be the best. 

Yamanote Line and Sōbu Line
These are missions that are particularly popular in the arcade version of Densha de Go that have players travel along both the Yamanote and Sōbu lines. On the Yamanote Line, you can play between Harajuku and Shinagawa Stations in Tokyo and on the Sōbu Line, you can test your skills from Ichigaya to Akihabara.

Additionally, the Yamanote Line missions will feature newer train models (the E235 series) as well as older train models. The appeal here for “train heads” will be to take a look at these old vehicles running through a modern day Tokyo. 
Lines that run parallel to the Yamanote Line are also here. The Saikyo Line, Tohoku Line, Ueno Tokyo Line and even the Narita Express are included. 

Unlike some of the previously released games on older platforms, gamers won’t be able to purchase a special controller like they did in the past. However, there are some options here that don’t involve buying more plastic junk to shove in your living room. For the Switch version of the game, either the Joy Con or the Pro Controller are supported here in a standard way that has players accelerating with the left joystick. Another option, which is more in line with what you might expect from a game like this, allows players to use separate Joy Con to control trains that have two handles. 
Densha de Go! Hashirō Yamanote-sen looks like a pretty interesting game. The new modes and control options for the Switch version also make it look pretty fun. Is there a chance that we’ll see an English version of the game? Well, while I think that’s highly unlikely, I should note that the arcade version IS getting some kind of a test run in English in Dallas, Texas at a Dave & Busters according to a report from Siliconera right NOW (February 2021). So, who the hell knows really. But what do you think about all of this? Are you interested in the Switch version of Densha de Go? Do you already have it on the PS4? What’s your favorite station along the Yamanote Line? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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