Kantai Collection – Arcade

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Being one of the most popular titles in the Japanese otaku world currently, its no surprise that the arcade game usually sports impossibly long lines. Deciding that it was finally time to give this game ago, I visited a game center in Akihabara where each machine is limited to one play only. It happened to be a rather slow Thursday night so I was able to play without too long of a wait.

To go into more detail, for 3 credits you get 900 GP, which acts as a overall timer as well as a currency. Just about everything you want to do takes from your GP, including spending time in the menu systems, which could be a bit daunting at first. The in-game tutorial for first timers does explain the basics fairly well even for non Japanese speakers and with a small amount of poking around, they become fairly simple to navigate. Though anyone who has experience with the Japanese Web Game will feel right at home. GP is also used for sending your fleet out on sorties in attempts to get items to help your fleet as well as completing missions for EXP and the chance at a card drop from the mission it self. A typical 900 GP play usually lasts for about 30 minutesĀ  depending on your mission selection.

First things first however, lets talk about the games control system, as seen above there’s very few actual controls, though they work perfectly well for the game play. The game features a full touch screen, as well as a naval themed controls in the wheel and the throttle and one button which is used to fire your selected weapon group.

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All of which are fairly straight forward to use to control your fleet. There was a nice gimmick to controlling your fleet on screen with these types of controls, and the responsiveness is what you what expect from controlling a ship. Though it does take some delicate control to evade enemy attacks and set your own up.

The real fun though is in building and collecting your fleet, Each time you complete a mission you have the option of paying an extra 100 yen to have the game print you off an IC card of a ship that can drop from that mission on the spot. You can also construct ships as well, back at base using your resources that you collect on missions. The ships you have collected can be put in the ship slot on the cabinet and will show up available for use in your fleet.

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The Construction Menu for ships.

The construction menu allows to spend various resources to try to get ships, there’s also a chance to get a rare holographic ship card, some of which can sell in second hand shops for upwards of 10,000 Yen, with the most expensive that I have seen at 64,000 yen or about 600 USD at the time of writing. There’s plenty of different ship classes all with different stats and weapon armaments from Destroyers to Battleships. How the player sets up their fleet is what allows for the completion of harder and harder missions as sometimes you need the speedy yet weak Destroyers or the monstrous Aircraft Carriers to best complete your mission.

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Sortie selection screen

When you have your fleet set up and are ready to send them out on a sortie, you are taken to the mission select screen, there is a really good amount of missions to go through. Each progressing in difficulty and each with varying ideal setups for your fleet. Once you select the mission you undertake, the battle/exploration segment starts.

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Each Mission has an overall time that you are allowed to complete it in to get the full rewards, your ships various speed stats effect how well they can traverse the sea to either hunt down the enemy ships or resources. In the above image, we only have a vague idea of where the enemy is and are en route to their believed location. If your have your ships outfitted with scout planes you can send them ahead to reveal large amounts of area where there may be items to aid your fleet, or of course the enemy you need to obliterate.

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Once found, the true battle starts and you begin to close in on their location, the various ship classes have different firing ranges, and once in range a target will appear around an enemy and start off big but rapidly get smaller. It turns into a timing game of sorts as the perfect shot carries the most damage, but if your timing is just even a bit off you will wind up completely missing your mark. On the contrary a safe shot will almost always hit but carry little weight behind it. While your setting your shots up however, the enemy is doing the same. You can swap between the main cannons, short range rapid fire guns as well as Torpedoes and available aircraft. Torpedoes of note are hard to set up but can deal extremely large amounts of damage and really helps the small destroyers dish out the hurt.

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A couple of times I almost got caught with tunnel vision as my fleet was about to run straight into an enemy bombardment, and from what I have seen of the later missions, it takes some serious control to pull off the right shot without getting obliterated yourself. But if you play it too safe, eventually time will run out leaving you with a bad review and little experience from the battle. The ship the performed the best is crowned MVP and gets a large experience boost. Its easy to tell which one it was since they will be the one featured on the screen like Shimakaze below.

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After the battle is over your taken to the results screen which is pretty standard, every ship that participated is rewarded experience which levels them up and increases their over all stats. Your “Character” the admiral also gains experience points which allows for more resources to be stored and such. You will also be given the chance to draw a card for 100 yen, the first few missions it will probably be best to draw the cards to round your fleet out unless you happen to buy some in a secondhand shop or grab then through gacha’s like I did. And the later missions that have a chance to drop specific rare cards it could very well be critical to draw and hope for good luck.

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New Fleet Member “Destroyer” Samidare

After the battle your taken back to the main menu where you can continue to go on sorties or try to construct or repair your ships. Its also important to resupply them as well if you plan on undertaking more sorties.

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Resupply Menu

One important thing that seems to be of key success to upgrading your fleet is to construct new weapons to replace the default weapons on your ships. It’s done in the same way as constructing a ship, and can lead to some major upgrades, as there’s the potential for rare and powerful guns, utility items and aircraft.

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New Cannons, Uncommon Rarity

There is a crazy amount of depth to this arcade game, with a boatload of ships to collect, weapons to craft and missions to undertake. Playing for an hour felt like I barely scratched the surface and I plan to play again in the near future and try to add to my collection. I can see why the game has a constant hour plus wait to play. If you happen to have the chance to play, its absolutely worth checking out regardless of whether you are a fan of KanColle before playing.

 

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Kantai Collection Arcade Cards

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While, I haven’t been able to play it yet, due to the lines typically being more than 2 hours long. I did manage to buy some cards though a card gacha machine in Akihabara. They are pretty high quality, really sturdy and the holographic ones are well done.

While browsing through the shops that sell the cards, I saw that one of them sells for about 7500 yen. Not too bad for a 1000 yen investment!

This game is high on my priority list to play so I think I’ll try venturing out to some Game Centers outside of the major station areas, or just have to suck it up one night and wait. My usually game center has one of the machines up on a projector so people in line can watch… I think I would freak out if that machine I landed, so I don’t think I will be trying it out there.

 

Club Sega Akihabara

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To start, I think it would be best to cover what is one of the most popular arcades in the mecca of Video Game and Otaku culture, Akihabara.

Club Sega is one of four arcades owned by Sega in Akihabara alone, the others being Sega Gigo and another just labeled Sega about a 30 second walk south, and one near the station entrance.

For those who aren’t all too familiar with Japan’s Game Centers, they can be overwhelming, often packed full on weekends, and sometimes even the smell of cigarettes can be overwhelming. But, finding the right game to play at the right places can make or break your experience in a Game Center. Every location draws out a different type of player and a different fan base.

Club Sega in Akihabara is 6 floors of arcade heaven, each with their own variety of the latest in Japanese gaming. The first three floors of which are mostly devoted to the Japanese Crane game. Which are decidedly more skill based than their American counterpart, as with the right touch and a little luck as well its possible to win some very neat prizes. Floor 1 and 2 is dominated by prizes for Love Live! School Idol Project and Kantai Collection, both properties which are tremendously popular in Akihabara, bring droves of fans to try to win some prizes. Floor 3 caters to Shounen properties along the lines of Dragon Ball and One Piece, fans of those series can still find a prize or two waiting for them if they want to test their skill.

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Things begin to open up a touch more while climbing up the floors here, or depending on how you look at it, this is where 100 Yen coins come to die. Floor 4 is home to what is easily the most popular game at this location, Kantai Collection. Kantai Collection is an arcade port of a Japanese Browser game that became largely popular just a few years ago, in where you collect and assemble a fleet of “Ship-Girls” and send them out on various missions or exploration. There’s a strong collectable aspect to this game, in that when you either construct or discover a new ship on a mission, the arcade machine gives you a physical card which you then can use in your fleet on future missions. Though a full game report will hopefully come at a later date, the lines have been incredibly long.

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Typical Ship-Girl

Floor 4 of Club Sega is home to other games as well, the second most popular being Wonderland Wars. Perhaps the first arcade based MOBA to catch on, Wonderland Wars in a PVP based game in the same vein as DotA 2 or League of Legends. In Wonderland Wars teams of 4 face off against each other to try to push each others towers down, while also trying to defeat each-other to ultimately come out on top victorious. The game mechanics we will cover at a later date, but one thing to note is the innovative control system which really makes the game shine.

IMG_20160703_210024 2.0.jpgPlayers control all the action using a joystick to move their chosen character and perform various evasive moves, and the stylus which is used for attacking and interacting with the skills they have chosen for their own character, expect a detailed write up in the very near future about how this all works, but it’s an easy task to sink a couple hours into this game as the accessibility and match length is comparable to Overwatch leaving for shorter fast paced matches that really click together in the arcade format.

The fourth floor is home to other games as well, the latest Gundam U.C Build Fighters calls its home here, as does Dissidia Final Fantasy which is an arcade version of the fighting game series for the PSP some time ago. Theres several standard fighting games such as Tekken 7 and Nesica X Live, but Club Sega in Akihabara does definitely not make a home of fighting games. Rounding out the 4th floor is World Club Championship Football, a simulation type game where you train a Football Club against other players and try to win a championship, and the latest Sengoku Taisen game.

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Floor 5 caters to fans of a more hands on variety as two games in particular take up the majority of the space. Gunslinger Stratos 3 and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX are the go to games here. Gunslinger Stratos being a fairly complex arena fighting game where you control your character using a set of two light guns with controls and the ability to link them together to form one larger gun via magnets. While Wangan consists of high speed Japanese Street Racing on representations of actual highways though out the Tokyo and Osaka region. The 8 Machines here are often a hot spot for the region and this floor may very well be the racing game capital of Tokyo. Also in the racing category is Initial D Arcade Stage 8, the 8th entry in the long running Initial D franchise, this game lets you live out life as a Japanese Drift Racer and race along the actual courses from various spots in Japan and from the Anime/Manga series.

 

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The top floor, is home to all of the rhythm games you could ever hope to want to play, represented are Project Diva, Museca, Crossbeats Rev. Sunshine, MaiMai Pink Plus, Sound Voltex 3, Various Beat Mania versions, and Chunithm Plus which does away with buttons and instead is played on a touch sensitive bar. Chunithm’s popularity is incredibly high right now, and the machines are often full up with a queue waiting for a chance to play.

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Club Sega Akihabara is what some call a haven of games, nearly every major game is represented here, with some exceptions, Gundam Ex Vs Maxi Boost On is not represented here and is still one of the most played and fiercely competitive games in all of Japan. Sega though has really spread the genres out really well though with the amount of locations that they hold in Akiba, as Gundam can be found heavily in their other locations, as well as Fighting Games in general, if you looking to get into that scene and challenge some of the best Japan has to offer this is not the arcade for you. But what sets Club Sega above some of its competitors is this location has no smoking at the machines themselves, only in designated areas, so its possible to game and not inhale a couple packs of cigarettes second hand.

Although, the centers vending options leave much to be desired, as most of the drinks are standard fare for Japan and the lone vending not serving drinks is an ice cream vending machine.

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