Game Review: Hakuoki Stories of the Shinsengumi.

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
  • Recommended?

Highest score you can get is 5 stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518 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 stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518 .

  • 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: stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518stock-vector-cherry-blossom-flower-69074518

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.

Recommendation: Yes.
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.

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Game Review: Amnesia:Memories

Merry meet everyone! I’m sorry if the otome series is starting to bore you, but I do have a list of games and anime that I do want to review. A lot old, some new, so be patient as school finally draws to a close.

Now, Amnesia: Memories. No one recommended this to me, I just discovered it on my own. Ah, well that’s not entirely true. I heard that there was an anime based off of the visual novel, and like all reviews they recommended that I play the visual novel first before I watch the anime. I had been quite curious about this game for some time and luckily my sister shares my steam account so I was able to borrow it from her in order to see if it’s something that I would enjoy.

Let me explain: Amnesia: Memories is about a young girl who accidentally gets a spirit named Orion absorbed into her mind. Since his presence is so strong, her memories were taken. In order to push him back out, you need to regain the memories that you lost. You only knew two thing  about you in the prologue of the game. Your name, and the world that you want to go into.

Depending on the world that you want, a different story unfolds as it’s a universe that’s always different yet the same. Your relationships with your friends and your lover is always different and while the attitudes are the same (besides the manager and mine mostly) they react to you in many different ways. You have four choices to begin with, Diamond, Heart, Clover, and Spade the same as the pack of cards. Each world has 3 endings. Bad, Normal, and Good. Getting the Good endings for all four worlds and you unlock a world called the Joker world, which tells you more about the MC, the parallel universes you’ve been visiting, and about Orion.

Like I have done in my reviews if you know by now, I’ll be splitting this review up into two sections. One section will be the overall game and what I thought about it. A general review if you will. It won’t have any spoilers in it, so you’ll be safe to read it. Underneath the “read more” cut that I’ll make, I’ll review more in depth about the routes I chose, the way I chose them, and my reactions to what I saw.

The ratings will look like this:

  • Overall game score
  • What could be changed
  • What was done right
  • Recommended.

The highest you can get is five of 32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg. The lowest you can get is a one, which means that I didn’t finish the game it was too boring for me to continue. For the route ratings it’ll look something like this:

  • Character likability?
  • Love Authenticity?
  • Does this route make sense in regards to the story?
  • Is the route replayable?

Let’s begin with the general review first.

Overall Game Score: 32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg32e973f84ec51d827434caddddbd5873.jpg

What could be changed: Toma’s route. It’s horrifying, and creepy and even though I got a good end, I feel like all I did was play a tame bad ending. He made my skin crawl and I felt sick to my stomach as I went through his route. It’s unfortunate, but unless you unlock all four character good endings, you can’t get the fifth. Which is the true route of the game as well. If anything, I really wish that Toma’s “crazy” was toned down to an extreme. I understand girls liking him, but at the same time I can’t help but to fear those girls who like him. Yes, liking a character knowing that he’s problematic is a good thing. It means acknowledging that he’s a bad person (e.g: Loki fans), but there’s a difference between being a “villain” and being a “psychopath” and there’s a reason why psychopaths have more fan-clubs than villains do. Just saying.

I’ve also noticed a few minor typos in the PC game, but it’s easy to ignore. Please do so.

What they got right: Oh my god the voice acting. The background music is beautiful.  I especially love the art-style and graphics, I love how the characters are designed. I like Ikki’s and Shin’s design the most. It does make me want to watch the anime adaptation of the game, and see how it holds up and compares. It’s not fair, but at the same time a lot of fans do it. I also like that they kept the Parallel Universe theme to a T. Every route you take is different. Toma’s and Shin’s are the only ones where you’re childhood friends/siblings consistently. I like that the plots make sense to the character…despite the problems…and I enjoy Orion. Orion is the best inner voice ever. Also, I’m really happy that the “love” route (the one where it’s pure romance and little to no plot) is actually done quite well. The otome games that I’ve played have that type of person usually is boring or I don’t really like how the MC and the character click.

Recommended? Yes.

I have noticed in other reviews that there’s been some people who are a little uncomfortable about the MC and the guys that she chose so allow me to be clear. The only route that I’d be most concerned with is Toma’s route. It’s not a route that one should take if they have thin skin. A lot of things in that route made me uncomfortable and I understand why it’d make some others uncomfortable. That said, I didn’t see much wrong about the other routes. Yes. Shin’s aggressive sometimes. That’s his character flaw and he won’t abuse nor hurt the MC. Ikki does act too nonchalant with the MC, but you have to remember you have amnesia, there’s a good chance that you and Ikki had agreements not to be too open and too demanding of each other to begin with. Kent is a little too cold. Which is understandable if you take his route and see it from his point of view. Ukyou has split personality. I say nothing more. If these things bother you, then I wouldn’t pick the game.

I hope that you enjoyed my review. If you wish to read more, then click the button. Just remember that spoilers are down there. Other than that, I will see you again on another journey.

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Game Review: Men of Yoshiwara Kikuya

Merry meet everyone! My soul-sister K has a game that she enjoyed called Men of Yoshiwara. When I expressed that it seemed to be a game that I would be interested in, she graciously allowed for me to play it. The game is fast and simple as it used to be a mobile app first. The routes are very direct, you pick the character that you want to go on and you try to follow it to hundred percent. It’s not as flexible as Hakuoki is or other otome games.

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 give you a grading that will look like this:

  • Overall game score
  • What could be changed
  • What was done right
  • Recommended? why or why not.

Highest score you can get is a 5 and  the lowest you can get is a 1 meaning I quit before I could even finish the game it was that bad.  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 for the route review will look like this:

  • Character likability
  • Character development
  • Story
  • Love Authenticity
  • Is the route replayable? (to clarify, would I play the route again knowing how the story goes?)

The highest score you can get out of the route review is a 5. Now that you know how the rating works let’s begin.

Overall Game Score: 2.

What could be changed: More scene changes and more character templates. I felt like some of the places that were mentioned would have been better to have a either a CG or background in the game. Otherwise, it felt like I wasn’t actually there. In one route in particular: I was still standing in front of a shrine imagining that we went to the fair.

Also if a character is mentioned like guards, or a gentleman courtesan or something like that, having a faceless template wouldn’t have been too awful. It would feel like the characters were talking to each other. I understand that it means more artwork and the game was probably made on a strict budget. I also know that this was a mobile app first, but I still think that if it was remade for the PC then it needs to have more details added.

Some of the storylines and character personalities could have been better written. I liked Takao’s and Hayabusa’s, but there were some routes though that I went down on where the characters didn’t make sense to the first impression I was given in the prologue. I understand that to be because of the competition, but there’s on character in particular (Tokiwa) where I just couldn’t determine if he was a bully, someone to worry about, or what.

Typos were also very common. Hear instead of year. Waste instead of waist. Some of the “sexual” phrases reminded me that I was reading something from FF.N, rather than an adult novel. Also, licking isn’t something that you’d want anyone to look at you with. I’m just saying.

There were also plot lines that I would have denied flat out as well.

What was done right? Sadly, the only routes that were done right within the game was Takao’s route and Hayabusa’s route. Everyone else felt either too plain, one-dimensional, or the plot-twist was unbearably cruel and unusual. The two things that are in common with the two routes I mentioned is the fact that Hayabusa considers the MC to be his little sister as they grew up together. Takao’s route has a half-sibling story-line as well that coincides with the MC. The personalities of the two routes stuck with the characters. They didn’t force them to become something that they weren’t and they managed to do this without sacrificing the plot.

Recommended? No.  For a game that only has two plots that are decent and that made sense; I hate to say it, but unless the game is for free on Steam I suggest you don’t buy it. The amount of translation errors were inexcusable.

If you’re going to write M-rated scenes, write M-rated scenes and don’t write them like a love-struck teenager who can barely say something dirty without getting a red face. Don’t write plots that don’t make any sense to the character either. I know when a route feels forced. Many of them did.

Now for the routes review. Spoilers are at home here.

Screenshot (5)

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