Gakuen Club Review (Nintendo Switch)

Gakuen

Release Date: August 30, 2018  (North America)
Developer
OperHouse, D3Publisher
Publisher: Dogenzaka Lab, D3Publisher 
Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Mobile (iOS and Android)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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This game’s localized version was originally released May 10, 2017 in PC (Steam) platform and  a month later ported to mobile platforms (iOS and Android) in June 12, 2017.

 

Walkthroughs:

  1. Renji Kamiki
  2. Wataru Kagurazaka
  3. Toma Sakai
  4. Saku Takizawa
  5. Yuya Yamaoka
  6. Asahi Minakawa

 

STORY
Our heroine is entering her junior year of high school when she finds out she will be suddenly transferring to the famous Kirika Academy located in the city due to her father’s new job. 

She is quite excited about starting her new school life, but she stumbles upon a secret night club that is being operated after school hours, and gets herself roped into working the kitchen…

As she grows closer to the other wait staff of the night club, she learns of their past, and finds herself becoming more and more involved in a complicated web of human relationships and romance…

 

ART AND MUSIC
Perhaps one of the pros that initially attracted me to Gakuen Club was the game’s artwork. These lovely character designs were done by the popular Japanese illustrator “Melo”. Her other famous works are Suuran Digit and Taishou x Alice. You can view the artist’s website here.

Fun Fact: Gakuen Club’s PS Vita version gets an awesome opening theme, with a song called “UNMASKED” performed by the artist, Mao Uzuki. You can listen to the track below, or watch the video here.

 

Voice Acting

KENN “Minakawa Asahi” –  Fuuto Asahina (Brothers Conflict), Yuuto Kujo (Beast Darling), Kintaro Katagiri (Yunohana Spring!), Totomaru Minowa (Kenka Banchou Otome)

Tsubasa Yonaga “Wataru Kagurazaka” – Hikaru Onigashima (Kenka Banchou Otome), Yakumo Tachibana (Vitamin X-Z)

Kensho Ono “Toma Sakai” – Hozumi Kohinata (Prince of Stride), Mict Haruno (Binary Star), Kurokono Tasuke (Gintama)

Mark Ishii “Yuya Yamaoka” – Lev Haiba (Haikyu),  Chrono Shindou (Cardfight! Vanguard G)

Yuuichirou Umehara “Renji Kamiki” – Demento (Period Cube), Shingen Takeda (Ikemen Sengoku), Shinobu Kurosawa (Dynamic Chord)

Kosuke Toriumi “Saku Takizawa” – Hajime Saito (Hakuoki), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), John Watson (Code Realize), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ikemen Sengoku), Kagiha/Lawrence (Psychedelica Series)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (No Spoilers)

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All the romanceable characters are shotas (laughs) so If you’re into this archetype, I believe this game is for you!  Personally, I’m not into the whole “young love”, or the “innocent-high-school-trope” thing. I like my men more mature and older (Darling, don’t we all do?! *chuckles*) – So as far as the romance goes, it was a little hard for me to get really enthused by these characters.( ° ∀ ° )ノ゙

I don’t think there’s a specific route order you have to follow, so by all means start with any character you like. If you want route recommendations, I suggest playing in this order:  Wataru — Renji — Toma — Saku — Yuya — Asahi.

 

RENJI KAMIKI – a senior in Kirika Academy who’s also a talented young pianist. 

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I did Renji’s route first because he was the best looking of the bunch, and the tallest! (kinda makes him look more mature than the other boys) lol (*/ω\) Renji is the flirty, outgoing type guy. He’s the boy you’d want to introduce to your folks because you’d know they’ll instantly like him. In his story, he’s not only very popular among the girls in the academy but also with the secret night club’s VIP guests (mostly women). Although Renji stages beautiful piano performances in a professional manner, he felt as if his music lacked something very important – and this sometimes puts him in a foul mood. Playing his route will let you discover Renji’s struggles that haunted him all his life and kept him from expressing his true self through his music.

Renji’s route was okay, it started good, got a bit repetitive and boring in the middle and ended in a rush. I may have enjoyed a few romantic scenes due to his flirty nature but overall, I thought Renji’s character was a little distant towards the heroine and I don’t think they really connected in his story.

 

WATARU KAGURAZAKAA very cunning and clever freshmen of Kirika Academy.

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Wataru is the youngest member of Kirika Academy’s Secret Night club. He’s a cheerful character, who knows his own appeal and tends to use it at his advantage. He aims to become number one in the secret night club rankings to help him gain and achieve a personal wish. In his story, Wataru hits it off with Akane but then angst follows when his uncle forced him into an arranged marriage to gain company relations and to help their family business.(#`Д´)

Wataru is the most shota of all the shotas in this game lol. His route wasn’t so bad although I didn’t really cared much about it as it was plainly predictable from start to finish. His relationship with the heroine was good if you like the typical high school romance involving a young tsundere with a spunky attitude. His tiny squeaky voice didn’t help either and only got me more annoyed while going down his route. If anything, it made me feel like a cradle snatcher! 

 

TOMA SAKAIan unfriendly, handsome looking boy who’s frank remarks always stand out.

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Toma is a kuudere, he rarely talks and would only SIGH most of the time. In fact, you’ll hear him sighing all throughout the game (even in other routes). lol (っ´ω`)ノ Despite his unfriendly nature, he still remains close pals with his buddy Asahi Minakawa. In his story, Toma was revealed to be a child model who used to be really famous in the entertainment business – (this explains his very charming physical appearance). However, due to some internal family issues he’s been struggling with since childhood, he eventually developed health problems which lead him to quit his modeling career.

I never expected I’d enjoy Toma’s route but I actually found it surprisingly better than the others. Maybe it’s because I’m a total sucker for kuudere characters? haha It started really dull though but I’m glad it got better towards the ending. I liked his relationship with Akane and the way he opened up to her seemed very realistic, not to mention cute!

 

SAKU TAKIZAWAbookworm, a man of  few words who possess a unique mysterious personality.

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Saku’s route was probably THE BEST one in Gakuen Club. Wow! This megane really got my full attention. uwu (*ノωノ)  Saku maybe a man of few words but he is one attentive fella with very good listening skills. He offers logical advises to the night club’s VIP guests’ personal problems – this is one of his distinctive charms that gets people drawn to him. In his route, it was revealed that Saku’s parents were famous movie stars (his dad a film director and mom, an actress). You’ll also get to discover how he was raised all his life without receiving a single love from neither of them. SOB (╥_╥)

I find his story rather dark but very engaging at the same time. It started interesting enough to keep you going and ended with a great finish. Although going down his route was emotionally heartbreaking, his romantic events with the heroine never took a back seat and I enjoyed every scene they’ve had together including their cute exchanges in the library and their fluffy moments of confessing each other’s feelings during the school festival. All in all, this route was a perfect 10.

 

YUYA YAMAOKAa handsome, hardworking senior in Kirika Academy with a concerning dark past.

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Yuya was sort of a mysterious character at first. I’ve asked myself a couple of times, what’s so special about him? …and why is he even in the secret night club? To give you a non-spoiler answer; Unlike the other guys who are famous for their high status in society, Yuya is actually just an ordinary dude with a handsome face. lol He does have a dark secret up his sleeve which you’ll get to discover going down his route.

I have mixed feelings towards Yuya’s story. For the most part, it was all fluff fillers which aren’t even relevant. Yuya’s character was also very deviant compared to the other boys. He can be a jerk sometimes and annoyingly emo and I’m not even sure if his relationship with the heroine was genuine enough to last. haha! I did feel bad while reading his backstory (during his monologues) and I like how the VA Mark Ishii carried this character’s complex personality. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a lot of otome gigs!

 

ASAHI MINAKAWAthe son of the headmaster in Kirika Academy, who’s also in Akane’s class.

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Asahi is the heir of the Minakawa Group, the powerful conglomerate that runs Kirika Academy. He is bright, energetic and of course very popular at school. Despite him being the genki guy who won’t leave you alone, Asahi Minakawa is also dat-one-character who’s born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His route was mainly him struggling to keep up his wealthy family’s high expectations.

I think playing Asahi’s route last, was a good choice since it contained most of the spoilers in Gakuen Club’s overall story. Other than that, his character development turned out very bland, dull and somewhat predictable. The romance was there but because of Asahi’s jolly-ol’ personality it felt a little forced, like there’s no motivation behind his feelings for Akane, at all. Also, His open-ended happy ending made me flip. (メ` ロ ´)

 

AKANE KOIZUMI (You) – Main Heroine
Akane is your typical transparent heroine. There’s nothing special about her. She doesn’t have any kind of likable trait and was just blindly following and supporting most of the guys in their routes, except maybe Saku and Toma’s where her support actually made a  significant turn on how their stories were concluded.

 

TRAILER 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
I never really had any kind of high expectations from this game. I first played it on mobile, where I only did Toma’s route and got bored with it half way through. Perhaps playing it on the Switch the second time around made all the difference? The game’s system was very comfortable whether you play it handheld or docked. I played it on tv while my console was docked, so this, somehow prevented me from falling asleep! lmao.

The average play time in completing one single route was a good 2-3 hours (auto mode), though it took me a week to finish this game as I keep putting it down (ーー;). Most of the routes were boring as hell except for maybe Saku and Toma’s. These were the only two routes I’ve enjoyed, Saku being my favorite. I liked how all of the routes focused on very human stories and events, instead of the usual superfluous fantasies in otoges. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my usual reverse harem fictions, but this was good change of pace.

Overall, Gakuen Club isn’t as bad as everyone assumed it to be. It had a couple of pros such Melo’s gorgeous art and not all the main characters sucked.^^ Do I recommend this game? Yes, but only if it’s on sale. I’m pretty sure you’ll at least enjoy one route (Saku’s Route). Each of the character’s stories do bring up realistic conflicts, which was a plus point to me. It’s a  very simple high-school themed visual novel though, so don’t expect it to be mind blowing or anything of the sort (chuckles).

Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Bad Apple Wars Review

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BAD APPLE WARS

Release Date: October 13, 2017
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS VITA
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Bad Apple Wars was originally first released in November 19, 2015, Japan. Aksys Games, who’s known for localizing a few Otomate titles in the West initially announced Bad Apple Wars during their panel in 2017’s Anime Expo. The game was supposed to release September 29, 2017 (North America and Europe), but was later pushed to October 13, 2017 due to some delays.

I have to admit, it took me a while to pick up BAW from my backlog library. I acquired the game’s Limited Edition last year, from my Gamestop store and while I’ve heard a lot of intriguing mixed reviews regarding this game, I was pretty much pre-occupied finishing my other otoges, I keep putting off playing this one a few times. 

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

Walkthroughs:

1)Higa
2)Shikishima
3)Alma
4)Satoru
5)White Mask

 

ART AND MUSIC
The game’s artwork had a quite unique approach compared to the usual otome art, and its one of the reasons why I’m absolutely fascinated at this artist’s style. The character design was done by Japanese illustrator, “Suou” スオウ who’s also famous for her other works, such as “ALICE-ALICE” aka  Alice in the Forbidden World. You can find the artist’s official pixiv site here.

Another highlight of Bad Appe Wars is the game’s solid soundtrack. While the OP track “Mirror, Mirror” was rather catchy, I found the game’s bgms even more jammin’Listen to my fav track below!

 

Voice Acting

Sakurai Takahiro  “Alma” – Astrum (Period Cube), Uruki (Genbu Kaiden Kagami no Miko), Mejojo von (Black Wolves Saga), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers),  Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

Akira Ishida Shikishima” – Kent (Amnesia Memories), Zara Skeens (Black Wolves Saga), Tokita Shuya (Clock Zero), Unknown Guy (Period Cube)

Junichi Suwabe “Higa”Van Helsing (Code Realize), Ren (Utapri), Jae-ha (Akatsuki No Yona), Nobushige Sanada (Kurenai)

Hanae Natsuki “Satoru” – Libera (Period Cube), Sera Akito (Collar x Malice), Yuki (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Shirota (Possession Magenta)

Shinnosuke Tachibana “White Mask” – Louis Howard (Midnight Cinderella), Kousei (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss), Suruga Akito (KLAP)

Shin’ichirou Miki “Bucket-head sensei” – Toshizo Hijikata (Hakuoki)Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Kouji Yusa “Gas-mask sensei” – Sanosuke Harada (Hakuoki),  Itsuki Kagami (Norn9),  Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Tomokazu Sugita “Rabbit head” – Takuma (Hiro no Kakera), Gin (Gintama), Ron Muroboshi (Norn9), Nobunaga (Ikesen), Reine des Fluers (Hubert), Sasuke Sarutobi (Kurenai)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (Spoiler Free)

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At the start of the Common Route, you are prompted to choose a side; The Good Apples or The Bad Apples. For a more engaged gameplay, I strongly recommend to pick the Bad Apple’s side first, and do the Good Apples routes last. For a specific route order, I suggest playing: Higa — Shikishima — Alma — Satoru — White Mask.

 

HIGA

  • Soul Totem: Baseball
  • tsundere
  • those abs doe

Higa is the tall bad boy from the Bad Apples faction. He carries with him a white baseball (as his soul totem), that can explode as a bomb and can sometimes transform into a baseball bat. He greatly respects Alma, calls him “aniki” (brother) and acts as Alma’s right hand.

Higa is one of my favorite characters in BAW, maybe because I started with his route first or perhaps I’m just totally biased when it comes to Suwabe’s voice acting? lol. His route on the other hand was a little lacking as far as how his story was presented. Although I enjoyed his cute little moments with the heroine in NEVAEH Academy, I think his happy ending was a little rushed? I actually, had to re-read his epilogue just to make sure I understood what was going on. lol I liked his backstory though and Higa in general, was a great character in the game and it would’ve been nice if his ending was given more thought and was explained better. ( ̄□ ̄」)

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SHIKISHIMA

  • Soul Totem: Sketchbook and paint brush
  • the frustrated artist
  • Why so emo?

Shikishima neither belongs to the Good Apples nor the Bad Apples’ faction. Rather, he is considered an “Odd Apple” in NEVAEH Academy. He does his own thing and rarely participates in breaking the school rules but does not care for them at all either.  He speaks in a friendly but slightly formal tone and is prone to nature-based metaphors.

I didn’t really understood this character until the last chapters of his story… He is just soooo abstract, it’s hard to figure him out. Shikishima is also a very reserved (and very emo) character it is almost impossible to get a connection with him, making his romance with the heroine very dry and nearly forced. It’s a shame since Shikishima seemed like a really potential deep character to boot, and it could’ve worked if not for a gang amount of plot holes in his story. I like that Shikishima was a curious persona in the game but his character development, not to mention is “happy” ending” – was poorly executed ruining the entirety of his route (for me anyway).  ┐(︶▽︶)┌

BAD APPLE WARS (8)

 

ALMA

  • Soul Totem: Red thread
  • poker faced
  • the leader of the band

Alma is the leader and brains of the Bad Apples. He garners great respect from everyone in the their faction because he’d always come up with a plan in mind whenever their group decides to break the 7 Unbreakable Rules of NEVAEH Academy.  Although he possess an emotionless poker face, he is a man of great charisma – one of the many reasons why everyone deeply trust him and his leadership.

Alma’s route was a longer one compared to the other two previous Bad Apple routes (Higa and Shikishima).  TBH, I wanted to like his route as much as I like his character but perhaps his story just didn’t appeal to me as much??? There were a lot of fluff contents to enjoy, E.g ~ him spending time with the heroine Rinka, in NEVAEH Academy. But it didn’t have anything new to reveal that would explained more about BAW’s overall story – and this was such a let down as I was expecting some sort of plot twist in this route – BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED. (*°ー°)ノ  I guess the best part of Alma’s story (which I enjoyed so much) was his ending, YES, his good ending! Plus the CG!!! It was so fluffy that I forgot all about the plot holes and just snickered happily all through out the end credits. lol

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SATORU

  • Soul Totem: Reference Book
  • naive
  • ❤ “choco banana!”

Satoru is the younger student who was admitted to NEVAEH Academy at the same time as the heroine. He is very obsessed with studying and would frantically spend all his time reading his guide book as if his life depends on it. He is very naive and is unaware of his surroundings but at the same time couldn’t care less about it either. His soul totem is a reference book which seems to have vast information on unlimited number of things, ranging from vocabulary to world history.

Satoru’s route was my favorite in BAW. His story had good pacing, great character development for both him and the heroine, and contains the best fluff  and drama scenes to keep you entertained. To be perfectly honest I never really deemed Satoru’s character interesting until I played his route. His romance with Rinka however, is more of like a “nakama” compared to a lover’s relationship, I guess this is because he’s a few years younger than the her. I also wanted to commend Hanae Natsuki for doing an amazing job portraying Satoru, I probably sobbed a few times, during his monologues. ha! This route was definitely fun, it hit the nail right in the head as far as stirring up your emotions go.

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WHITE MASK

  • Weapon of choice: Prefect’s Ruler
  • Soul Totem: Beads (necklace)
  • true route???

White Mask is the head of the prefects in NEVAEH Academy. He is a mysterious character who’s obsessed with correcting the Bad Apples. His weapon of choice is a (electric?) ruler that zaps students causing them to be in a complete depressed state.  He wears a prefect’s uniform & a faceless white mask and he possess a very strict attitude.

BAD APPLE WARS (010)

While White Mask was hinted to be the true route of Bad Apple Wars, I find it very hard to comprehend that his story was indeed the grand finale of the entire game because it gave me so many questions left unanswered. Just like Alma’s route, his story was lengthier than the others. He had a longer backstory and he gets to spend a lot of time with the heroine for that needed relationship boost. Maybe as a stand alone route, his story  can be considered really good for what it is, but I wouldn’t dare call it the true ending of BAW. I like White Mask as a character regardless, and I may have shed some tears when I read his backstory. lol I just wished there was more to his ending than angst and romance.

 

rinkaRINKA
(Main Heroine)

Perhaps one of the dullest protagonist I’ve ever played. Rinka has no kind of background, characteristics, personality or anything of the sort. This was also made clear several times in the game, during her monologues of being really “empty”. So this makes me wonder… Does the MC for Bad Apple Wars designed as  some sort of personification of the reader or player?  Putting yourself in the protagonist’s shoes is somehow common in dating sims, (especially in mobile games) and although sometimes this set up may work for some, more times than not, IT DOESN’T when it comes to visual novels. It technically kills the likability of a character making the game experience less enjoyable. With Rinka, I wouldn’t say she’s a bad heroine altogether, she is however very boring to play because of the “self-insert factor” the developers made her to be.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? ( ° ∀ ° )ノ゙
Playing Bad Apple Wars was a love-hate kind of experience for me. I really liked how the game started. How the NEAVEH universe was introduced and how the main and side characters were uniquely presented in the story. These aspects alone piqued my interest in the game. However, my excitement sort of died down in the middle of the repetitive playthroughs and the open ended routes.

The fun play of the “afterlife story” in BAW really had potential and I think it would’ve been so much better if the endings were coherently explained well instead of leaving ’em hanging in the dark for curious readers. For the most part, I think the game is still enjoyable If you’e able to find a character that interests you and are willing to overlook some plot inconsistencies of the story, not to mentioned the blandness of the main protagonist.

Overall, I wouldn’t consider Bad Apple Wars a substandard for an otome game / visual novel in general. In fact, I would still recommend it to players that aren’t picky with their otoges and just wants a good visual novel to pass the time. Story wise, this game may not be perfect but it certainly still has some redeemable qualities to look forward to such as its outstanding art style, soundtrack,  and really fun characters that’ll bring you angst and romance all in one gameplay. So…by all means, pick this game up and give it a chance~!
♡( ◡‿◡ )

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

 

Hakuoki Kyoto Winds Review

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HAKUOKI: KYOTO WINDS

Release Date: May 16, 2017 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Design Factory
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International
Platforms:  PS VITA, Steam (PC)
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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I know, I know! This review is late for the party… lol but here it is, finally!

Hakuoki was probably the first english (otome) visual novel i’ve played back in 2012. I have played Demon of the Fleeting Blossom in the PSP and really enjoyed it. In fact, I could never play any other (visual novel) game that has the Shinsengumi’s famous names without incorporating it with my Hakuoki characters, lmao it just doesn’t feel right. LOL Please tell me I’m not the only Hakuoki fan that feels this way!image

Although this popular series may have a lot of renditions and titles available on different gaming platforms (PSP, 3DS, PS3 and PS Vita), they tell  the same story and offer the same six potential romanceable characters (Hijikata, Okita, Toudou, Saito, Harada, Kazama). If you’re new to the series and don’t know where to start, Kyoto Winds is a great title to begin your Hakuoki journey.

Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is the first half of the revamped edition of Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. This title is also probably the biggest update the Hakuoki series has had in years. Some of the improvements they’ve made were the animated bgs and sprites (eyes blinking, mouth moving, flower petals falling in the bg, etc.). Not only that, but instead of the usual six dateable characters, they’ve added six more lovely samurais you can choose to romance with in the seriesimage. We now have new routes for the following characters:

  1. (The long awaited route of) Shinpachi Nagakura
  2. Keisuke Sanan
  3. Susumu Yamazaki
  4. Hachiro Iba
  5. Kazue Souma
  6. Ryouma Sakamoto

However, because of the added content and sub stories, not to mention the new routes of the recently added characters, Kyoto Winds only covers half of the original Hakuoki story. The new title, Edo Blossoms (localized version), which was recently released this year – continues the second half, covering the rest of the Shinsengumi tale.

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

ART AND MUSIC
Besides more story content, this rendition also covers more art, and by that I mean, more exceptionally beautiful CGs to satisfy our hearts with. Arguably, there are three artists involved in the making of the game’s artwork throughout the years. Kazuki Yone, who’s responsible for the original character design, Miko (also known as the artist of Code Realize) for the game’s additional graphics, and Shiki Sakigumi for continuing the new and additional character designs after Yone left. The latter is also the official artist for the AU title,  Hakuoki SSL.

I think the game’s OP “Ruri No Sora E” is by far the best theme that suits the Hakuoki story really well to a T.  Listen to this track below!

 

CHARACTERS AND WALKTHROUGHS (Spoiler Free)image
For a more engaged gameplay, I suggest playing the routes in the order below:

  1. Toshizo Hijikata
  2. Souji Okita
  3. Hajime Saito
  4. Heisuke Toudou
  5. Sanosuke Harada
  6. Shinpachi Nagakura
  7. Keisuke Sanan
  8. Susumu Yamazaki
  9. Hachiro Iba
  10. Kazue Souma
  11. Ryouma Sakamoto
  12. Chikage Kazama

 

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TOSHIZO HIJIKATA
CV: Shinichirou Miki 
  Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Also known as “The Demon Vice Commander”. Hijikata is one of the most devoted samurai of the Shinsengumi. Acting as the leader along side Isami Kondou, he is not only respected by his men for his exceptional sword skill and talent in the battlefield but also for his pride and beliefs as true samurai warrior.

His Route in Kyoto Winds was more inclined to the Shinsengumi’s story. I think it is fairly recommended to do his route first since it follows through the historical events of the Shinsengumi and their activities in Kyoto. That said, there is no romance in this route – sadly… Despite his cold and strict demeanor, there were a few cute moments where the heroine, Chizuru gets to warm up to him through their little interactions, making Hijikata still one of the most likable characters of the game.

 

2018-07-14-071735SOUJI OKITA
CV: Shotaro MorikuboImpey Barbicane (Code Realize), Musica (Fairy Tale), Toa (7’scarlet)

Okita is the captain of the first divison of the Shinsengumi, he’s also known as one of the most notorious warriors in the battlefield. He posses a very sarcastic personality and a charmingly sadistic nature. This man is also very loyal to Isami Kondou and his top priority in life is to be the sword and weapon of the Shinsengumi. It is rumored that his sword skill is as good as Hijikata’s, although he personally claimed that he’s better.

His Route in Kyoto Winds was a little rough around the edges. His playful threats of killing Chizuru can be a handful sometimes (although this is one of his notable charms). I personally love how the heroine handled Okita’s complex personality. Because of her understanding and determination to support him, she was able to melt this man’s cold blooded heart.

 

2018-07-28-204506 SAITO HAJIME
CV: Kousuke Toriumi
– Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)

The Captain of the third divison of the Shinsengumi. Saito is another loyal member of the Shinsengumi who almost never question or complain about a task he’s given to do. He is smart and very rational, sometimes to the point of coldness. He greatly respects Hijikata as one of his superiors and willingly follows his leadership. He takes no pleasure in the battlefield despite his exceptional skill in a fight.

His Route, had plenty of doki-doki moments and probably had the best CGs. Saito’s kuudere nature was really adorable. I also find it cute when he’s so fired up talking about his obsession with swords. He may sport a very cold and distant personality upfront but inside is a very shy, and sympathetic gentleman who’s always looking out for your best interest.

 

2018-08-01-222854 HEISUKE TOUDOU
CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki – Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga), Otamaru Heishi (Norn9)

The Captain of the eight division who’s the youngest and probably the most cheerful and optimistic member of the Shinsengumi. Unlike the other captains of the Shinsengumi who are very dedicated to serve the shogunate, Heisuke is rather the opposite. He has his own political beliefs regarding the unscrupulous nature of war and his role as a warrior participating in it.

There’s chemistry between him and our main heroine, Chizuru, so it was very refreshing playing His Route. Maybe it’s because they’re around the same age? I also loved Heisuke’s character development in his story. His wavering beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong seemed very realistic & sensible and I think his constant battle between what he believes in vs. his emotions brought out his character’s benevolent nature.

 

2018-08-04-183400 SANOSUKE HARADA
CV: Koji Yusa Itsuki Kagami (Norn9), Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

The Captain of the tenth division, who prefers a spear as his weapon of choice. He is a very compassionate character and one of the most level headed members of the Shinsengumi. He enjoys a good sake in his free time and maybe some friendly banters with his close pals, Shinpachi and Heisuke.

His Route is def. a fan favorite. Sanosuke Harada is every girl’s dream-prince-samurai. Besides his drop dead gorgeous look and physique, he is always kind and very considerate when it comes to Chizuru, the perfect gentleman (if ya ask me!). If you want a more romance-inclined story in Kyoto Winds, Sano’s route is for the taking! …and just wait till’ you get to him in Edo Blossom!

 

2018-08-05-175438 SHINPACHI NAGAKURA
CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro Toshi Maeda (Sengoku Basara), Rikimaru (Tenchu 2), Taliesin (Tears to Tiara)

The Captain of the second Division and one of the most skilled warriors of the Shinsengumi. Unlike the other captains who started as a nobody before they claimed their Shinsengumi titles, Shinpachi was born into a samurai family but was never interested in a life of luxury as he wanted to earn his role as a samurai rather than reaping its benefits through his family name. He ended up in the Shiei Hall where he met the other captains and that was when Kondou took him.

His Route in Kyoto Winds, Is the sisterzone route. Lol, Besides him treating Chizuru as nothing more than a little sister, he also lacked a deeper connection with the heroine, which made his romance a bit one-sided (to Chizuru, that is). I do like Shinpachi’s character though, he’s a great comic relief to the group and ofc who could ignore those manly pecs’ from heaven?!image

 

2018-08-08-212217 KEISUKE SANAN
CV: Nobuo Tobita Straizo (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Kan Soo-Jin (Akatsuki no Yona), Capt. Gordon (Disgea)

One of the Vice Commanders of the Shinsengumi, also referred as a Colonel in their organization. Sanan gained his position due to his intelligence in battle tactics as well as his headstrong personality which garnered him the respect of the other Shinsengumi captains. Despite his kind and gentle appearance, he posses an ominous side especially when angered.

Sanan gave me the creeps in other routes. His Route in Kyoto Winds made him a little less creepy which is perhaps good? but not good enough to make him a potential love interest. Idk, maybe it’s because of his self pity or his obsession about the “rasetsu” (furies) that turned me off in his story. I love his voice actor though, I think Nobou Tobita really did well in emphasizing this character’s dark and complex nature.

 

2018-08-11-090416 SUSUMU YAMAZAKI
CV: Takayuki Suzuki – Daedalus Munto (Demonion Series), Oota Hiroo (Koiken Otome)

Yamazaki is a member of the Watch division in the Shinsengumi. As a doctor’s son, he’s also well versed in the field of medicine. He is very devoted to the Shinsengumi and respects Hijikata as his commanding leader. Although most of his missions involved stealth and surveying, Yamazaki is also a skilled swordsman and  can lend a hand in the battlefield when needed.

His Route in Kyoto Winds was very fluffy and surprisingly good. Yamazaki is that one guy you’ve completely ignored all through out the entire game – you’ve failed to realize how much of a good man this character is, until you step into his route. Because both the heroine and Yamazaki’s parents are doctors, I feel that they complement each other extremely well, they’re almost the perfect pair.

 

2018-08-12-170727 HACHIRO IBA
CV: Mamoru Miyano 
Souo Tamaki (OHSHC), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tokiya (Utapri), Okabi Rintarou (Steins Gate)

Hachiro Iba is a member of the shogun’s guard who has known the Shinsengumi for years. He’s also inherited one of the most popular dojo in Bakumatso, Edo, through his family name. Despite his charming looks and his very gentle & refined appearance, he is one badass swordsman who’s trained together with the Shinsengumi captains. He’s also Chizuru’s childhood friend.

His Route is probably one of the most interesting routes in Kyoto Winds. I find it REALLY hard not to like Iba as he was honest-to-god about his feelings towards Chizuru and it was very admirable how he always puts the heroine first above all else. The plot twist in his story also caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting any of it, to say the least.

 

 2018-08-19-081429KAZUE SOUMA
CV: Yuki Kaji Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Yuiga Kakeru (Norn9), Rath Vogart (Black Wolves Saga) Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

A new recruit of the Shinsengumi who was a former soldier in the shogunate army. Isami Kondou, sees potential in him so he was immediately appointed as the chief’s page.

Kazue was a page in training under Chizuru’s guidance. He’s one very optimistic soldier who’s always eager and determined to learn more. I have mixed feelings regarding His Route though. While he’s a very bright and lovely new character, I felt that his relationship with the heroine was more of a “nakama” rather than a love interest… and the only time I felt their relationship, romantically went up a notch was around  the last scene (chapter 5) of Souma’s route. It was a good thing he pulled through in Edo Blossoms! (smirks)

 

2018-08-20-210617 RYOUMA SAKAMOTO
CV: Daisuke Ono Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv), Azuma Natsuhiko (Norn9)

Originally a samurai from Tosa, Sakamoto is the ronin responsible for negotiating the alliance between the Satsuma and Choshu in an effort to overthrow the Shogunate. Sakamoto has a very progressive view on politics and he believes that the Japanese government should become more like a democracy.

Before I played His Route, I have *sort of* spoiled myself with his story by reading an article about the real Ryouma Sakamoto in Japanese history. It was interesting that the game fundamentally follows through his life events and the highlights of his activities in Kyoto. I find Sakamoto’s route to be really good – plot wise, as it ventured more into each of the characters’ different views and perspectives about war. His relationship with Chizuru was also really cute, though it became a bit angsty towards the end.

 

2018-08-25-073141 CHIKAGE KAZAMA
CV: Kenjiro TsudaHattori Hanzo (Nightshade), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)

The head of the demon clan in the west. Chikage Kazama posses an arrogant and cruel persona and is severely prejudiced against humans. He is somehow connected with the Satsuma Domain together with his demon comrades, Amagiri and Shiranui. He takes a special interest on Chizuru for some reason.

I am extremely biased on this character so it is hard for me to be objective with him.lol Kazama can either be the antagonist or an ally in the game depending on who’s route you’re at. I think one interesting aspect about Kazama’s character is that you change your opinion about him (almost every route). ImoHis Route in Kyoto Winds was one of the most satisfying ones as it touched a lot on the demon lineage in the Hakuoki series. Because this was left questionable in the previous original story, it is so refreshing to finally get a grasp on this side of the plot, the Demon’s side. I also think that Chizuru and Kazama suited each other really well.

 

92913chizuru CHIZURU YUKIMURA
Main Heroine

The young girl who came to Kyoto disguised as a boy in search of her missing father, she was taken in by the Shinsengumi after accidentally witnessing one of the organization’s dark secrets. She became Hijikata’s page and eventually adapted living with the Shinsengumi soldiers, becoming accustomed to their lifestyle.

Chizuru is probably one of the best heroines I’ve played in an otome game. In this series, you can really feel her growing up, changing her ideals and perspectives in life, distancing away from her naivety as she gets more involved in the war and its corruptness. She knows how to wield her kodachi and although her skills are not up to par with the normal soldiers in battle, she is learned and capable enough to defend herself and knew when to flee or hide when the odds aren’t on her favor. I really enjoyed playing as Chizuru, her emotional anguish and helplessness, not to mention her desperate motivation in the game really grew on me and I just love it whenever you get to connect to the main protagonist like that.

 

HAKUOKI Kyoto Winds: “Wind Treasure Box”
Did you know that you can get Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds’ DLC, “Wind Treasure Box” for only $3.99 in the PS Store? The DLC contains six extra stories of Saito, Iba, Nakagura, Harada, Heisuke, and Yamazaki together with our main heroine, Chizuru. These short stories are mainly extra fluff content that happened somewhere in the middle of the common route of each bachelor.

Is it worth shelling out $3.99 for these extra five minute content? As an avid fan of the series, I really enjoyed these extra short stories a lot, but it’s really up to you to decide. You also get an extra CG after completing the DLC.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (´ ε ` )♡
Hakuoki is one of the best visual novels I’ve played and Kyoto Winds was probably the best remake of the series. As someone who’s a sucker for samurai cinema, this game was definitely a treat. I find it really interesting that the characters were based on real historical figures in Japanese history and their stories were somewhat similar to the real life events that happened during Japan’s Bakumatsu period.

Because it’s the first part of the original Hakuoki story, Kyoto Winds focused more emphasis on its general plot; which is the story of the Shinsengumi and the highlights of their activities in Kyoto. That said, the romantic events were pretty low. This game also contains one long introduction that’s quite heavy on the text and narratives.

If you’re not a fan of content driven plots and prefer a story that’s solely focused on romance, this game may not be for you.

Kyoto Winds can also get a bit repetitive as you play through all the routes . This is because almost all of the characters follows through the same story line, but hey that’s what the SKIP button is for, yes?image I personally enjoyed this game to heart.  It had the right amount of action, drama and suspense enough to stir your emotions that’ll work you up on the edge of your seat. The characters really grew on me and each of their stories were very significant to the game’s overarching story. For the newer routes, I enjoyed Yamazaki and Iba’s story the most. Needless to say, all the new characters were a great addition to the game.

Do I recommend this game? YES.
If you’ve played the older Hakuoki games and liked it, Kyoto Winds is definitely a good title to consider (playing again), this remake is without a doubt one for the books!
If you want a good quality visual novel with a solid content, great art, memorable soundtracks and very likable characters, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds definitely delivers all of these to your doorstep.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 10/10

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku Review (Nintendo Switch)

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AYAKASHI KOI GIKYOKU (Yokai Love Play)

Release Date: August 2, 2018 (North America)
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Prologue
You were invited by your cousin to watch a live concert by a Visual Kei band called FOX EAR. As the band members stepped onto the stage and played their music, Your magatama (tear shaped pendant), an ornament you’ve inherited from your ancestors that was passed around for generations started to give off a strange massive light. You fell unconscious during the sudden turn of events and eventually found yourself waking up in the backstage surrounded by five handsome fox dudes. Apparently the members of FOX EARS are real life mythical creatures and they’ve come to take the magatama from you. OH NO! …But instead of taking it by force, they’ve decided to make you fall for them so you can surrender the magatama at your own will and pace. Who will you choose to fall in love & trust the powers of the magatama with? The decision lies in your hands.. (⁎˃ᆺ˂)

 

Alright, so I’m gonna cut to the chase and say, playing this game made me appreciate The Charming Empire more. That game may have weak content, but the localisation was pristine. This one however, hit rock bottom.

 

LOCALISATION WAS A COMPLETE MESS! (╬ Ò﹏Ó)

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I’m talking about broken english that appears to come from a machine translation. The grammar and sentence structure doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a shame since the fluff content of this game is pretty normal and the VAs were top tier. However, incorporating it with horrible translations defeats the purpose of enjoying a visual novel in general.

The game allows you to choose a language to play it with at the start though, so if you know kanji, I strongly recommend playing it in Japanese instead, (It’s less painful that way)…

 

ART AND MUSIC
I like how each of the characters have their own theme (bgms) that seem to match their personalities. Keisuke’s smooth jazzy theme was my fav. ( ´ ω ` ). The artwork was also worthy of praise, imo. I think it is fairly above average compared to other recent otome projects these days. Heck, I even liked this game’s trailer.

Voice Acting

Daisuke Hirakawa “Keisuke” – Saint Germian (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica AH), Zain (Period Cube), Laito (Diabolik Lovers)

Ryouhei Kimura “Kasumi” Shiraishi (Collar x Malice), Kou (Diabolik Lovers), Ukai Shougo (Nil Admirari), Roche (Neo Angelique Abyss)

Natsuki Hanae “Yuki” Libera (Period Cube), Akito Sera (Collar x Malice), Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Jonah (Ikerev)

Mamoru Miyano “Akito” Hachiro Iba♥ (Hakuoki), Tokiya (Utapri), Sou Tamaki (Ouran High School Host Club), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tamahome (Suzaku Ibun)

Shinnosuke Tachibana “Kousei” Louis Howard (Midnight Cinderella), White Mask (Bad Apple Wars), Tomoe♥ (Kamisama Kiss)

 

Main Characters and Walkthroughs
Story wise, I would recommend playing the routes in the order below.

1)Kousei
2)Kasumi
3)Yuki
4)Keisuke
5)Akito

 

spoilersss

KOUSEI

  • Bassist
  • Tsundere
  • Best cook

Kousei / Kosei plays the bass guitar of the band FOX EAR. He’s also the band’s leader lol I actually thought it was Akito since he’s the ‘lead’ vocalist/guitarist but eh, it’s actually Kousei, surprise! The fact that this info was dumped almost at the end chapters of his story had my face twitching like (⊙_⊙) haha. Kosei also possess a very stiff and perfectionist attitude where he can lose his cool at times.

In his route, Kousei puts a lot of pressure on himself & tries his absolute best when it comes to writing songs and creating new music for the band. It was revealed in the middle of his story that this attitude stems from being raised by very uptight (fox) parents, who hates humans and who’s always comparing him to Akito. During his events, you, as the heroine tried to support him and make him rely on the other band members more rather than carry his burdens on his own.

I liked Kousei as a character, his tsundere nature was charming for the most part. His route however, didn’t really make sense to me. There was a point in his story where several conflicts were all piled up together and was resolved in the most stupid fashion ever… And as much as I wanted to expound on this, I fear that this review will only get more confusing because this whole route was totally bemusing as hell!  It was not good. Top it off with horrible translation, finishing this route became a nightmare! ヽ( `д´*)ノ  The CGs were nice though!

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KASUMI

  • Rhythm guitarist
  • Sweet Gentleman
  • Akito’s sickly twin brother

Kasumi plays the rhythm guitar in the band. He’s Akito’s younger brother who’s always looking out for your best interest. Unlike his older twin bro, (who’s got no chill lol) Kasumi is always calm and composed. Almost the perfect gentleman. His downside is that he was born with a weak body who can’t control his massive power inside.

I enjoyed Kasumi’s character build up. The fluff content at the beginning of his route was really adorable and I love hearing Ryohei’s gentle voice. His route on the other hand wasn’t any better than Kousei’s. In his story, Kasumi became really sick and weak and the only way to save him is for you to marry his brother Akito so he can use the magatama as the next chief of the fox village to save Kasumi’s health as well as make their village prosper. Kasumi, who wasn’t in favor of your arranged marriage with his oniisan, kidnapped you (with consent lol), took you to an abandoned shack in the middle of the woods and asked you to stay with him there until his last breath. This angsty conflict was resolved by you wishing hard on the magatama to keep Kasumi well and alive. The magatama, (knowing how much you love Kasumi), responds to your prayer by granting him a vigorous health the next day. You went back to the village with him and he arranges a meeting with his parents and Akito and they all agree to make Kasumi the next village chief and your new husband, and both of you lived happily ever after. Wow, okay! so now comes the question…; why did you ever agreed to marry Akito, when you could’ve just talked it out in the first place? Beats me! It’s as if this wrench was thrown out there in the open just to have a stupid conflict that can be merely resolved by common sense! lol 

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YUKI / “U/KI”

  • Drummer
  • Cheerful
  • bipolar

First of all, the main character’s original name is YUKI, but for some reason the english translation thinks it’s cool to replace “Yu” with “U/” …YESS “U/ki” is more trendy and fresh!! lmao.

Yuki plays the drums in the band. He is one cheerful persona and is also known to be a “genius” among the members of FOX EAR (he’s good in composing songs and writing lyrics on a whim). One interesting factor about Yuki is his split personality where he can be friendly to you at one point and in a split second becomes really ill-tempered and grumpy.

In the early part of his route, Yuki is revealed to be a half fox and half human. Because he’s not pure-blooded, it is quite difficult for him to contain his mythical powers. Hence explaining his bipolar tendency. As a temporary remedy, Yuki tries to control his powers through kendo training, to keep his wild side in check. But whenever he spends time with you, he struggles in keeping his emotions straight and goes into a frenzy of outrage after getting upset or jealous over other guys acting sweet towards you. Because he’s in a constant battle with himself every time, he tries to distance himself from you, afraid that he might hurt you in the long run. Nevertheless, you were able to confront him with this issue through the help of your trustee magatama.

The conflict in his story arises, when the elders of the fox village decided to meddle in your relationship with Yuki, saying things like ‘they cannot accept a half fox to receive the power of the magatama’. They went as far as putting up a fight with everyone and eventually took Yuki to the fox village and imprisoned him in the dungeons. With the help of all the members in Fox Ear, you were able to get to Yuki’s prison cell and managed to come face to face with one of the fox elders. By praying  hard on the magatama you unknowingly summoned/ unsealed the great fox inside it and him being the great fox  and all confronted the elders, telling them they shouldn’t degrade someone just because he is half fox. The elders said they’re sorry and eventually let go of Yuki. You and Yuki went back to the human world safe and sound and lived happily ever after. OK, I’m not sure if this resolved Yuki’s uncontrollable powers though, it wasn’t really clear to me but given that the fox ancestor of the magatama was unsealed, I guess this cured Yuki’s problem too? ┐(︶▽︶)┌

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KEISUKE / “K-SUKE”

  • Keyboardist
  • Mysterious
  • White fox

Keisuke is the keyboardist of FOX EAR. He is a happy-go-lucky character and acts as an older brother to the rest of the band members. Besides his mysterious personality, Keisuke is also a big flirt and will always tease you every chance he gets.

The real conflict in his route began when Pierose, another Visual Kei band consisting of other mythical creatures; raccoon, snake, cat and a lion?? came into the picture and threw shade at Keisuke in front of the other band members. Here, they revealed that Keisuke is actually a white fox who’s been working together with a human master. Im just gonna assume they meant, he’s the ‘kitsune’ shrine familiar? By working with humans, you are branded as a traitor to your fellow fox citizens. Now that his dark past was revealed, everyone was left with a sour taste in their mouth and they (the rest of FOX EAR) eventually decided to kick Keisuke out of the band and told him not to go near you nor the magatama. Some friendship huh? 

Anyway, a couple of flashbacks were shown consecutively about how “Byakuya” (the fox ancestor who was sealed in the magatama) and your ancestor, the Ying Yang master met. These scenes give you a clearer picture on what actually went down a thousand years ago (hint: they are this game’s OTP). The flashbacks also explained who Keisuke really was and how he became the white fox who worked along side your ancestors. I’m not gonna go into full detail on these events because of too many spoilers… Though I have to say, this route was REALLY angsty but lol I’ve actually quite enjoyed it. (Surprisingly) haha.

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AKITO

  • Lead guitarist
  • Needs to get some chill
  • Jerk

BAHH! Okay last route, I can’t believe I’m almost done writing this review. Tbh it really hurts my head whenever I try to recollect the events of this game…(×﹏×)

So Akito plays the lead guitar of FOX EAR. He’s also the most unfriendly among the band members and he absolutely detest human beings. He was raised to believe that humans are sly creatures that cannot be trusted. He acts like a jerk towards you but because of your persistent attitude of wanting to get to know him, he starts warming up to you and eventually falls in love. You see, this dude’s a tsundere by nature. lol

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In his story, Pierose, who wanted to break FOX EAR’s career, kidnapped you by luring you into Akito’s apartment during one of their live concerts. Despite being warned not to go out on your own nor trust anyone, just like most regular MCs who lead themselves to slaughter, you took Pierose’s bait. The instant you reached Akito’s apartment,  the mythical cat (one of Pierose’s member) catches you by surprise and ties you up to keep you from moving. To add insult to injury, he magically transports you to the concert location of FOX EAR, suspends you in mid air and makes you fall on stage. Akito, seeing the love of his life is at the brink of death, used his powers and jumped so high from the stage to catch you, preventing you from hitting the ground. He does this in front of thousands of people – so now everyone started freaking out saying “FOX EAR are monsters!” Rofl. I don’t really get this part, they could’ve just told everyone off that it was all an act but since they needed some conflict in this story, this was apparently necessary lol.

Eventually the band broke up and everyone was in hiding. You on the other hand ended up with Akito in a small shack in the middle of the woods. This was a good 2-3 weeks after the controversy. Both of ya’ll try to live as lowkey as possible (e.g. you doing the laundry by the river and Akito chops some firewood lol) when another conflict occurs as Keisuke suddenly appears, threatens to hurt you and forces Akito to unseal “Byakuya” the fox ancestor in your magatama. Akito, who’s now madly in love with you was like “don’t hurt her” so he goes and break the seal and in an instant he was overflowing with uncontrollable power and the only way to stop it is for you to seal it again through a holy arrow. Keisuke helps you with this but also tells you that the fox village will go extinct ones Byakuya is sealed again. You thought about it for a moment but then you realized how much you love Akito and you don’t wanna be separated from him so you decided to go with the plan and shot the magic arrow to Akito’s heart sealing the fox ancestor, turning back everything to normal again. His ending involves both ya’ll together with Keisuke thinking of ways to revive the fox village. (Hint: Akito wants to have lots and lots of fox babies w/ you lol). 

 

 

TRAILER

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS (҂ `з´ )
So I really wanted to give this game the benefit of the doubt because maybe if the english localisation was done properly, it wouldn’t have been such a horrible experience. But lol, shit happens.image 

Play time would be a good 2 hours to finish one whole route. Though to be honest, I had wished it was shorter as I feel like some of the content were kind of forced and completely unnecessary. They did established a good amount of fluff to get you connected with the characters but I just couldn’t take the forced angst. I have twitched my eyebrows on this a couple of times, It REALLY wasn’t necessary AT ALL.image I like that they made use of the usual Japanese folklore about kitsunes, shrine familiars and mythical creatures… but how it was initiated was all over the place! image The only thing good about this game was the voice acting, but that is to be expected since they have an A cast of top ranking seiyuus.

I do not recommend this game to anyone. Really. Don’t buy this game. Maybe if you know Japanese, then you’ll probably have an itty-bitty chance of enjoying  it (though I highly doubt since the content wasn’t that great either). English translation is completely trash, I’m sorry – I actually feel bad for saying this, but it’s true. It’s not playable at all. Save your 24 bux for something else, this game is not worth it. If you really want to spend that money get OKAMI HD instead, or spend dat doe to an all you can eat sushi buffet, get a bowl of ramen, idk!  haha, just… save yourself from this nightmare.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 3/10

Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ Review

2018-07-15-211201

PERIOD CUBE ~SHACKLES OF AMADEUS~

Release Date: April 28, 2017 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

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With Period Cube’s MMORPG theme, I admit I was really enthused when I first started playing this title. Not because it had the same concept as Sword Art Online (forgive me but I couldn’t really get into the series, though I did played the Lost Song on PSVITA) but because this game, reminded me a lot of my childhood memories indulging on those sleepless nights playing mmorpgs like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV while getting ready for my finals the next morning (lol goodtimes!).

As someone who (cough) *used to be* an mmorpg addict, Period Cube’s introduction really piqued my interest as an otome game.

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

Walkthroughs:

1)Radius
2)Astrum
3)Demento
4)Zain
5)Hiroya
6)Libera
7)Poyo-Poyo

 

ART AND MUSIC
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Period Cube that initially caught my attention was the game’s beautiful art style, done by non other than the artist Kuroyuki, also known for her popular works; Gekka Ryouran Romance and Black Wolves Saga. You can visit her Pixiv profile here.

Fun Fact: Ibarano Rakuen, the game’s opening theme was performed by Joelle, an American – Japanese artist from Utah, USA. She also sang “Lucky Maria”, the end credits for the 1990’s hit American movie “TRICK”. You can visit the artist’s website here.

Voice Acting

Nobuhiko Okamoto “Hiroya” – Katsuki (My Hero Academia), Hansel (Code Realize), Manabu Souda (Collar x Malice), Kougami Akira (Nil Admirari), Lancelot (Ikerev), Shin-ah (Akatsuki no Yona)

Maeno Tomoaki “Radius Lupin (Code Realize), Camus (Utapri), Son Hak (Akatsuki no Yona), Keisuke Sanjou (Collar x Malice)

Takahiro Sakurai  “Astrum” – Mejojo von (Black Wolves Saga), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

Hanae Natsuki  “Libera”Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Sera Akito (Collar x Malice), Jonah (Ikerev)

Daisuke Hirakawa “Zain” Saint Germain (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), Oomi (Hiro no Kakera)

Yuuichirou Umehara “Demento”Shingen Takeda (Ikemen Sengoku), Shinobu Kurosawa (Dynamic Chord)

Kousuke Toriumi “Shiki / Poyo-Poyo” – Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), John Watson (Code Realize), Kagiha/Lawrence (Psychedelica Series), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ikesen)

Showtaro Morikubo “Jocus” Souji Okita (Hakuoki), Impey (Code Realize), Toa (7’scarlet), Reiji (Utapri)

Toshiki Masuda “Mergo”Ieyasu Tokugawa (Ikesen), Kei Yoshimine (The Charming Empire)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS

2018-07-26-220608In terms of spoiler content, from least to greatest ~ I strongly recommend playing the game in the route order below:

1)Radius
2)Astrum
3)Demento
4)Zain
5)Hiroya
6)Libera
7)Poyo-Poyo

 

spoilersss

Glossary:
Arcadiathe mmorpg game our main characters are playing.
World VThe server where Arcadia players are sucked into.
Ark – aka “dungeon” in mmorpg lore, where players need to clear in order to exit the game world.
Angels and Demons – the only two factions in Arcadia
Trinity of Swords – three most powerful weapons in Arcadia (Shadow’s Edge, Divine Blade of Light and the Almighty Amadeus)

 

RADIUS

  • Solo Player
  • Cold, Snob
  • Tsun tsun
  • IRL: Idol

The lone-wolf solo player of the demon faction. Radius holds an icy attitude towards everyone in Arcadia, including the heroine. He never joins a party and prefers to clear the ark on his own. He wields the Shadow’s Edge, one of the most powerful weapons in World V.

Although I liked Radius route for the most part, I find his romance with the heroine a little too forced. His story started somewhat interesting because of his tsundere nature, which i think was really cute. But he fell in love with Kazuha way too quick that I find it really hard to comprehend. He does have some fluffy moments with the heroine in the real world and his overall progress as a character was a tad better than the other bachelors but If it wasn’t for Maeno’s irresistible voice acting, I probably would’ve not enjoyed this route as much as I did. ┐( -“-)┌

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ASTRUM

  • Clarius Guild Leader
  • Roleplaying level 110%
  • Panic Attacks
  • IRL: Nerdy Med school student

Astrum is the leader of the famous guild, Clarius. They are considered as Arcadia’s speed-runners when it comes to clearing difficult quests and dungeons. He posses the Divine Blade of Light, one of the Trinity of Swords in World V and almost everyone in the Angel faction respects him for his leadership and camaraderie.

Astrum is also well-known for his exaggerated role playing in Arcadia and its almost cringe-worthy to listen to his flamboyant lines in the game. I didn’t really deemed this character interesting at first, as I did with Radius but after meeting Astrum in real life as Toru, the nerdy med student who gets panic attacks whenever Kazuha talks to him, I was overwhelmed by how hilarious this character was, that I immediately started liking him.(laughs) His route was very refreshing because of the added comic relief and I did not expect I’d enjoyed his route so much~ I actually think it’s one of the best in the game.

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DEMENTO

  • Bloodlust
  • Cold blooded murderer
  • IRL: Convenient Store clerk

The ruthless Arcadia gamer who loves PK’ing other players for fun. Demento’s race was changed to “Fallen” due to his uncontrollable lust of murdering other players (be it an Angel or a Demon) in World V. Because of his Fallen status, he has certain restrictions such as not being able to carry any kind of weapon other than his basic rubber daggers as well as not being able to enter certain location points (city) in Arcadia.

*Plays Bad Romance in the BG* My biggest problem with Demento’s route was that it lacked in character depth so much that I’ve asked myself over and over again “Why is this even a route?!” I mean, I love my trashy characters in otomes and I’m usually always in the front lines defending their sad excuse for an attitude (laughs) but Demento’s story was just a bad case of FUBAR. It would have been better if he had some sort of backstory that explained his bloodthirstiness and his hate for his life in the real world, but NOPE you aint gettin any of that here, no sir! ┐(︶▽︶)┌
What’s worse is that his route branches off from Astrum’s story so I literally power skipped everything except for the last two chapters. The only thing to look forward to in this route is Umehara’s voice. heh.

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ZAIN

  • NPC with feelings
  • Possessive
  • Yandere

Originally an NPC (Non Playable Character), Zain appears on other routes as someone who guides people around Adventure Town and provides players with quests. Since he’s computer generated, this character had no real life memories. However he was programmed (by the Arcadia makers) to protect Kazuha in World V which sort of conflicts his motives as a regular NPC.

In his route, Kazuha came accross Zain while she was fleeing from a monster after getting separated from Hiroya. Zain (as programmed) saved the heroine momentarily after they met and assisted her in surviving the world of Arcadia. As Zain spent more time with Kazuha, he quickly becomes more attached to her which lead to his unhealthy “obsession”. (*°ー°)ノ

Zain’s route had potential but because it had too many plot holes all piled up at the same time it became really confusing to me that I could barely get any connection with him. I love his character design though (I think he’s the prettiest bachelor of the bunch) and I love hearing Hirakawa’s pure innocent voice.

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HIROYA

  • the childhood friend
  • Reliable
  • Stubborn

In World V, Hiroya plays as a Boxer in the demon faction. He’s sometimes quite harsh with Kazuha but actually looks out for her in every way possible. Although his level is not up to par with most of the main characters in the game, he tries his best to protect the heroine from harm, even if it means putting his life on the line. IRL, Hiroya is Kazuha’s childhood friend who was with her when she got warped into World V.

Hiroya is that-one-character that gets copped out and friendzoned in almost all the routes in the game besides his. Poor guy! Due to this, I was so satisfied playing his route because, finally… he get’s a happy ending! (yay). I’m not really a fan of the childhood friend trope but I actually think his story was pretty good despite being predictable. Plus, his CGs were very lovely!

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LIBERA

  • Gender bender
  • Cunning
  • IRL: junior high school student

Libera is a “nekama” (male who plays a female character in online games / communities). He acts all ‘kawaii’ to get other male players give him provisions like a cool gear or some rare items for free by just batting his eyelashes (laughs). He’s not interested in doing any quests to increase his character level and just enjoys taking advantage of other players in Arcadia.

I don’t think anyone (in their right mind) actually thinks of Libera as a female character in the game as it was made very obvious from the get go (..and I don’t think Hanae’s voice is feminine at all?). Despite Libera’s cunning attitude towards the heroine, I actually like Libera’s character development. He’s smart and he typically knows what he’s doing. Although he makes it a point to prioritize his own self first above all else, I find it cute how he unintentionally risk his life to save Kazuha just in the nick of time.^^ I also enjoyed his moments with the heroine in the real world and I believe both of them complement each other really well (as far as age and maturity goes).

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POYO-POYO

  • Onii-san route
  • Obsessive
  • Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Poyo-Poyo is a small monster / fairy-ish intel character in Arcadia who from time to time helps the heroine and other players in World V. He’s also a mysterious character, one that kept re-appearing in most of the routes in the game. Almost every player in Arcadia knew him for his cute appearance and easy going nature. He also knows a lot of secrets in World V.

If Toriumi’s voice didn’t made it obvious for you. This cute little mascot is actually Shiki in disguise. Shiki is Kazuha’s missing brother and one of the makers of the world Arcadia.

Although it was made clear in the beginning that Shiki and Kazuha aren’t blood related, Idk, I guess I’m just not a fan of the brother-sister-romance trope, especially if both of you grew up together on the same household from day one. Not only that, Shiki’s character was also very obsessive with the heroine, all the more making this route really uncomfortable (to me anyway lol). But because he’s a 2D character, I forgive him.Despite this route’s creep factor, I think it did an okay job in justifying the story’s plot holes and cliffhangers in Shiki’s happy ending. I honestly did not enjoy this route personally, but I don’t think it was a bad “true” route altogether. ┐(°ヮ°)┌

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KAZUHA (main heroine)

  • Mary Sue
  • bland
  • dues ex machina

Kazuha is the most Mary Sue of all mary sues an otome game has to offer. It was so hard to play her character without getting ticked off (scratches head). She literally gets dragged around by all the guys in the game and becomes a doormat in almost every route. Not only that, but the fact that this heroine did not develop any kind of progress in the RPG world, status/level wise is so aggravating, It grew grey hairs all over my head! I can sense that there was an attempt for a character development but it failed in so many levels, it’s a darn shame because this character had a lot of potential in the mmorpg lore. But hey, because of her “Almighty” status (race) she can transform into something so powerful in the most convenient time possible because…ya know! deus ex machina! Ha..haha (face palm).image

*Deep Breath* Alright, so I may have seen worse heroines than Kazuha. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that this protagonist was a let down especially when the plot itself had a lot of opportunities for her character to do so much better in so many ways. (Shrug)
┐(︶▽︶)┌

On a side note, I absolutely love Kazuha’s character design. She’s just so cute!!! and her RPG costume as a Minstrel / Almighty was top tier.

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OTHER CHARACTERS
Besides the main ones, there were a few prominent side characters of the game that I think were more likable and would’ve possibly made better routes than the ones already lined up. Jocus and Mergo (for example), from the guild Forte were a few of the characters that would’ve made potential suitors for the heroine. Same goes for Sirent, from the angel faction. (^◔ᴥ◔^)

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?( ´ ∀ ` )ノ
To me, Period Cube was a great visual novel per se. When it comes to its art, music, game system and voice acting ~ it’s one decent title worthy of its price. I would recommend this game just for those aspects alone.

In terms of story content, it held a lot of plot holes that were left in the dark for the most part of the game which was really disappointing (e.g. Akashic Records). Some routes were a bit darker than I anticipated and It would’ve been nice if there was more focus on creating character depths among the romanceable bachelor’s stories (e.g. Demento’s route). But despite the few reasonable gripes I’ve stated above, I did enjoy playing this game as a whole and I’ve at least liked 4 routes (Radius, Astrum, Libera, Hiroya).

Overall, it’s a good title by Otomate, maybe not one for the books but definitely something worth picking up, imo. If you’re like me who doesn’t mind spending a little of that doe to support otoge localisations, I recommend giving this one a go.

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

 

 

It’s a Witch-hunt! Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk Review

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PSYCHEDELICA OF THE ASHEN HAWK

Release Date: June 29, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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…and finally! The last title for Aksys’ Summer of Mystery Promo.

Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk holds true to its testimonials of a very engaging game play with a plot setting that’s intriguingly rather different compared to it’s prequel (Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly). With the game’s time period set to a Post-renaissance age, the story revolves around the ever famous “witch-hunt” phenomenon that was commonly popular in Early Modern History.

As part of the Psychedelica series where a melancholic finish is a known signature, do not expect to have ten folds of happy endings in this game. 

Walkthroughs:
Common Route Endings
ALL Main Character Endings

 

GAME SYNOPSIS
“In a town ruled by opposing clans and overshadowed by superstition and legend,
A child is born with the dreaded mark of a witch.
She conceals her identity until the theft of a mysterious relic
brings to light a series of staggering revelations.
The mysteries she will uncover could restore order
..or destroy everything that she knows..”

 

ART AND MUSIC
I like Satol Yuiga’s approach on this sequel’s art style. The artist showed a lot of emphasis on colder shades (different shades of black, gray, caramel brown, white), to highlight the game’s setting of ‘a town where winter never ends’.  The Kaleidoscope pattern on each of the character’s head annoyed me at first, but this was one of the easter eggs that got me really absorbed in the game.

The game’s soundtrack was also very new to me. From it’s brisk opening theme to it’s forlorn ending. Everything including the BGMs were incredibly surreal. I love the Middle Age vibe it’s rendering. I’ve included a sample of these tracks below (purchased from iTunes):

 

VOICE ACTING

Mutsumi Tamura “Jed / Eiar” – Kobayashi (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid) Camilla Pareto (Asterisk War)

Hino Satoshi “Lavan” – Toma (Amnesia), Noiz (DRAMAtical Murder), Leo Crawford (Midnight Cinderella)

Saito Souma “Levi” – Mineo Enomoto (Collar x Malice), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Sota (Possession Magenta)

Furukawa Makoto “Lugus” – Adage (Steam Prison), Kyle Ash (Ikerev), Clive (Million Dollar Boyfriend)

Daisuke Namikawa “Hugh” – Takeru Sazasuka (Collar x Malice), Kaga Akira (Clock Zero), Eigetsu/Yougetsu (Saiunkoku Monogatari), Komura Yuuichi (Hiiro no Kakera)

Daisuke Hirakawa “Tower Overlord” – Saint Germain (Code Realize), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), Zain (Period Cube), Nakaoka Shintarou (Hakuoki), Suguri Ohmi (Hiro no Kakera)

Kosuke Toriumi “Lawrence” – Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), Shiki (Period Cube), Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), John Watson (Code Realize Future Blessings)

Kaito Ishikawa “Elric” –  Alan Crawford (Midnight Cinderella), Tobio Kageyama (Haikyu!), Tenya Iida (My Hero Academia)

Morikawa Toshiyuki “Olgar” – Rai (Lamento Beyond the Void), Arles (Black Wolves Saga), Thoth (Kamigami no Asobi),

Oohara Sayaka “Francisca” – Margaret (Persona 4), Kela Hazel (Galaxy Angel)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)

2018-07-08-075809Some character’s true ending will only unlock after clearing another character’s route beforehand. For example, Levi’s ending will only unlock after finishing Lavan’s route. Following the walkthroughs I’ve linked above is the easiest and most convenient way to unlock all of the game’s endings.

LAVAN

  • Lord of the Wolf Clan
  • Overprotective
  • One Sided Love

As the Wolf family’s first son, Lavan was raised to be the heir of their clan from day one. He’s a very charismatic, respectable man and almost everyone in town loves him. Besides his handsome features that gets him all stares from the ladies, he’s also exceptionally skilled in combat and loves collecting weapons (sword). Lavan is also the only guy in Jed’s harem who knows her cross dressing secret. The game made this very obvious, so I don’t consider this as a spoiler. That said, I sort of feel bad seeing his unrequited love for Jed unfold as you read through chapters. I love Lavan’s interaction with the heroine in all his short story episodes though, it’s romantic fluff at its finest. Plus, his Masquerade CG is something to look forward to.

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LEVI

  • Cheerful
  • Short Tempered
  • Second Son Syndrome

Levi is the second son of the Wolf family. He’s also the head of the town’s vigilante committee. Although he can be a little short tempered at times (especially when provoked by the opposing faction), a lot of soldiers from the wolf clan respects him for his leadership. He thinks of Jed (the heroine) as his little brother and always seems to be in her favor. One thing I really like about Levi, is how accepting he is when it comes to his flawed characteristics. I also like how there isn’t much of the cliched ‘sibling rivalry’ between him and Lavan in the game. Their brotherly relationship seemed pretty solid all throughout the story.

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LUGUS

  • Lord of the Hawk Clan
  • Gap Moe
  • Best boi

As the only son of the present Hawk Lord, Olgar, Lugus is expected to do his tyrannical father’s bidding, such as collecting taxes from the townsmen. He doesn’t seem to care what the rest of the town thinks of him as long as he gets the work done, befitting their faction. Lugus displays a very cold, unfriendly persona upfront but get into his good side and you’ll discover a surprisingly adorable gentleman. Not only is he the poster-boy of the Psychedelica AH, he’s also the game’s bias as most of his short story episodes contain an overwhelming amount of doki-dokis compared to the rest of the guys in the game (laughs).

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HUGH 

  • Mysterious
  • “Traveler”
  • knows more than he lets on

Not much is really known about this character besides introducing himself as the mysterious traveler who took interest in the heroine’s story. Going through Hugh’s route gives you a lot of easter eggs in the Psychedelica lore. Tbh, Hugh’s character confused the hell out of me to a point where I had a million theories in my head that didn’t really panned out in the end. His character design was beautiful though, and I’m always a sucker for Daisuke Namikawa’s voice acting, so kudos to that!

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TOWER OVERLORD

  • Amnesiac
  • Free Spirited
  • Lazy

This eye-patched man lives with Jed  in the town’s lonely white tower and acts as the heroine’s ‘guardian’. Although listed only as a side character of the game, I consider the tower overlord as one of the main important personas in Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Because of his free-spirited nature, his interactions with the heroine were always enjoyable. He’s also one of the few who knew about Jed’s real identity and would seldom tease her whenever she dresses up as a woman. Though this man deliberately wears an easygoing facade, inside his happy-go-lucky smiles lies a dark secret that brings about a deeper and more complicated character.

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JED / EIAR (Heroine)

  • Cross dressing MC
  • MVP
  • Best Girl

Born with the accursed red eye, our heroine was ill-fated as the descendant of an ominous witch, who was believed to have caused the town’s never-ending winter season. Because of this, she hides her true identity and decided to live her life as a man.

Alright, so if there’s any character in the game that truly deserves a high regard of respect, Jed would be your gal. I have never felt so sympathetic towards a character until Jed. All throughout the game, this heroine was too good – I couldn’t even put it to words. She’s kind, very independent and above all, doesn’t wallow on any BS. Truth be told, it was so aggravating playing her character not because she was mundane (she’s not!) but because she was such a good character, it pains me to  see all this misfortune befalling on herimage. I was totally at a point where I just want to give her a comforting hug, and scream: “Please cut this heroine some slack!” image

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this heroine can take a beating too, and can fight well with the sword

 

image MAPS
Aside from the flowchart, the game also allows you to navigate through TOWN MAPS where you can collect “Town Memories”and watch short episodes of sheer fluff goodness. Make sure to switch from Jed to Eiar  whenever you can as both characters offer different short stories.

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Town Memories – marked in PINK, with the magnifying glass icon. (you’ll need these to buy items from the antique shop by the tavern);  these are very short talk episodes with the town people.

Short Story Episodes – marked in BLUE, are short stories of the heroine’s encounter with the main & side characters of the game.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

Will I enjoy Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk even though I haven’t played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly?

Psychedelica AH somehow created it’s own new lore which can stand alone on its own. That being said, it can be enjoyed as it is, even if you haven’t played Psychedelica BB. However, I still (strongly) recommend playing the prequel beforehand as there were A LOT of references from Black Butterfly that were very significant in Ashen Hawk. Playing it’s prequel also adds up to the game’s enjoyment level.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?(*°▽°*)
With a lengthier gameplay this time, It did a great job introducing the main characters and their corresponding motives at the beginning of the story. I also like how each chapter was gradually building its overarching plot, one that’s very engaging, – I actually had a hard time putting down the game for while.  All the characters were very likable and I love how each of them (including the side characters) seem to have their own backstories to share as you progress through the game. Although still low in romance, the game did managed to take the fluff up a notch when compared to it’s predecessor (PBB).

But just like any other mystery themed visual novel, it had a couple of plot holes that left me asking more questions after completing the game. I was expecting  a proper closure, like the one in Psychedelica BB, but sadly there wasn’t any, which sort of left me a little confused… Will there be another sequel that will give me answers? Please..I need to know!

Do I Recommend this game?
Consider this title a nice treat to those who’ve played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (whether or not you’ve enjoyed it). Ashen Hawk had great pacing and story build up, it won’t take you that long to get absorbed in the game. However, it doesn’t promise a merry ending with rainbows and sunshine, so EXPECT and brace yourself for the angst and unexpected plot twists.

I guess, if you view the Psychedelica series as a visual novel rather than an otoge, you may appreciate it more. Nyan.

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

 

 

Code Realize: Future Blessings Review

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CODE REALIZE: FUTURE BLESSINGS

Release Date:  March 30, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita, PS4

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Code Realize: Future Blessings are varieties of After stories that took place after the events of the first game, Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth.

 

Click to read the game’s synopsis here.

 

This game contains the following stories:

  • White Rose (After Stories) – no choices
  • Lupin’s Gang (Extra Story) – no choices
  • Finis Route (Extra Story) – walkthrough available
  • Herlock Sholmes Route (Extra Story) – walkthrough available

 

ART AND MUSIC tumblr_inline_mo53ftf30L1qz4rgp
Just like the previous game, Code Realize: Future Blessings offers beautiful artwork and character designs drawn by the popular Japanese illustrator “Miko” 

The game’s OP and ENDING theme were also arranged by the same composer (Anze Hijiri) and performed by the same artist (Mao) in Guardian of Rebirth. There are three ending themes that unlocks after playing the extra and after stories. My favorite would have to be “My Dearest” by Mao.

 

NEW CHARACTERS

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Darius Gordon (VA: Takaya Hashi ) – Lotus (Saint Seya), Kaichou (Hajime No Ippo)

Shirley Gordon (VA: Haruka Yamazaki) – HANA (Collar x Malice)

Avido Crudele (VA: Katsuyuki Konishi)Reiji (Diabolik Lovers) Xeno Gerald (Midnight Cinderella), Ritsu Kisaragi (Kiniro No Corda: Bluesky)

Hansel Hexenhaus (VA: Okamoto Nobuhiko) – Pearl (Black Wolves Saga), Hikaru (Brothers Conflict), Lancelot (Ikerev), Souda Manabo (Collar x Malice)

John H. Watson (VA: Kosuke Toriumi) – Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Kagiha (Psychedelica BB)

 

Recommended play order?
I don’t think there’s one, but I’ve mostly enjoyed playing the game in the order below:

1)Lupin’s Gang
2)Finis Route
3)Herlock Sholmes Route
4)Saint Germain (White Rose)
5)Victor (White Rose)
6)Van Helsing (White Rose)
7)Impey (White Rose)

8)Lupin (White Rose)

 

EXTRA AND AFTER STORIES (SPOILER FREE)

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Another Story: Lupin’s Gang
This happened somewhere in the middle of the common route in Guardian of Rebirth. While Cardia was test driving Impey’s newly repaired automobile in the city of London, she ran into a young girl who’s being chased by the Mafia.

Although this one offers more new likable characters and a lengthy play through, I find it the least enjoyable among the extra treats of Future Blessings. It does however, make a REALLY good side story. I enjoy seeing Cardia making new friends (a girl this time) and it was nice to see my CR boys in their black mafia outfits! I feel like “Lupin’s Gang” would make a good Code Realize OVA episode. One can only hope! haha

code realize

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 7/10

 

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Extra Story: Finis’ Route
The events in Finis’ story commenced right after the last chapter of Cardia’s common route in Guardian of Rebirth. As Cardia decided to leave Saint Germain’s mansion to return to her home in Wales, she’s surprised to find her supposed-to-be dead brother Finis waiting for her at their old abandoned house.

In this route, Cardia tries very hard to help her misguided twin brother Finis realize that they’re not just disposable living dolls but rather an individual capable of loving someone and receiving love in return. As a fan of family relationships in visual novels, I honestly enjoyed Finis’ story. It was very heart warming and I just love their brother-sister interactions with Cardia.

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: 7/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: NONE

 

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Extra Story: Herlock Sholmes Route
Just like Finis’ route, the events of Herlock Sholmes’ story followed after the last chapter of Cardia’s common route in Guardian of Rebirth.

Since Sholmes was one of the prominent characters in the last game that left quite an impression to fans, it was so refreshing to finally play this character’s very own romanceable route. Though it may not seem up to par with the main character’s canon routes, Sholmes’ story was surprisingly good and I love that we get to see a different (clumsy yet cute) side of this lovely private detective. image

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: 8/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 8/10

 

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After Story: White Rose
These are “After Stories” that took place right after each main characters’s true ending in Guardian of Rebirth. They do not offer choices, and the play times are rather short compared to the extra stories. You can literally finish a route in just about an hour and half.

SAINT GERMAIN
I think Saint Germain’s story, is a good starting route for White Rose as it tells a great introductory detail about getting rid of Cardia’s poison, which pretty much where the whole plot of this after story revolves around. Although playing his route was enjoyable, it is no where near as happy as the other characters’s stories. *COUGH* This is Saint Germain we’re talking about here afterall…(shrugs) This route, also shows Saint Germain’s possessive and jealous side which I find really adorable but somehow, melancholic at the same time.image

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New Characters: YES (Hermes Trismegistus)
Angst Level: 10/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 8/10

 

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
Following Victor’s True ending in Guardian of Rebirth, where he found a cure to counteract Cardia’s poison, his after story begins with him and the heroine, both living normal lives in Saint G’s mansion. Everything was peachy smooth in this after story until a conflict occurs ~ caused by our meddling friends from Idea. Ofcourse! Sigh

While the angst level in this route was pretty up there, it did have its funny moments and I pretty much enjoyed the “wingman talks” with Queen Victoria and Leondhartd ha! I also love how this route showed strong bonds of friendship between the couple and their dear friends who are ALWAYS ready to back them up, no questions asked.

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: 9/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 7/10

 

VAN HELSING
Oh… boy…Oh boy…! Get ready for some intense fan girl squealing because this is all you’ll ever get from this routeimage. Van’s White Rose story was purely fan service and I absolutely love it! ha! *CACKLES* If you’re a Van Helsing trash like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this one, if not…well, you will probably get disappointed due to this story’s lack of plot.

In this route, we’ll get to see Van taking Cardia out on a date, holding hands while window shopping for a wedding dress, lots of kissing, lots of lovey-dovey scenes between him and the heroine. We’ll also get to see their first lover’s misunderstanding where the rest of the gang tries their vey best to help yo boi Helsing, be a little less emo. I have to say, I fully enjoyed Impey and Lupin’s “bro talks” and love advises as well as seeing Victor scolding our main vampire hunter not to make ‘their dear princess’ cry again. Awww.image

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We waited years to kiss this beautiful man!!!!

New Characters: NO
Angst Level: 8/10
Enjoyment Level: 9/10
Fan Service: 11/10

 

IMPEY BARBICANE
Impey’s story follows after his True Ending in Guardian of Rebirth where he furthers his research for a way to journey to the moon. Now, with the girl he loves at his side, our genius engineer is confident enough to make his long term goal happen. However, due to a couple of snags from his “moon project” he finds unexpected help from old acquaintances and of course his dear friends.

I expected Impey’s White Rose story to be as light-hearted and fun as his first route in Guardian of Rebirth but goodness me…! his story events in Future Blessings were beyond my expectations! It was so good that I felt the “Impey high” while playing it. haha!image Impey’s after story was probably THE best one in this game. (imo).

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 10/10

 

ARSENE LUPIN
Lupin’s white rose story is split into two parts, first one was of course, our long awaited fan service episode where we get to see the couple’s lovey-dovey relationship after their wedding. Second was Cardia wanting to know more about her father, Isaac Beckford.

Because I am all about the fan service in otome sequels image(laughs), I totally loved Lupin’s after story. Seeing Lupin all flustered and hearing our adorable heroine narrate her true honest feelings about the gentleman thief who stole her heart was absolutely delightful. The second after story on the other hand, was more on justification in relation to Isaac Beckford’s actions. Although it was already hinted in Guardian of Rebirth that Isaac wasn’t really the wicked man as he was portrayed in the game. This little portion in Future Blessings showed more of his good side, it’s as if the writers are telling us “Hey don’t hate him, he was a good guy” image – straight up! lol It also showed of Cardia Beckford’s happy family which was in a way, satisfying and was technically a nice conclusion to Future Blessing’s finale.

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 9/10

 

DELLY’S ROOM
These are very short episodes of Delacroix II “Delly”  day to day routine living in Saint Germain’s mansion. The episodes are automatically unlocked as you play through the extra and after stories of the game.

It’s about time they give some credit to our adorable little vampire king. I love all of these short episodes, but most of all I love all the CGs that comes with it! image

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Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 10/10 (wait til’ you unlock Delly’s last CG!)

 

GAME TRAILER / OPENING:

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?tumblr_inline_mrj6raI4O71qz4rgp
I love it! Story wise, it’s not as grand as the first game. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth, then you won’t be disappointed with Future Blessings. All the extras and after stories were exceptionally good and all the new characters were extremely likable ~ they grow on you. I have to say this was definitely one good purchase. For its content and enjoyment level I think it deserve’s an almost perfect rating of 9.^^

Thank you Otomate, Idea Factory and ofc Aksys Games for bringing these game titles to Europe and North America! Now let’s get the ball rolling and localize Silver Miracles next!!! PLS

Chlo’s Rating: 9/10