Games As Study: Language Difficulty List

Picnic mode is actually really hard in the winter. Funny that.

Picnic mode is actually really hard in the winter. Funny that.

日本語の勉強のためゲーム:言語難易度順 

Your one stop shop for finding the difficulty of the language in any game (that I’ve played).

Overview

This guide is meant to help you decide whether or not a Japanese game is suitable for your level of Japanese. Of course, a game you want to play is better than any game you don’t, so even if a sports game is appropriate, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily play it. Stick with a genre you enjoy.

Secondly, I’ve divided this into two lists: Language Difficulty and Relative Difficulty. In the Language Difficulty section, the games are arranged purely on how difficult their language is. At a basic level, it’s the difference between the game opening with “おれは冒険者だ!” and “すべての生命の源たるエーテルたゆたうこの蒼き星は、悠久の時のなかで数多の命を育んできた。”. Mario games are easier than Zelda games, and both are far easier than games like Persona and Sengoku Basara. But, even if a game has difficult language, if it isn’t necessary to progress in the game, then who cares? That’s where Relative Difficulty comes in. While Pokemon’s language is easier than Sengoku Basara, it gets higher marks because the language is needed to a greater extent to progress in the game.

As for genres specifically, I’d generally say that some genres are easier than others to play in a language.

Easiest

  1. racing
  2. first person shooters
  3. fighting
  4. sports
  5. action
  6. strategy
  7. RPGs
  8. MMORPGs

Hardest

In the same vein, older games tend to be harder than new games. Mother, while being a fairly simple game, is endlessly confusing. There’s just not much direction. Yeah, you know you need to go to the graveyard, but where the heck is it? And where’s the kanji? (I know they couldn’t handle it back then, but hey.) That said, newer games like Skyrim or any MMO are pretty difficult to play without a guide if your Japanese is weak. Not impossible, by any stretch. But more difficult than racing games.

While I haven’t actually played that many games in Japanese, the ones I have played will be represented and as I continue to play, more will be added to this list.

Without further ado…

Language Difficulty

Beginner:

  • Mario Kart 8
  • Nintendo Land
  • Super Mario 3D World

Lower Intermediate:

  • Mother
  • Pokémon X/Y
  • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • 電波人間のRPG
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Upper Intermediate:

  • Ni no Kuni
  • The Last Story
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • The World Ends With You
  • Pokemon Sun/Moon

Advanced:

  • Bayonetta 1 + 2
  • Dragon’s Crown
  • Radiant Historia
  • Sengoku Basara
  • Tales of Vesperia
  • Terra Battle
  • Xenoblade Chronicles
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Persona 5

Relative Difficulty

Easy

  • Mario Kart 8
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Nintendo Land
  • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
  • Terra Battle
  • Sengoku Basara
  • Bayonetta 1 + 2
  • Dragon’s Crown

Normal

  • Pokemon X/Y
  • Pokemon Sun/Moon
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • 電波人間のRPG
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Ni no Kuni
  • The Last Story
  • Xenoblade Chronicles
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Hard

  • Mother
  • The World Ends With You
  • Radiant Historia
  • Tales of Vesperia
  • Persona 5

Afterward

I hope this list serves as some kind of a guide. To some, I’m sure the above is obvious. To others, I’m glad I could help.

Is there anything you disagree with? Any games you think should go on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

What're ya thinkin'?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s