Update time：2021-07-08 13:56Tag: Yo-Kai Watch 3
Life could use more BBQ. At least that’s what the Yo-Kai Watch crew thought for the latest installment of Level 5’s ghost-busting adventure series.
Thus we have a good chunk of Yo-Kai Watch 3 taking part in BBQ country. By that, I mean a country literally named BBQ. Well, technically it’s a country.
See, when Yo-Kai Watch was localized in the United States, they decided to take the Japanese locale of Sakura New Town and change it to a U.S. town named Springdale. So when Yo-Kai Watch 3 ended up sending its male protagonist to the United States as part of his dad’s job transfer, the localization team had to change that part as well. The result is the oddly named St. Peanutsburg, BBQ, where Nate kicks off his new adventures.
That name, by the way, kinda’ smacks of Russian collusion, but I digress. Like a confirmed alien sighting, it’s just nice to see that Yo-Kai Watch 3 is finally here nearly three years after its Japanese release, and that we’re getting the definitive “Sukiyaki” version to boot.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 starts by channeling the spirits of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson courtesy of Y-Files investigators Blunder and Folly. I must say that when the localization team is on point, they’re quite hilarious. Blunder, who should probably learn from Prince Philip and relinquish his driver’s license, banters with his partner Folly until coming across a huge hole in the road that was apparently left by an interstellar object. This starts off a narrative filled with the series traditional “yokai” or ghost elements plus a heavy sprinkling of alien and astronomical shenanigans.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 also introduces a second protagonist or co-conspirator, if you will. Hailey Anne Thomas is a quirky “otaku” or geek who sports glasses and a charming bob cut as well as a rabid fascination for Hailey Annes, er, aliens (I see what you did there Yo-Kai Watch crew). Her adventure actually occurs separately from Nate’s and is set in Springdale, allowing players to experience Yo-Kai Watch 3’s story from two vantage points. Although it might feel disconcerting at first, I ended up quite liking this narrative approach. It helps keep things fresh with new settings and characters while also keeping some of the familiar elements from past games. It helps that Hailey Anne is an interesting character with lots of personality. Some might find her quirkiness annoying but I actually find her more interesting than Nate. I especially like how she isn’t your typical, pretty girl-next-door type but is more like a regular geek. Plus, anyone who does homage to Ultraman is A-OK in my book.
The writing sports that familiar Yo-Kai Watch charm with the localization team doing a pretty bang-up job overall. Yo-Kai Watch’s dialogue usually makes me chuckle and this game certainly has its share of amusing moments. I couldn’t help but laugh, for example, after seeing the phrase “‘Merican Yo-kai.” That being?said, I do have a bit of a gripe with the dialogue used for BBQ residents. The use of a southern accent isn’t a problem but the dialogue makes heavy use of unconventional word spellings to portray that accent, making it a bit tiring to process at times. I understand that this was done to convey the language barrier between Japanese and English from the source material but this one seems a bit forced and gets in the way of the narrative. It’s like reading Uncle Remus’ folktales about Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear at times. The game also can be a bit heavy on the American stereotypes but not to the point where I thought it was an issue.
Visually, the game sports that familiar Yo-Kai Watch aesthetic. I’ve always liked how Springdale recreates the vibe of a Japanese town and BBQ’s take on a particular slice of America is pretty good as well. Saint Peanutsburg’s locales actually reminded me of the times I’ve spent in places such as Virginia, especially with the way its neighborhoods are portrayed. ?The Yo-Kai designs, also continue to be a hoot, with some making me chuckle with delight. One of the yokai that Hailey Anne meets early on in the game, for example, looks like a quiet unassuming creature but turns out to be a social media savant. Then you’ve got BBQvil, a devil-looking yokai who holds kebabs in both hands. Seriously. I even like the design of Hailey Anne’s partner USApyon an astronaut-looking yokai who looks cute and harmless at first glance. That is, until you make him mad. Then he turns into Buzz Aldrin after being hounded by moon landing skeptic Bart Sibrel. With more than 600 yokai to befriend and interact with, perfectionists will have fun rounding up all its creatures.
As with past Yo-Kai games, there’s a lot to do in Yo-Kai watch, which sports a chunky campaign with a solid endgame. You’ve got a host of activities like Blasters T as well as Suspicious Rooms and various areas and dungeons you can unlock that let you battle all sorts of foes for loot. Yokai recruitment also remains a key part of the game, including the various mechanics you need to keep in mind to improve your chances for success. Admittedly, the game can feel like a grind at times but folks who want to squeeze out as many hours as they can from their games will like the multitude of options that Yo-Kai Watch 3 provides.
Battles, meanwhile, have been refined to give players a bit more control, even though yokai still fight automatically. I especially like the grid-based combat, which not only gives you more formation possibilities but allows for more mobility as well. Line up the yokai a certain way and you get certain boosts such as increased attack or even link healing. You can also command yokai to move via the grids to pick up drops or change their battle line position to either improve offense or defense. Soultimate attacks still bring up different mini-game mechanics, with some being more fun than others. These include quickly drawing circles on the touchscreen or matching the reels of a slot machine. As with past games, you can also target specific parts of enemy yokai, especially bosses, to trigger certain effects or situations. Even though you still don’t have complete control of your yokai’s attacks, I find this system improved from past games.
Ultimately, Yo-Kai Watch 3 is the best iteration of a series that’s admittedly starting to show its age on the 3DS. It also serves as a swan song for the franchise on Nintendo’s dual-screen workhorse as it moves to the Switch. While it has its issues, the game remains a hoot with tons of content?for fans of the series. And if you’re a newcomer, this definitive Yo-Kai watch game ain’t a bad place to start either. It’s spooky fun for all ages.
Rating: 8 out of 10Cost: $39.99, 3DShttps://yo-kai.nintendo.com/
Jason Hidalgo covers business?and technology for the Reno Gazette-Journal, and also reviews video games as part of his Technobubble?features. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this contentSupport local journalism with an?RGJ digital subscription.
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