Items of Import: Sigma Harmonics preview

So there are those certain types of games that deserve an immediate import -- the language barrier isn't too steep, and the gameplay is universally appealing. A lot of titles, however, require a good ability in Japanese to navigate. But a part of the appeal of this column is not simply being an "importer's guide" on what's easy and import-able, but also to expand upon our readers knowledge of upcoming games out of Japan that may or may not see an overseas release. Said games may be the triplest of A's; or in other cases, it could be an ultra quirk-fest of a game that has no chance of sailing across to the Western shores.

With that in mind, today's Items of Import looks at Sigma Harmonics, a "mystery RPG" developed in-house at Square Enix. Having just released in Japan, this is a title that deserves more of our attention since an original IP from the publisher has been a long time coming. The official website for the game is loaded with content right now, and we can learn much from reading and translating it.


The Story

"The Story begins in the Tokyo underground, in the House of Kurogami.
For aeons, the Great Clock within had locked up the Ouma demons;
and was watched over by the "Sound Users."
In our time, Sigma Kurogami, the next head of the Kurogami Household,
spends his peaceful days as a student.
But after a calamity, the Ouma are released, and the world is forever reshaped.
Believing that something has rewritten the past, now only to be full of murder,
the two that are left in this world -- Sigma and Neon, the Card User --
revisit the past to restore order to the future.

Featuring a richly alternate Tokyo, Sigma Harmonics seems to be tapping into similar inspirations that brought about the development of Square Enix's other recent original IP, The World Ends With You. This time, however, the game utilizes a mix of RPG elements with a more adventure style detective game, in which the player must find clues to a mystery and connect the missing links to an incident. But before I delve into the gameplay, let's look briefly at a couple of the characters players will encounter in their time with Sigma Harmonics.

Sigma Kurogami

As the future head of the Kurogami Clan, Sigma is tasked with protecting the Great Clock, which houses the Ouma, the villains in the game. Though currently an easy-breezy student, he comes from a household of "Sound Users," who can weave sounds and create miracles. It will probably come as no surprise to any gamer that his easy-going school days will be no more, and he will have to take up the role of his clan and save the world and all that, amirite?

Neon Tsukiyumi

As Sigma's classmate at school, Neon is part of the Tsukiyumi Clan of "Card Wielders." They also possess the power to fight against the Ouma. Neon is notable for changing into different forms, by way of a seance or possession. She can become The Knight Who Cuts Through Darkness and The Adventuring Sharpshooter, both of which seem like Sigma Harmonics' system of jobs. I also tend to think that there may be more, unannounced possession forms in the game.

Make sure to check out the official site (link again) for an exhaustive list of the various characters in the title, including the Ouman -- Dickson and Christie -- the mysterious Black-clothed Man, and the supporting cast of Rin, Fuyou, and more.

Items of Import is a weekly column dedicated to titles only out in Japan. With in-depth impressions of games long before localization and knowledgeable language how-tos, it attempts to bridge the gap between the import savvy and import fearing. Come on, now! You, too, can make that giant leap! Yokoso!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.