My review of Voltage’s Kiss of Revenge will sound pretty irritated. To anyone who enjoys the characters who make my eyelid twitch uncontrollably: I’m glad you could enjoy them and don’t want to start an internet slap-fight. I like all these characters as concepts; the execution was just too poor at times to let me enjoy them.
*Glares at whoever wrote Junpei’s route*
Unlike my other game posts in which I attempt to stay vague so as not to spoil the story, this one will be SPOILER CITY. You have been warned.
First, I’ll list a few positives that apply to all the main character routes:
- The MC is a smart and talented surgeon who genuinely wants to help her patients.
- The MC has a definite, serious goal: take revenge on the person who killed her mother. She’s not some clueless teenager looking for a hot date.
- The romance (at least in the original routes) takes a back seat to the thriller aspects of the story.
- The nurses who work in the hospital appear regularly and are differentiated nicely.
- None of the guys are abusive or obnoxious. Yes, it does sound weird to list that as a positive trait, but some of Voltage’s writers seem to confuse sexual and emotional harassment with romance.
Now, on to the negatives that apply to all the routes:
- The entire set-up has a plot hole wide enough to drive an eighteen-wheeler through. Somehow the MC knows Director Sezaki killed her mother without any evidence or anyone telling her. Her father and grandmother didn’t know. No one ever accused the doctor or hospital of malpractice. Yes, her mom died during the surgery, but that’s not proof. People die every day in surgery despite the medical staff doing everything right. How was she so certain that she knew exactly who she would be justified in murdering? I kept waiting for the story to explain, but it didn’t.
- There’s not one option to kill the Director? Really? That’s the whole point the MC becomes a doctor and goes to that hospital, and she can’t kill him? She doesn’t have to get away with it even – it just needed to be an option.
- Doctors magically know what poison has been used on victims without any kind of testing or evidence and have the antidote close by. Voltage…you know there are many types of poison, right? And that there are many antidotes? And that mind-readers don’t exist in this story’s universe?
- If you have ANY knowledge of how the medical profession or hospitals work, skip this game entirely. I have family and friends who are doctors and nurses, and I have worked in medical practices so believe me when I say: NO FUNCTIONAL HOSPITALS OR MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENTS WORK THIS WAY. The writers get so much wrong it’s hard to pick out just a few as examples, but here are two of the worst offenders: Firstly, the story goes on and on about how amazing Sezaki is as a surgeon and how his refusal to rest and his internalizing any past mistakes shows just how AWESOME a doctor he is. Guys, would you like to be operated on by someone who hasn’t slept in two days? At that point, his decision-making ability is equal to a staggering drunk. Secondly, Kyosuke Narumi is ALWAYS available for the MC but somehow the most caring and “above and beyond the call of duty” doctor. What, does he get ten extra hours in the day to both take care of all his patients AND hang around in a different department to offer the MC coffee?
Now, on to the individual routes:
- Soichiro Irie: my favorite guy, favorite route, and the only one I care to replay. Irie is intelligent, responsible, cunning, and more believable than the other guys. The scenes with his mentor are really good. My only irritation with his route is the MC trying to make Irie feel bad because he has responsibilities other than being available for his patients 24/7. Irie makes certain the patients are cared for before leaving to make an educational presentation to his peers…and that’s bad? Good grief, Voltage, do you not want good doctors sharing their medical knowledge and, at times, securing funding for expensive hospital equipment? The mind boggles.
- Junpei Miyashita: the requisite nice guy who’s liked the MC for years; because he’s a salesman the “THAT’S NOT HOW HOSPITALS WORK” irritant does not come up nearly as often. I enjoyed how not interested in Junpei the MC is. She felt much more focused on her goal than in some of the other routes. The way it’s told drove me crazy though. The game will announce “MC remembers this and feels nostalgic,” then Junpei will say “wow, I remember this and feel nostalgic,” and then MC will say “yeah, I remember this too and feel nostalgic.” Rinse and repeat for the next area they visit or activity they do. Voltage, I don’t have short-term memory loss. Telling me once will suffice. Could we get back to what’s going on in the present?
- Kyosuke Narumi: yet another all-over-the-place character and route. I like how dedicated Kyosuke is to his patients without going over-the top, and he is genuinely kind and funny. His route has issues though; besides the “no doctor has this kind of time” problem, he spends a good chunk of the story feeling like a crummy doctor while the MC keeps telling him he’s not. I could accept it if he were in med school or just graduated, but Kyosuke’s in his 30s. He shouldn’t need some person he just met to repeatedly tell him he’s not a failure. How did he make it so long before she showed up? Time to put on your big boy pants, dude.
- Issei Sezaki: *SPOILER* *SPOILER* *SPOILER* Sezaki’s route feels like it would be the one chosen for an adaptation. His story feels the most closely tied to the MC’s. As the surgeon who killed the MC’s mother and who was severely traumatized by the experience, it seems like they should mirror and complement each other. It’s unfortunate then that of all the routes, his worked the least for me. The moments when they are working together are nice, and the MC’s professional acknowledgments are also good. However, I kept hitting a dissonance between Sezaki’s actions and his feelings that prevent me from connecting with him. If Sezaki really felt so terribly guilty – guilty enough to give the MC a perfect opportunity to murder him – why had he not done something before then? Years upon years it’s been eating him up inside yet he didn’t report the accident, never apologized to the family, and did not commit suicide. Please don’t misunderstand me; suicide’s a terrible thing and I’d hate for him to do it, but if he was so guilty and miserable that he was willing to die, why did Sezaki wait for the MC to murder him? That’s making things even worse for the MC. If the MC did kill him, then she’d have to live with the pain of losing her family and the guilt of killing Sezaki. Either he didn’t feel all that bad or he’s just too cowardly to face public scrutiny and is using the MC as a tool. Ugh. Then pile on all the ridiculousness of his refusal to rest or communicate with others when both are so important as a doctor. No. Just…no.
As you can likely tell by now, I’m not a big fan of this title. If the premise still intrigues you, I suggest Irie’s route. He feels the most reasonable, and it will also give you a chance to measure your tolerance to the melodrama and disconnect from any medical reality present in all the routes.
I promise the next review will be more positive!