Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare Review

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BLACK WOLVES SAGA ~ BLOODY NIGHTMARE

Release Date:  April 26, 2012 (Japan)
Developers:  Rejet, Otomate
Publishers:  Otomate
Platforms:  PC, PSP, PS Vita,
CERO Rating: D (+17)

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This blog has been on hiatus for months (been playing too much rpgs that my otome gaming has been paused for as long as I can remember), but alas! Here we are, trying to get back on track for another otome review. Today, I’ll be reviewing, Black Wolves Saga (Bloody Nightmare). Take note, this will probably be my last PS Vita Otoge review. I will be covering otome games for the Switch going forward unless they’ll release a new one for the dead vita console which I highly doubt at this point.

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

The PS Vita version of BWS contains two games, Bloody Nightmare, and Last Hope. They basically follow the same story, except that Bloody Nightmare focuses more on the cat bois while Last Hope leans more on the wolf hubandos’ POVs. Please also note that this visual novel is ‘Japanese-only’ and does not have an official western release. That said, it took me months to finish this game because I can’t kanji 😭(sob!). Thankfully, there was an unofficial fansub released back in 2016 which was a huge help, if you’re like me who constantly struggles to understand certain kanji phrases. Don’t forget to give the translators a big thank you if you’re using their fansub!

I know this is kind of a hard pill to swallow, but since this is a Rejet game, I don’t think it’ll ever get localized. Rejet is *kind of* one of those companies that don’t like localizing their games due to piracy issues. ┐(‘~` )┌

 

ART AND MUSIC
Everyone who’s played Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ would instantly notice Black Wolves Saga’s similar art style, and yes! you’ve guessed it right! It’s done by the same illustrator, Kuruyoki.  I am a BIG fan of this artist, so I have nothing but full praises of her works. You can visit her Pixiv profile here.

Fun Fact: Black Wolves Saga’s opening theme, Dear Despair was performed by  (our beloved seiyuu) Yuki Kaji, who also voices the character, Rath in the game. Listen to this awesome OP track below:

 

Voice Acting

Kishou Taniyama “Guillan Guinor” – Ikki (Amnesia), Ren Tsukimori (Kiniro no Corda), Natsuki (Utapri), Gunji (Togainu no Chi), Vince Lugan (Jakou no Lyla)

Miki Shinichirou“Nesso Galland” – Hijikata (Hakuoki), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Toshiyuki Morikawa “Arles V. Felnoir” – Carla Tsukinami (Diabolik Lovers), Lizaru Shanasa (Jakou no Lyla), Moutoku (Sangoku Rinseki), Rai (Lamento Beyond the Void)

Yoshimasa Hosoya “Julian” – Yamato (Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly), Loki (Kamigami no Asobi), Yukimura Sanada (Ikemen Sengoku), Yusuke Asahina (Brothers Conflict), Kira Rintarou (Kenka Banchou Otome)

Yuki Kaji “Rath Vogart” – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Finis (Code Realize), Souma Kazue (Hakuoki), Kakeru (Norn9)

Hiroyuki Yoshino “Auger von Garibaldi” – Heisuke (Hakuoki), Heishi (Norn9), Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X)

Takahiro Sakurai “Mejojo von Garibaldi” – Ruki Mukami (Diabolik Lovers), Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Astrum (Period Cube), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

Akira Ishida “Zara Skeens” – Kent (Amnesia), Kotarou (Starry Sky), Kiryuu (Sangoku Renseki), Kuota (Yunohana Spring) 

 

MAIN CHARACTERS & ROUTES

I have to say I was overwhelmingly impressed by how deep most of the characters could go in their routes (especially dem cats). I think the stories are more inclined with their own development as a character rather than a romantic partner to the heroine. Truth be told, I actually found it fun deciphering and piecing together their true individual nature as well as their main goals regardless if it’s inherently aiming for a good cause or the worst turn of events.

My recommended route order would be the following:
Mejojo — Auger — Julian — Rath — Arles — Guillan — Zara — Nesso.

 

I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but here’s my spoiler banner to remind you all to read or skim with caution!

spoilersss

 

MEJOJO VON GARIBALDI

  • major inferiority complex
  • Dom af

It doesn't matter, After all, you're mine 2

Mejojo von Garibaldi is the crown prince of Weblin. Fiona often describes him as this beautiful and perfect prince of the kingdom. However, despite his princely exterior, Mejojo seems rather self-important and single-minded. He also has this unhealthy obsession of wanting to obtain the heroine as his bride and will stop at nothing to see that through.

I picked Mejojo’s route first because all I ever thought of was “Sakurai voices him, this route must be immensely good”. Boi, was I wrong! LOL

Well, actually, let me take that back! (laughs). It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this route. In fact, I REALLY love Mejojo’s story! It’s his romance with the heroine (if there was any) that I had a love-hate relationship with. Mejojo was very possessive from the get-go and this possessiveness was consistent all throughout his route. He’s an absolute control freak and this was all explained in the common story as to why and apparently expounded more as you go further towards his endings.

I feel like his “feelings” for Fiona simply gravitated on the fact that she was a vessel of something he could never obtain before, and acquiring her was his way of satisfying a deeper accomplishment. More than anything, It’s as if the heroine became somewhat his trophy wife.  Both his good and bad endings have no redemption and I actually applaud the writers for portraying him as is.

As far as the heroine’s POV, at one point I can actually understand how she felt towards Mejojo. How Fiona still has this trickle of hope that she can one day, change him when in reality there really isn’t anything she can do. He will continuously show his good side, so long as she remains his possession. It’s very intriguing how this somehow resembles an abusive relationship in real life, where the ‘abusee’ tricks herself to believe that everything’s fine and that life is good with her partner when on the contrary, it clearly isn’t.

Anyway, I enjoy a good problematic character route and Mejojo’s story definitely takes the cake. This was actually one of my favorite routes in BWS (laughs). The complexity of his backstory vehemently piqued my interest for some reason that I found it fascinating how much substance this character has.

 

AUGER VON GARIBALDI

  • S&M
  • sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whip excite meee!♪

I want to taste more of you 2

Auger von Garibaldi is Mejojo’s younger twin brother. A care-free young lad who has no interest to rule Weblin and would rather spend all of his time doing his beloved older brother ‘s bidding regardless of how morally reprehensible they might be. He seems to enjoy it most that way. 

After finishing Mejojo’s story, I already knew what I was getting into, doing Auger’s route next. I can probably write a three-page essay about this character, explaining his rather, hedonistic actions but to make it less spoiler-ey, I have to say, Auger has THE most interesting personality of all the major characters in this game. There’s absolutely nothing romantic or anything of the sort in his route. I still think to this day about Auger’s driving force in doing all the questionable (not to mention disturbing) things he’s done and I could come up with a couple of theories that would possibly fall into the same category.  Total Madness.

His good and bad endings gave me several impressions of how far long gone his humanity has receded from view and if there are any shards of it left, there’s probably no way to put em all back to place. As to why Fiona chooses him in his route, I have absolutely no clue nor words to defend it since no sane person would ever fall in love with a sicko unless they are sickos themselves too! lmao.

I expected f*cked up events going through Auger’s story and his route definitely delivers it with flying colors! Again, I applaud the writers for not even making any effort on excusing Auger’s behavior because I believe, this was the point of his story. Cutthroats don’t need reasons to be ruthlessly cruel. This character literally belongs in an asylum with barred steel doors. Fall in love with him and you get Auger’s route in a nutshell.

 

JULIAN

  • broken cinnamon bun
  • Some major spoilers ahead!

But, uhh your lips tasted like roses, i like it2

Julian is a gardener in the kingdom of Weblin who also became Fiona’s caretaker and her only friend when she started living in the castle. He is a soft-spoken young man who’s very kind and gentle to the heroine. Although he’s a very polite persona upfront, it is apparent that he possesses a lurking dark mystery around him that makes Julian more than meets the eye.

It was kind of nice to get into Julian’s route, after clearing the problem twin’s out of the way. It was a breath of fresh air to finally see the heroine having great relationship dynamics with a love interest. But good gawd! His psychotic tendencies were pretty horrifying and I’m not even talking about his “broken state”.

Just like Mejojo and Auger’s route, Julian’s story was a terrific character study where you can definitely see great depths of an abnormal psychological background. It was safe to say that his instant switch from being a calm, cuddly bun-bun to a disturbing psychopath stems from the torture he received from Mejojo and Auger and that it only activates when they’re around. What’s funny is that going down his “true ending” gave me more chills and goosebumps than finishing his good and bad end. The game made it very clear that Julian’s broken-ness definitely took a toll on him all the way where he can never be fixed.

Julain’s True Ending
Yes, he remained loving and gentle to Fiona. His true ending could’ve never been a perfect romantic story for the heroine. She and her love are finally free from torment and Weblin is a non-chaotic place again. But, here’s the catch, is Julian really cured of his broken state? Is it safe to assume that with the help of the heroine, he was finally healed from the mental suffering he for so long endured? I think this demented ending was honestly clear of depicting a person who can anytime become unhinged, unknowingly. Can’t say I didn’t enjoy it fully! (laughs)

 

 

RATH VOGART

  • fluffy munchkin
  • a good boi

You I dont want you to die, thats whats on my mind

Rath Vogart is the younger brother of Arles V. Felnoir, the leader of the wolf pack. Rath was separated from his big brother after their family was slaughtered under the command of Mejojo and Auger during the time when the entire kingdom of Weblin turned against the wolf race. In the prologue, we can see both wolf brothers reuniting after many years.

Rath is a very quiet character and remains very impassive towards the world and almost everyone in BWS. He has pretty much accepted the unfortunate fate of the wolf race and that changing their destinies is never a possibility in his point of view. His body also suffers from Zodiva, an uncured illness that was said to have come from the wolves, threatening almost everyone in Weblin.

I’ll get straight to the point here and say, Rath’s route in Bloody Nightmare was completely copped out that it basically ended in the middle of his story! Wth! I want my money back! I guess this is due to the fact that ‘Bloody Nightmare’ merely focused on establishing the cat’s backstory while ‘Last Hope’ does the same for the wolves. I see what you did there Rejet! 

Though this game campaign positively worked in getting you really immersed in Weblin’s storyline, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed how Rath’s route ended. He didn’t even get to confess his feelings for Fiona sob! It’s a shame because he was also the character I was gunning for this whole time. He was such a mysterious, sweet and adorable character, (top it off with Yuki Kaji’s voice acting *cries*) and the build-up of his story was really interesting only to end up abruptly in an open-ended phase.

Guess, I’m gonna have to muscle through the kanji off Last Hope to know what actually happened next! (laughs)

 

 

ARLES V. FELNOIR

  • the silver wolf king
  • bittersweet

In my dream, I couldnt protect you. I dream that Mejojo and Auger will kill you

Arles is the leader of the wolf pack. He’s now known as the “King of the Wolves” after the wolf raid in Weblin. Before their unfortunate fate, he was a well-known knight in Weblin but was later labeled a traitor who fled the castle for his crimes. His main goal is to get revenge on the Garibaldi twins and ensure justice for his people. Despite Arles’s, hatred towards Weblin and his brooding anger for Mejojo, he still possesses a gentle personality towards his family and his wolf brethren. Hence why everyone in the wolf clan respects him and follow him as their leader.

I believe I have liked Arles’s character more than I expected in this game. His backstory, although frustratingly sad, was also really bittersweet. You’d be able to tell why the character resents everyone in the kingdom so much, that he’s turned himself into a murderous monster, just as how Mejojo has spread the lies around the country about the once fallen knight of Weblin.

The heroine, who later on finds out about Arles’s gentle side, develops a sense of attachment towards him which was seemingly believable even though they obviously lacked some relationship build-up in this route. Though I’ve quite enjoyed his interactions with Fiona, his scenes with her left me unsatisfied as it was always cut short. In the end, I kept wondering whether Arles’s feelings for her were genuinely true or was it all because she resembled his dead fiance, Elvira and that protecting her was some kind of redemption he needed to accomplish?

Same with Rath’s route, Arles’s story lacked so much in both depth and romance because Bloody Nightmare’s main focus is on the cat faction. Thankfully his good ending didn’t end as awful and short as Rath’s (or else I’ll go completely ballistic! *laughs*). In fact, I believe I’ve actually enjoyed how realistic it (his good end) turned out to be.

 

 

GUILLAN GUINOR

  • bloodlust-ish
  • oujidere?

Woah! You're one enthusiastic woman!

Guillan is Arles’ right hand or rather, the second-in-command captain of the wolf faction. Very little is known about this character’s past nor background except that Guillan is very loyal to the wolf clan. He respects Arles as his leader and even proves his devotion to his king (in Arles’s route).

Despite his bloodthirsty exterior, we can all assume that Guillan’s personality is actually rather childlike that the heroine has even pointed out how he looked cute when she pats his fur (in his wolf form) or whenever he asks for her praises.

Guillan literally acts like a kid or I guess, I should say, the playful cub in the wolf pack. He’s pretty much like this all throughout his route. Romantic wise, this is perhaps a yay or nay depending on your preferences. Do you really want to romance someone who acts like a child? lol I mean it’s cute and all, I even thought of it as adorable to some extent. My main problem with his route is the fact that he gets no kind of backstory. His sudden shift from a bloodthirsty mad man to being a cuddly puppy wasn’t really clear to me either. Did the writers just outright design Guillan’s personality like this from the jump?  I also wanted to know how he came about knowing Arles and why he devoted his life to following him. It may seem that Guillian’s little backstory will be covered in Last Hope, but since he’s an exclusive Bloody Nightmare love interest, I’m not too sure now (shrug).

His “True Ending” left me all (⊙_⊙)……….!

 

 

ZARA SKEENS

  • vanilla
  • childhood friend route

I love you too, my lady..png

Zara Skeens is a war orphan whom the earl, Edgar Galland, the heroine’s father took in many years ago. He was appointed as Fiona’s caretaker while she lived alone in the tower her father built for her. Although Zara was only a mere butler in the Galland family, he was treated as a brother by Nesso and Fiona, to a point where his closeness to the Galland siblings are compared to none.

Zara has a natural talent for medicines and herbology. It is also because of him that the heroine was able to stay healthy all this time despite being a Lobeira (a person with a very weak body).

What can I say? I really liked Zara’s route but it was *kind of* too vanilla for this game. I guess this is a good thing because almost all the routes so far have been very edgy, so going down Zara’s story was such a relief! All throughout his route, and even on other’s, Zara was able to remain level headed, witty and very refined that I actually trust he wouldn’t do anything bad towards the heroine.

His backstory, though it wasn’t explored much was still very satisfying to read. You’ll basically understand where his motivations are coming from and why he decided to remain loyal and faithful serving Fiona and the Galland family. His relationship with the heroine was clearly established by the writers as the usual childhood-friend trope and although I am usually not a fan of these tropes, Zara’s was done unexpectedly good. It was also nice to see Fiona, discovering her own true feelings for him instead of just thinking of Zara as her butler. I had so much fun playing his story that I believe this was the only route where I didn’t get to twitch my eyebrows due to any odd or weird occurrences the game throws at you 😂 (laughs). Oh and I love both his good and bad endings. Zara’s story is one example of vanilla routes done right in an otome game. Kudos!

 

 

NESSO GALLAND

  • oniisan route
  • implied yand?

Now then, shall we dance.png

Nesso is the heroine’s older half-brother. That being said, he was born of the Earl’s first late wife. Nesso is also Weblin’s strongest Royal Knight and captain of the Gefreiter, an elite band of soldiers known for their incredible strengths and achievements in the kingdom of Weblin. Because of this, Nesso is always away on missions and spends less time visiting his half-sister Fiona in her tower in Sharlmessen.

Nesso has absolutely no qualms of declaring his love for Fiona and would even talk about wanting to marry his half-sister one day, (this may be a bit ‘eye-rolling’ but this is apparently acceptable in the Black Wolves Saga lore). He’s also very overprotective and is greatly in favor of keeping Fiona in the tower for her own safety as well as to keep her away from Mejojo, whom he knew was obsessed with his little sister.

I liked Nesso as a character in general. His route, however, just didn’t work for me. Even though it was perfectly explained how this ain’t a taboo in BWS… I just can’t with incestual routes, nope! It was a shame because I do believe Nesso was a great character in the game but as a love interest? Hell naw. Some “romantic” events in his route only made me uncomfortable that I just couldn’t wait to finish it. Ha!

Setting the incest aside (lol), I believe what actually made me enjoy playing Nesso’s story was his voice actor, Shinichirou Miki (voice of Hijikata in Hakuoki). I’ve been a big fan of this seiyuu since the first Hakuoki franchise so I guess I’m just being biased here when I say I “enjoyed” the route even though it literally made me feel awkward. Har har! Oh well! ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

 

FIONA GALLAND (Main Heroine)

fiona

Born as a Lobeira (a person with a very weak body), Our heroine has been living in an enclosed tower of Sharlmessen for as long as she can remember. This was decided by her father, Edgar Galland and her half brother Nesso to keep Fiona away from harm and to preserve her weak body from contracting any disease that may end her life. Because of this, Fiona is completely oblivious to the madness and bloodshed that’s happening outside her home and all over the kingdom of Weblin.

I couldn’t really get myself to hate or dislike Fiona for her naivety and innocence because the game purposely implied her to be like that from the get-go knowing she grew up literally sheltered and ignorant to the darker side of life. I’ve expected her to be just another one of those standard otome heroines, but after finishing the entire Bloody Nightmare story, I strongly believe she isn’t. Quite the contrary, I feel that her character was well though-out. We sometimes judge heroines for their weakness and for making really dumb stupid decisions, but in Fiona’s case, it’s entirely different.

Her fate was already decided for her when she was born. People say, she could’ve been physically stronger but as a Lobeira, what choice could she possibly have? I also think her lack of common sense isn’t to blame for some of her mistakes (esp. on the twin’s route). Her sheltered upbringing played a big role with her being extremely naive and completely inexperienced and I think the writers were even relentless when showing this in the plot. Imagine growing up only knowing the good things in life (not to mention being confined in a secluded place due to health reasons), stepping into the real world for the first time literally means being thrown into the wolves…  or crazy cats for that matter! (Pun unintended haha)

 

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚
It took me such a long time to finish this game. Frankly speaking, this is entirely my fault after taking a break from otome gaming for months. However, gameplay-wise, I believe it’ll take you 30 hours to finish Black Wolves Saga Bloody Nightmare and another 20-30 hours to finish Last Hope. There were eight routes altogether and while I wouldn’t say it was a chore to finish, its linear storyline made it really mundane and repetitive after the third and fourth playthroughs.

Story-wise, I thought it was very good. The fantasy plot of Black Wolves Saga goes very deep in its roots regarding Weblin’s dark political history. However, since Bloody Nightmare’s all about the cat faction, I feel like the endings of other characters who aren’t, well… cats, were quite detached from the storyline. For example, in Zara and Nesso’s ending, it was never mentioned how Weblin’s ongoing war between factions was concluded. Did Auger and Mejojo completely eradicated the wolves existence? Where there any wolf survivors? Did Mejojo just let her bride which he was overly obsessed with for years, escape just like that?

Perhaps the writers intended for us to theorize our own closures and while I don’t mind this at all, I’d much prefer canon conclusions than letting my imagination run wild (cackles).

The routes/characters I liked in Bloody Nightmare were Rath, Arles, Zara and a special mention to my scum husbando, Mejojo lol. Rath and Arles’s route were cut short towards the end but I still enjoyed them nonetheless as main characters. Zara’s story was adorable and although his good ending was completely detached from the main plot-line, he still wins best boi in the romance category. Mejojo was a trash love interest but his story was extremely fun and interesting to explore.

 

Do I recommend this game? YES
I have to warn you though, this visual novel is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a nice fluffy, romantic otome story about cat bois and wolf husbandos look elsewhere as Black Wolves Saga ~ Bloody Nightmare is not that kind of otome game. I don’t even think it fits perfectly well as an “otome” title because the plot still works as it is, even if you take the romance out. That said, this game gives you that fascinating “ick” feeling when playing it. BWS is edgy and off the chain but I can assure you that the experience is definitely worth it especially if you’re into dark romantic thrillers in fiction.

If you’re curious enough to even consider picking this game up, I dare you to do it and experience the wild ride first hand. *wink*

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles Review

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CODE REALIZE: WINTERTIDE MIRACLES

Release Date:  February 14, 2019 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita, PS4
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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I literally took my time playing this FD, knowing it’s the last (physical) otome game that will ever grace localization in the PS Vita.

Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles (Shirogane no Kiseki) is the second fandisc of the series, Code Realize. This game contains varieties of alternate and after stories that happened after the events of the last fandisc, Future Blessings.

 

This fandisc contains the following stories:

  • Cantarella (Side Story) – Walkthrough available here.
  • Finis’s Epilogue
  • Sholme’s Epilogue
  • Love Triangle Stories (Short Stories)
  • Wintertide Miracles “First Christmas” (Alternate Stories)
  • Special Epilogues (Epilogues for White Rose’s stories in Future Blessings)

 

ART AND MUSIC
I know this is probably redundant as I’ve gushed about it a few times in my reviews for Guardian of Rebirth and Future Blessings. But, the artist Miko has done it again! I could not for the life of me, describe how incredibly beautiful the CGs are for this fandisc. There were also new sprites available for all the main and side characters, wearing their cozy winter outfits. Even Queen Victoria gets a new sprite wearing her expensive royal fur faux garb!

What I also loved about this fandisc were the new BGMs added for the series, they were all unforgettable and were specially made for the game’s Yuletide theme. One song that really stood out to me was the second Ending theme (Finis’ and Sholmes’ ED) “Beside You” by the artist SHOJI. Listen to the full track below:

***I purchased the whole soundtrack for Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles in iTunes. Link here.

 

NEW CHARACTERS

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Cantarella (CV: Mamiko Noto) – Fuuka (Persona 4), Kotomi Ichinose (Clannad), Inia Sestina (MuV Luv), Felicita (Arcana Famiglia), Marvis Vermilion  (Fairy Tale)

Miles Strand (CV: Keiji Fujiwara) – Kagura Mutsuki (Blazblue), Jiro Hyuuga (Binary Star), Reno (Final Fantasy), Kiriya (Senran Kagura), Sakuya Tougane (Psycho Pass)

Baron of Aiguille (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki) – Akito (Norn9), Thor (Kamigami no Asobi), Suou Hana (Ayakashi Gohan), Katsuragi Naomasa (Yunohana Spring), Kashika Galle (Cendrillon Palika)

 

SIDE STORIES AND AFTER STORIES
I did Cantarella’s route first, followed by Finis and Sholme’s epilogues, then knocked out the love triangle dates before I played the main course, that is the “First Christmas” alternate stories for Wintertide Miracles. I myself, enjoyed this play order, though I would suggest playing whatever story you feel like playing first because that’s the whole point of a fandisc! lol

 

CANTARELLA (Another Story)
This story happened somewhere in the middle of Guardian of Rebirth’s common route. On their way home, after watching a performance at the Royal Opera House, Cardia and the rest of Lupin’s gang witnessed an attempted kidnapping of the Opera House’s beloved songstress, Cantarella. They’ve managed to save her as well as send her perpetrator running for the hills. They then took Cantarella to her home for safety measures, which lead the gang to meet her so-called “father” Miles. In this story, Cardia finds a friend in Cantarella and later on, discovers her true identity as both their existence managed to connect each other’s fates.

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Just like “Lupin’s Gang’s” (side) story in Future Blessings, Cantarella’s route offers new likable characters and an interesting new plot for us to follow. Although I’ve very much enjoyed this story (for what it is), I didn’t like how the writers threw in these important characters on the third game, since canonically they don’t matter anymore as the main plot officially ended in Future Blessings. I would rather have this as an alternate story than a side story because It felt kind of unfair for Cantarella, Miles, and Auguille to get dissed like that after this little episode. lol Unless they’re planning on a third fandisc! (laughs)

Although the choices you make in Cantarella’s route, will not change the whole outcome of her story. It will, however, change a few scenes and dialogues in the game depending on the guy (main characters) your choices are inclined to. You can view my walkthrough for this route here.

 

FINIS’ EPILOGUE (After Story)
This after story took place right after the end of Finis’s route in Future Blessings. 

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Six months have passed since Cardia managed to save his little brother, Finis from the unfortunate Nautilus incident in London. During this time, both twins return to their home in Wales and spend each day cleaning and repairing their old abandoned house while enhancing their bond as siblings. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose when one of Isaac Beckford’s invention called the “Knockers” have been spotted destroying a couple of buildings in London. It was made clear in the story, that these supposed-to-be-quarantined inventions of Isaac were “wrongly” activated by accident and it is now, up to the  Beckford twins (Finis’ most especially, since he’s fully knowledgeable when it comes to their father’s inventions) to stop this heaving uproar that threatened London its peaceful days.

This was probably one of my favorite After Stories in the series. Not only we get to see Finis in his true nature, as Cardia’s adorable cinnamon roll lil’ brother. We also get to see Lupin’s Gang and the Gordon Family in action as they help out clear the disruption in the streets of London during the main incident. ***This epilogue was very heartwarming and I absolutely enjoyed seeing Finis’ soft side while he deliberately declares threats whenever one of the main bois flirts with his sister! *chuckles* (´ ω `♡)

 

HERLOCK SHOLME’S EPILOGUE (After Story)
This after story took place right after the end of Sholme’s route in Future Blessings. 

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It’s been half a year since Sholmes defeated his arch nemesis, James Moriaty (in Code realize Future Blessings). During this story, Cardia becomes part of Sholmes’ Detective agency together with his partner John Watson. The three of them fight crimes for the cause of good, even to the extent of ‘trying‘ to stop Lupin, the gentleman thief’s planned diamond heist of the prized jewel called “Mermaid’s Tear”.  Though try as they might, Lupin, as cunning as he is, still gets the upper hand and was able to escape with ease together with his genius engineer assistant, Impey. I know this was just a filler episode but it was kind of weird seeing Cardia as their enemy for once, but oh well…

Anyway, Sholmes actual main story revolved around finding a cure to Cardia’s poison.  As the Horologium still present in Cardia’s body, this fact still poses a threat that one day it will activate again, killing her along with the demise of London and its people. With this complication at hand, Sholmes gathered his A-team geniuses in the field of science and medicine; Victor Frankenstein, Dr. John Watson, Impey Barbicane and even the deviant genius scientist Nemo, who apparently now lives in a tiny cardboard box located in sewers (laughs) 😂 Poor guy! As all of them try their hardest to conduct research on a formula that will counteract the horologium’s poison, more problems seep into the picture that eventually causes Sholmes and Cardia make one life-threatening decision.

I like how Sholmes’ epilogue was narrated in a fairytale-esque kind of way. I enjoyed the story’s fluff content though, to be honest, this is probably the weakest story in the game (imo) as there really wasn’t anything “new” going on. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of Sholmes, I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time discovering a few surprising sides of our favorite hot daddy detective. 

 

FIRST CHRISTMAS “Wintertide Miracles” (Alternate Stories)
These are “after stories” that happened right after Finis’ route in Future Blessings. It’s merely an alternate story where our heroine Cardia finds love during the Yuletide season. We get one story for every five main characters. What’s really special about these stories is that Cardia falls in love with one of the guys while his brother is alive! …THIS couldn’t be any more perfect, ❤️ I almost wished this was headcanon!

 

Spoiler Warning: I will only be posting each story’s premise but I’m putting up my spoiler banner just in case.

spoilersss

 

Victor Frankenstein
After Isaac Beckford’s Nautilus incident that wreaked havoc in the city of London six months ago. Victor ended up opening a clinic located in the downtown part of London in order to help as many people as possible at a cheaper cost.

Victor’s main story started when one day he receives a mail from his parents in Switzerland telling him to settle down. He, in reply, told them he has no plans in getting married anytime soon but then started talking about how he’s currently interested with this ‘one girl’ and went all out writing two whole pages regarding his feelings for Cardia. (´ ε ` )♡ Without thinking of any repercussions, he sends the letter back to his parents judging its only the right thing to do as he’s speaking honestly from his heart. uwu. The next few days, he receives a reply letter from his mom saying they’re coming to London for Christmas so they can meet their son, Vic’s girlfriend. 🤣

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In result, a panicked Victor travels to Wales to ask Cardia to be his “pretend” girlfriend just for Christmas while his parents are in town. 😂

***This was by far the cutest, most endearing “First Christmas” story I’ve read among the selections and I absolutely enjoyed it to bits! Besides its overwhelming fluffy contents, we also get to see Victor introducing Cardia to his parents (in CG!).

 

Saint Germain
Six months after the Nautilus Incident, Saint Germain, visits Idea’s leader Omnibus and reports that both Finis and Cardia, Isaac Beckford’s “problematic twins” are now living peacefully in Wales as normal human beings and are no longer a threat to humanity. As one of Idea’s faithful apostle, he awaits for Omnibus next order but was surprised to hear her tell him to take a long sweet vacation instead.

Still dumbfounded by their leader’s words, Saint Germain goes back to the mansion to find something to do with his newly acquired free time but since everyone in Lupin’s gang went about their own lives after London’s incident, he was left as the only resident in his house. This made him feel lonely and he admits to himself how much he misses the rowdy group clamoring inside the premise of his mansion. What’s more, is that he longs to see the face of his beloved, who he has not seen since his last visit in Wales.

This made him decide to write invitation letters to the group for a Christmas “Get-together” party. Though unsure if his anticipated guests would actually make it to the planned event. Saint Germain waits with hopeful eyes to see the faces of his precious friends again.

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***The part where he waits for his friends actually made me tear 😭. Why are Saint Germain’s stories always melancholic? Why?! Thank goodness, this ended really REALLY happy. I would also like to gush on the fact that this is the only episode in the whole series where we get to see Guinevere outside her armor! Seriously, you absolutely can’t miss this!

 

Abraham Van Helsing
After London’s Nautilus incident, Van decides to travel with Delly all over United Kingdom in search for survivors of the Vampire War.

During their travels, the duo hears about the upcoming Christmas festival in London and decides to come home for the occasion as well as attend the gang’s Christmas party at Saint Germain’s mansion. They haven’t seen everyone in a while, so this decision made Van and Delly both excited. While at it, Delly proposes to take a side trip to Wales before coming to London and see the Beckford twins. Van agrees with him with Cardia in mind. ( ´ ▽ ` )

A few days have passed and they both arrived at Cardia and Finis’ home in Wales only to be disheartened to see the twins not being around. But with optimism as their friend, Van and Delly decided to wait. Night falls, and finally, Cardia and Finis arrived in the most unfashionable way ever (their automobile almost came crashing towards the duo) 😂 Everyone says their greetings when Cardia noticed that Van and Delly have been waiting out in the cold for too long, so she insisted they stay for the night.

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The supposed-to-be one night stay turned into days and the group eventually decided to go to London together. While still in Wales, Cardia wanted to make everyone Christmas presents in the form of knitting and Van insisted on helping her with it.

***I love this! (/▽\*) This surprising side of Van Helsing is all I ever wanted. I’m so glad to see him happy, always smiling and in his positive beaming self. It’s so refreshing! I need more happy-ray-of-sunshine Van Helsing in my life!

 

Impey Barbicane
Half a year has passed since the Nautilus incident in London and Impey visits the deviant scientist Nemo in prison from time to time as he plans to re-invent the gravity alleviator and is currently taking notes on Nemo’s advise while at it.

One day, In Saint Germain’s mansion, Saint tells Impey they received word from Van and Delly saying they’ll be back in London for Christmas. Since Lupin and Victor are already residing in the city, they decided to might as well invite Cardia and Finis in order for the gang to reunite once more this Yuletide season.

Meanwhile, in Wales, Cardia, (while fixing their automobile) thinks of how Impey’s constant declaration of love for her makes her heart feel woozy. She gets confused because she’s sure she loves Impey back but also “loves” the other members of Lupin’ s gang as well as her brother Finis. With this train of thought, she pesters her little bro and forced him to say the phrase “I love you” (to her), to which a blushing Finis, with all the effort, reluctantly did. 😂 But then yo girl was like “Oh but why does it feel different when Impey says it?” 😂 😂 😂 ROFL. This was adorably hilarious! I just can’t! 😂 

Later that day, they received a package from London in the form of a miniature Impey doll with a recording of Impey, Saint Germain and Lupin’s voice telling the siblings to come home for Christmas.

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***I really enjoyed reading this one! I love how Cardia was strongly forward of wanting to explore her own feelings as she tries to discover the different meanings of “love”.  …and seeing Impey immensely blush time and again was such an awesome treat, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear! Another plus point was that we get to see Nemo give love advises to yo boi and that, to me was the icing on the cake in this story! (laughs)

 

Arsene Lupin
After the Nautilus incident in London six months ago, Lupin is back doing his thievery schemes like the proud gentleman thief he is.

One day while on a mission to steal a prized necklace from a corrupt Duke’s estate, he ends up being chased by Leonhartd as usual and just when he was about to execute his dashing escape, he gets distracted (by thoughts of Cardia) and gets shot by a rubber bullet instead. This, not only surprised Lupin himself but his perpetrators, Leonhardt, and his men were also perplexed at how they were able to take out the famed gentleman thief in one easy shot. In the end, an injured Lupin still managed to get away as he limped his way back to safety.

Back at the mansion, Victor along with Impey confronts Lupin saying he’s not being his usual self lately and asks him to perhaps, take a rain check from work (theft missions). A week later, Saint Germain chimes in, telling him the same and suggests that perhaps he’s longing for “someone”.  Taking in the Count’s advise to heart, Lupin begins to think of Cardia and how her absence is taking a toll on him. He then concedes with his true feelings and finally admits he misses her badly and the only way to cure this yearning is to see her face to face. So he starts writing the ‘perfect’ love letter for his beloved lady. 😂

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***I must say, this after-story has the best CGs, as expected from the game’s headcanon boi. Just like Lupin’s uwu story in Future Blessings, it had its glorious romantic moments between the couple. As far as I see it, the game is clearly biased on Lupin’s story… the kabedon scene and that loooong kiss at the end, come on!  I couldn’t ask for more!

 

TRIANGLE DATES (More CGs!)
These are short stories which involve scenarios of Cardia spending her day with two main characters in the series. Although these are rather shorter stories compared to the ‘Wintertide Miracles’ selection, I was really impressed by how exceptionally good these little episodes were. You think you’ve had enough doki-dokis? Try this one on for size!

graphics-kawaii-small-223230Here’s a list of all the Love Triangle episodes (you can play it in any order):

  • Lupin and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Impey pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Van pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Impey pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Impey and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Impey and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Victor and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11

Secret Episodes:

  • Delly and Sisi pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Aliester and Nemo pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Hansel and John Watsonpixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11

 

SPECIAL EPILOGUES
These are short epilogue stories continuing the last events of Future Blessings (White Rose). These will unlock last, after finishing all of the above’s selections.

 

2019-02-26-213609IMPEY
It’s been a few days and Impey hasn’t returned home after going on a work-related project (fixing airships and submarine engines in London).  Cardia was left alone in the mansion and although she knows Impey will come back soon, she thought of surprising him by gathering a lot of research documents related to their ‘moon-project’. She leaves for Wales to collect any information her father might have written in the past that can possibly help with the project. Not to ruin the surprise for her hardworking husband, she leaves a note that says “I’m going”.

Impey arrives at home, finds the note then begins to panic thinking Cardia has left him.😂 So he hurries and follows her to Wales to clear out this whole silly misunderstanding.

 

2019-02-26-232213LUPIN
Cardia and Lupin go on a picnic at their secret place which has a great view of the industrial city of London and Lupin suggest that it’s about time to go on a honeymoon. Next few days, he takes Cardia to his birth city, Paris. There, they visit and the grave of his master, Theophraste and both of them said their prayers. They also ran into the head of the French police whom Lupin coined as someone equivalent to ossan Leonhartd. They had everyone (French police) chase them for fun and the couple gallantly escaped in style.

 

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VAN
Cardia and Van are finally getting married and Shirley helps Cardia put on her wedding dress. Cardia decided to step outside the church so she could practice walking in her high-heel shoes when a bunch of men in black suits kidnaps her and takes her to another wedding location. There she finds an impatient man wearing a groom’s outfit who urges her to walk down the aisle with him. Cardia remembers the combat techniques her husband taught her and throws the man to the floor. Meanwhile, a worried and upset Van bursts out through the church door and started taking down the men in suits Liam Neeson style! 😂 😂 😂 Before things get worse, the gang stops Van and explains this was all a misunderstanding as the kidnappers and groom were actually actors and the bride actress never showed up for rehearsals so they thought Cardia was her by mistake.

The Moral of the Story: Don’t mess with this couple… ever! 😂

 

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VICTOR
Cardia is now working as Victor’s assistant in the Royal Society and they spend their days doing research in Victor’s lab. Though they call themselves husband and wife, they realize that they never really had an actual wedding ceremony. So Victor asks Cardia if she wants to have a proper wedding and she says yes. A few days later, they began their search for a church in London but couldn’t find any since it’s peak season. Queen Victoria, along with Leonhardt notices Victor’s sullen expression and asks him what’s wrong, Victor tells them their circumstance and a snarky Victoria promises to help him only if he can prove to her how much he really wanted the wedding. After their deal, Victor comes home later than usual as he’s working extra hard to get her beloved wife that perfect wedding she deserves. Finally, the day has come for Victor to propose to Cardia and Victoria granted them permission to use the newly renovated St. Paul’s Cathedral. They got married in front of their friends and the Queen, and Cardia couldn’t be any happier.

 

2019-02-24-180658SAINT GERMAIN
Cardia is now free of her poison and she and Saint Germain return to London so they can hold their wedding ceremony. The Count buys the ship “Gloria” from their mafia adventures in Lupin’s Gang (Future Blessings) episode and tells her this will be their venue. A day before their promised wedding, Hansel takes Cardia to the enchanted forest and there they meet with Saint Germain and the leader of Idea herself, Omnibus. The old lady gives them her blessing, saying they will no longer be in the watchful eye of Idea and Saint Germain is now finally, freeee!  The couple both said their thanks to Omnibus. They got married in their luxurious ship the next day and all of their friends are with them happily celebrating the couple’s most special commemoration.

 

Will I be able to enjoy this game even if I haven’t played Future Blessings?
There were a lot of characters and events in Future Blessings that were present and added to this game, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to skip Future Blessings in the series. In addition, the main “Wintertide Miracles” stories continue from the last events of Finis’s route in Future Blessings, so, all the more reason not to skip the first fandisc.

Localization
There were a couple of typo mistakes that I couldn’t really overlook which makes me think that perhaps because of it’s promised released date on Valentines Day, the game was rather rushed and there wasn’t a lot of time spent dedicated solely on proofreading it. ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? \(^▽^)/
My overall play length for Code Realize Wintertide Miracles was a good 10-15 hours. Despite me trying to make the game last forever for about at least, two weeks, I finished it pretty quickly because I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Cantarella’s side story was way better than the gang’s Mafia adventures in Future Blessings and I sure did wish the ‘Cantarella-characters’ would’ve made a cameo in the special epilogues, because seriouslywhat a waste of good characters to be squeezed in, on the third game. ┐(‘~` )┌

Finis wins best boi in my book. This was one of the things I really appreciated most in this FD, and I’m sure most Code Realize hardcore fans would agree. Finis’ character finally gets justice! We get to see more of his adorable side as Cardia’s little brother while maintaining his hostile and dubious personality 😂. Who would’ve thought this boy is such a tsun-tsun! ❤

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Do I recommend this game? YES (esp. to all Code Realize fans)
Take note, this game is the series’ second fandisc. So literally, one cannot play it all willy-nilly without fully playing it’s first two predecessors. Personally, I’ve enjoyed this game a lot but that’s because I’m already a huge fan of the series. Perhaps to those who aren’t into Code Realize, you probably won’t enjoy this as much.

With the production of PS Vita consoles and games, completely shutting down worldwide this year, Code Realize Wintertide Miracles was such a special treat for us otome fans ~ esp. now, where there is scarcity of otoge releases in the West.

The game’s romantic Christmas theme really took this one up a notch and the newly added side stories are really something to look forward to. If you already like Code Realize, loved it’s main casts and wished for more adventures with them, Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles is definitely worth the purchase.

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

Bad Apple Wars – White Mask Walkthrough

BAD APPLE WARS (09)

WHITE MASK

 

COMMON ROUTE

CHAPTER 1 (Them Apples)
-Choose Good Apples Side
-Gangway Bridge
-Library

 

CHAPTER 2 (Reaper Game)
-Gangway Bridge
-Touch his LEFT HAND (twice) – SHOULDER (twice) – NECK
-Classroom
-Touch his LEFT SHOULDER (twice) – STOMACH (twice) – RULER

 

CHAPTER 3 (Vexam)
-Touch his MASK (twice) – EAR (twice) – CHEST

 

CHAPTER 4 (Wall of Limits)
-Behind School
-Touch his MASK (twice) – SYMBOL ON COLLAR (twice) – HAND

 

CHAPTER 5 (Heart Festival)
-Select All Courtyard
-Gymnasium
-School Grounds
-Touch his MASK (twice) – HANDS (twice) – SHOULDER

 

GOOD ENDING

CHAPTER 6

Create a Save File 1 here

-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
Touch ONLY the NECKLACE on Rinka’s neck (multiple times)

 

CHAPTER 7
-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
Touch ONLY the CHAINS on his wrist (multiple times)

 

CHAPTER 8
-No Choices

 

CHAPTER 9
-No Choices

 

CHAPTER 10
(Happy Ending)

 

 

NEVAEH ENDING

Load Save File 1

CHAPTER 6
-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch ANYWHERE (multiple times) **Except the NECKLACE on Rinka’s neck**

 

CHAPTER 7 
-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch ANYWHERE (multiple times) **Except the CHAINS on his wrist**

(Nevaeh Ending)

Bad Apple Wars – Alma Walkthrough

BAD APPLE WARS (18)

ALMA

 

COMMON ROUTE

CHAPTER 1 (Them Apples)
-Choose Bad Apples Side
-Roof
-Club Area

 

CHAPTER 2 (Reaper Game)
-Roof
-Touch his FACE (twice) – SHOULDER (twice) – HAIR
-(Select All) Stairway
Art Room
Music Room
Library
-Touch his FACE (twice) – SHOULDER (twice) – RIGHT HAND

 

CHAPTER 3 (Vexam)
-Touch his CHEST (twice) – HAIR (twice) – FACE

 

CHAPTER 4 (Wall of Limits)
-Band Room
-Touch his FACE (twice) – EYES (twice) – HAND
-Touch his FACE (twice) – HAND (twice) – MOUTH

 

CHAPTER 5 (Heart Festival)
-No Choices

 

GOOD ENDING

CHAPTER 6
-No choices

Create a Save File 1 here

 

CHAPTER 7
-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch ANYWHERE (multiple times) **Except his LEFT HAND**

-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch ANYWHERE (multiple times) **Except his TATTOO**

 

CHAPTER 8
-No Choices

 

CHAPTER 9
-No Choices

 

CHAPTER 10
(Happy Ending)

 

 

NEVAEH ENDING

Load Save File 1

CHAPTER 7
-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch his LEFT HAND (multiple times)

-Touch Anywhere (to get clothes off)
-Touch his TATTOO (multiple times)

(Nevaeh Ending)

Hakuoki Kyoto Winds Review

kw

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)

0000BUTTON

 

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 samurais of the Shinsengumi. Acting as the leader alongside 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 a 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 division 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 division 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 serving 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 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 banter 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 with 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 throughout 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 whose 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 current (Edo) 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 knows 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 with 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, Nagakura, 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 Japan during the Bakumatsu period.

Because it’s the first part of the original Hakuoki story, Kyoto Winds focused generally more of its plot; which is the story of the Shinsengumi and the summit of their affairs 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 follow through the same storyline, but hey this is where the SKIP button becomes your saving grace. lol image I personally enjoyed this game to heart.  It had the right amount of action, drama, and suspense enough to stir your emotions and will work you up at the edge of your seat. For the newer routes, I enjoyed Yamazaki and Iba’s story the most. Needless to say, all the characters grew on me and I believe the newer ones 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 solid content, great art, memorable soundtracks, and very likable characters, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds definitely delivers all of these to your doorstep.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 9/10

Collar x Malice Review

2018-05-07-203317

COLLAR X MALICE

Release Date: July 28, 2017 (North America)
Developers:  Otomate
Publishers:  Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: +17 M (Mature)

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Walkthroughs:

Mineo Enomoto
Kei Okazaki
Takeru Sasazuka
Kageyuki Shiraishi
Aiji Yanagi

 

Be warned: Collar x Malice has a very strong theme of violence. If you’re not comfortable with these aspects, this game is probably not for you.

Read the game synopsis here.

 

How Do You Define Justice?
Oddly enough for an otome game, the story touched up in creating a grim atmosphere from day one of its prologue and the theme continues to get darker with each route you play.

The common route revolves around the main protagonist Ichika Hoshino, an honest and hardworking police officer of Shinjuku, who was one day kidnapped and blackmailed by an anonymous terrorist group called “Adonis”. She found herself in one difficult predicament as she woke up after her ambush with a collar on her neck and an order to investigate the X-Day cases, a series of mass murder events that was done for the purpose of purging Japan from its lurking sinners. With the help of an independent detective agency, Ichika will unravel the truth of Adonis’ murders and their true meaning of justice while facing circumstances that can end her life in an instant.

At first glance, I honestly did not expect too much of the game, but then I started playing it and oh boi!  CxM’s intriguing enigma just blew me away. I got hooked. I just love it when a visual novel catches you off guard like that

 

 MECHANICS
Besides the usual straightforward narratives, Collar x Malice offers a few interesting mini-games making it more interactive for players.

  • Investigations – Just like Ace Attorney and Danganropa V3, you get to click a few various objects in a room to get clues and unlock conversations.
  • Elevator (Go to) – structured like the main protagonist’s workplace, you will get to choose which floors or office you’ll need to visit as you progress in the story.
  • Trigger Mode – a mini-game where the main protagonist draws her gun and fires it. Missing the target will get you a bad end while a direct aim lets you progress in the game.

AIM HERE!

The trick is to aim at the middle inner red circle of the target. A burst of red outline will flash if trigger mode was a success. A gray outline will flash if it failed.

 

ART
God bless Hanamura Mai, for Collar x Malice’s beautiful artwork. She’s also famous for her other works such as Desert Kingdom and of course the ever popular Amnesia series.

 

MUSIC AND SOUNDTRACK 
During my first playthrough, I was awestruck to hear the band, Plastic Tree performing the game’s opening theme.  I used to listen to these legends back in high school and hearing them play the soundtrack of your now-favorite otome game was such a wild treat, that I ended up buying their new 2018 album.

Besides Plastic Tree’s awesome soundtracks, I also wanna point out that this game had some amazing BGMs. Here’s my fav bgm below!

Voice Acting

Soma Saito “Mineo Enomoto” – Tadashi Yamaguchi (Haikyu!), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Sota (Possession Magenta)

Yuki Kaji “Kei Okazaki” –  Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Finis (Code Realize), Souma Kazue (Hakuoki), Yuiga Kakeru (Norn9), Kurusu Kaoru (Uta no Prince-sama), Ryuichi Naruhodo (Ace Attorney)

Daisuke Namikawa “Takeru Sazasuka” – Eigetsu/Yougetsu☻ (Saiunkoku Monogatari), Komura Yuuichi (Hiiro no Kakera),  Luka Redgrave (Bayonetta), Miyamoto Musashi (Sengoku Basara)

Ryohei Kimura “Kageyuki Shiraishi” – Kou (Diabolik Lovers), Roche (Neo Angelique Abyss), Kaito Momota (Danganropa V3), Masato Kadowaki (Arata the Legend)

Masakazu Morita “Aiji Yanagi” – Kija♥ (Akatsuki No Yona), Auel Neider (Gundam Seed DESTINY), Kazuki Hihara♥ (Kiniro No Corda), Maeda Keiji (Sengoku Basara), Whis (Dragon Ball Super)

Takuya Eguchi “Kazuki Hoshino” – Koichiro Sera (The Charming Empire), Kyoya Mochizuki (Possession Magenta), Nomura Risaburo (Hakuoki)

Natsuki Hanae “Akito Sera” – Nova (Amnesia World), Jaco (Dragon Ball Super), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Sengoku Night Blood), Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Libera (Period Cube-Shackles of Amadeus)

Toriumi Kousuke “Rei Mikuni” – Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Saitou Hajime (Hakuoki), Momochi Choujirou (Nightshade), Takizawa Saku (Gakuen Club), Azusa (Brother’s Conflict), Uesugi Kenshin (Sengoku Nightblood), Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Ikemen Sengoku), Kagiha (Psychedelica BB)

 Maeno Tomoaki Keisuke Sanjou” – Arsene Lupin (Code Realize), Son Hak♥ (Akatsuki No Yona), Natsume  (Brother’s Conflict), Camus (Uta no Prince-sama)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)

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For best gaming experience, you can follow the recommended play order below:

1) Mineo Enomoto
2) Kei Okazaki
3) Takeru Sazasuka
4) Kageyuki Shiraishi – I highly recommend playing him 4th, before unlocking Yanagi’s route
5) Aiji Yanagi – his route only unlocks after finishing the four above.

 

 

Mineo Enomoto 

  • Adorkable
  • Sengoku Fanatic
  • Gets very shy and unsociable when it comes to women.

Mineo is the perfect first route to take in Collar x Malice for the reason that his story offers very few spoilers of the game’s underlying plot line. Romantic wise, his events weren’t the most appealing to me. Half of his route was spent on Ichika trying to make him accept her as his partner and Mineo pushing her away because he has major trust issues. Despite all that, I admit, I still enjoyed Mineo’s story as a whole.

Mineo is such an adorkable character, and I wouldn’t have him in any other way. I kinda feel that he was a well-fit match for Ichika since they are very much alike in personality.

Read my full character review here.

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Kei Okazaki 

  • Hidden Badass
  • Very Physical *wink*
  • Reckless Abandon

I have to admit, I thought Okazaki’s route would be pretty boring since it started very dull in the beginning. But man, it got so good in the middle (between Chapter 2 & 3) that I freakin’ yelped a few times scene after scene. This man is very stubborn but very passionate. His route was also action-packed, so expect to see him and the heroine in one badass back-to-back fight scene.

His route was a heart-pounding one that kept me at the edge of my seat. Romantic wise, I’d have to say a relationship with this Kei is one hell of a ride and very infuriating, at that (in a good way).

Read my full character review here.

2018-05-01-213540

 

Takeru Sazasuka 

  • Baby Face
  • God Tier Hacker
  • Tsundere af
  • Born in Japan, raised in America

One of the best routes of the game was Sazasuka’s. His story had perfect pacing from start to finish and his ending was probably the most satisfying one among others’ prior to unlocking Aiji’s. Takeru’s tsundere characteristics were very charming in his story, to say the least. It made me grin pathetically the whole time ha! (*´▽`*) As a police hacker, It was also pretty interesting to see Takeru’s amazing hacking skills bring into play in his route.

2018-05-06-013824

 

Kageyuki Shiraishi
NOTE: His route will only be available on your second playthrough.

  • The Eccentric Profiler
  • Cat mom
  • Angst, Angst, Angst!

 I wanted to unlock Yanagi’s story asap, so I dove into Shiraishi’s route too quickly not knowing what I was in for.

His route completely shook me to my core lol (no kidding!)  This route contains so many spoilers of the game’s overarching plot. That said, I highly recommend playing him last (4th) prior to unlocking Aiji Yanagi. Although I had mixed feelings on Shiraishi’s story, I can’t deny that I  fully enjoyed the roller coaster of emotions his route has to offer.

2018-05-13-042640

 

Aiji Yanagi
NOTE: His route will only unlock after finishing the other’s happy ending.

  • Father figure
  • Best Cook
  • chain smoker

Just like any other unlockable characters, Yanagi’s story is only playable after finishing everyone else’s good endings, making his route the “True Route” of Collar x Malice. His story also had perfect solid pacing where it didn’t feel too rushed when it comes to breaking in a few conclusions.

This pretty much answers all the mind-boggling cliffhangers you’ve experienced in previous routes giving you the: “Oh so that’s why this happened” or “..Ahh now I get it” reactions.  The romance factor in Aiji’s story, on the other hand, was rather timid due to the rise and fall of plot events. His character was also very reserved and distant towards the main heroine at first. Thus delaying the spark of their relationship mid-way of his story. If it wasn’t for Ichika’s “forwardness”, both of them would’ve never been an “item”. (laughs)

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Ichicka Hoshino (Main Heroine)

  • Cool Big Sis
  • Badass Marksman
  • Best Girl!

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I thoroughly enjoyed playing Ichika as the main protagonist of this game. Mainly because her character was very realistic. This heroine was flawed in so many ways but she managed to acknowledge them wholeheartedly (in every route) and accepted her imperfections making her totally relatable. Ichika is probably one of the coolest heroines I’ve ever played. She gets drunk, cracks jokes, gossips, talks trash, gets agitated and is one wicked sharpshooter. All in all, One very strong and likable protagonist.

 

 

Side Characters
Almost all the side characters of Collar x Malice were very notable in the game and I think it’s because they are all relevant in the story. It is also very refreshing to see the protagonist surrounded by friends and family she engages significant conversations with.

These little tete-a-tete exchange Ichika has with other minor characters were never a wasted filler. If anything, it’s there to lighten up the game’s rather dark theme. Besides,  who doesn’t love the main character’s gossip sessions with her kickass girlfriends?! image

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TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? ❤
My overall gameplay for Collar x Malice was a good 30-35 hours and none of these hours were considered a waste of time. To be honest, I kind of wished it lasted longer.

Plot-wise, it’s really well-crafted and compelling enough to keep you at the edge of your seat. The pacing for each route was really good, but what generally got me absorbed was how the overall story was introduced and concluded. I applaud the writers for not leaving any kind of major plot holes in the game. How they uncovered the X-Day cases were brilliantly executed and the background stories of each culprit and their individual motivations were all pretty interesting enough, it was honestly hard for me to put the game down even for a second.  

I guess the only con I have was the game’s text typos. There wasn’t a lot but there were certainly prominent ones you can’t overlook. Though I don’t think this will completely ruin the experience for you. 

Other than that, I had a great time playing Collar x Malice. This game was such a stellar experience that I would no doubt pick it up another day and play it all over again.

Would I recommend this game? YES
You’re probably missing half of your ‘otome experience’ if you haven’t played Collar x Malice. This game is a solid Otome title and definitely worth its full price. Give this one a whirl and you’ll definitely won’t regret it.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 10/10