A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Posts tagged ‘history’

The Empress, Her Sword, and Peach Blossoms: Review of [160923] Sen no Hatou, Tsukisoume no Kouki

Foreword: Happy New Year everyone! I actually started this game quite recently and have a lot of good things to say about it, and I also refrained from publishing TWO reviews that have already been written, purely because they’re more negative and I want to start every year with a positive one and I don’t want to seem like a pessimistic asshole wait I’m already one

I want to start off by saying this game was fun. No seriously. It was really fun in its purest definition. So fun in fact that when I wasn’t playing it, I was itching to get back on to play it! It was THAT good

Despite this, it does have some flaws that other friends warned me ahead of time, so I’ll be explaining all of this below. Let’s get started!

Title: 千の刃濤、桃花染の皇姫 (Sen no Hatou, Tsukisome no Kouki) [Thousand Blades and the Royal Princess of Tsukisome]
Producers: August
Release Date: September 23, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v15708
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=901861
Game Type: Dramatic Action Visual Novel with Mixed Themes

Summary: The Imperial Nation was quite happy with their Empress (Suotei) who was fair and just. It was really only after the invasion of the United Nations and the mingling of their culture with the Imperial Nation’s when things started to get out of hand, and with the death of Suotei, their current empress, a traitor to the nation takes over with a puppet empress Hisuitei (my Tera Character’s name; bonus points if you know where I got it from) and drives out the Suotei’s daughter who was the last of her bloodline.

Soujin is a man with amnesia who participates in the committee of Samurais who dedicate their lives to the loyalty towards their empress. He spots a terrorist who tries to assassinate the empress and chases after the terrorist only to find that this “terrorist” somehow overturns his loyalty to serving her instead.

Soon she claims she is the last bloodline of the Empress, and the Hisuitei is actually a fake. This “real Empress” who calls herself Akari then receive Soujin’s help in rebelling against the traitor who ruined the country, as well as prevent future calamities to come.

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Thousand Romance, Ten Thousand Flowers: Review of [160729]Senren Banka

Foreword: When it comes to Yuzusoft games, a lot of people claim them to be a “safe choice”, meaning that the game itself is never going to be absolute shit. I agree with this statement for the most part (having played the more recent Yuzusoft titles), but I also think it should come with an additional comment that like other mainstream galge companies, there’s not much adventuring going on with this company at least regarding the story.

In addition to this, I’m seeing that there’s a set pattern nowadays that even for “romance” oriented games such as Senren Banka, the romance transitioning is often completely missing or otherwise shitty. This is really disappointing since quite often, the conflict presented in a heroine route is resolved by the protagonist and the respective heroine who has already formed a “romantic bond”, but said bond was never “formed” in the eyes of the reader; it was just thrown out there.

Well, aside from this, Senren Banka is not a bad game, but as with many Yuzusoft titles, it’s not a “great” game. There are multiple reasons for this, and I hope readers can follow along with me as I make the attempts to explain why.

P.S. omg Irotori is quite amazing with story elements, but it’s sooooooo boring… Someone kill me Q_Q

Title: 千恋*万花 (Senren Banka; Thousand Romance, Ten thousand flowers)
Producers: Yuzusoft
Release Date: July 29th, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19073
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=895010
Game Type: Fantasy Romance Novel with a rural setting

Summary: Masaomi is heading to Houri, a small town unlike the city he lived in and even with the nickname “Inutsuki” (likely meaning “haunted by dogs”), which prevents taxi drivers to even enter. This town is filled with various mysteries, such as the presence of spirits or monsters which ironically seem to attract foreigners. In addition, at the heart of it all, a sword-pulling event is open to the public.

While Masaomi was brought here more from a blackmail while his parents were enjoying a trip, he greets his strict grandfather and his cousins, as well as his childhood friends. For fun, they make Masaomi pull the legendary sword–the Murasamemaru, from the stone it was stabbed into.

Masaomi obliges, and without too much thought, he pulls on the sword lightly to have it completely snap in two! Chaos immediately ensues as the sword didn’t even budge when others pulled on it. It’s not long until a spirit named Murasame pops out and explains that Masaomi has been chosen by the Murasamemaru to defend Houri from the Tatarigami’s curse which has been going on for 500 years.

GGWP

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My Purpose in this Twisted Fate! Review of [160428] Sengoku Koihime X

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~)
Producers: BaseSon
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

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The Incarnation of the Poem of Sakura [151023]Sakura no Uta

Foreword:

Okay DAMN. People said this game was good but I did NOT know it was going to be THIS good. Well, only parts of it.

This title’s definitely on kamige level, but it’s really unfortunate that I can’t really say it’s a kamige because of a couple of reasons. Despite this, I wouldn’t hesitate to call this one of the most impactful games out there and MAN it really left a big impression on me. More like, why didn’t I hear about this title before? The all ages trial was from 2008! Ya’ll need to make recommendations like this more often because I often find myself missing them. Though to be fair on the other hand, most of my bias for this game comes from the fact I love seeing philosophy in galge/eroge in general. It really gives me a lot of “shower thoughts” that I can ponder about for the next few days.

While I’m going to be praising this game for the most part, it isn’t without flaws. I’m going to point out some major kinks that this game had that makes it awfully awkward in some areas and may be more of a turnoff. I think Sakura no Uta would be a great example of how a lot of amateur players scream is the best game ever, and completely ignore said fatal flaws, lol.

This review will contain minor spoilers and analysis of the game! Please only consider reading this review if you didn’t really understand the game or have already played it!

Title: サクラノ詩-櫻の森の上を舞う- Sakura no Uta -Sakura no morino uewomau- [Lit. Trans: The Poem of Sakura – Dancing above the Forest of Sakura-]
Producers: makura
Release Date: Trial released in 2008, Official Release in October 23, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v562
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=44121
Game Type: Philosophical Poetic Novel with Slice of Life Themes

Summary: Naoya’s father died, who was his last blood relative. With no other family left on this planet, Naoya also refuses his father’s inheritance of 150 million en (Roughly 1.5 million USD) and now penniless, he somehow still finds the leisure to mess around with his friend Kei. However, as the funeral in the forest of cherry blossoms end, Kei’s older sister Ai invites Naoya to live with them in return for making meals at their house, which Naoya agrees to.

It’s been so long since that unfortunate accident 6 years ago that left Naoya, a world-famous artist himself, refusing to draw again. Now with the innocent childhood friends all grown up, Naoya must move on from the death of his relatives and live his own life with the relationships that he has. However, little will he know that he’ll be the center of even more; more pain and suffering for the people around him. He’ll never understand until much later how much of an influence he holds as the son of the World-Famous Artist.

What is mind? No matter
What is matter? Never Mind.
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The Clash of Beliefs and its Consequences: Review of [151225] Last Cavalier

Foreword: Wowwwwwww, this game was heavy. Heavy in not only story content but also with social philosophy and even in feels. In fact, mark me down as one of the people who expected something more similar to Semiramis, the previous title that Caramel Box produced.

I generally appreciate Caramel Box because they include darker themes in games which is a blessing with all the cheery school-girl crap that sickens me to my stomach. It’s even a freaking bonus that the trap protagonist is also badass. I mean, I’m sure you guys have seen trap-protagonists, but have you EVER seen one BADASS?!

Let my review do the rest of the explaining. Here’s Last Cavalier!

This review contains Major Spoilers! Please read at your own risk!

Title: 機関幕末異聞 ラストキャバリエ (kikan bakumatsu ibun Last Cavalier) [Rough Translation: The Story of the Edo Era: Last Cavalier]
Producers: Caramel Box
Release Date: December 25, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18145
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=868891
Game Type: Fictional War-themed novel set in past Japan

Summary: Wars are fought due to differences in beliefs; no one is right or wrong. Those who despise change and those who welcome it. Those who welcome new ideas and those who insist on old traditions.

War naturally follows a Call to Arms, and this is what Isa announces to her family and friends in a small town, that there is in need of “Shouki” (瘴姫, Battle Princess), or maidens who utilize a special stone called 鬼瘴石 (Kishouseki; Battle Demon Stone) to extensively amplify their physical abilities in battle.

Soujirou is an orphan who was taken in by Isa and Sei at an early age and raised under their care. He did not want to stay behind while his “older sisters” were taken into war, but as only females are recruited into this group called “新撰組” (Shinsengumi; Newly Chosen Group), they decide to deceive him as a female with the name “Soushi” so he can also come along.

Soujirou’s decision to follow his sisters to the dangerous battlefields will predetermine his fate for the future.

Yo, why so serio*punch*
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Where Wishes are Drawn to Each Other: Review of [100827] Suzukaze no Melt

Foreword: Happy New Year! It’s quite early, but I decided to start off 2016 with a relatively favorable post regarding a fairly old but considered to be the best of Whirlpool’s games, Suzukaze no Melt. As one of my favorite games easily placing in the top 10 of my list, Suzukaze was definitely a game of blessing through all the relatively poor ones I’ve been going through recently. In addition to how it also contained some of my favorite CVs (at least in the past; my tastes have changed since then o3o) I not only enjoyed the 20-30 hours replaying this game, but also felt quite a bit of nostalgia.

Simply put, there’s going to be only compliments for this game from me (with reasons to why), EXCEPT for one small but extremely important point that the writers (Damn, Daisangen is fucking amazing with writing) forgot. If they had fixed this flaw, this game would have essentially been a kamige.

Nonetheless, let’s get started!

There may be unintentional mild spoilers in this review! I’ve tried to avoid them at all possible, but please read at your own risk!

Title: 涼風のメルト (Suzukaze no Melt) [TL Note: Suzukaze means “Cool Wind”. For the reference, “舞風” (the sequel) means “Dancing Wind”]
Producers: Whirlpool
Release Date: August 27th, 2010
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v3992
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=680120
Game Type: Fantasy-themed game with themes of “Wishes”

Summary: Akihito is actually a “Shinkan” (神官) who is a descendant of the very old family who has served the Tochikami (土地神) for hundreds of years. In this town of Mishiromachi, there is a legend that this Tochikami resides in a very special place and allows the granting of a wish every 10 years, and in honor of this service, the townspeople have performed a special ceremony of sending in a miko every 10 years into the forest to serve this god, with the wishes of the townspeople delivered by the shinkan.

However, aside from this seemingly super-special role, Akihito isn’t exactly that special. While he does get high grades in school, he doesn’t really have anything else that’s unique about him–everyone already knows that he’s the Shinkan, and in reality, it’s not that important because this title only becomes relevant every 10 years. Instead, his current relationships right now, including his childhood friend Nazuna, is more important to him.

This is until strange, unnatural things start to happen in Mishiromachi, and mystical beings appear out of nowhere. These are “spirits” that hold a special wish from someone in the past, and are only visible to specific people. However, these spirits were not meant to co-exist with the humans of this city, and it falls on Akihito and the people around him to capture these spirits and return them… but to where?

To the Other End of the Universe, of course!

Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Comments: Quite an easy game to clear, there’s really nothing special about the choices given. It is, however, designed in the way you can really only pursue one heroine at a time (this excludes Suzu, who has her own route), so there’s that. Make sure that after clearing a heroine route, though, you go through the heroine’s “絆話り” route, which is essentially an “after-story” which is not actually an after-story because these are events that occur in the past. I’ll discuss this later. “神話り” (Suzu’s Route) appears after all routes and their after-stories are cleared.

The Fandisc includes an “after-after story” for each heroines plus a new heroine (CG below) plus a harem route (?!) AND additional stories for 5 of the subcharacters. Man, talk about loading up the plate for us players!

This is Kureha, the main character exclusive to the Fandisc. I’ll just point out that her route isn’t worth going through.

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 10/10
Protagonist Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Rating Comments: There’s a reason why this game is one of my top favorites and one of the two games that Whirlpool produced a Fandisc Sequel AND a PSP-ported version. Pretty much perfect in terms of story, this is extremely rare because other games that have extremely good stories deserving of this score usually tend to have one or two routes that just knock the points off regardless (See Tsukiyori or this title). However, as mentioned in the foreword, even this “perfect” storyline has a small but critical flaw that took off a whopping 2 points off character design and knock this game down from being a “kamige”.

Akihito himself is actually relatively worthless throughout the entire game, but not as much as other card-board faceless protagonists since he does play important roles in capturing spirits early in the game. I admit I was relatively critical with this score.

Me when I rate protagonists

Character Summary:

Let’s get into character descriptions.

Nazuna is first. Being beautiful isn’t the only trait that this character has; she is very supportive and actually already infatuated to Akihito from the beginning portions of the story. Often coming through Akihito’s window to wake him up since it’s actually faster than coming through the front door, it’s definitely not an understatement that these two characters are often seen as more than just childhood friends.

In reality, Nazuna is the very Miko chosen to serve the Tochikami for 10 years. However, this fact is hidden to everyone except the individuals related to the ceremony, which really adds onto the design of the story. As you progress through the story, it is shown why it’s Nazuna chosen to be the Miko as well, so this was a very good follow-up. If that’s not all, it’s explicitly shown that Nazuna herself has trouble “giving up” on Akihito on other routes, amplifying herself as a character greatly.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Expect a HNNNNGGGG moment when you find out why Nazuna became a Miko.

As essentially the perfect waifu material plus Tono Soyogi voicing this character, I had little trouble having Nazuna as my favorite character. It’s just that very little of her and Akihito’s past is presented throughout the entire series (which includes the fandisc too). One would think that there’s a reason for her to be infatuated to Akihito for years, but this was not mentioned. Really, that was the biggest flaw in Nazuna’s route, while a smaller, more insignificant thing to mention is that Nazuna’s route does have the element of bringing said “past events” out-of-the-blue instead of displaying them in the beginning.

Throwing a book is actually a running gag and a skill that Yoshika has, the head of the History Research Club. Quite the beautiful girl herself, she actually is a hardcore History Maniac which offsets her looks and repels many guys including Kousuke.

taking a book to the head.jpg

As if to support this ridiculous trait, it’s shown that Yoshika would even pretend to be Akihito’s girlfriend to sneak into the ceremonial rehearsals, because it is strictly restricted to outsiders and since Yoshika knows that Akihito will play the Shinkan role, she can try to pry in using him as an excuse. This trait follows along to her being suspicious of Akihito and Nazuna when they act discreetly.

Yoshika’s route actually involves various subcharacters to act as antagonists which is unique to her route. This darker atmosphere allowed Akihito to shine as a protagonist, which was a very good trait.

Despite how this CG is centered around the girl on the left, Yui, it’s actually Ui, the girl on the right, who is the actual heroine. Ui is actually a girl who transferred to the school in Mishiromachi during the middle of the school year, and Akihito originally meet her trying to buy bread from the store, but continuously pushed by the other students. They take her to the History Research Club instead, where they find that she possesses an item called “Shingu” which has some special power related to the spirits.

Ui herself is a very strong character despite her size. Being raised mostly by her grandmother allowed her to learn various tactics in daily lifework and altered her tastes from a normal girl. Yui, however, on the other hand, is very frail and requires continuous hospitalization in various places, which was the reason why Ui kept having to transfer to help her.

Ui’s route also has the romance coming out of nowhere, but was considerably more subtle than other ones, so I guess that was nice. When I first played this game, I actually expected a “shimai-don” route like they did in Magus Tale, but I guess I expected too much LOL

Next is the archetypical “senpai” heroine Tsukino. I say archetypical, but she’s quite a unique character herself, often spacing out or making small mistakes from nothing. I guess this was supposed to be her charm-point, but was actually slightly mismatched with said archetype.

Nonetheless, her route mostly involves how she gets involved in something dangerous involving her life (e.g. a building might collapse on her), but instead of dying, Tsukino doesn’t even have a scratch on her. Basically, she’s somehow able to escape heavy injury in many occasions for some reason. Both she and Akihito believe it may be Chocola, the dog-like (?) spirit that Tsukino has had for as long as she can remember

Tsukino is unique in the sense that in the 絆話り after-story… actually screw that. You can find out for yourself.

Last but definitely not the least is the tochikami herself, who is soon revealed to have a strange name, but accepts another name as “Suzu” (Note at this point that this is the same “Suzu” as in the title of game, Suzukaze).

As the god who watched over the lands for several hundreds of years, Suzu is very knowledgeable about the system of wishes and spirits, so Akihito and the group often come here to seek advice… if they could.

In reality, Suzu lives in a Restricted Area where no one can enter freely. There seems to be a special requirement for someone to enter this area within the forest, and if they do not meet this requirement, the person who enters this area would immediately be teleported outside of the forest.

The tochikami’s residence

Even as a god, it is shown that Suzu herself is relatively ignorant about the changes, and since she never really left this Restricted Area for hundreds of years, she has little knowledge for writing, modern culture, or even snacks. It’s shown that she does have a sweet tooth, which causes some humor in various places.

But she can still be serious at times…

The romance within Suzu’s route was frankly the worst in my opinion, with the two characters (Akihito and her) having absolutely no transition to being lovers. Despite this, the game did have a good set of story for this character, who actually changes her fate for her loved one.

So wait, is Nazuna the central heroine, or Suzu?? @_@

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments: So this is where I’ll be discussing a lot of the story (oh the irony) and its designs. So first, the good parts.

Readers may have noticed that the beginning parts of the game are relatively slow, and even the character routes are pretty much your typical galge-style scenario with conflict -> resolution -> H-scenes. In fact, if you’re sensitive to the game’s romance at all, you’d also notice that there’s a fatal flaw in the sense that there’s almost no development. This was the small but critical “con” that I noticed in the game; how the characters literally felt affection for each other within a couple of days to even instantly with little transitioning. Basically, the initiation of the romance, although it was more well-developed in the later portions of the story, was extremely shallow; kinda like this game.

However, you’d also notice that a special “after-story” called “絆話り” opens for each heroine after you clear her story. PLAY THIS. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. YOU MUST GO THROUGH THIS AFTER STORY NO MATTER WHAT. Expect the quality of each route to freaking skyrocket after reading this after-story because it solves all the questions or holes left by the main one and formulates a strong and definite conclusion for the respective heroine. Like seriously; the game pretty much builds up everything for this very section and relates heavily to the game’s descriptions of “where wishes are drawn to each other”.

And there’s yur–*punch*

Affection for the Characters: Moderate

CG Score: 6/10. Frankly, I’m not TOO much of Tenmaso’s art, and in addition to how her art got pretty weird in the fandisc, I couldn’t help but lower this score a bit :(

Though SDCGs are freaking adorable. Drink more Poca Cola

I also love it when games reference their previous titles within the context of the story.

Music Score: 7/10. I’m generally favorable about the soundtracks of this game, but especially a soundtrack called “Innocence”, which has a very gentle and soothing melody

When your childhood friend brings in a girl.jpg

Addictiveness: High

Conclusion: A great game from Whirlpool which is very different from the charage-crap they have and are producing. No one but the producers know why this piece of gold was mixed with the mounds of coal which is the other games, but it’s nonetheless a game that needs to be played.

Slowpoke moment here, but it seems that Whirlpool has a 10th Anniversary Game called “World Election” set to be released in February 2016. Looking forward to that since there’s actually FOUR ARTISTS including Tenmaso and Mamizu.

Not too fond of the CV choices though :(

Promises made under the Blue Sky: Review of [060331] Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo

Foreword: Whoa, it’s been a long time since a review, but I’m looking to change that today.
Since the beginning of May, I was busy with real-life bullcrap, but somehow made time for my eroge hobbies, and as a goal for this summer break, I decided to go back and play some games I enjoyed the most. In addition to this, I’ll also be going through my backlog while keeping my eyes peeled for new releases. MMORPG is completely out of my scope now, which is kinda sad… Oh well.

Let’s get to this game Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo. So my main reason for choosing this game was because of its previous writer’s with the following three games that I’ve played and absolutely loved:
1) Chocolat Second Brew
2) White Album 2
3) Sekai de ichiban dame na koi
(In that order, too)

These three games were amazing, with the latter two fully competent and capable of being called “kamige”. Naturally, that just means that this game would be amazing as well.

With my standards and hopes at its highest possible, I opened this game. Scroll down to see what I thought about it!

Title: この青空に約束をー (Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo) [Lit. Trans: A Promise for this Blue Sky]
Producers: GIGA
Release Date: March 31, 2006
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v182
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=776143
Game Type: Reality-style Romance Novel with themes of friendship

Summary: Wataru lives in a dorm called “Tsugumi Dormitories” on the island of Minami which is actually a girl’s dorm. Due to the low number of students who are actually willing to climb this 218-step hill to even reach the dormitory, all the 5 students including Wataru have bonded closely; and this also includes their supervisor and teacher, Saeri.

The gathering of its residents!

Regardless, even with their lives at peace, they know that with the graduation this upcoming Spring would leave their dorm with a number less than 5, and the school seems to have plans to tear down the dormitories and to utilize this land for something else.

The thing is, this dorm is a place of memories and something the group cannot let go. This treasured place out of reach of society houses some of the best environments and views, and the students (and one teacher) work very hard to fight off its opponents.

Rinna and Saeri not pictured

The story adds one new character into the group, a girl named “Rinna”, who is very cold and apathetic to everything around her. She refuses to even eat with the others, and with this lone wolf causing concern in everyone, Wataru makes a determination to make this girl a part of their group.
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