Idea Factory announced the official release date only yesterday, although I personally have mixed feelings about yet another Hakuoki game. I think it’s clear to anyone at this point that Idea Factory is just absolutely milking whatever is left of the franchise, since none of their other games have created such an incredible wave of popularity and of course: profit.
I’m all for more games using the Hakuoki universe or a twist on the original concept; but when it’s their second ‘remastered’ edition of the same game – it’s bound to raise more than a few questions. They had their original game released on PSP, and then the fandisk Zuisouroku on Play Station 2. The original was localised, whereas the fandisk was not. Due to its commercial success in the western world, a port for Play Station 3 was released re-titled “Stories of the Shinsengumi”.
This included both the original game and the translated fandisk, which had extra routes with all the bachelors, more CGs and fan-focused content. Rather than emulating the serious, history-driven storyline of the original, the fandisk depicted the everyday lives and antics of the Shinsengumi when they were out of action. This was explored in the anime OVA of Hakuoki, and had the iconic geisha scene where Yukimura Chizuru infiltrates the red-light district undercover.
And now, we have Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds which is essentially a remastered version of the PS3 Stories of the Shinsengumi. From what is shown on the website, it includes everything of the predecessor (both the original game + Zuisouroku shown from the screenshots) but new and improved additional content has been added.
3 new never before seen characters, which the website has yet to reveal and Yamazaki, Sannan and Shinpachi all now have their own routes due to fan request. The original routes also have additional events and scenes (more CGs!), as well as Kazama’s route having more substance.
The three new bachelors/playable routes as pictured above in Image 2 & 3.
I’m not entirely sure how long these new character routes are compared to the original bachelors, which took around 10-15hrs per character. Although Yamazaki, Sannan and Shinpachi have their own routes now, does that mean their stories have the same amount of content as the original bachelors? Or is it just mini-routes, like what we saw in Zuisouroku/Stories of the Shinsengumi?
For players like myself who purchased both the original PSP game, and the PS3 port —there are many questions as to whether its worthwhile purchasing essentially the same game again. How immersive and detailed is this new content? Are the revamped routes truly that much of an improvement over the original? Or is it just additional events that essentially don’t change anything in the grand scheme of things?
I personally am looking forward to seeing the ‘new and improved’ Chikage Kazama route because honestly his story in the original was very disappointing in comparison to the others. For such a complex and interesting character with so much potential for a storyline; he barely had any substance or playtime in his route at all. Not to mention he had one of the best VAs in the game, and is one of my all-time favourite characters.
As the game is a poorly disguised cash-grab, Idea Factory are banking on the fact that fans of Hakuoki will purchase the game regardless; simply because we all want to see more content with our favourite bachelors. I’m personally still on the fence as to whether or not I will be purchasing the game myself once it’s released.
However, for players who have never played the Hakuoki game before, then I highly recommend grabbing Kyoto Winds! It essentially has everything the previous releases had, but better. You’re getting a lot more bang for your buck. The original game is a solid title, with beautiful art and immersive storyline; definitely a worthwhile pick up for the PSVita.
However, with Idea Factory constantly recycling the same game, it honestly comes off as they’re running out of ideas for new titles. I would’ve preferred to see Hakuoki: Reimeiroku localised or even Hakuoki: SSL. Reimeiroku is one of the more under appreciated titles of the franchise I feel, despite it offering so much good quality content. It deviates from the otome/romance aspect of the game, as we play a male hero however it has significantly longer playtime than the original.
It delves into the origins of the Shinsengumi, their past, how they came to be, and offers more dimension to the original character cast. To me, that is something worthwhile playing rather than yet another rehash of the first game. I look forward to when the game releases, and seeing other player’s opinions first before deciding for myself. What do you guys think of the newly announced Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds?