The last couple of years have been fantastic for Japanese games on PlayStation 4. The Land of the Rising Sun has knocked it out of the park in recent times, but from where we're sitting, 2018 could turn out to be the best period of all. The next 12 months are set to host a load of highly anticipated Japanese titles that span a bunch of different genres, so we've put together this guide on everything that's looking especially promising.

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Release date: 19th January 2018

With more digimon, a fresh story, and even a few new game mechanics, the long-winded Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory should be an instant hit with those who enjoyed the previous game, Digimon Story: Cyber SleuthDigimon as a property has struggled to rediscover the relevance that it once had back in the anime boom of the 90s, but this turn based RPG should be well worth a look if you're a fan of the genre.

Lost Sphear

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Release date: 23rd January 2018

From the specialised Square Enix RPG team that is Tokyo RPG Factory, Lost Sphear follows in the footsteps of fellow turn based adventure I Am Setsuna, and it looks every bit as charming. It promises quirky characters, a world full of mystery, and... Mech suits? Let's hope it's able to build upon what its predecessor got right.

Monster Hunter: World

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release date: 26th January 2018

One of the heavy hitters as far as Japanese games go in 2018, Capcom could be onto a certified winner with Monster Hunter: World -- an action RPG that's left us seriously impressed after going hands on with the beta build of the release. Whether in solo or in co-op, World promises an adventure of epic proportions as you take down intimidating beasts of all shapes and sizes. Simply put, we can't wait for the finished product.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Arc System Works
Release date: 26th January 2018

Phwoar, just look at it! Dragon Ball FighterZ could end up at the very top of the anime fighting game tree thanks to its dedication to the source material and its exciting combat system. A three-on-three brawler boasting a varied cast of characters and a healthy selection of game modes, FighterZ is all set to be a dream come true for fans of Akira Toriyama's creation and fighting game addicts alike.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Team Ninja
Release date: 30th January 2018

The Dissidia series found a good amount of success on the PSP, but it's always been begging for a proper home console debut. Fortunately, Square Enix has teamed up with Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja to brings us Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, which certainly looks the part. Boasting characters from across the history of Final Fantasy, this team-based fighter-RPG hybrid hopes to be flashy and fun in equal measure.

Dynasty Warriors 9

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Release date: 13th February 2018

We won't sugarcoat it: we do have some concerns about Dynasty Warriors 9 -- particularly the inclusion of so many seemingly cloned characters -- but it's been such a long time since we got a mainline entry in the series that we're willing to give this open world hack and slasher the benefit of the doubt. A ridiculously large character roster and more over-the-top action than you can imagine, we want this to be another memorable montage of bloodied Chinese battlefields.

Metal Gear Survive

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release date: 20th February 2018

"Eh? This isn't Metal Gear! How dare they even use the name!" we hear you cry -- and that's totally fine. But just for a second, can we say that we think Metal Gear Survive looks... Kind of okay? Even potentially quite good? Yes, we know Konami are b*stards. Yes, we know Metal Gear doesn't need this. Yes, we know the game will get torn apart regardless. But we're ready to give Survive a chance -- that Fox Engine is just too good.

Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Dimps
Release date: 23rd February 2018

Finally, a Sword Art Online game where the story doesn't revolve around bloody Kirito and his inability to acknowledge the fact that numerous teenage girls think he's incredible for some unfathomable reason. Our scorn for much of the source material aside, the video game adaptations have been pretty good on PS4, with Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization being a high point. The hope is that loot-shooter-RPG Fatal Bullet raises the bar further.

Devil May Cry HD Collection

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release date: 13th March 2018

The first Devil May Cry's a classic, but we'll be honest: it's definitely showing its age. Meanwhile, Devil May Cry 2's still a bit of a mess. So why has this HD Collection made the list? Well, it's almost purely because of Devil May Cry 3, in our minds still one of the best combat-based action games ever made. We'll gladly take another playthrough on PS4, thanks.

Attack on Titan 2

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Release date: 15th March 2018

Don't those creepy titans just send a shiver down your spine? Brrrr. Ignoring their terrifying faces for a minute, Attack on Titan 2 promises more of everything: more titans, more action, more challenge, more playable characters, more game mechanics, and more locations to soak in the blood of giants. The first game, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom was solid enough, so this sequel just has to keep the ball rolling.

Yakuza 6

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Release date: 20th March 2018

Following on from the snowballing success of Yakuza 0 last year, Yakuza 6 should help carry the series' momentum here in the West. Although newcomers may not be up to speed with the stories that occur between the two games, 6 is built on SEGA's updated Dragon Engine -- a real step up in terms of visuals and environmental interaction  -- and keeps things relatively simple with a plot that supposedly brings protagonist Kazuma Kiryu's story to a fitting conclusion.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Level-5
Release date: 23rd March 2018

Big and most certainly beautiful, Ni no Kuni II is pretty much picture perfect. The ambitious RPG has been delayed a couple of times now, but we're willing to wait when we've got such a great looking sequel on our hands. A revised combat system which emphasises the action side of things is the big change here, but an entirely new story is also on the cards alongside a fresh cast of colourful characters.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Project Aces
Release date: 2018

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seems to be putting the much-needed cheese back in the series with the help of a mental looking anime-style storyline. Of course, it's the dogfights that we're really here for, and thankfully, they're really catching the eye. Ace Combat hasn't had much of an impact on the gaming scene for a long time now, but Skies Unknown could be the start of something special. Target locked, and all that.

Code Vein

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Release date: 2018

It's anime Dark Souls, right? Right?! Is that what you want us to say?! Well we've gone and said it now, so let's just take a moment to actually go over why we're looking forward to Code Vein. Recent gameplay footage may seem a little lacking in creativity, but interesting character designs and totally over-the-top weapons have caught our attention, and the game appears to have an intriguing story going for it. We'll need to see more, but Code Vein could be a surprise hit this year.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release date: 2018

Oof, now we're cooking with gas. The next-generation of Dragon Quest is heading West this year, and we couldn't be more hyped. The last mainline Dragon Quest title to arrive on PlayStation platforms was the eighth instalment back on the PS2, so Dragon Quest XI needs to reassert itself with the confidence and charm that we expect from Japan's most beloved video game franchise. Glorious graphics are accompanied by traditional gameplay and a prominent sense of adventure.

Dragon's Crown Pro

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Vanillaware
Release date: 2018

Vanillaware's logo is pretty much a seal of quality, and games don't get much more polished than Dragon's Crown. The action RPG presents a hugely addictive and entertaining romp from start to finish, and we're more than ready to play through it all over again on PS4. The remaster boasts cross-play with the PS3 and Vita versions of the game, as well as cross-save. It's even got a completely re-recorded orchestral soundtrack.

Fist of the North Star

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Release date: 2018?

Okay, so there's been no confirmation of whether Fist of the North Star will make it West this year, but we're willing to gamble. From the team behind the Yakuza series, this is basically a Yakuza title with a Fist of the North Star skin, and if that's not something that gets your blood pumping, we don't know what to tell you. Maybe you're already dead? (Sorry, that was awful.)

Kingdom Hearts III

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release date: 2018?

Will Kingdom Hearts III release in 2018? Will it, though? Really? We're not entirely convinced, but we know that some of you will complain if we don't include it, so here it is. The long, long awaited sequel is in the works over at Square Enix, and it's going big and bold thanks to the Unreal Engine 4. All new Disney worlds will be yours to explore, complete with a storyline that we're not even going to attempt to comment on.

Mega Man 11

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release date: 2018

Those nutters over at Capcom have only gone and done it: they're making a brand new Mega Man. Almost like the company wants to embarrass the mess that was and still is Might No. 9, Mega Man 11's probably going to blow that fraud out of the water. Or at least, that's what we're hoping. For Capcom's sake, let's pray this one goes well, or who knows how long it'll be willing to bench the Blue Bomber for all over again.

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Release date: 2018

Another year, another Naruto game, but this one's got a bit of a twist to it. A team-based brawler with an emphasis on multiplayer and -- gasp -- character customisation, Shinobi Striker could end up being something surprisingly good. Plus, there are some intriguing tactical elements on display here, with each ninja technique serving a different purpose in battle.

Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Release date: 2018

Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, lose yourself to dance. Persona's disco-dancing spin-off series is back with a banging beat, with Atlus dishing out not one, but two games. Dancing Moon Night takes the relatively dour cast of Persona 3 and attempts to make them boogie with some beautifully rocky tunes.

Persona 5: Dancing Star Night

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Release date: 2018

Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, lose yourself to dance. Persona's disco-dancing spin-off series is back with a bang, with Atlus dishing out not one, but two games. And yes, we did just copy and paste that -- what did you expect? Dancing Star Night takes the rather varied cast of Persona 5 and tries to make them forget about corrupt adults for a bit through the medium of boogie. Expect some amazingly jazzy remixes from this one.

Shenmue III

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Ys Net
Release date: 2018

The search for sailors is scheduled to come out of stasis in 2018, as Shenmue III’s porcelain character models pursue pantomime villain Lan Di after a near 20 year hiatus. The jury’s still out on whether legendary director Yu Suzuki can deliver on fans’ lofty ambitions, but we’ll be satisfied seeing Ryo Hazuki’s miserable mug again.

SoulCalibur VI

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Release date: 2018

A tale of souls and swords, eternally re-written so that we can pad out the word count. Despite not having seen very much of SoulCalibur VI, Bandai Namco seems confident that it's hitting the PS4 this year. Something of a soft reboot, it'll focus on the events of the original SoulCalibur with new stories and characters weaved into them. Tekken 7 put Tekken back on the map in a big way last year, and we're hoping that SoulCalibur VI does the same for SoulCalibur.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Release date: 2018

It's about bloody time, isn't it? After two stints of warfare on PSP and one horribly misguided jaunt into the action RPG genre, traditionally tactical Valkyria Chronicles is heading back to where it belongs -- the big screen. Still boasting that gorgeous art style and water-colour filter, Valkyria Chronicles 4 could be the perfect return to home consoles for SEGA's generally underrated series. Get that tank fixed up, and let's roll out.


So yeah, 2018 is looking pretty darn good for fans of Japanese games isn't it? Whether you agree or disagree, tell us what titles you're most looking forward to in the comments section below.