Metro PD: Close to You Kirisawa Impressions and Review

Basic Premise: A young policewoman transfers to a large city’s detective unit, learns the ropes, and sometimes falls in love with a fellow detective.

Positives

  • The writing has a lot more flavor than most Voltage/otome games. The banter among the detectives is snappy and natural, like the translator put a good bit of thought into making it work for an English audience. A few characters use coarser language than I’ve found in other titles, but it fits their personalities and makes the setting more believable. A few characters’ referencing religious figures also makes it feel more grounded.
  • The writing keeps a good balance between serious and light moments.  The funny moments are good enough that I’m omitting the usual quote section; I don’t want to ruin any of them.  🙂
  • The case kept me intrigued.
  • In the prologue the MC’s passivity made me a little nervous, but she’s great in this route. She works hard, takes initiative without being reckless, and continues to learn throughout the story without any idiotic mistakes. The other detectives tease her, and she teases them right back. She likes Kirisawa, but she’s not a fourteen-year-old; she yanks herself back into reality and gets on with whatever she should be doing.
  • Kirisawa is a functional adult. No melodramatic angst or abusiveness or projects.  You understand why he and the MC fall for each other and want them to get together.
  • I really, really like the normal ending to Kirisawa’s route. **SPOILERY DISCUSSION AT POST’S END**

Negatives

  • As good as the localization flavor is, the route needed more proofreading. None of the words are misspelled, but about once a chapter or so the wrong word would be used or a few words would seem to be missing.
  • We meet 6 Second Division detectives, 3 First Division detectives, 1 crime scene investigator, and 2 higher administrators who all work with the MC.  They are all men. Would it have killed you to have made ONE of those characters a woman, Voltage? Also, none of the Second Division detectives are married. None. It’s like the MC’s in another dimension.
  • The middle of the best ending bothers me for several reasons. **SPOILERY DISCUSSION AT POST’S END**

Overall: Highly recommended. It’s now in my replay rotation.

*update* Review of Kirisawa’s Armed and Engaged route found here.

*update*  If you like the MC in Kirisawa’s route, try Nomura‘s and Kimura‘s too.

Voltage’s Metro PD: Close to You is available on iOS and Android.

**SPOILERS**

In the normal ending, Kirisawa and the MC do not get together because of how it would affect the detective unit. In the future if one of them is promoted or transferred to another department, they’ll consider it then. I like how reasonable and believable both of them are. The writing for the MC especially shines; she’s hurt, but she’s not resentful or over-the-top. Throughout the chapter and the game she focuses on becoming a good detective, and this ending made me feel like I was playing an awesome police chief’s origin story rather than a romance. ❤

In the best ending, Kirisawa decides he doesn’t care about how their relationship might affect the detective unit. I think it’s intended to be romantic, but it seems out of character. It would have been more consistent for Namura to have offered him the dirty cop’s position or for him to request a transfer. I also have a hard time buying that the MC and Kirisawa are getting that hot and heavy between his broken rib and being in a hospital bed. The worst thing, however, is Kirisawa’s telling the MC he “wants to make [her] mine” and “doesn’t want to share.” Kirisawa’s a good, considerate guy in the rest of the route, and here he sounds like he’s treating the MC like a thing. The final email helps mitigate this, but it still felt icky and out of character. :/

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Life of a Mobster Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: You play a gangster navigating a dangerous world of extortion, drugs, and murder.

Positives

  • The editing and proof-reading are perfect.
  • The many trait, relationship, and even possession options impact the story.
  • The endings are more diverse than I expected for an organized crime game.
  • The individuals in this title have more characterization and interact with each other more than Life of a Wizard, Mike Walter’s earlier game.
  • What you name your kid matters. Ha!

Negatives

  • The writing’s tone can feel a little detached. At times you’re committing or witnessing all these dark and grisly acts, but those scenes do not have much detail and did not feel very immediate to me.

Bottom Line: Recommended. I like this one even more than Life of a Wizard.

Mike Walter’s Life of a Mobster is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Google Chrome.

Our Two Bedroom Story: His POV Impressions and Review

These reviews assume you have already played Kaoru, Chiaki, and Akiyoshi‘s main routes and makes no attempt to keep those plot unspoiled.

Apply to all the Routes:

  • The main character does not have a sprite. To keep the male lead from talking to the background, the guy’s sprite appears. After seeing the MC in the In Your Arms Tonight and Speakeasy Tonight POVs, it took a while to adjust.
  • The story has no choices and only one ending.
  • Therefore I would wait for a sale – even for the routes I recommend.

Kaoru POV

Positives

  • The word choice and editing are among the best I’ve found in a translated game. I hope whoever did this continues to work with Voltage.

  • The judgmental cat makes me laugh.

  • Kaoru doesn’t compare the MC with his dead girlfriend. She doesn’t feel like a substitute or replacement.

  • The final chapter. No, I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Negatives

  • Kaoru’s “I thought I was the only one who got hurt because it was my memento that got broken” remark does not gel with the earlier chapter’s commentary.

  • The cat walking scene from the main route is retold.

Quotes

  • Kaoru: I know she was about to say something important. I guess that’s my cue to come out with some reassuring words and stuff.

  • Me: Ha!

Overall: Recommended. This route goes a long way towards amending the flaws of the main route.

Chiaki POV

Positives

  • I was happy to find the MC had moved out. (I never played Chiaki’s main route.) Good for you, MC!

  • Drunk MC is funny.

  • The conversation between Chiaki and Akiyoshi is really good.

Negatives

  • The view point of this story shifts. Some of the time Chiaki’s narrating events as they occur, and some of the time it’s as though he’s looking back at past events. It’s off-putting.

  • What’s going on with Chiaki’s neck? His missing mom must be a giraffe.

  • Chiaki still creeped me out at the end. Like once he tired of the MC he’d be back to using her and others.

Quotes

  • Chiaki: I really don’t like women anyway.
  • Me (having just finished Kaoru’s route): No kidding.  XD

  • Chiaki: I was being a real jerk, but she’s not going to bring that up, is she?
  • Me: Nope, but I will.

Overall: Not recommended.

Akiyoshi POV

Positives

  • It feels like the same translator who did Kaoru’s route also did Akiyoshi’s. It’s well executed.
  • Akiyoshi’s thoughts and emotions are appropriate for his age and position. He comes across as a grown-up.
  • Everything I like about the MC in Akiyoshi’s main route shines in this one. I find her funnier and more believable too.

Negatives

  • The two “I do not deserve happiness” moments feel too melodramatic when compared to the tone of the rest of the route.

Quotes

  • Akiyoshi: …are Ando’s wife and a young boy. She’s lost a lot of weight since her husband died.
  • Me: Considering she was heavily pregnant however many years ago that was, I should think so. XD

Overall: Recommended.

Voltage’s Our Two Bedroom Story is available on iOS and Android.

Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Takeshi 3 Years Later Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: Both now in college, the MC and Takeshi deal with a career-ending injury.

Positives

  • Takeshi and the MC feel like real people with believable emotions and interactions.
  • This route’s MC is awesome. She helps Tak without coddling or bullying him and still keeps up with her own responsibilities.
  • I like the execution of the plot itself so much. Takeshi’s injury seriously affects his ability to run, is acknowledged as a big problem, and isn’t magically fixed by the end of the route. Don’t change this in the first chapter of the next sequel, Voltage. Stories need consequences.

Negatives

  • The first chapter has a long flash-back to scenes in which the characters reminisce about the events of the main route. Then it has scenes in the present filled with characters reminiscing even more. The tone is incredibly cutesy and without benefit of Ichigo or Rihito providing snarky commentary. Ugh.
  • Either the original writer or the translator has absolutely no idea how to treat an injured leg, asthma, or a pulled back. Apparently one can have major leg surgery and then leave the hospital a week later without a cast, brace, crutches, or wheelchair AND without anyone scheduling any kind of follow-up or physical therapy appointments. I’m not even going to start on the kid with asthma…

Everything Else

  • Takeshi’s parents still don’t appear much. After their absence in the previous routes, it’s not surprising. For a while there I honestly thought they had died. XD

Overall: Highly recommended.  This is my favorite of all the Dreamy Days routes.

Voltage’s Dreamy Days in West Tokyo is available on iOS and Android.

In Your Arms Tonight Shohei Sequel Impressions and Review – Slight Spoilers

Basic Premise: The main character and Shohei create their own relationship obstacles one year after becoming a couple.

Positives

  • When the MC and Shohei are not refusing to talk with each other about their insecurities, their dialog and interactions flow naturally.
  • The MC has more professional responsibilities and navigates the accompanying problems well.

Negatives

  • The visuals are sloppy. Articles of clothing disappear and reappear; different areas of the same building have completely different decorating and art styles.
  • Too many flash-backs clog the story. Every chapter has at least one flash-back to an over-the-top moment of the main route or a flash-back to a scene in the sequel. Most chapters have more than one.
  • I liked Shohei in the main route, but the further I got into the sequel, the less I liked or believed him as a character. He says and does some things that are inconsistent both for his personality and with the plot arc.
  • *minor spoiler* The MC blames herself when a coworker kisses her because she “left herself open” and therefore feels guilty. They were walking back from a work assignment to the office. She had never flirted, and the coworker knew she was dating someone else. And yet the MC still feels like it’s her fault because…she existed near a man with poor impulse control? For the rest of the story, the writer lets her stew in this misplaced guilt and never points out or implies that she’s the victim, not someone to blame. No. NO. NO.

Quotes

  • MC: “You could have left me alone.”
  • Shohei: “Oh? I can drop you off in that dumpster over there…”
  • MC: “I should thank you, Shohei.”
  • Shohei: “What for?”
  • MC: “Just ‘cuz.”
  • Shohei: “…Weirdo.”
  • MC: “Oh, are you bad at accepting gratitude too?”
  • Miyata: “What’s so great about Shohei?”
  • Me: “Where’s the ‘Nothing. After the past few weeks; I’m ditching him’ option?”
  • *Shohei tells family about their relationship*
  • Ryota: “Thank you, Mai!”
  • Mayu: “For accepting our dumb big brother…”
  • Hiroki: “Are you sure Sho’s good enough?”
  • Aki: “If he’s not, don’t be afraid to dump him!”
  • Me: “LISTEN TO AKI, WOMAN!”

Overall: Not recommended. Some of the early dialogs are lovely, but Shohei himself is too inconsistent. :/

Voltage’s In Your Arms Tonight is available on iOS and Android.

Dreamy Days in West Tokyo Rihito Main Route Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: The seventeen-year-old main character moves back to the town and friends she left ten years ago.

Positives

  • The MC speaks her mind without becoming pushy.
  • Rihito’s feelings about his piano performance and wanting to succeed for his mother ring true. It’s a weird feeling to both love and feel smothered by something at the same time, and this route pulls this out nicely.
  • Rihito’s mother is a sympathetic character. While she is the source of most of the plot conflict, she never seems like a cartoon villain. The ending conversation between her and the MC is good too.
  • The e-mails for this route sound like a teenager wrote them and follow the plot without being a blow-by-blow plot regurgitation.
  • The other guys are funny in this route.

Negatives

  • A few of the word choices for the music sections are off. They aren’t exactly wrong, but they aren’t what a serious musician would use either.

Everything Else

  • No sixteen-year-old is as articulate and open about their family past and emotional baggage as Rihito is. The execution is good enough that it didn’t irritate me, but those long conversations with the MC are not realistic.
  • This story is low-key and quiet.  If you’re looking for lots of drama and grand gestures, keep searching.

Quotes

  • Ryuzo: “Sorry…I couldn’t do it right.”
  • Haruki: “You did a great job, Ryu!”
  • MC: “Yeah, your voice was booming!”
  • Ichigo: “Yeah, you just got the melody wrong.”
  • Ryuzo: “Are you and Rihito really–?”
  • MC: “I can guarantee you that nothing you’re thinking about now has happened.”
  • Ichigo: “I don’t know about that. He’s (Rihito) got a dirty mind.”
  • Ryuzo: “MC! I-I can’t–!”
  • MC: “Ichigo! Don’t do that to Ryu!”

Overall: Recommended.

Voltage’s Dreamy Days in West Tokyo is available on iOS and Android.

Heroes Rise: HeroFall Impressions and Review – Spoilers

HeroFall Image

Basic Premise: In the final act of the Heroes Rise trilogy, you play a hero trying both to regain lost super powers and to protect family in a dangerous political climate.

Bottom Line: Recommended; a must-play for those who enjoyed the first two Heroes Rise games. Not recommended for those looking to enter the series. While I like both, you can probably get away with skipping The Prodigy and starting with The Hero Project and feel caught up.

Spoilers Ahead!

Positives

  • Decisions from the first and second installments change the options available in this third installment. I was pleased my character could remind two minor secondary characters about how she kept their secret early in the first game.

  • The stats matter.

  • Prodigal’s past actions aren’t ignored. She has kidnapped and killed many people, the game acknowledges it, and doesn’t really soften her. Instead Sergi (the author) makes Prodigal an entertaining fruit loop. Her commentary on a situation usually made me laugh.

  • When Jenny died I felt walloped.

  • Sergi obviously made some characters available for romances at players’ requests, but he makes sure the player knows he judges those choices and does not think they make sense. XD

  • The story has a proper conclusion and epilogue.

Negatives

  • Not having a high enough revenge stat negates the option to kill Victon. It makes sense by the numbers, but not necessarily for the story. One particular hero had just watched his love Prodigal be murdered by Victon as he was also trying to kill him and his parents. Dude had had enough…but couldn’t shank the guy because he wasn’t consistently vengeful.  Emotions don’t work like that.  :/

Choice of Games’ Heroes Rise: HeroFall is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Steam.