Scarlet Fate Akifusa Route Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Comments that apply to all the routes in Shall We Date?: Scarlet Fate

  • An active, competent main character tries to save her village and friends from supernatural disaster.
  • The plot, not cutesy romance fluff, dominates the story. Politics, divine beings, and war feature in all the routes.
  • The translation is competent, and the story flows. The point of view shifts are not always well-signaled though.
  • The word “sin” is used all the time and for situations that don’t quite fit. Once I started replacing the word “sin” with “guilt,” the story and themes made much more sense.

Comments for Akifusa’s route in particular

Positives

  • The MC and Akifusa are both excellent warriors who watch out for each other and lead the soldiers well.
  • The main plot has some surprisingly somber character moments and parallels.
  • Tomonori, one of the village leaders, is awesome. I wanted the option to ditch Akifusa and team up with him.

Negatives

  • The same sentiments and memories are replayed at least half a dozen times each without any change or relationship growth. The route’s seventeen chapters long, and five of them could have been cut without losing anything.  SO. BORED.
  • The MC always seems to view Akifusa as a close friend or brother, never a potential lover. It’s weird.

Bottom Line: The bones of a good story dragged down by padding and lack of relationship growth.  :-/  Try another route instead.

Idea Factory’s Shall We Date?: Scarlet Fate courtesy of NTT Solmare is available on iOS and Android.

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Serendipity Next Door Izumi Sequel Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: Izumi and the MC face extended family problems.

Well that was a disappointment. I really enjoy Izumi’s main route for the two main leads and their interactions. The sequel has none of that. All the characters had me yelling “WHO ACTS LIKE THIS?!” The execution of the plot is clumsy, especially compared to the original route. Either the two stories have different writers, or the same writer didn’t put in as much effort for the sequel.

I’m skipping the usual positive and negative sections because I couldn’t make myself muddle all the way through it again to take notes. Still, have a few quotes from the first few chapters:

  • MC: “I gotta work harder so I look like your girlfriend!” I puff out my cheeks and clench my fists.
  • Me: Whaaaat?

  • MC: I smile at him, but he doesn’t notice and looks away.
  • Me: Editor needed in chapter three

  • MC: Just then, isomer jogs up.
  • Me: Overly helpful spell-check strikes again.

Overall: Not recommended.  :/ I’m off to play Izumi’s main route again to purge the taste.

Voltage’s Serendipity Next Door is available on iOS and Android.

My Killer Romance Kieran Sequel Volume Three Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Kieran’s main route review is here.

Kieran’s sequel volume one and two reviews are here.

Positives

  • Nelly comes back for this volume.
  • The MC’s power and family history feature in the story.
  • The Realms’ lore and history feature prominently.
  • The two endings diverge.

Negatives

  • This route has enough story for three volumes crammed into one. It’s an interesting plot, but so much has to be done that no time is left for character development or exploring any of the lore and political threads that are introduced.
  • Without getting into plot spoilers…the MC and Aria’s relationship drives me batty. MC: “Kieran, it is so important that I know about my heritage and family which is why I must speak to Character X.” Yet it never once occurs to her to ask her mother. Aria even sends the player an email expressing her concern and wish to visit. *headdesk*

Overall: The best plot of Kieran’s sequels coupled with the worst pacing and character development. It’s still worth trying if you enjoyed the previous sequels.

Voltage Entertainment USA’s My Killer Romance is available on iOS and Android.

Hakuoki Impressions and Review – Spoilers

I realized I cannot review Idea Factory’s Scarlet Fate without referencing their earlier game Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and its definitive edition re-release Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi. As many reviews detailing what kind of game it is, who the Shinsengumi are, and the general plot already exist, my impressions and review will focus solely on the characters and routes. As always, these are just my reactions. If you enjoy a route I don’t, more power to you.  Also, wordpress is fighting me on the formatting so apologies for the layout.

SPOILERS AHEAD IN


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Toshizo Hijikata’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura, the MC: I like how much initiative she has during key plot choices, but her flustered crush the entire route got old.


On Hijikata: I like him the least as a character in this route. He spends much of his time bemoaning the fate of Kondou, the other Shinsengumi, and the way of the Samurai. And it IS hard, but in this route you get to hear all the horrible things the Shinsengumi did in the past while reading chapter after chapter of angsting. In the other routes, I sympathized with Hijikata. In this route, I kind of felt like if they had done all those horrible things to their soldiers and prisoners that I was okay with their losing.


On the relationship: Make up your **** mind, dude. Either you’re into her or not. I really felt the age difference, and for so much of the route Hijikata seems to feel it too and treats Chizuru as a parent would a child. And he’s good in that role. It never does feel like a relationship between equals even in the best ending.


On the plot: This route is the longest, and my goodness did I ever feel it. It just drags on. And on. And on. I did however enjoy one of the secondary character that only appears in this route, Ootori Keisuke. He represented a unique viewpoint, using Western tactics while standing with the shogunate.

Souji Okita’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I don’t like how she has to keep making choices to seek out such an obvious jerk. The writing where she finally remembers how her origin family was destroyed and her accompanying emotions was lovely though.


On Okita: Nope. Cruel tease who loves Kondou way too much for it just to be friendship.


On the relationship: I don’t understand why they’re together. I really don’t. Maybe the “and then they both die” ending would make me understand?


On the plot: The main antagonist is Kaoru, Chizuru’s brother. Kaoru resents that Chizuru is a girl and therefore was cared for better than he was, and spends the second half of the game trying to make her as miserable as possible. Because she has a uterus and he doesn’t. Apparently he too wishes to be stalked by homicidal demons and forced to bear their children. What the heck.

Hajime Saito’s Route

On Chizuru Yukumra: She’s not as active as here as she is in, say, Heisuke’s route, but she’s intelligent and feels the most mature of the fully-fledged character routes. In this route she cares about all the Shinsengumi, but the menace from them always is present. She also doesn’t idealize individuals or different worldviews, something that really grated in some other routes.


On Saito: Intelligent, loyal, and deeply focused, Saito is not the person to choose when you need a hug or a chatty drinking partner. He’s not mean or dismissive – just not interested in anything outside his goals. Any time I read a story in which one of the main characters is supposed to be cool but the author makes him a jerk too, I want to email this route. Reserved, quiet people don’t need to be jerks.


On the relationship: I like this route because it feels like the MC’s choice the most. Chizuru and Saito know each other as comrades for years before a romantic relationship begins. Saito does not pressure her, she does not pressure him, and she makes her own decision. There are barely any romantic moments in the main story so don’t choose this route it you’re in a mushy mood, but the epilog is incredibly sweet.


On the plot: The first time I played through it I expected Chizuru to die, but I was fine with that because, again, she feels like a grown-up making her own decisions. I was also fascinated by Amagiri, one of the secondary demons. He works with Chikage yet has his own goals and ethics.

Heisuke Toudou’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like how active she in this route and that she calls Heisuke on his crap.


On Heisuke: The youngest of the group, Heisuke is still trying to figure out who is right and wrong in this civil war and what actions can be justified.


On the relationship: This is a romance between equals and feels believable.


On the plot: The secondary characters Senhime, Kimigiku, and Sannan drive this exciting story. Kimigiku broke my heart at the end.

Saonosuke Harada’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like how active she in the first part of the route and how the revelation of her true nature deeply shakes her. She’s terribly dense about Harada’s interest though.


On Harada: I appreciate that he (and his best friend Nagakura) wish to protect others, not cling to an old code.


On the relationship: Chizuru’s cluelessness about Harada’s feelings is painful to witness. That may be why his is the only route with a sex scene – he’d tried every other way to make her understand he loved her.


On the plot: Secondary demon Shiranui Kyo features prominently and never fails to make me smile. The guy’s nuts. This route focuses much more on personal relationships than the battles and politics.

Kazama Chikage’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like her in this one. Her assessing the situation at different points then taking the most logical option (even if it does make everyone else do a double-take) is refreshing.


On Chikage: He still wants Chizuru to be his demon baby mama, but I liked him once I decided to ignore his characterization in the other routes. He can be considerate while still wanting to take over Japan.


On the relationship: It’s a prolog – a fun prolog, but there isn’t a relationship by the end.


On the plot: See *Default Route*

Default Route

Nearly everyone but Chizuru dies. I actually like this one. XD

Overall: A well-executed civil war tragedy in which romance takes a backseat.

Idea Factory’s Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is available on PSP and the definitive Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi is available on PS3.

Metro PD: Close to You Nomura Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

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

Positives

  • I really like this MC. She works hard, takes initiative, holds fast to her ideals, apologizes when she should, teaches her trainee well, and says what needs to be said.
  • All the characters are funny. The emails are particularly well done.
  • Different women detectives appear, and they all have personality and appear competent at their chosen profession.
  • Nomura’s back-story and personality have enough nuance that I could accept the more over-the-top elements.
  • The mystery plot kept me interested even though I figured out part of it a few chapters before the MC.
  • The localization and proofreading are near perfect. The Tabasco references make me wonder if the translator is Southern.
  • Unlike Kirisawa’s route, I like both endings for this one.

Negatives

  • Why does Nomura’s office have “Production” stenciled on the wall?
  • Oh look. A sprite without a gun appears while the text keeps saying that character holds a gun.
  • The MC can be a little slow on the uptake in service to the plot.
  • Without getting into spoilers…if the MC suspected X of shady dealings, why didn’t she speak with her immediate superior? In this route, everyone trusts Kirisawa so her not even considering talking with him feels odd.

Quote

  • MC: How do you react when something sad happens?
  • Nomura: I just keep moving.
  • Me: Oh good. She’s trying to hook up with Dory.

Overall: Highly recommended. It’s funny, has a nuanced male lead, and features a great MC.

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

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

Speakeasy Tonight Neil POV Impressions and Review

This review assumes you have played Neil’s main route (detailed review found here) and makes no attempt to keep the plot unspoiled.

Positives

  • Shakespeare quotes are everywhere. I may have played through it twice in twenty-four hours to find all the quotes.
  • Neil’s tangent on Sherlock made me laugh because it’s accurate.  I’m improving, but I’ve certainly gone off on an author or historical event and then realized the other person’s shell-shocked.
  • Having an unwelcome ghost accompany Neil allows him to preserve his stand-offish attitude from the main route and explores his history without it becoming a straight info-dump. That it’s a common device Shakespeare employed is also a bonus.
  • Alton, the ghost, spends most of his time needling Neil. I was disappointed when he stopped appearing. Come back, Alton!
  • The flashbacks featuring Lillie, Neil’s former fiance, are done well. They are brief and show how much WWI affected Neil and his generation without smacking me about the head. It’s also a whole lot more believable than the “I’ve never loved anyone before you” nonsense some other routes try to sell.
  • Lillie has her own distinctive sprite.
  • The POV route gives context as to why Neil shares his past with the MC at specific moments.
  • The MC matches the main route’s – focused and smart but not a know-it-all. Her mentioning that she picked up the Shakespeare quote from her father is a nice touch. Even if her family’s more old-fashioned than she is, they aren’t dismissed as uneducated.

Negatives

  • The music does not change. Having Broody relate his nightmares or snog a girl while upbeat music plays kills the mood. Mute before loading.
  • Half the time she appears onscreen, the MC wears an unfortunate startled face.

Wait-a-Minute Moments

  • Lillie’s parents and Neil’s younger sister are mentioned, but his parents are not addressed at all. Wouldn’t they feel something about their engagement or the break up?

Overall: Highly recommended. I loved Neil’s main route for the MC. I like this one for Neil himself.

Voltage Entertainment USA’s Speakeasy Tonight is available on iOS.