Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — Character Review: Nesso Galland

Black.Wolves.Saga.full.1120110

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

NESSO GALLAND: Nesso is the older, half-brother to Fiona and has fiercely protected her since birth. Both their mother’s died young, and as a result growing up they only had each other and their father for the most part. Nesso is considered to be immensely talented, skilled, popular amongst the people and directs his own special platoon within the army. He is Weblin’s finest swordsman, and has yet to be defeated on the battlefield.

However, normally as part of the Galland family a man of Nesso’s ability and lineage would have easily reached the status of Captain within the Royal army itself. Fiona learns to her dismay that it is due to their family’s refusal of Mejojo’s advances and his resentment towards knights that leads to Nesso taking on many tasks that one would expect of low rank-and-file soldier.

He assures her that he is unaffected by his predicament, so long as his precious little sister is untouched by those devious cat’s hands. After all, the main motivation and drive behind his desire for strength and the ability to wield the sword with such skill was all for the sake of protecting Fiona.

We soon learn that it is due to Nesso’s request rather than their father’s decision to lock Fiona away inside the tower. Although her weak body is partially the reason, for the most part it is due to Nesso’s desire to always have Fiona within his line of sight. Even though Nesso is able to protect her within the castle grounds, due to the nature of his work he is often sent to the front lines of battle. As a result, Nesso reasons to himself that he needs a place to keep her safe when he is not close by; a place out of reach from the hands of others.

In reality however, we realise from the very beginning of the game that rather than out of familial love for Fiona; Nesso in fact has a major sister complex. His actions towards Fiona border on incestuous for most of the game, and becomes insanely jealous at any male who comes close to her. Although it is comical for the most part, you can just tell from the underlying tone that Nesso is actually dead serious.

He continually expresses his desire to marry Fiona, as it is not entirely uncommon for half-members of the family to wed amongst one another. Nesso claims that he is the only man suitable and truly worthy of Fiona. To my dismay, I can’t exactly refute that point. Nesso is the perfect character that tends to Fiona’s every need: he’s handsome, talented, has the strength to protect her, and everything he does is for her sake. His love for her borders on obsession, but he does indeed try to keep her best interests at heart.

At least everything would be perfect about him considering Fiona’s circumstances… except for the fact that he is still her sibling at the end of the day. I actually dreaded and left his route for last on purpose, because although I know some people are fans of incest; it really just doesn’t sit well for me personally. I just wanted to leave my personal impression of Nesso as the caring older brother doting on his sister, rather than finding out any dark, twisted love he may secretly have on the inside.

What really irked me about Nesso’s character is his blatant disregard for Fiona’s opinions and his constant projection on her that she is still a helpless child who knows nothing about reality. He continually rejects her decisions on what she wishes to do for the future, and leaves her no choice but to take action on her own accord. Otherwise, he only gives in when she is extremely adamant on what she wants to do, or leaves him with no choice on the matter. For example: she’s not leaving Weblin, and his only option is to leave without her or stay with her.

Also, his confinement of her within the tower was what led to her complete disconnect with reality to begin with. It wasn’t certain whether or not her solitary confinement was the sole reason as to why she was able to stay alive for so long, as she remained perfectly fine when residing in the Castle Gardens within Mejojo’s Kingdom. He had taken away her freedom without her knowledge, and he reasons that it’s all for her sake rather than his own selfish desires being projected onto her.

That in itself is already a very unhealthy relationship to have. If she hadn’t been confined to the tower all her life, she would’ve grown up to have a better understanding of the world and some semblance of common sense. I just found myself uncomfortable reading the romantic scenes with Nesso, because for some unknown reason they had the most passionate and physically intimate moments with one another; even greater than Mejojo or Auger.

It honestly just felt as though he was preying on her, and confusing her feelings for him as a brother. When they shared a kiss, to me it felt like Fiona was more so shocked and surprised by it all; rather than actually reciprocating his desires for her. Even she herself is unsure of the act, as he always evades her when she questions whether or not it is appropriate behaviour for siblings to engage in.

His good ending actually left me with a deep sense of despair hilariously enough. Due to Nesso taking the brunt of their fall from the cliff and shielding Fiona, he has become crippled by his injuries. Fiona feels an extreme sense of guilt over the situation, as it was because of her that he is now confined to his bed; and their positions towards one another had become reversed. Fiona is now his caretaker, and Nesso is (a little too) content with his newfound predicament.

After all, every waking moment they have now is spent with each other. She continually dotes on and spoils him, attending to his every need and whim. It’s heavily implied they are now regularly engaging in a physically sexual relationship, as Nesso reasons that it ‘helps him feel better’. Fiona who is deeply saddened that her once talented brother is now a crippled invalid unable to ever wield a sword again; obliges him willingly with his embarrassing demands.

To me, what Fiona felt towards him wasn’t romantic love; but the love of a sibling stained by guilt and manipulated by Nesso. Nesso projects onto her his obsessive love, and Fiona is all too clueless about men due to her complete social disconnection from the world. I’m unable to see their relationship as being genuine in any sort of form, due to the nature of the events that transpired.

I admit I was also incredibly salty because Nesso and Fiona had so many romantic moments together, whilst many of the other characters were left out to dry in comparison. If I could choose, then I would prefer Nesso’s route to not be in the game since I felt it would be better used to develop the other storylines. The human faction storyline within BWS doesn’t really contribute much to the overarching plot, as they play the role of by-stander in the main conflict between the wolves and cats.

Their role in the story is revealed in the main linear storyline, and their relationship to Fiona is already established from the beginning. As a result, it doesn’t leave very much substance to work with and the writers decided to focus their routes on the more romantic aspect of the game rather than actual storyline. As I dislike Nesso this was considered a tragedy to me, as I would’ve preferred it with essentially any other character but him (laughs).

Advertisements

Amnesia: Memories Review

07eccbc2-55f8-41bb-8a5f-888b36fa6b78

RELEASE DATE: 2011
PUBLISHER: Idea Factory & Gloczus, Inc.
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: PSVita, Steam, iOS/Android (English)
GAME LINK: 
Amnesia: Memories – PS Vita [Digital Code]
Amnesia: Memories – Steam [Digital Code]

Amnesia: Memories is the second Idea Factory localised title I played after Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. I purchased a PSVita just to play the game, as I loved the artwork and the game is very popular in Japan. The PS Vita is the main platform for a lot of visual novel releases, so there would be plenty of current and to be released titles for me to play.

Needless to say, it is one of my favourite otome games that I have revisited and played many times. My ultimate bias is Kent, as he is undoubtedly ‘best boy’ in my eyes and agreed upon by many other players. I own the game both on the PSVita, and the steam platform port. It’s one of the few Visual Novels that regularly goes on sale on steam from $29.99USD to $2.99USD, a whopping -90% off which in my opinion is absolutely nuts.

I don’t usually purchase multiple ports of the same game, but who can say no to a $2.99USD game? You won’t find any visual novel of this quality and length for that price anywhere else. Majority of mobile phone games cost $4 or $5 for a single character route alone.

If you haven’t played the game yet, I highly recommend waiting for the steam -90% or -75% sale ($7.49USD) as it does happen fairly frequently and is an amazing steal.

Storyline ★★★★

amnesia-otome-games-e2-99-a1-35025525-5000-3000

-The Story-

A story that takes place in a fictional world…

It was the 1st of August.

That morning, when she awoke, the heroine found herself without any memories from before August 1st…… Everything, from the sort of life she lived, to the relationships she had, was a blank……

A young boy named Orion appeared in front of her, referring to himself as a “spirit.” Under Orion’s guidance, the heroine began the struggle to regain her memories. She searched her house for clues about her everyday life, and received a message on her phone…

What was displayed on the screen was an unknown name to her.

Now, she is asked to meet with him, a boyfriend whose name and face she doesn’t know. In a position where who to trust is uncertain, the heroine must move in a way that her memory loss remains undetected by her partner. Because of this, the story becomes tangled in complex ways.

With no memories of “him,” our heroine will write a new love story starting today…… (Official English Website

The story of Amnesia: Memories has a very strong and interesting premise. From the very beginning, you select a ‘world’ of your choice based on the symbols on a deck of cards: Clover, Spade, Heart or Diamond World. This locks you into your character route from the get go, rather than the usual dating-sim format where you attain a certain level of affection with the bachelors through varying decision points to eventually access and branch off onto their story path.

The story routes are universally different since you live in ‘different worlds’ so to speak, and as a result there is no general common story. From the very beginning in each world, it is new and unread content.

The heroine has lost all her memories prior to August 1st, and finds herself very alone and lost with her predicament, as her family in all the routes are living far away. Not to mention she has a young boy spirit named Orion taking up residence in her mind where her memories used to be. Orion cautions the heroine that due to her amnesia not being medically related but because of his spiritual existence—her condition cannot be known to others.

A prolonged hospital stay would inevitably lead to her mental state deteriorating, as she is not suffering from amnesia caused by physical trauma or natural means. If she remains bound to Orion for too long, his mental state would eventually encroach upon hers—Orion would never be able to separate from her mind, and the heroine would completely lose her sense of self and the means of regaining her memories.

Her only method of recovery is to regain her memories through interacting with those around her, and living her everyday life undetected in order to avoid questions or suspicions of her unusual supernatural predicament. However, can she really trust those around her? How does she know whether or not they’re genuine and honest? Or will they end up taking advantage of her impaired state upon discovering the truth?

The game involves the use of three parameters: the heroine’s affection towards the chosen bachelor, his affection for her and his suspicion of her condition—if the suspicion meter is too high or affection too low, it can lead to the many bad endings.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Amnesia: Memories, as I found it to be quite refreshing and different. Rather than getting to know your bachelor and falling in love through regular means—you’re thrust into a situation where you have to juggle part-time work, relearn about your friendships with people and date essentially a stranger whom you know nothing about. To make matters worse, you cannot let him know that you’re anything but in love with him and must play the role of a happy couple in a wholesome relationship.

What I especially liked was not only learning about your surroundings, but the heroine as a person before her memory loss. It created a very immersive game experience where you’re constantly putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and figuring out exactly who you were before the accident and the true nature of those around you.

Not to mention in every world you choose, the character roles are quite different each time. For example: in Heart World Shin and Toma are your closest childhood friends, whereas in others they’re your university acquaintances or co-workers at Meido no Hitsuji (The Maid Café where you work). In Clover World, Kent is your boyfriend from another university and Ikki an acquaintance whereas in Diamond they’re both your co-workers.

It feels like you’re reading a whole new storyline every time, and forced to adapt as a player to a completely different scenario whilst taking into account your amnesia and parameters. It honestly feels like you’re suffering from amnesia all over again, despite being on your second or third playthrough of the game due to the differences between the routes. You feel a sense of empathy and connection to the protagonist, as you too are fumbling around with the pieces of the storyline.

It creates a very complex plot and rewarding game experience, as you’re not just revisiting the same content over and over. Not to mention the fact that every character in every route treats you differently depending on their relationship to you in that world. As a result, certain characters whom can be considered trustworthy in one route; actually aren’t in another.

The overarching plot line that culminated with the true ending in the Joker Route was very well done and was truly heart-wrenching. I did not expect that twist whatsoever, and was shocked when everything was revealed in the end. If anything, I do wish they spent more time explaining the scenario in greater detail such as the nature of Gods and wishes etc. I felt that although the explanation was good, it could’ve been a lot better since there were still many questions unanswered despite it being the true ending. I also disliked the writing of a particular route, which I will elaborate on in further detail in the character development section.

The game translation and writing were quite good, with very little grammatical errors and typos throughout. Amnesia: Memories is medium-length in terms of game time, and would take approximately 20-30 hrs total to complete. It uses a calendar format beginning on August 1st, and the routes finish near the end of August. The player plays through the heroine’s life on a day-to-day basis, culminating to a month worth of in-game content.

Character Development ★★★★

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

amnesia_memories_artwork_1

ORION: Orion is an important character to touch upon, as he essentially acts as both our guide and narrator in the game. He also replaces the heroine’s subconscious for majority of the game until she regains her memories. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on Orion, with many arguing that his jubilant and excessively-cheery tone of voice became extremely irritating as the game wore on. I can understand that perspective, as his voice and character isn’t for everyone. I personally enjoyed his presence very much as it was something very different and refreshing in the game, something which I had never seen before.

I welcomed his character because he provided entertaining dialogue and comic relief that set a very light-hearted tone to the game, and made the story more interesting to read on a daily basis. Other readers have argued that it is due to his presence, that takes away from the protagonist’s own personality since he’s always talking over the top of her. We’re essentially always seeing his opinions, his reactions and decisions to many of the scenarios that the heroine encounters.

How I see it is: imagine the whole story without Orion in it. The overarching storyline would no longer make any sense, and the heroine would become even more persona-less without his guidance and humorous banter. She is suffering from severe and abnormal amnesia, having to relearn everything about herself without any help. She doesn’t even know who she is, or what she looks like—how is it possible then to have a personality?

She wouldn’t even know where to start in order to regain her memories. Imagine playing in the perspective of a protagonist grasping at straws to regain some normality and understanding of her life, and it takes all her mental effort and willpower to take in her surroundings and relearn everything about herself. Hard to have a personality then, right?

What I liked about having Orion was his significance to the overarching storyline, and that the heroine essentially becomes a huge puzzle herself that we must solve. As her memories return and we slowly put together the picture of who she used to be, her personality does begin to return. Orion’s voice and narration also painted a better picture of the storyline, making it easier to follow as a reader in his perspective.

Playing in the heroine’s perspective would’ve filled day-to-day dialogue with her monotonous thoughts and anxieties, without a clue on how to go about her condition (as we saw her extreme reliance on Orion in explaining to her the logical course of action to take, and his understanding of the human world).

d084b734-3be6-4744-b344-9a9a2e27eee4

SHIN [HEART WORLD]: The poster boy of Amnesia: Memories, and in his world plays the role of your boyfriend and close childhood friend. You begin the game in a hospital room, as you are recovering from an accident. He quickly notices you’re acting strangely, and begins his interrogation of you as well as immediately going in for a kiss! A girl really can’t catch a break, can she? The heroine ultimately fails his test, agreeing that they had been dating for three months when in reality, they had only begun dating recently for around a month.

Shin then takes it upon himself to do everything in his power to help the protagonist regain her memories. However, there are strange circumstances involved in how the heroine sustained her head injury… perhaps, it was even intended murder? Is Shin truly looking out for her best interests, or was he in fact the culprit attempting to hide his tracks and salvage their relationship? With her amnesia, can the heroine ever truly find out what really happened that night?

From the very beginning, the audience is given a clear picture of Shin’s personality—cold, extremely blunt, forceful and pushy. He is a tsundere through and through, and the heroine is clearly his weak spot. Despite his insistent denials, he often becomes embarrassed and blushes around her. This makes for some very adorable character moments between the two, as the heroine slowly begins to regain her memories and fall in love with him all over again.

Although he isn’t anywhere near as gentle to her as Toma (her close childhood friend along with Shin in this route) nor does he spoil her as much, Shin genuinely cares for the heroine and does everything he can to help her through her amnesia. For example: regular visitations to her house to check up on her and taking her to places that had meaningful importance to her in the past.

Everything he does is shown through his actions and always in the best interest of the heroine. To me, this was both what I liked and disliked about Shin. Although it showcases his head-strong, determined and caring personality, at the same time he never asked or considered what the heroine herself wanted. He always went ahead and decided what was best for her, based on his own opinion and decisions.

Although there was plenty of romance in the route, it overall did have a darker and more tense mood than the other stories. The romance played a backseat to the murder mystery in Shin’s story, as he stops at nothing to uncover the culprit to ensure the heroine’s safety. As a result, the reader is always left wondering “whodunnit?” and even Shin at times seemed like the forerunner as the real perpetrator due to the fragmented nature of the heroine’s memories.

Shin himself didn’t exactly do himself any favours to clear his innocence either, as the heroine is constantly kept in the dark about what he is truly up to. However, I did really like how the mystery unfolded and how it was all answered in the end. The scene where he confronts the real culprit was done particularly well, in terms of how it was written and the voice acting. To be honest, I should’ve seen hints of the culprit’s twisted nature already from Shin’s route but I wanted to believe it was only exclusive to this route…oh, how entirely wrong I was (laughs).

Shin had one of the best ending CGs in the game, it was honestly just too cute and I loved the consistent flashbacks throughout his story of their childhood together along with Toma. It gave significantly more depth and history to their relationship, and how Shin knows the heroine better than she knows herself.

5e0b6e91-fce0-49e8-beaf-5ce723ddfde8

KENT [CLOVER WORLD]: My ultimate bias in the game, and when I mentioned replaying Amnesia many times—I actually meant majority of the time I just replay his route alone (laughs). It’s quite interesting because out of all the characters, Kent actually was the least appealing to me and didn’t really leave much of a favourable impression in any of the other character routes. As a result, I came into his route not expecting much at all and played it just to access the Joker Route.

The heroine begins the route in the comforts of her room and explores for any clues about herself. Soon enough, she receives a text from Kent demanding to see her at a costume café which Orion remarks is a very strange choice for a meeting (little does the heroine know, she actually works there). Due to the contents of her phone and the nature of their previous texts, the only possible conclusion is that Kent is her boyfriend.

Orion frets from the get-go that they’re thrust into an extremely unfavourable situation: if they potentially break up due to the heroine’s amnesia, it would be detrimental to lose someone so important to her once she regains her memories. Yet, avoiding the situation isn’t an option either as they could break up without even talking it through, and lose a valuable source of information to curing her amnesia in the process. From first impressions alone, Kent is condescending, logical to the point of being overbearing, blunt and confrontational.

Both Orion and the heroine lament how they possibly could’ve been in a happy relationship, but apologise in order to salvage whatever they had prior to her amnesia. Kent is shocked at the heroine’s change of heart, but accepts the favourable outcome—with him too apologising for his actions, and expressing his willingness to accept any complaints or opinions she may have towards their relationship.

We soon learn that they had only been dating 3 days prior to August 1st, and as a result they were in the very early tentative stages of dating. What I really liked about Kent’s route was because of the heroine’s amnesia, she was able to become more patient and understanding with Kent’s shortcomings and get to know him for who he truly is. Prior to that, both parties would be too stubborn to give in which left their relationship in a cycle of turmoil and constant fighting. There wouldn’t be a day that passed without the two engaging in a pointless argument.

Out of all the bachelors, only in Kent’s route do we get to meet his parents; to which ensued a hilarious scene. Orion comments that although they had found Kent’s stubborn logic bad initially, it was nothing in comparison to his parents. The heroine realises that he has been raised with the drilled notion that everything must follow a sequence of logical conclusions. As a result, Kent approaches everything in life in the same manner.

Although Kent is exceptionally intelligent with a bright future ahead of him, he genuinely does not understand scenarios that require the application of common sense and human interaction—looking at everything as though it is a maths equation with logical set steps.

It is not that Kent purposefully wishes to anger the heroine, but he genuinely does not understand her ‘illogical’ thinking process. Because of this, he doesn’t know how to appease her or make her happy. He constantly sets his pride aside to consult Ikki (his best friend in the route) for girl advice. Kent is nothing but earnest and genuine in approaching the heroine, doing everything he can to maintain their current happiness together as a couple.

For example: showing up to the heroine’s workplace with a half-month anniversary cake, sprinting to the train station to see the festival together and creating a math exercise workbook for the heroine which is just so Kent. I absolutely love his character and the writing for his dialogue, it’s actually so hilarious to read yet so incredibly well written. It’s consistent throughout the game and adds so much dynamic to his personality.

He is also the only route to properly communicate and come to know of Orion’s existence, as well as the true nature of the heroine’s amnesia. This to me, was a very unique aspect of his route and a true turning point in both their relationship and as characters. Rather than him sending her to the nearest hospital, he is accepting of her situation due to the mutual trust they’ve built together—despite the scenario denying all forms of logic.

It was a very cute and meaningful scene, because if it was Kent in the past; he would have never been able to accept such reasoning or adhere to her wishes. The moment when he finally confesses to the heroine at the swimming pool as well as exhibiting clear signs of male jealousy was just all too adorable for me. It is without a doubt my favourite CG in the game.

When he rushes to the heroine’s side during her accident near the conclusion of the game and gives up on his presentation that heavily weighs on his future; I felt was truly the defining point of their relationship and extremely satisfying to read as a reader. Kent is finally able to see eye to eye with the heroine, agreeing that his actions are altogether too irrational and illogical. He finally admits that he had been incorrect about his assumptions on love.

To me, Kent’s route represented what a realistic and healthy relationship should be despite it being fictional. Kent retains his sense of self throughout the game, but by the end of the story is more than willing to compromise and change aspects of himself to be a better person for the heroine. He prioritises her happiness above all else, and truly loves her both in actions and words.

They both empower and encourage one another to be better and truly reach a mutual understanding. For example: he helps the heroine raise her university grades in order for them not only to be together studying abroad in London, but to have a bright future with one another.

b468c692-eeed-4c6b-bd41-84b10b8cb997

IKKI [SPADE WORLD]: Your co-worker and current boyfriend in Spade World, Ikki is considered incredibly handsome and popular amongst the girls—enough to invoke the creation of a long-standing fan club. Accustomed to the affections of women, he is always courteous, kind, and overly flirtatious—essentially both the enemy and ideal man of every woman. Ikki always knows exactly what to say in order to charm a girl’s heart, and as a result the heroine constantly has her guard up around him. She is uncertain as to how she should respond to his affections, as he is very forward in his intentions towards her.

We soon learn that they have been dating for two months and their relationship ends by the end of August. This is due to the heroine uncovering the sinister nature of Ikki’s fan-club prior to her amnesia: fans are only allowed to date Ikki for a span of three months before inevitably breaking up with him. They are also to provide daily reports of their activities with Ikki, because no one can ‘own’ him; he must be shared by everyone. If they do not obey these rules, the fan-club will enact severe punishment and these aren’t just idle threats.

Ikki and the heroine had never been in love to begin with, as she had joined the fan club out of curiosity of his unnatural popularity and to oversee their daily operations. He had agreed to date the protagonist as he could not fathom as to why she was the only woman whom his mystical eyes did not work upon—the eyes that could make any woman fall in love with him at first sight.

Of course, as they get to know one another they begin to inevitably fall in love. What I disliked about Ikki’s route was due to the disingenuous nature of their beginnings and his flirtatious nature, it was difficult for most of the route to decipher whether or not he truly loved the protagonist. It felt like he was just playing a game with the heroine, and constantly using his physical wiles in attempting to charm her.

It took him so long to finally work up the courage to confront his fan-club, and for the most part the heroine endures the severe bullying alone with her amnesia. It’s why his route had some of the darker bad endings, due to how serious these fan-club girls really are in their threats.

Ikki was far too passive in the whole ordeal, never once questioning as to why his relationships only ever lasted for three months. The explanation behind his eyes I felt was very poor, as they just attributed it to him making a wish upon a star and magically, he’s had them ever since. Done. End of Story. You’d think that for such a crucial part of his character and history, they would dedicate a lot more time into the writing and fleshing out his story.

As a result, it leaves very little dimension to his character. What you essentially see in all the other stories is what you get in his route. Only difference is his flirtatiousness in the beginning transforms from a ploy in his experiment with the heroine, to being genuine when he falls in love with her by the end of the route.

What I did like about his route was that he helped the heroine confront her father in her desires on what she wants to do in her life, and her strive for independence. It’s the only story route where we see a part of her family, and a little bit more about her personal life before her amnesia.

e23da8d4-61fc-4df6-ab97-0df4b3d550db

TOMA [DIAMOND WORLD]: Surprisingly he is actually one of the most popular characters in Amnesia and often places very highly, if not topping their character polls. For the life of me I cannot even begin to understand this, but to each their own I suppose. Admittedly I did quite like his character design at first glance and I played his route second after Shin’s, as in terms of spoilers and story flow it made the most sense. Boy, was I in for a wild rollercoaster ride in his story.

Similar to Heart World, in Diamond both Shin and Toma are the heroine’s closest childhood friends. However, rather than falling for Shin—the heroine has always been in love with Toma, but believes that he has never seen her as anything other than a little sister. As a result, prior to her amnesia she never managed to confess her feelings.

In his route, the heroine doesn’t see too much of the rest of the cast outside of Toma and Shin. Upon discovering the bullying inflicted upon the heroine at her apartment due to her close friendship with Ikki, and his suspicions of her amnesia—Toma suggests for her to stay at his place, as he claims he was her boyfriend and naturally this would be the best course of action to take.

As the route progresses, their friends begin to express their concerns that they rarely ever see the heroine anymore, and even Shin shows up multiple times at Toma’s home and disapproves of the living circumstances as they’re not actually dating. This causes Toma to fly into a panic, as he is conflicted with having his lie exposed and being hated by the heroine or keeping her trapped by his side in blissful ignorance.

His obsession proves to be the overwhelming deciding factor, as he drugs the MC and purchases a cage to prevent her from escaping and discovering the truth. To me, his relationship with the MC can in no way shape or form be considered love. It is an unhealthy obsession, where he wants to possess her for his own selfish desires.

He distorts and justifies his obsession by veiling it beneath the facade of concern and out of affection, when in reality he has shown to be extremely manipulative and malicious—destroying any evidence for the MC to regain her memories, and fabricating the truth countless of times.

In one of his bad endings, the worst case scenario that Orion warned the heroine about from the beginning occurs. Due to the prolonged confinement, Orion has completely encroached upon the heroine’s mental state and she has been reduced to being nothing more than a lifeless doll—the unwilling reciprocal for Toma’s dark desires, and caged in his home for the rest of her life.

It’s so incredibly ironic because all of these events could have been avoided, as it was all based on a misunderstanding. Toma couldn’t bear to let the heroine go because he thought she was in love with Ikki, when she was actually in love with Toma the whole entire time. When he discovers her diary entailing the truth of her feelings before her amnesia, suddenly all is well and they have a happy ending together. To me, that made no sense whatsoever as how could she possibly still be in love with someone who deliberately put her in harms way and blatantly lied for his own selfishness?

How on earth does he still deserve a happy ending, and end up with the heroine regardless of his previous actions? I suppose I can see the aspects which people like about him, because at the end of the day he is still a fictional character. His actions can be interpreted as an out of control passion, the kind of love that ignites oneself into the flames of self-destruction. And I suppose that is what makes for an interesting and different story, of the good guy corrupted by sin and the dark side of loving someone too much.

He had a lot of cute and romantic moments with the heroine due to their seclusion together, and it is shown prior to his crazed cage frenzy that he had genuinely been a positive figure in the MC’s life. Although I still can’t bring myself to like him due to the trespassing of moral boundaries, I can see why many people still do.

ab24c6ee-5da3-45f0-935e-e7a385a02358

UKYO [JOKER WORLD]: The most mysterious character out of the cast, and his route can only be unlocked upon the completion of the other four worlds. He makes appearances in all the stories, with varying screen times. Due to the unveiling of the overarching storyline and Ukyo’s role in each of them, I felt the game routes were best played in the order of Shin → Toma → Kent → Ikki. Ukyo is known as a talented and famous photographer, who often visits Meido no Hitsuji to observe and talk to the heroine.

Although he appears kind and gentle initially throughout the routes, from progressing with the story and bad endings—we come to realise that there is something amiss with his character. He has periods of lapses in judgement and changes in personality. Ukyo turns sinister with continually increasing threats to taking the MC’s life and succeeding in some of the endings.

As players progressing through the story and putting together the pieces of the puzzle from the other routes, we come to realise the grand picture. The other four routes represent parallel worlds on the same timeline continuum, hence why Orion assured the heroine that choosing any world was perfectly acceptable at the beginning of the game. Although she exists in all of them and would not disrupt the timeline by returning to any of the worlds, they may not necessarily be the world she originally came from prior to her memory loss.

Her original place was in the Joker World, where she was Ukyo’s beloved girlfriend. They had met during Spring beneath the cherry blossoms and shared a loving and blissful relationship together for several months. However, at the beginning of August she attended university where a fatal accident occurred; causing a mass explosion in the classroom the heroine was in. Although she survived the initial incident, she passed away during her prolonged hospital stay near the end of August.

Ukyo unable to cope with the loss of the tragedy, makes a heartfelt wish to turn back time and prevent the accident from occurring, and create a future where he and the heroine are able to be together. A benevolent and powerful God decides to grant his wish, in order to restore their powers. The greater the wish within the heart of a person, the greater the power that returns to the God upon its success.

This leads to the God residing within Ukyo’s body and subconscious, in order to withstand the strains of time travel and have the ability to move between the parallel dimensions. This explains Ukyo’s appearances throughout all the routes. However, they soon come to a daunting realisation after countless times of living the same month of August over and over and failing in their attempts.

The heroine’s fate is to die by the end of August. As a result, accidents occur to ensure the event goes through in order to maintain the balance of the world. In Ukyo’s attempts to prevent her death in the different worlds, he perishes in her place. By the same logic, in order to maintain balance within the world—Ukyo’s foreign existence offsets the equilibrium and must be eliminated.

As a result, Ukyo and the God are stuck in a continually looping time paradox due to the wish that binds them together. Until it is granted, they are unable to escape from the time loop. It is an extremely difficult realisation from his painful experiences that even fate itself is against his dearest wish. It is fated and written in the law of the world that he and the heroine cannot exist together.

Countless times he saves the heroine only for her to end up with the bachelor she was meant to be with in that world, and he dies excruciatingly alone by the end of August. If he is able to survive the end of August, the heroine herself meets her own end—leaving Ukyo with the pain of mourning and losing her multiple times over. He then would commit suicide in order to reset the time paradox and reattempt the task in another world.

It is no wonder he becomes so twisted, having met with horrible deaths of both himself and the heroine an unimaginable number of times. He is forced to look on as whilst he’s working so painfully hard for the MC’s sake, as she falls in love with another and has no memory of his existence. As a result of the time loop and Ukyo unable to bear with the heartache, his personality splits and forms a new entity within himself: Dark Ukyo. Dark Ukyo represents his sinister thoughts and murderous intentions.

Why was he trying so hard for her sake, when she would never look his way? She leaves him to die blissfully ignorant and has the happy ending that he would never be able to have. Why should he continue to love someone, who inevitably falls for another without any semblance of recognition for him? Whilst she has died many times over, she would never remember the pain of reliving death. The scars that Ukyo has been embedded with would never heal, and he has experienced what no human should ever experience more than once in a lifetime.

His story honestly made me so sad, with the knowing realisation that whilst we had our happy ending with literally every guy prior—Ukyo would appear and disappear in the routes. Now we know it was because he met extremely painful ends, whether by tragic accidents or he was unable to wait until the time limit and ended his life by his own hands.

The amount of love and dedication he had towards the heroine and her happiness is unfathomable—the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. The writing in his route was beautiful, and it’s the route where we see the most out of the heroine’s personality due to uncovering the truth and it is where she truly belongs.

When the God and Ukyo realises that he has exhausted all his powers to reset time and travel between the worlds, they decide as a last resort to return to the heroine’s original world with Ukyo and prevent her death. Although she was alive in the other worlds, she was not fated to be with him. The suspense, adrenaline and tension conveyed with the stakes at hand truly made the storyline a rollercoaster from beginning to end.

It was their last chance at being together and to defy the very hands of fate with their everlasting love. It was incredibly dramatic and heartfelt, and the feels were really too much. It had the most ‘complete’ and ‘satisfying’ ending because it revealed all the mysteries behind Ukyo’s character and the heroine’s true past, as well as Orion’s origins.

However, I still felt they could’ve definitely gone into better detail with Orion and the God; as well as the explanation for the time travel paradox. It is quite a hefty read that the writer unloaded all at once, and I remember the first time reading it I did have to read it several times to fully understand what exactly happened. Although I do really love the time travel paradox twist, it should’ve been explained in greater detail and more clearly. I still felt the whole wish concept and God story could’ve been fleshed out much better, especially as his story is the true ending.

Design ★★★★

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The art in Amnesia: Memories is absolutely gorgeous! Everything is just so crisp and vivid, and it’s without a doubt the main selling point of the game. I loved all the bachelor’s character designs, especially the heroine herself. She has one of the best designs for a protagonist and I overall really do love everything about her look. I’m a big fan of the hair and beret.

The multiple perspectives where you could see the back of the bachelor was a very nice touch to the game. The CGs are one of the best that I’ve seen, and all the characters just have so many great scenes. I really loved the colouring, shading, and line art as they suited the tone of the game perfectly.

The artist for Amnesia: Memories (Hanamura Mai – 花邑 まい) also did the art for an upcoming to-be-released in english otome game called Collar x Malice. I talked about the game in my anticipated 2017 releases, which for more information you can read about here.

My only criticism as a personal preference would be the bachelor outfits. I found them very odd initially to look at, as they just seemed so out of place and whacky. Although there are fantasy elements to the story, it is still a daily life type of game. For example: all the buckles and straps on Kent’s outfit really just didn’t make much sense. I’m not entirely sure what the aim of the game producers were in the design, but if it was to stand out and give a different type of appeal—then yes they definitely achieved their target.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★★

The music and voice acting was yet another stand out point of the game. It is composed by Manyo, who is one of my all time favourite Visual Novel music artists. The BGMs were just so soothing and lovely and they suited the mood and scenes of the game wonderfully. The other Visual Novel OST composed by him that I am a big fan of is for the Kara no Shoujo series. The opening theme of Amnesia: Memories is quite popular, and the different ending songs of each bachelor route were a nice touch.

The voice acting cast is very famous and all solid veterans. Needless to say, it was no surprise that they were all top notch and perfectly emulated their character roles.

  • Kent | VA: Ishida Akira | 石田 彰 |
    Naruto series as Gaara, Danganronpa series as Byakuya Togami and Black Wolves Saga series as Zara Skeens
  • Shin | VA:  Kakihara Tetsuya| 柿原 徹也 |
    Code Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ as Viktor Frankenstein
  • Toma | VA: Hino Satoshi |日野 聡 |
    Naruto series as Sai, and The Disastrous Life of Saiki K as Kineshi Hairo
  • Ikki  | VA: Taniyama Kishō | 谷山 紀章 |
    Yo-Jin-Bo as Kasumimaru Fuuma, and Black Wolves Saga series as Guillan Guinor
  • Ukyo  | VA: Miyata Kouki | 宮田 幸季 |
    Danganronpa series as Chihiro Fujisaki, and Nightshade as Ieyasu Tokugawa

System ★★★★★

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I really liked the design interface and system of Amnesia: Memories. It was clean, crisp, easy to navigate and suited the theme of the game. You can just see the attentiveness to detail in the design and ease of use. It incorporated a gallery, music record, opening and ending select, and access to several short stories and extra content. You can even play cute mini-games with your favourite bachelors, and attempt to beat them for some interesting interactions!

What I particularly liked was the art transitions in between chapters and scenes, the chibi illustrations were very cute and matched the events of the storyline. My favourite would be the one of Orion struggling in the day-to-day duties of the Maid Café.

Another strong point was the inbuilt mobile system in the game, as it is one of your main sources of information and communication due to your amnesia. You often receive texts and calls from the characters that progress the storyline, and it added that extra dynamic to the game.

Conclusion

0de767ad-a532-49c8-b2c0-3f36d244b180

Overall, Amnesia: Memories is a great and solid game. It’s different, refreshing and interesting in comparison to the other otome games on the market. Besides, how often do you see a game of this quality writing, art, music and voice acting on sale for $2.99USD? I personally bought it full price when it came out on the PSVita, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Although Orion’s presence over the heroine is not for everyone, it added dynamic to the overall storyline and created a more complex protagonist for the players to discover. One of my personal enjoyments of the game was the presence of the heroine’s female friends, which actually doesn’t occur too often in otome games. They proved to be very supportive of the heroine’s condition in many routes, and were friends she could rely on in times of need.

The girl talk session they had in Kent’s route was hilarious, and it was nice to see there was at least some normality in the heroine’s life. Sawa and Mina are the types of girlfriends whom anyone would love to have in real life. My only criticisms of the game would be that some routes definitely felt more lacking in certain respects in comparison to others.

For example: although Ikki and Kent shared similar routes to one another, Ikki lacked a lot of the character depth and progression that Kent’s route had. In Toma and Shin’s routes, then they were the complete opposite of one another despite having prominent roles in both worlds. Although the game’s strong point were the different storylines, not all of them were executed to the same level of quality.

Ukyo’s route had amazing promise from beginning to end; but slightly fell flat in it’s concluding explanation on the fantasy elements of the game. However, in spite of my mixed feelings on some of the routes—I was still satisfied with all their good endings.

I definitely recommend the game (be on the lookout for those steam sales!) and would love to see Amnesia: Crowd, Amnesia: Later or Amnesia: World localised. I personally would like Amnesia: Crowd out of the three, because it gives a more concrete, holistic future ending and complete tying up of the Amnesia series.

Overall Rating: 4/5


support-my-work-on-patreon-banner-image-600px

Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

Most Anticipated English Visual Novel Releases of 2017

065b4c097859c636a10198a6ba9f2475_2_3_art

Ever wonder what other english releases are going to be released for the year of 2017? Do you want to know what games you should save up for? Are you looking for more games to add to your playlist and backlog? Here is my personal list of games that I am anticipating for 2017, and cannot wait for their release!

2017 is probably the best year so far that I’ve seen in terms of the amount of new titles picked up to be released in english.

1. Collar x Malice

-The Story-

“Who put this collar on me?”

The protagonist is a policewoman who works in Shinjuku, which had become a dangerous city after a series of brutal incidents popularly referred to as the “X-Day Incident”.

She had been busy working in her assigned area everyday in order to keep it safe. But one night, an unknown assailant attacked her and placed a collar built in with poison around her neck.

Amidst the chaos and right before the protagonist’s eyes were men with suspicious backgrounds. They’re all part of an organisation composed of former police officers and have taken it upon themselves to investigate the brutal cases.

Without knowing whether she should trust these men or not, she suddenly became the person who held the key to this massive case.

In order to remove the collar that places her at the edge of death and to liberate Shinjuku from the malice that binds it, she cooperates; beginning to investigate the incidents with the men.

Who holds her life in their hands?
Will Shinjuku ever return to its former glory?

(English translation from official website)

I love the premise, storyline, art, OST, and just everything about Collar x Malice! I am an absolute sucker for mystery x detective themed games. Not to mention the artist is Hanamura Mai (same artist for the Amnesia series) and Manyo as the composer (big fan of his soundtracks and work—composed for Amnesia and Kara no Shoujo series). I just knew the art was familiar when I first saw screenshots of the game. I am extremely excited about the game, and dearly hoping it will be a 2017 release.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Collar X Malice – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Collar x Malice’ Review here.

2. Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~

-The Story-

With the help of your childhood friend, Hiroya, you decide to play the online RPG game “Arcadia” in order to look for clues as to the whereabouts of your missing older brother.

You are suddenly engulfed by a blinding light and lose conscious. When you wake up, you find that the scenery has changed into that of a video game fantasy world.

As you are overwhelmed by the sudden twist of events, you learn a terrible truth: to escape this deadly world, you must clear the game.

In this cruel world, you were selected to become the key to clearing the game – the holy sword. With this, you are the target of everyone!

(English translation from official website

The first out of the four otome titles localised by Aksys Games in 2017, the storyline definitely gives me Sword Art Online vibes. With beautiful art by the artist of Black Wolves Saga, this is quite an interesting fantasy otome with RPG elements. Period Cube actually comes out very soon, with an announced release date on the 28th of April next month!

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase the game here: Period Cube – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Period Cube: ~Shackles of Amadeus~’ Review here.

3. Bad Apple Wars

-The Story-

Congratulations on your DEATH admission!
Welcome to NEVAEH Academy!!

The heroine, who was caught in an accident on the first day that she was to enter high school, suddenly found herself on the premises of an unknown school.

This was NEVAEH Academy, a school for those whose souls were left behind after death.

In this school if you were a good student who followed the rules then, upon GRADUATION, you would be able to return and RESUME YOUR LIFE.

The heroine, having been informed about her death from a suspicious man wearing a RABBIT HEAD and thinking that this was all a dream, followed him to the school entrance ceremony.

Suddenly, a piercing explosion echoed from over there.

What started at the sign of that noise was the school war between those who defy the school’s rules, the DELINQUENT TEAM BAD APPLES, and members of the DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE.

In the middle of that battle, the heroine meets a RED-HAIRED young man.

That young man faced her directly and asked a question.

“– Do you want to live?” (English translation from official website)

The premise reminds me so much of one of my favourite animes, Angel Beats. The art deviates from Idea Factory’s usual style, taking on a more comic-book themed approach (to match the concept that it is a different world, I suppose). Although it was a little strange to look at initially, the art grew on me the more I looked at it. The release date has still yet to be announced, but I do hope it stays with its 2017 expected release date.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase the game here: Bad Apple Wars – PlayStation Vita.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Bad Apple Wars’ Review here.

4. Code: Realize Future Blessings

The fandisc for Code: Realize, featuring after stories for the main cast and new routes for Herlock Sholmes and Finis.

If you haven’t read my review for Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ you should check it out! If you have, then you’ll know I absolutely loved the game and it is one of my all-time favourites. I am looking forward to the new routes with Herlock Sholmes and Finis, as I felt their stories weren’t quite fully delved upon in the original game. The art in the opening looks gorgeous, and of course who doesn’t want to have more stories to read with their favourite bachelor?

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here –
Code: Realize Future Blessings – Play Station Vita | Limited Edition
Code: Realize Bouquet of Rainbows – Play Station 4 | Limited Edition

5. Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome 

-The Story-

Ema Tachibana is a tall, gloomy and unsociable girl with a bad case of resting bitch-face. With all that working against her, she’s never really had any friends. That didn’t really change when she started at a new school. Everyone kept their distance because they were scared of her.

But Ema herself was quite content with that state of affairs. She was all set to spend the rest of her time until graduation invisible as ever.

That is until two men turned her life upside down…

“I’ve finally found you. You are my… my one and only muse!”

Miki Hiraizumi—recently returned to Japan from abroad, he’s loved making clothes ever since he was a little kid. He has a strong desire to help make charming, unusual women shine. (Also a bit of a masochist.)

“Listen, you may be nothing but a little shrew right now, but even you have some potential to shine. I’ll just have to polish you up.”

And Saito Shinjou—he frequently finds himself bored because things have always come easy to him. He wants to find a way to do something so big, it’ll change the world. (He’s also a bit of a sadist.)

These two ambitious and attractive fellows decide to give Ema Tachibana a makeover!

“No… I’m not really interested…”

But Ema has other ideas. (English Official Website)

This is quite an interesting pick up by MangaGamer, as I feel R18+ otome game localisations are very few in comparison to bishoujo games. The summary looks hilarious, and the art is quite good! The VA (Yotsuya Cider) of Shinjou Saito is the same as Kyrie from OZMAFIA!!! Hopefully if the title sells well commercially, we will see more mature-themed otome games released in future.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome R18+ Version.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome [R18]‘ Review here.

6. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

-The Story-

A remastered retelling of the beloved otome Hakuoki series that focuses on the story set in Kyoto. 

Hakuoki was first developed and released in 2008. New players, as well as players that have grown with the franchise, can discover the beauty and richness of its story with new, innovative features all presented on the Playstation Vita system. 

Never-before-seen episodes and character routes have been added to the original version of the game, introducing more romanceable targets, new minor characters, and plenty of new paths to seek for yourself!

Take a glimpse into the world of Hakuoki, as it was originally intended!

(English Official website

Although I’ve already written a post regarding my mixed feelings on another Hakuoki game, it is still a great title nonetheless for players new to the franchise. It’s essentially an all-in-one release, so if you haven’t gotten around to playing the series—now is the time to play it. It’s release date was announced only a few days ago, and the game is being released on May 16 (NA) and May 19 (EU) for the PSVita!

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds [Limited Edition]’ Review here.

UPDATE 3: Read my ‘Differences between the Original Hakuoki and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds’ here.

7. Night Shade

-The Story-

Thanks to an age of constant war, the Iga and Kouga had independently achieved an expansion of their respective forces.

Both shinobi forces, owing to that long history of warring, shared an antagonistic relationship of mutual hatred towards one another. However, during the ninth year of the Tenshou era, the Iga forces fell into ruin due to the Tenshou Iga War started by Oda Nobunaga. The few Iga members that had survived were taken in by the Kouga forces.

Seventeen years later, the Sengoku period had ended and lasting peace came to the world.

Dreaming of performing shinobi duties, Ueno Enju (the protagonist), daughter of the Kouga forces’ leader, Ueno Kandou, had been training everyday.

After finally being selected to go on her first mission, a major incident occurs. It not only derails Enju’s fate, but the fate of the village as well…

(English translation from official website)

The storyline, art and theme reminds of the Hakuoki series. I really enjoy historical Visual Novels, and the art in Night Shade is gorgeous. Originally it was actually meant to be released December 15th, 2016 on steam but it got pushed back. I’m assuming it just wasn’t ready yet, and although it is unfortunate—it’s better to wait if it’s going to be a higher quality release. It’s in the steam-release queue with other Visual Novels within March-April release dates, so fingers crossed it will be released sometime soon in 2017!

What I’m looking forward to the most about the game is that Hattori Hanzo is voiced by the same VA as Chikage Kazama from Hakuoki. He is one of my all-time favourite VAs, and it’s ironic the character is named ‘Hanzo’ (after Overwatch, the name is forever ruined for me).

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it on steam here.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Night Shade/Hyakka Hyakurou’ Review here.

8. Grisaia no Rakuen/The Eden of Grisaia

-The Story-

Our story picks up immediately after the events of Grisaia no Meikyuu, with Kazami Yuuji having been detained for suspected involvement with an international terrorist organization, lead by Heath Oslo, that has managed to enter Japan’s borders with a devastating new weapon of mass destruction in hand. Meanwhile, at Mihama Academy, the remaining students find themselves with time running out – due to financial issues, the school is set to close within the month. Over the past year, though, the girls of Mihama have finally begun to find their own legs, thanks to Yuuji’s involvement – are they really just going to bury their heads in the sand and let the world change around them? And are they really willing to let the man who changed their lives slip away without so much as trying to win him back? As the end of their time at Mihama Academy approaches, Amane, Makina, Sachi, Yumiko, and Michiru find themselves arriving at a single conclusion.

The final chapter in the Grisaia series, featuring Prologue De La Grisaia, a prologue set before Yuuji’s arrival at Mihama; Blanc Aile no Tane, the overarching story’s grand conclusion; a smorgasbord of bonus eroscenes; and an after story to the events of Blanc Aile no Tane. (Excerpt from VNDB

The Grisaia series is one of my all-time favourite visual novels, and it’s great to see that the series trilogy will come to an end in 2017. The Labyrinth of Grisaia (second in the series) was released in January this year. It has a to-be-expected release date of March 2017, and the uncut version sometime during the summer.

I personally am currently still finishing up the first game (The Fruits of Grisaia), and onto my last route which is Makina’s. But, I am taking my time as the series is incredibly long (my current playtime is 85hrs) and I might as well pace myself until the final game is released. No point finishing the games early then suffering the unbearable wait (laughs).

9. Nekopara Volume 3

-The Story-

What’s NEKOPARA? Why, it’s a cat paradise!

Minazuki Kashou, the son of a long line of Japanese confection makers moved out to open his own shop “La Soleil” as a patisserie.

But upon moving out, hidden amongst his things were two of the catgirls (“neko”), Chocola and Vanilla, that the family had been raising. When he tried to send them back, they begged and pleaded until he gave in and now they’ve opened La Soleil together.

With two nekos who really, REALLY love their master trying their very best and occasionally failing — a heartful comedy opens for business!

See the Sayori NEKO WORKs’ mascots Chocola and Vanilla like never before, moving, and in full voice on screen. And now with the E-mote System, the characters smoothly move on screen changing expression and poses in countless ways. (Steam Summary)

Initially I found this game a little weird, not going to lie. It is not for everyone, and I actually found out about it from internet memes (laughs). But, once you give it a try it’s actually a pretty good game and for a very cheap price! They often go on sale in bundles, which is when it’s best to grab them. The art and animation is really good and crisp, and it’s an all-around hilarious game. The cat girls really do grow on you as you play through the visual novel. This is the last in the trilogy, releasing the last two romanceable cat girls. It is set to be released on the 28th of April, 2017.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it on steam here.

10. New Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

-The Story- 

The third Dangan Ronpa game which has been confirmed at the TGS 2015 to be released on both the PS Vita and PS4.

Like the title “New” implies, the game has a completely different storyline, characters and environment than the first three games (the “Hope’s Peak Academy” storyline ends with an anime series), with only the series’ mascot Monokuma returning. The game features a new killing game called the New Killing School Life. The new setting is called Gifted Inmates Academy or the Prison School for the Gifted. The Academy (and hotel) is in a garden surrounded by a cage. It’s implied that the story is set in the future.

The overall theme is mentioned to be “psycho cool”, unlike the “psycho pop” and “psycho tropical” themes of the first two games. The visual style will have a “cool adult-like image” and the Class Trials will have “high-speed reasoning action”. While the storyline and the sixteen new characters are different, the gameplay is similar to the earlier games, including exploration, talking with other characters and the Class Trials. It will have notable additions and improvements, though, like the possibility to use your own lies to defeat opponents during the trials. (Excerpt from VNDB

Did I save my ultimate bias and the best for last? Perhaps. This is my number one favourite visual novel of all-time indisputably. It has an amazing mix of storyline, plot twists, character cast, humour, cuteness and mystery; just everything I love in a game. When I first played the game, I had a phase of obsession for several long weeks/months (which never happens to me over a game, usually I just have a few days of bliss upon completing a game before getting over it). I’m a little sad that the Hope’s Peak Academy arc has ended, and I am very curious as to how they have decided to revamp the series in a brand new release with a completely new cast.

The Danganronpa series is a ‘whodunnit?’ mystery/detective Visual Novel, where you must discover the culprit of the killings and present your findings in a class trial. The stakes are essentially kill or be killed, and you’re faced with uncovering people whom you consider friends as potential murderers. However, it is not what you expect at all coming into the game with an incredibly immersive storyline and great gameplay. It’s one of those games where you just have to try it yourself to understand what it’s truly about. The descriptions will never do the game any justice.

I have heard mixed reception over the new game, but for the most part they were very positive. It has an announced release date on the 26th of September for NA and 29th of September for EU. What I am glad about is the steam port is being released at the same time as the PSVita/Playstation 4 platform. This is great considering for the predecessors, the steam release is usually a year later.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here:
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – PlayStation 4
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – PlayStation Vita | Limited Edition

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony’ Review here.

I hope that you all enjoyed my list, and found some new games to look forward to for 2017!


support-my-work-on-patreon-banner-image-600px

Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

NEWS: Hakuoki Kyoto Winds Release Date Announcement

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.05.35 am


For more information, check out the official Idea Factory website.
Pre-order it here: Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds – PlayStation Vita


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.

cg33cg35cg31


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.

cg15cg68

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?


support-my-work-on-patreon-banner-image-600px

Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ Review

92344e13-06e3-434c-84e8-fb008ba6a2ea


RELEASE DATE: 2014
PUBLISHER: Idea Factory & Aksys Games
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: PS Vita (Japanese & English)
PURCHASE LINK: Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth – PlayStation Vita [PHYSICAL]

I remember playing this game initially when it was released and localised in 2015 by Aksys Games in English. Recently, I decided to replay the game out of nostalgia as I haven’t touched the game since clocking it two years ago. Besides, I might as well write a review on one of my all-time favourite otome games, am I right? I purchased a PS Vita initially to play Amnesia: Memories that was released a month prior. To my surprise and delight, this title was released soon after.

What initially caught my attention was the gorgeous art, impressive soundtrack, strong voice cast line up and the character designs. Not to mention I am a sucker for historical-based Visual Novels, since it gives a more three-dimensional take on the storyline and feels more authentic to read as a reader. It’s always interesting to see how writers incorporate real life events and places to further fuel their own writing.

Needless to say, I felt this was undoubtedly the best otome game released in english for 2015. At the price of $29.99 USD, it is well worth the purchase and I highly recommend to all otome game lovers to play.

Storyline ★★★★★

5980051f-b7f7-43c9-aefd-ed07c4e79259.png

-The Story-

Restricted to an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of London in fulfillment of a promise to her father, lonely Cardia lives day to day isolated from the world. Her body carries a deadly poison that rots or melts anything her skin touches, prompting the locals to call her a “monster.” Her last conversation with her father two years ago, telling her to stay out of sight and never fall in love, is the furthest back she can remember. One day, her quiet solitude is interrupted as the Royal Guards break in to capture her. It is then that Cardia meets Arsène Lupin, a chivalrous thief, who helps her escape the soldiers’ clutches. She soon finds herself on a journey with Lupin to locate her father, who holds the answers to her mysterious condition. The two are soon joined by four more interesting and handsome gentlemen…

(Aksys Games Website)

The story is based in 19th Century London, Britain during the technological age of revolution. It heavily uses the genre of steampunk and many of the characters are based on famous historical figures or fiction of the era. Isaac Beckford, the protagonist’s father is considered the equivalent of a “modern prometheus”. He is the main forerunner behind Britain’s staggering technological advancement for its time and fortified defence famously known as Steel London.

However, he has since disappeared without a trace in the peak of his career and brilliance to the shock of the world. It is the search for his whereabouts that joins all the characters by fate in meeting one another, and they become a team in order to further their own personal goals. Cardia (the protagonist) decides to accompany them on a journey of self-discovery, seeking the answers to her own past, origin and cure for her condition to fulfil her desire to touch another human being.

The story premise immediately draws the reader in with its interesting concept and twist on real world history. It is executed excellently with good story pacing, and every route is wrapped up nicely. The reader isn’t left dissatisfied or with questions unanswered and the routes go into incredible detail about the character’s struggles, past, origin, and reasons for searching for Isaac Beckford. One of the greatest points about Code: Realize is that none of the routes felt lacking in content and depth. Usually many Visual Novels struggle with consistency and it is obvious in the writing that some routes are written better than others. This was not the case for this game.

Every route played a crucial factor in the overarching plot, each connecting to one another beautifully in the grand scheme of painting the picture for the story. Every route essentially was a different perspective and piece of the overall plot. When the dots all lined up in the end, I was left with a feeling of awe and satisfaction at how well planned out the whole storyline was.

The writing and translation was decent, with very little grammatical errors throughout. I noticed only a handful of typos over the course of the game, which could have been corrected with more thorough proofreading. The game is quite lengthy, and would take approximately 30-50hrs to complete. The common route spans from Chapter 1-8 of the game, and takes around 5-6 hrs to finish. From Chapter 9-13 is the character route of the chosen bachelor that you selected, which takes around 5-10 hrs to finish depending on your read speed.

The game covers a lot of content and is very text heavy. If you’re not a fan of content-heavy games with slow developing storylines, this game can be quite the lengthy read and a struggle to finish. It is also an otome game so the romance aspect does play a significant role in furthering the plot. Overall, there is very little I can fault about the story and writing itself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and playing the game, and it definitely left a strong impression on me.

Character Development ★★★★

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

7c273a53-c6be-4a0d-a6c4-cf8a96fe3000.png

CARDIA BECKFORD: One of the strongest points of the game is the writing for the heroine herself, Cardia Beckford. Playing as Cardia was an incredibly refreshing and rewarding experience, as she develops fantastically as a character over the course of the game. She begins as a doll-like girl with no will to live, unwilling to change and without a single desire or purpose other than to wait for the return of her father. Throughout her journey with the bachelors she transforms into someone who deeply cares for her friends and others around her, and does not hesitate to protect what she holds dear.

She shows the capacity for human thoughts and emotions, and a moral compass that distinguishes her from being a “monster”. Cardia constantly tries her best not to hold her friends back and excels in the skills that they’ve taught her such as Lupin’s escape tactics, Van Helsing’s combat lessons and techniques, and Viktor’s use and understanding of chemical properties. Unlike many otome game heroines who fulfil the damsel-in-distress role, Cardia has shown time and time again that she can very well hold her own ground in a fair fight—even against the elite soldiers, Twilight.

She has escaped and overcome many situations that would’ve normally been deemed hopeless, through sheer willpower and wit. It is also understandable as to how she ends up falling for each of the bachelors and doesn’t fall for them initially at first sight. There is build up and development with every character, as she slowly opens her heart to them about her deepest fears and past.

The game requires all 4 bachelor routes to be completed (Van Helsing, Saint-Germain, Viktor Frankenstein and Impey Barbicane) before it unlocks Lupin’s Route (The True Ending). I personally recommend playing them in the above order due to the later routes revealing more information about the true ending. However, it’s not extremely important to play in that specific order and you can easily choose whomever you would like to play first.

155b4a77-e7b1-4e1f-9f15-9c1ec629e6b5.png

ABRAHAM VAN HELSING: Van Helsing is the infamous Vampire Hunter, who eradicated the vampires and their king during the Vampire War. He initially opens fire on the group when they are attending a fair and demands that Cardia accompany him as she may be the key to finding the man he must kill. Van Helsing reluctantly joins the group after seeing their display of skill and that their goals all essentially align to one man—Isaac Beckford.

He is cold, callous, and remains distant from the rest of the group—having only a single-minded focus on killing Finis, the source of his life’s despair and misery. Van Helsing is willing to throw away everything, so long as his role as an avenger comes to an end, and agrees to die at the hands of Delacroix II to atone for his sins.

I thoroughly enjoyed Van Helsing’s route, as it was very emotionally vexing and well written. Seeing the transition from a cold-blooded killer into a man conflicted by his sense of duty and the foreign emotions of love truly played on my heartstrings. The pivotal moment when he confesses his longing for the heroine and his frustrations at her recklessness precisely because he loves her was so wonderfully written. His voice actor (Suwabe Junichi) did a fantastic job at conveying his pain, despair and love—the raw emotion was evident in every word punctuated.

I felt that he had significant character development throughout the story and a great relationship dynamic with Cardia. Every moment between the two was electrifying, as Cardia consistently displays the fruits of his efforts in honing her admirable combat skills.

I felt their mutual respect and trust with one another’s lives formed the crux of their relationship and it inevitably led to them falling in love. The twist of his route was all too heart-wrenching and completely justified his inner torment and turmoil. I loved the pacing, development and his good ending CG with Cardia was just all too cute.

ff9e9dd9-5a6b-4deb-bdd2-a32b4d87b05b.png

SAINT-GERMAIN: The most mysterious out of all the characters, not much is known about the whimsical Count other than his immense generosity in allowing the cast to stay at his mansion and entertaining their grand schemes in searching for Isaac Beckford. Originating in France, Saint-Germain is always calm, well-mannered and eloquent—the picture perfect definition of a gentleman.

In spite of his distaste for violence, all the characters have expressed that he is a force to be reckoned with and encompasses immense skill in combat—demonstrating on multiple occasions that he even exceeds Van Helsing in strength. Saint-Germain in my opinion had by far the best storyline out of all the bachelors in the sheer complexity of the plot and how well the pieces all came together in the end.

I don’t think any reader would have anticipated that Saint-Germain is in fact hundreds of years old, and an Apostle of Idea—The Guides of History throughout all of mankind. It just all suddenly clicked as to how they were able to evade detection for so long in the Count’s mansion, his combat skill through centuries of honing, immense world knowledge and how all the characters capable of altering history came to meet at his intervention behind the scenes.

I really liked the concept of the Apostles due to the strong religious allusions and historical references used to strengthen the storyline itself. It addresses yet another dimension of Cardia’s character and existence—the morality of mankind obtaining infinite power and trespassing on the realm of God in the creation of a human being.

Power given to human hands throughout history has inevitably led to death and destruction, a path that bars mankind from returning to Eternal Paradise (The Garden of Eden)—a goal that Omnibus (Eve), the Leader of the Apostles has dedicated her whole life to. Through consuming the forbidden fruit, Omnibus has the power to predict human disaster, and steer mankind onto the path of salvation. Cardia’s very own existence as a result, is undoubtedly considered sin in God’s eyes—a poor imitation at creating a human being, a doll unable to touch or love another person without planting the seeds of despair.

And yet, this very imitation has shown the capacity to love and care for another, not hesitating to place her life on the line to save someone else. She laughs, cries and smiles just like any other human being—so where is the line that distinguishes man from beast?It is no wonder that Saint-Germain becomes immensely conflicted in his judgement, as he is unable to come to a decision regarding her existence. For the first time in a millennia, his cold heart has been thawed and moved by a girl fighting against fate in her search for meaning.

As a warning, his route is significantly darker than the other bachelors and can be considered disturbing to many. He displays ‘yandere-like’ tendencies such as kidnapping the heroine, attempting to strangle her, and she does die at his hands brutally in several of the bad ends. It is understandable however, as his role in history does not allow him to disobey orders. The only order he disobeyed led to an incredibly traumatic past that wiped out a large portion of humanity, leaving his hands permanently bloodstained. Cardia continuing to live would bring about a calamity far greater than any in the past that humankind has committed.

The raw undiluted passion that the Count showed when single-handedly going against the 12 Apostles, and begging Omnibus to spare Cardia’s life touched me. It was completely unlike his character, and truly demonstrated how much he loved her and how important her existence was to him. Saint-Germain’s route is crucial to Cardia, since it further develops her as a character and addresses her existentialist existence. I was a little disappointed at his ending, since I felt that the happiness gifted to them could only be temporary and didn’t truly resolve Cardia’s underlying problems.

4a6889a9-c4cc-4172-81ab-e1f38223e72e.png

VIKTOR FRANKENSTEIN: A famous alchemist in London and part of the prestigious Royal Alchemist Society, well-respected and renowned for his scientific discoveries. Cardia encounters Viktor when he assists her escape from some thugs on her first day in London, and offers the group his cooperation for their quests regarding Isaac Beckford in return for safety from the government.

He has been branded a wanted criminal and terrorist for treason, although it is unknown to the group the true nature of these accusations. Always kind-hearted, soft-spoken and gentle, he primarily serves as the group’s medic and makes up for his physical shortcomings through his use and knowledge of chemically-filled test tubes for both offence and defence.

It was quite amusing for a time of Cardia’s dilemma as Viktor potentially being her father, obviously alluding to the original tale of Frankenstein creating a monster whom he then abandoned. Initially I didn’t expect too much coming into Viktor’s route as his character isn’t usually my type, but his route was undoubtedly very sweet.

His route is refreshing in comparison to the first two, who are completely and utterly at the mercy of their past. Although he does have a traumatic past of his own, the overall mood and tone of the story is significantly more light-hearted. I particularly enjoyed his moments of shyness and consideration for Cardia that were vacant from the other two, and the fumbling of two people in love for the first time.

I enjoyed his route particularly due to his hand in creating the element ‘Zicterium’, the pre-cursor to the Philosopher’s Stone and his contribution to the heroine’s past was more significant than any of us would expect. I felt he developed wonderfully as a character because it is through his meeting and interactions with the heroine that he is finally able to confront the demons of his past, and look forward to creating a better future. It is Cardia’s courage and headstrong personality that enables Viktor to find the strength and determination to atone for his actions.

What I also liked was that it explored Queen Victoria’s character and her past, giving greater insight into a very interesting character in her own right. Viktor’s route paints her in her darkest hour as a ruthless, tyrant-like ruler who would sacrifice a whole city of civilians for the benefit of Great Britain—essentially the end justifying the means.

By the end of his route however, we realise that she is in fact a genuinely kind and benevolent Queen, giving up her own morality and sense of self for the sake of her people. Everything she has done has always been for the benefit of her own country, no matter how many pieces of herself she would lose in the process. I felt the scene where Leonhardt for the first time in his life disobeyed the Queen’s orders in response to Viktor’s brave actions of standing up to him and refusing to employ Victoria’s tactics, was a true demonstration of both the character’s development over the story.

468f46f8-1d4d-4979-b134-a8da659c2570.png

IMPEY BARBICANE: A self-proclaimed genius engineer who partners up with Arsène Lupin from the beginning of the game to rescue Cardia from her home in Wales. The ‘comic-relief’ character out of all the bachelors, Impey is an incredibly cheerful and energetic personality—much to the ire of the others and consistently used as the butt of their jokes.

Despite their constant insults at his lack of trustworthiness and questionable morals when it comes to women, they deeply respect his abilities as both a cook and an engineer—fully relying on him and trusting in his skill to get them out of tricky situations, which Impey always delivers. He is the only character who falls in love with Cardia at first sight, and expresses disappointment in all the routes when she ends up falling in love with another bachelor; although he always wishes for her happiness in the end.

I felt Impey although an enjoyable route to read, was a lot weaker than the others due to the fact that he had very little character development over the course of the story. He is more or less the same from beginning to end and doesn’t differ much from what we see in the other storylines—essentially what you see is what you get.

An interesting revelation about him was his origins as a vampire, which explains his incredible strength and durability in combat. However, this was only mentioned in his route and not delved upon fully to my disappointment. I felt the nature of his origins could’ve been expanded on and his past felt lacking in comparison to the others. His route is the most light-hearted out of the bunch and not as heavy of a read, which was a nice contrast.

His route delves into the character of Nemo, another genius mad-scientist who claims that both Viktor and Impey are his greatest rivals. This is important as Nemo is actually a significant character in the grand overarching plot, due to his contributions to Twilight—the organisation seeking for the capture of Cardia. Impey by far had the best CGs in the game with the heroine, almost unfairly so in comparison to the other bachelors. Overall, I still really liked Impey as a character due to the dynamic he added to the group and the balance he brought to everyone’s more serious personalities.

88bf2d72-70d6-468e-822a-80ac97681dad.png

ARSÈNE LUPIN: The true ending only unlockable upon the completion of every other route, and as a result the most controversial in terms of audience reception. A world renowned ‘gentlemen-thief’ who has stolen from the most elite-organisations whether it be money, top-secret information or treasures that have never been revealed to the public eye. A modern-day Robin Hood, he steals only from the rich and gives back to the poor—a rather warped sense of self-justice that he has instilled upon himself.

Lupin is responsible for planning the heist to rescue Cardia at the beginning of the game and pledges to her that he can steal anything in the world—including women’s hearts. He makes a promise to grant her wish of being able to touch another human being, and ridding her body of the poison that permeates it. Lupin has a strong distaste for violence as he finds the behaviour ungentlemanly, and as a result all his skills lie in the art of deception and escape.

I felt that although his route was good, it didn’t truly live up to the hype and build up it had from playing all the other routes. A consistent theme throughout the game is that all the bachelors mention that they aren’t right for the heroine, and choosing someone like Lupin would truly ensure her salvation and happiness. They all emphasise that Lupin is the only one who can cure her and grant Cardia the wish that she is seeking.

As a result, the bulk of Lupin’s story is dedicated to revealing and answering all the questions hinted at in the previous routes. Although his past is touched upon as to how he became a gentleman thief and acquired his skills, it was nowhere near as impactful or in-depth as the others. I felt his reasoning for saving the heroine and life purpose was quite weak overall and didn’t leave a lasting impression.

All of his route essentially revolved around Cardia, her past and how to rid her of the poison without much focus on Lupin at all—despite it being his route. He doesn’t develop much as a character either, despite having such significant roles in every single other bachelor route. He is the same from beginning to end, and when a character is too perfect in every way then that is also a flaw in the writing.

What I do commend is that the route does wrap up the overarching story nicely and the questions that culminated throughout the plot were all answered in one grand sweep. It is the only route where Isaac Beckford finally makes his appearance and delves into his purpose for creating the cursed children, as well as his reasoning for it all.

Lupin’s route is the most romantic and has the most ‘canon ending’ out of all the bachelors. As he is the true ending, he naturally has all the best moments in the game as a character. He truly plays the ‘golden-hearted hero with an unparalleled sense of justice that rescues the princess time and time again’ role perfectly.

What I liked about his route was that out of all the characters, he had the most noble intentions towards Cardia and was truly working only for her best interests. Every other character had their own demons to take care of, and as a result could never truly solve and take upon Cardia’s burdens as well. Lupin is the one to truly ‘save’ Cardia and grant her wish as without his initial rescue, she would have never known the world outside her cage and experienced happiness.

Design ★★★★★

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the highlights of the game is the absolutely gorgeous art. There is very little to fault the art upon at all. It looks super vibrant and crisp on the PSVita, with a wide assortment of CGs for every character and backgrounds. It also incorporates a bonus extra scene CG that unlocks when you complete their route (a fan-service scenario/picture). If anything, I wish there would be more CGs to look at simply because they’re so beautiful. They look like something that could come out of a painting, and there’s just so much attention and attentiveness to detail.

The proportions and body positions are also done particularly well, a struggle that many Visual Novel artists I’ve noticed have. You could choose to toggle on/off the portrait of the heroine, but I personally liked having it on due to the sprite of the heroine encompassing varying expressions depending on the scenario. I liked how the CGs were distributed evenly with every bachelor, so it didn’t feel like some had more or less than others. The quality of the images are maintained throughout the game, and consistency I find is the most crucial factor when it comes to Visual Novels.

If you want to check out other games that the artist illustrated for, Miko also did the popular Idea Factory games Beast Master and Prince (Moujuutsukai to Ouji-sama) and Bond of Ten Demons (Toki no Kizuna Sekigahara Kitan). The first is only playable in Japanese, and the second has been localised in the form of a mobile game.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★

The music in Code: Realize was very well done. It had a large assortment of tracks, and the looping was subtle but not incredibly noticeable. They all suited the mood and theme of the game perfectly and had some of my favourite tracks out of any Visual Novel I’ve played. I particularly enjoyed the piano instrumental for the ‘romantic/emotional’ moments, since they definitely contributed to the overall gameplay experience. The voice acting cast was superb as well, with a solid and famous line up.

  • Van Helsing | VA: Suwabe Junichi | 諏訪部 順一 |
    Fate/Stay Night as Archer, YURII!!! On Ice as Victor, Black Butler as Undertaker
  • Viktor Frankenstein | VA: Kakihara Tetsuya | 柿原 徹也 |
    Amnesia: Series as Shin
  • Impey Barbicane | VA: Morikubo Shotaro | 森久保 祥太郎 |
    Hakuoki: Series as Okita Souji, Persona 4 as Yosuke Hanamura, Naruto as Shikamaru Nara

Every voice actor suited their character perfectly, bringing them to life through emulating their lively personalities. One thing I did note from playing the game, was that Lupin’s voice audio was the quietest out of all the characters despite being on the same volume. It took me quite a while to adjust and figure out exactly how to balance all the audios of the voices, in order for them to speak at the same volume. This task proved to be more difficult than I would’ve thought, as I also had to adjust the background music and sound effects to match the voice volume.

System ★★★★★

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The system user interface (UI) and graphics layout were nicely designed and suited the theme of the game. The recurring motif of ‘clock-work cogs’ was prevalent throughout the game, as a symbol of time being of the essence in curing the heroine as well as the era of technological advancement in London.

I liked the in-built encyclopaedia very much as it gave extra insight into the historical aspect of the game, backing it up with real-life factual information and explaining terms that the average player may not be familiar with. It was a nice touch how the background of the title screen alternates between day and night depending on the time you play the game.

Code: Realize has an option called ‘Path of Genesis’ that unlocks when you complete your first playthrough. This allows you to select which chapter you would like to play from afterwards, and locks you into the character route you desire no matter what choices you make.

It’s a very nifty option especially for first time Visual Novel players playing without a walkthrough, as it allows you to easily get onto your desired bachelor path and experiment with the varying endings of the game. The gallery allows you to replay event CGs without replaying the game again, and the chibi sprites when selecting the extra scene were adorable.

Conclusion

cr_wiki_header

Overall, Code Realize: ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is a very good game. With its interesting storyline, solid characters, beautiful artwork, strong voice acting line up and great execution—there is very little to fault it about. However, Code: Realize may not be for everyone. It employs the niche steampunk genre, has a very slow developing storyline and quite content-heavy for the average player. It is also an otome game, which means the romance plays a pivotal role in the advancement of the plot.

I’ve read many reviews where some readers absolutely loved the game, but others found themselves struggling to finish it due to how much reading was involved in comparison to the action and gameplay.  For me personally, then I loved the game and I highly recommend it.

If you love in-depth storylines, beautiful artwork and otome then this is definitely the game for you. In my opinion, it is without a doubt one of the best localised otome games out there and well worth purchasing a Vita for—especially as majority of English Visual Novel releases are on the platform.

My main qualm about the game was Lupin’s Route. Despite him being my favourite character and thoroughly enjoying the route itself, there were definitely glaring faults about it. As his path is the ‘true ending’ of the game, it essentially resolves all the problems that arose in the previous storylines and answers any remaining questions the player has.

This is great in the sense that we have a ‘wholesome ending’ that doesn’t feel lacking in those respects. However, it leaves a bad taste for readers where Lupin isn’t their favourite character. Because his route is so ‘perfect’ and resolves every problem, it really does render every other character’s path obsolete.

Despite their significant contribution to the overall plot line, the writers intentionally made it so none of them could fully save Cardia. This because only Lupin could have that role as the true character you’re meant to end up with. They purposefully created holes in the other character’s routes, only so Lupin could solve it all in the end. If everyone’s problems could be solved in Lupin’s ending regardless, what was the real point of their routes?

Everyone more or less ends up in the same place as their ending with Cardia in Lupin’s Route, so regardless of whether or not Cardia chooses to end up with them—nothing truly changes. In every story route ending, Cardia’s poison is still a work-in-progress and their life together although happy, isn’t fully resolved. In Lupin’s Route, everyone gets a happy complete ending.

The whole plot revolves around the concept that you need to choose Lupin, you need him in order to find the answers and wish you seek, driving the audience into a corner where you’re essentially forced to like Lupin the most because he gives you the best ending. As a result, Lupin essentially emulates your perfect prince: noble, courageous and with a heart of justice—only working for your sake and for you to attain happiness. He doesn’t change or deviate much from this role or personality, with very little character development overall. Honestly, all the other bachelors were more multi-faceted and had better dimensions to their character.

I was expecting Lupin to have a dark side to him, or something that changed him so dramatically to become the person he is now. I was convinced at one point that he had been an ex-Twilight member, which would explain his stealth skills and escape tactics reminiscent of the elite organisation. It would’ve been such a great angle and made an even better storyline if executed correctly, so you can imagine my disappointment when that wasn’t the case at all.

I mean, how dramatic would it have been upon realising that the organisation after Cardia’s life and her saviour were both one in the same? That this whole entire time rather than saving her out of good will, it was all part of Finis’ master plan to gain her trust? That is just one example of how many possibilities Lupin’s route could’ve had to go from good to great or amazing.

Overall, Idea Factory did an amazing job with the game and Aksys Games really did choose a solid title to localise. Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ has undoubtedly been a commercial success, as it’s fan disk sequel Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ has been announced for localisation and released in 2018.

I believe the fan disk Idea Factory usually releases aren’t as content heavy as the original games, as they’re ‘after-story’ events to appease readers with more romantic stories with their favourite bachelor. I will definitely be reviewing it and playing it myself when the game releases!

Overall Rating: 4.5/5


support-my-work-on-patreon-banner-image-600px

Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry