Foreword: Generally, I really like BaseSon’s games. Some people argue that the massive number of characters are often overwhelming and causes each character to become more shallow, but it doesn’t really bother me that much since the design for said characters are often performed very well and in a very intricate manner. In return, this causes the game itself to be fairly long, so that works well with how I like BaseSon’s games. I also like to see what CVs played which characters, and see if I can “test” myself in identifying some of them. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this xD)
In addition to this, in the two series of Koihime titles I’ve played from BaseSon, first being Koihime Musou and now Sengoku Koihime, there is a stunning accuracy in some of the scenario to the point it’s actually quite scary. While I wasn’t too informed with the story of Oda Nobunaga, quick reference look-ups suggest that BaseSon did their research when creating this game, and this is going to be a plus for them as well.
Title: 戦国†恋姫～乙女絢爛☆戦国絵巻～ (Sengoku Koihime ~Otome Kenran Sengoku Emaki~)
Release Date: April 28, 2016 (X-version; all-ages version was released in 2013)
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v13188
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=865277
Game Type: War-themed novel based on real life events
Summary: Kensuke is the nephew of the famous Kazuto. After his own parents died, this uncle who has over 50 wives took him in as his own and started to train him for something, for which Kensuke didn’t know why. Regardless, when cleaning out the storage area one day, Kensuke finds a mysterious sword and becomes teleported back in time to the Sengoku era. Meeting characters like Kuon, Kensuke starts to wonder what his purpose was for being brought to this strange land, and with the help of his comrades find meaning in his life and role.
It’s obviously to have his harem, of course :D
Story Length: Very Long (>40 Hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: N/A
Comments: The story is completely linear, with “side-stories” featuring a certain heroine at certain intermissions. To be perfectly honest, I think a design like this isn’t the best idea; if the producers wanted to create a linear story, they should’ve put all of it together, although that’s much more difficult than having these optional “side-stories”… In total, I estimated about 60 hours of gameplay, which is pretty long.
Regardless, the Houjou Scenario opens up after clearing the main game, and offers more H-scenes for the characters who has not received them in the main game. Oh, for the record, it seems that the “X-version” of this game contains the H-scenes and has different CVs for some characters (like Natsuki)
Speaking of CVs, both Shimizu Ai and Aoyama Yukari are present in this game (the two people whose voices I got confused with). Thanks to a fellow player, I can now differentiate between the two :D
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: So overall a very decent game (despite its ridiculous length O_O), I’ve actually given this game a large score boost in character design purely because of the quantity. It’s frankly pretty hard to create so many different characters even if they’re based on a real person, and how the game takes the time to immerse the player into each character using the optional mini-scenarios was something I quite enjoyed (though story-wise, this didn’t work so well). The game does focus on some characters more than others, such as Ayana or Koyasha later in the game, which actually worked out bad–this will be explained next.
Like, they seem to be more protagonist-like than Kensuke himself… Koyasha really needed more scenario than what the game has for her
This is due to the fact that Kensuke as a protagonist wasn’t exactly that great. He was at least more bearable than Kazuto who didn’t play too much of a role in the Koihime series, but I would’ve liked to see Kensuke a bit more powerful than what the game showed. I dunno, am I the only one who thinks protagonists need to be on the stronger-side of the character spectrum? Kensuke participates in the “combat” this time around, but that was pretty much the difference between him and Kazuto. Though on the flip-side, I did appreciate how similar to Kazuto, Kensuke was more intelligent and resourceful. However, a noticeable difference was that Kensuke’s “knowledge of the future” doesn’t really play that big of a role as it did in Shin Koihime’s route for Karin (Gi). Protip: that was joyjason’s favorite route.
Story is decent at best, but to be expected since the game was more of a charage than anything. Unlike Koihime Musou which was more of a novel, Sengoku focuses more on character interactions than actual scenario, making this score fall a bit. Although it’s not as bad as it would normally be, since the game makes various efforts to help the reader understand the terms used (using a pop-up glossary on the side), as well as presenting a map with icons to give a sense of reality when the player is reading.
In addition to this, the game makes multiple references to the Koihime Musou title throughout the game, so that was quite a bonus for players like me who enjoyed the previous title.
Character Summary: So I obviously can’t cover all the characters, so I’ll just mention the main ones.
Kuon’s the first one to actually interact with Kensuke after he’s taken to this era. At first, he was knocked out for a good week or so, but since his appearance was with the winning of a battle, Kuon started to believe that Kensuke was someone quite important, immediately offering to “marry” (only by name) him. It’s not long until Kensuke achieves various dangerous feats that Kuon starts to trust him more and more to the point she genuinely falls in love with the protagonist.
Arguably the main heroine, I quite enjoyed Kuon as a character because the game takes sufficient time developing the romance between her and Kensuke; their “romance” seemed very valid, strong, and real. It’s just that because of this, I didn’t like how she disappears completely when Kensuke is “kidnapped” by the Nagao and Takeda families; I kinda wish the game showed her even in the Nagao/Takeda arcs.
One other thing I noticed was that Kuon is voiced by the same person who voices Yuusei (Asahi) from the Tsukiyori/Otome Riron series. Cool!
Props to you if you can see the reference to the Koihime series
Leader of the Ashikaga clan, Kazuha seems to be the leader of what we commonly know now as the “Bakkufu”. In simpler terms for the not-so-Japanese literate viewers, think of the Bakkufu as the “government” and Kazuha was the leader of it. Holy Shit, amiright?
Regardless, unlike the serious atmosphere we would normally expect, Kazuha is very much childish and even lazy to a certain extent, always putting her younger sister Futaba as a “representative” of her when greeting guests and instead wanting to battle strong opponents. Even after her joining the Kensuke Team, she refuses to use her title and instead makes appeals to Kensuke and/or fight with other members to stand in the front lines.
While less prevalent, Kazuha is more or less present throughout the entire game, giving the impression she was more important than Kuon, which was weird in my opinion…
To be perfectly honest, the Nagao and Takeda arcs were pretty insignificant or at least choppy. The arcs start when the Oda Clan loses a battle and are separated, and taken “hostage” by the Nagao Clan. After the conflict at the Nagao is solved, the Takeda clan then take Kensuke and his team “hostage” for their own use, so there was little connection with Oda Nobunaga (Kuon); more like, I think the way the game presented Kuon first and quite prevalently made the other heroines less significant.
Regardless, the the girl in the CG above is Mikuu, the leader of the Nagao clan. As the perfect example of a tsundere character, she does save the Kensuke Team escaping, but instead takes them “hostage”. Kensuke soon finds out this group is suffering from a problem though, and offers his help in rescuing who is the adopted daughter for this heroine.
To be perfectly honest, Mikuu seemed to be too archetypical of a tsundere character for me to actually become immersed or enjoy her design. Because of how short her interaction with Kensuke was, she was more like one of the other subcharacters instead.
The Takeda clan is next, and it’s actually shown in game that the Takeda clan and the Nagao clan do not get along. At least for Hikari and Mikuu, they often fight in the game for the smallest reasons. Hikari, who is also the leader of the Takeda, says she would rather trust Kensuke, an absolute stranger, than Mikuu, who she considers to be her enemy.
Takeda clan is actually also in trouble, with their mother turned into a demon and causing chaos in the land, they wanted Kensuke’s skills and knowledge to somehow solve this problem. Even afterwards, they’ll need to answer to the Nagao clan, who is breathing down their backs trying to take Kensuke back.
Like with the Nagao clan, there was relatively less interaction and immersion in this arc of the story as well, although unlike the previous arc, the characters seemed more colorful
The game seems to focus more on the Takeda clan than it does Nagao clan. Or at least it seemed like that. I guess this was due to a difference in writers?
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So for some comments. Overall, I enjoyed the game. Characters are very colorful and some possesses traits I found attractive, as with Koihime, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that readers may find a “favorite character” when playing this game.
As mentioned in the Foreword, the sheer number of CVs present in this game was quite amazing. A large number of games with barely 10 characters total find themselves using the same CVs for the more insignificant subcharacters, but this game wasn’t having none of that; I count over 50 CVs for this game and that makes it much more fun playing the “Guess the CV game” that I play along with the game itself. What’s really interesting is that you compare the CVs in this game with the CVs in Koihime Musou series, and realize how there’s a “shift” of the mainstream CVs in the galge market; i.e., you see the older CVs less or even not present in this game while the newer CVs are taking over.
Though some older CVs like Kaibara Elena are still present
Having over 50 characters does make the game vulnerable to characters being a bit more shallow than normal. However, this wasn’t too obvious due to how the game was very long–it had the room to actually build up affection with each character through said mini-stories. Obviously, this is missing for some of the more irrelevant characters, but to be fair this flaw is almost inevitable if a single game has literally 10-fold more “heroines” than a normal galge.
In addition to this, the game focuses on certain characters a bit more. While I’m not sure if this is due to a difference in scenario writers, but some characters such as Koyasha, Ayana, or Mari seemed to “stand out more” than other characters, who were pretty much just “extras” when you think about it. It did present a lot of contrast to character design, but my problem is all these “significant” characters are loli and holy shit is that police outside my window?
The prime example would be Mari, who is super cute, but also extremely mature
I think Toto would also be one of my favorite characters in this game, although she’s much more childish. She also has a strange speech where she can’t pronounce “da” and instead says “ra” (Maybe she has a short tongue? o3o)
On the other hand, the story is something I’d probably offer a bit of criticism for, being quite choppy (e.g. the game switches arcs and this pretty much “removes” the other characters not relevant completely. This was not done in previous Koihime games (Shin Koihime had three separate routes while Moeshouden literally had all 50-ish characters appearing), so transition was something this game may have needed to work on. Seeing how there was also multiple scenario writers, there may have been some areas that were simply “written better” than others (see what I wrote about how some characters were designed better than others), adding to this choppiness.
…joyjason’s need for lolis has been very satisfied.
In addition to this, the presence of these “mini-scenarios” during the intermissions (or chapters; there’s 35 chapters for the main game) really added to this choppiness. While the fact that you could skip these mini-stories was okay, a new player would more likely than not read all of these stories so he wouldn’t miss anything, so that really should have been taken into consideration so the story flows better. If at all, the writers make very obvious efforts to not form any contradictions in the story (e.g. whether or not a certain character engaged in intercourse with Kensuke), and leaves it out completely, creating a large blank instead. As with other games, it might have been nice if the game had a more enforced scenario order.
…and perhaps added more attention to Kuon
Kensuke himself had a pretty bad design in my opinion, as someone who is intelligent, but ironically clueless about the affection pointed towards him, and how he “acts kind” to the female crew almost explicitly wasn’t something I enjoy (this needs to be consistent even towards characters not of potential sexual interest). While he was much more resourceful than his uncle in the previous series, I wish that he could have been more powerful to stand in the front lines, or a bit more hot-headed. Or even of possessing a powerful skill like some characters
He does have a lot of action in the beginning scenes though.
Humor is something I have a love-hate relationship with, since while 50% of the humor is relating to Kensuke’s sexuality (this is quite cheap humor), the other 50% were intricate jokes relating to heroine traits which made me laugh quite a bit. Some of the humor was even tied to the CVs, making it even better; really wish the latter humor was more prevalent. Sengoku was in my opinion, a bit better in this department compared to predecessors because the Koihime Musou titles often displayed jokes and humor which became repetitive.
As mentioned previously, there is more focus on characters than story, which really didn’t work out for me in particular, but I still nonetheless enjoyed the characters who were more colorful and resourceful perhaps even more than the protagonist.
☐ Not rekt ☑ rekt
However, in a different perspective, this focus in character may have been the exact intention by BaseSon. Unlike the story of the Three Kingdoms, the story of the Sengoku Era isn’t so well known even for some Japanese individuals, and how the game has so little scenario for Takeda/Nagao arcs compared to Oda, this theory is also entirely possible. Some characters are explicitly given interesting traits as well perhaps to add to this theory.
An example is Karasu (the girl in the front firing a sniper rifle). She is completely unvoiced in game, EXCEPT for her H-scene, and holy crap her voice is adorable
Affection for the Characters: High
CG Score: 8/10. The game loses out a bit because of the lack of quantity of CGs. HCGs are prevalent for obvious reasons, and normal CGs needed to greatly surpass this quantity, which didn’t happen (Boohoo). On the other hand, the art is pretty damn good; lots of detail, intricate angles, and vivid coloring
Music Score: 6/10. I think the music kinda fell this time around, though that might be just because Koihime Musou was a bit better in my opinion
… and I think I just angered the three leaders
Addictiveness: Moderately Low. To be honest, I would love to read this game all over again just to see if I missed anything, but considering it took me roughly 60 hours to read the entire thing, I might leave it for when I really have no other game to play.
- The linear scenario makes the game easy to play. Players aren’t overwhelmed at all with choice selections, and may open this game with a light heart.
- There are over 50 CVs, both old and new. As a fan of CV-guessing, this was a large plus and another element of the game I enjoyed
- Characters receive the most focus in this game, making it perfect if a player likes to see colorful characters in interaction with the protagonist and other characters.
- The game assists the player with maps, diagrams, and glossary to explain various elements in the story. This greatly helps understanding of the status or situation of each scenario.
- Despite the fact that there are over 50 characters, the game takes the time to present each character well, often taking up to chapters at a time to develop the romance for a select few.
- The scenario of the game is stunningly accurate with real life events; meaning that people who know the story of Oda Nobunaga may be spoiled from the get-go. I marked this as a plus because relativity to real-life events is pretty difficult to perform.
- The Scenario Selections really break immersion and makes the game deviate from that Linear storyline. It also creates the need for vague story later on to not create any contradictions
- Protagonist isn’t exactly powerful, although it’s valid to argue his design improved from the previous Koihime title.
- Due to a larger focus on characters, story is unfortunately lacking making this game seem more like a charage.
- Transitioning in this game is easily defined as awful, often switching arcs almost forcibly.
- There seems to be significant difference in quality as the writer changes. This causes some arcs to be “better” than others.
The original Kensuke-Team members need some love too!