Merry meet everyone! My best friend lent me her game of Hakuoki months ago and I felt bad for not being able to sit down and play it. Since I have no choice but to return it to her soon, I decided that the best way to completely finish the game is to give it a review. This game took me two weeks to complete. I started it at the same time I started playing Men of Yoshiwara, but Men of Yoshiwara went by fairly quickly as it was short 10 chapters per a route plus a super-happy ending finale. Also Hakuoki goes more in depth since it’s made for the PS3 rather than a mobile app that turned into a PC game.
Hakuoki Stories of the Shinsengumi has an interesting plot to begin with. You are a daughter of a doctor from Edo who practices western medicine. You have exchanged letters everyday and lately you haven’t been getting a response back from him. You go to Kyoto in hopes that you could track him down, only to be perused by a couple of ronin who found your sword to be admirable. You are saved by those men in blue jackets, but they have something wrong with them. They have red eyes, white hair, and a thirst for blood. You’re not saved, you just got into more trouble. Until Saito Hajime and Okita Souji appear and find you. Continue through the story and you discover that you are from demon royalty lineage from the East.
To give the best review I possibly can I split this into two sections: a general review and a route review. The general review will consist of:
- Overall game score
- What could be changed
- What was done right
Highest score you can get is 5 and the lowest you can get is a 1 meaning I quit before I could even finish the game. I will do my best to keep spoilers out of the general review as much as I possibly can.
As for the route review, I placed it underneath the “read more” so that if you didn’t want to be spoiled you didn’t have to be. Grading will look like this. Highest you can get is by getting five .
- Character likability?
- Love Authenticity?
- Does this route make sense in regards to the story?
- Is the route replayable?
Now that you know how the grading system works, let’s begin with the generalized review.
Overall Game Score:
What could be changed: As much as I thought the fact that they animated the visual novel was interesting, it didn’t translate well. The mouth movements were a bit creepy, the way they breathed was a little unsettling, and I didn’t like that they blinked either. Turning off the animation did little to help the artwork. As one of my friends pointed out when I showed her a screen shot “something is creepy in the way they’re drawn”. I also wish that they did more variety with the evil father, evil twin tropes. Having an evil twin with just a sole reason to go after you is because you had a happy childhood and you don’t remember what happened to your family is…well…your revenge would be best suited else where. As for the father, one route it worked, the other route felt like it was just tossed in there with no real reason. I liked that Chikage was a villain in one route, though that was a little…extreme to storm a castle. I’d prefer a fight in a streets, but that’s just me.
What was done right: I didn’t see many translation mistakes or grammar inconsistencies while I was playing the game, which is a huge relief considering I had to see that constantly when I was playing Men of Yoshiwara. Another thing that I enjoyed was how each character had their own set of values, and how certain events shook their values. Saito didn’t know what he was doing. Heisuke wavered about if he should follow the Shinsengumi or be apart of the Guard. After that, he wondered if he was a human still. Souji struggled with the realization that nothing could beat death. Not even the Water of Life. Harada didn’t….really have a struggle…I didn’t think so he’s hard to say, though I would say the MC struggled to come to terms with her demon heritage. Hijikata had to struggle through loosing faith, loosing his men and the war that was never meant to be won. It made them lifelike. It made every route (including Harada’s) enjoyable to go down on.
Here’s where it gets tricky. What system do you play the game on? There’s one for the 3DS and there’s one for the PS3. Now, I haven’t touched the 3DS version, but I did my own little digging and it turns out that the PS3 has more extra features than the 3DS version. I don’t know what features are on the 3DS as again I didn’t play my game on that system. So I’ll explain what the features are for the PS3.
The extra features that I know are on the PS3 are: Memories of Love, SSL, and Adventures with the Shinsengumi to give you more insight of the routes you went down on. Memories of Love are about the routes you went down on and what little moments really defined the MC loving the person that they chose.
Adventures with the Shinsengumi are small stories that are told that aren’t apart of the main game. It’s not exactly route heavy, but you get some more insight on the guys and their interaction with each other.
SSL is an alternate universe that has students and teachers.
If you like bonus material the PS3 would be your best bet. However, if you’re on the go a lot and you don’t really care for extra content or too much of it, the 3DS version is your go-to. There’s other Hakuoki games that are out there as well. I wish I could tell you the order of how to play the games, but I’m not a Hakuoki expert as I just recently started getting into it as you can tell from my review. I believe I’d suggest playing Stories of the Shinsengumi first before playing the others.
I hope you enjoy the review. As always, I encourage you to play the game before reading any of my reviews as they contain spoilers. If you’re okay with spoilers and not knowing what I’m talking about, please continue.