Continuing on my Vita love spree, another package arrived 2 weeks ago with Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. For those uninformed and uninitiated, Hakuoki is a long standing visual novel franchise that has had several iterations published here and in Japan. The last version was Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom for the Ps3. Do I own that one already? Yes, yes I do. But since they were flaunting 5 new bachelors, new dialogue and CGs of course I hopped back in willingly. Starting my adventure as Chizuru Yukimura, I was back in trying to romance my favorite ronin.
What I liked:
The story follows the adventures of the Shinsengumi and puts a spin on the historical figures that include vampire powers. Chizuru has come to Kyoto to find her father who has been missing for a few months when she is saved from blood thirsty men with white hair. Because she may have witnessed a secret within the organization, the men take her back to their base where they decide her fate. Along the way, Chizuru gets to know all of the gentleman, discovers the dark mysteries of the Shinsengumi and finds out a few secrets about her own heritage.
When I first found the series a few years ago I was completely unaware of this group but playing the game made me want to find out the REAL history. Even with the liberties taken, this story is full of political intrigue that Chizuru is around to witness. It is interesting to watch the men try to make sense of the world changing around them as they try to claim their place in it or die trying. Oh and there is some romance thrown in but more on that later.
New Text Sequences And Choices
A pleasant surprise was that they changed ALL of the paths to get your favorite bachelor. Some of the choices still worked but there were quite a few that lead you down a different route or had additional dialogue options. Since I knew who I wanted to start with (read: Team Harada) I made frequent use of the rewind function to check out the paths after I finished a choice if it didn’t “feel” right. I played the first time though without a guide to get an authentic experience.
The Visual Novel Mechanics
I hit on this earlier but this game is a standard visual novel with all of the things that come with it. There is a rewind function that lets you redo decisions but there is a cap to it so be careful. You can auto skip dialogue you have read before. Your previous choices are highlighted for you as well. You can save at any point in the story so I would frequently before I made a decision. I also liked that they changed the affection visual effect. The cherry blossoms from before were harder to see at times. There is also a glossary included with important terms to know for new comers.
The Stunning Artwork
I have always been a fan of the artwork in Hakuoki and this iteration is no different. I believe the original artist is no longer working on the franchise so whoever they got to replace them did a great job fitting it in. The men are just as handsome and dashing as they ever were which made my heart swoon.
The New Bachelors Stories
I enjoyed the new paths that they placed in the game. The new husbandos along with their side characters fit in so well you would have thought they were there from the beginning. My personal favorite was Ryoma Sakamoto ♡♡♡
What Was Meh
At times the translation and tone did not match the era the story took place. The biggest offender in this regard is Hijikata. I didn’t remember him cursing so much to the point that I had to actually put in the PS3 version to compare. He still swears like a sailor in that game but it seems like it was overkill for this version.
Where Are The Extras?
There was already a $3.99 DLC waiting for me once I finished the game. Did I buy It? Of course I did. Was it worth It? I think they could have made it 2 bucks for the amount of story it contained which was very little even though it uses 5 bachelor’s. Once you complete all the paths nothing new unlocks either. In the ps3 version you would get letters from your bachelor’s and other side stories. Mind you, the final PS3 version did contain A LOT of the DLC that came out before. This may not have been an issue at all except...
Kyoto Winds is Only Half The Story
That right folks, it’s only half of each bachelor’s romantic routes. I must have missed this in the press releases because I would have waited for the Ps4 version that will be complete had I paid attention. The story cuts off right as you and your snuggle bug go to Edo which was very disappointing. It’s in that regard that the romance portion seems to fall short because you don’t feel that attachment to them. I’m only hyped because I know how Harada’s route is going to close but I definitely wanted to get to know my new loves better.
Some Visual Novels Are better Than None
With all that being said I enjoyed my time with Hakuoki and look forward to the second half. The game fit well on the Vita so I hope companies continue to localize them.
Have you played any of the Hakuoki iterations? Have you played Kyoto Winds? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Until Next Time,
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DreaPoetic is your favorite neighborhood Otaku and JRPG enthusiast for the TAY family. You can follow me on Twitter at @Drea_Poetic04.