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)

BAD APPLE WARS (1)

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

 

Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ Review

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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

 

 

The Amazing Shinsengumi: Heroes in Love is out on the Nintendo Switch

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Game Title: The Amazing Shinsengumi: Heroes in Love
Release Date: Aug. 9, 2018 (North America)
Developers: 
Dogenzaka Lab
Publishers: 
D3Publisher

The game was originally released on Steam (PC) and on mobile (iTunes, Android Store). image Now, we have this game port on the Nintendo Switch thanks to D3Publisher.

Click here for The Amazing Shinsengumi: Heroes in Love downloadable content (Nintendo Eshop).

Voiced: NO

The Story:

The year is 1864, at the end of the Edo period. A group of men bravely took action to extinguish a burning house. Those men were part of a group called the Shinsengumi. In order to protect the city of Kyoto, they would rush to any place that needed them. The curtain rises on the crusade of the members of the Shinsengumi, whose hearts burn as passionately as a the flames they fight…

Trailer:

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku is out on the Nintendo Switch

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Game Title: Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku (Yokai Love Play)
Release Date: Aug. 2, 2018 (North America)
Developers:
OperaHouse Corporation
Publishers: 
DIGIMERCE

Edit: Please read my Review for Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku before you decide to buy this game! Thanks! 😉

Great news otoge fans! We have another english otome title released for the Nintendo Switch.

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku’s switch port was initially released by Operhouse Corporation last April 26, 2018 in Japan. Now thanks to DIGIMERCE Intl. we are finally getting  this game’s localized version.

Click here for Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku downloadable content (Nintendo Eshop).

Story (From Nintendo Switch Eshop)

When the stars and the moon appeared in the sky――.
You went to visit the concert hall where the lower note echoes rhythmically with vibration. Tonight, the one playing music is the Visual-Kei band “FOX EAR”. All 5 unique members are wearing a fox ear.Once you hear their voices, the magatama (comma-shaped beads) that you have on your neck beams out the light. This dazzling light made me lose my consciousness and taken back to “FOX EAR” ’s dressing room. As they pressure you to give them the magatama, but as magatama seems out the light again as if to protect you……。

Although the 5 members noticed that they can’t take it by force, they tried to make you fall for them to get magatama.

Heh, I kinda wish the game’s synopsis was translated better, but eh ┐(︶▽︶)┌  who cares! rofl. Another thing that got me really excited with this game was the voice acting from my favorite seiyus; Daisuke Hirakawa (voice of Saint Germain – CR), Ryohei Kimura (voice of Shiraishi – CxM), and Natsuki Hanae (voice of Libera in PCube / Akito Sera in CxM).

This link shows you some upcoming otome titles developed by OperaHouse to be released on the Nintendo Switch eshop (Japan). So we’ll be looking out for its english releases anytime soon.

  • Vinculum Hearts (Japan release date – Aug. 2)
  • Gakuen Club (Upcoming)
  • Spiral Memoria (Upcoming)

 

 

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

 

 

Otome Backlogs (JULY Edition)

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image I swear I made this post last Saturday and wrote “JUNE” Edition but never got around to posting it due to the many distractions I’ve ran into last weekend. One in particular, was the newly released game (localized ver.), Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. I am in absolute spellbound on this one. I couldn’t put it down for a minute!

But I’ll save my thoughts on Ashen Hawk in my review after I finish the game, I’m also working on creating a complete walkthrough once I get all the endings.

For my otome backlogs this month (the list kept growing nyanaaaan, sorry!) image

PS VITA

  • Psychedelica of the Ashen hawk – Currently Playing (will post walkthrough and review soon)
  • Hakuoki Kyoto Winds – (halfway done, will post walkthroughs soon)
  • Hakuoki Edo Blossoms
  • Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~
  • Norn9
  • Bad Apple Wars – (started common route, paused)

NINTENDO SWITCH

  • The Men of Yoshiwara: Oghiya
  • Pub Encounter “Dandy Shot”
  • Destiny Princess (Finishing Hanbei’s route)

MOBAGE

  • Kenshin Uesugi (Ikesen)
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ikesen)

DROPPED GAMES

I did not intentionally dropped these games, it’s just that my PC’s hard drive crashed recently, so I literally can’t play any PC or Steam games atm. It may take a while for me to repair it or decide to just get a new one. (RIP Savings) ~ Plus, my macbook just wouldn’t load any of my pc games because High Sierra is being a high strung b*tch! image

  • Doki Doki Literature Club (Yuri, PC)
  • DRAMAtical Murder (BL, PC)
  • Nameless (Otome, Steam)

A big shout out to those who emailed me regarding missing CG’s & guide requests. Thanks lovelies! I love receiving your emails and know that I’m always here to help! 

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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