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Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom |OT| - All's fair in love and the Shinsengumi.

Kazerei

Banned
Nov 25, 2010
12,123
1
0
I just bought the game! While all the local GameStops had it in stock, they were already accounted for by preorders at the two locations nearest me. Luckily the next location had an available copy. Whew!

Is there anything I should know before I start?
 

Hours Left

Member
Jun 28, 2006
33,689
1
0
Amazon Canada is terrible.

But I guess pretty much every retailer here is terrible.

I got my LE today from EBGames.ca
As usual, they insist on saving a few cents by shipping in a useless envelope. Of course, now my pretty LE box is absolutely destroyed. It's crushed worse than I've had anything else damaged in the mail before... at least the contents look okay. But... /sigh
Sometimes... this country...

Usually I don't have any trouble with Amazon, but they can be a bit slow with the more niche games. It says my shipping estimate isn't until Monday, which makes even less sense.

I'm really hoping they ship it tomorrow, though I should of just been more patient with my local haunt. I could be playing it right now. :(

Sorry to here that your copy got damaged. Could you maybe return it to a local EBGames for an exchange?
 

firehawk12

Subete no aware
Sep 10, 2007
61,792
0
1,160
Toronto/Guelph
I got my copy. I almost want to return it and buy the digital version, since the passport program is "dead", but I also want the LE.

I guess this means I'll probably double dip in a year. You got me Aksys, you got me. :p
 

Sagitario

Member
Jun 9, 2004
10,582
0
0
My order shipped!
And I got a free upgrade to FedEx International Priority, so it should be here by Monday! :D
 
I just bought the game! While all the local GameStops had it in stock, they were already accounted for by preorders at the two locations nearest me. Luckily the next location had an available copy. Whew!

Is there anything I should know before I start?

It ain't easy to get on a certain someone's path, that's for sure. No cut and dry choices, at least very few. Hijikawa's path is a nightmare. Rin in Katawa Shoujo would be jealous.
 

Varshes

Member
Sep 6, 2006
1,399
0
1,260
Amazon Canada is terrible.

But I guess pretty much every retailer here is terrible.

I got my LE today from EBGames.ca
As usual, they insist on saving a few cents by shipping in a useless envelope. Of course, now my pretty LE box is absolutely destroyed. It's crushed worse than I've had anything else damaged in the mail before... at least the contents look okay. But... /sigh
Sometimes... this country...

That blows, reminds me of the Skyrim soundtrack that came in a crappy envelope that I got. I would go in for an exchange if it's severly crushed for sure.
 

Kazerei

Banned
Nov 25, 2010
12,123
1
0
It ain't easy to get on a certain someone's path, that's for sure. No cut and dry choices, at least very few. Hijikawa's path is a nightmare. Rin in Katawa Shoujo would be jealous.

Thanks. I'll try to uncover as many paths as possible by myself, but I don't have the patience for alot of trial-and-error.

Now excuse me as a curl up in bed with my PSP :>
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Amazon Canada is terrible.

But I guess pretty much every retailer here is terrible.

I got my LE today from EBGames.ca
As usual, they insist on saving a few cents by shipping in a useless envelope. Of course, now my pretty LE box is absolutely destroyed. It's crushed worse than I've had anything else damaged in the mail before... at least the contents look okay. But... /sigh
Sometimes... this country...
Amazon at least guarantees that I'll get everything with my game, and they'll deliver it unscathed due to the packaging they use. I haven't had problems with them, ever. Their store selection is terrible for sure, and they sometimes never get the same deals as Amazon US (prompting me to order from the US side, like in the case of Rayman Origins for the artbook, for example), but at least they seem to do everything else fine (though sometimes they delay stuff for some reasons which I don't comprehend).

I had a problem with EBGames.ca and I will never use them again; I kinda figured they'd cheap out on shipping like that and crush the box. GameStop.com at least shipped Chrono Trigger and 999 to me in a proper fashion, and that was from the States.

That really sucks, though. Maybe you could exchange it or file a complaint?

It's so close, but I still have to wait. :/
I took a really long nap this evening, missed the call, and will have to pick it up tomorrow, so I'll be waiting a bit longer. Eh, I figured they wouldn't want to see me two days in a row since I picked up my Vita on Wednesday. LOL.

Edit: Oh wait, there's a snowstorm tomorrow. Hmmmm... Might be worth going out in the snow. Ha.
 

frequency

Member
Aug 5, 2010
5,754
2
0
Usually I don't have any trouble with Amazon, but they can be a bit slow with the more niche games. It says my shipping estimate isn't until Monday, which makes even less sense.

I'm really hoping they ship it tomorrow, though I should of just been more patient with my local haunt. I could be playing it right now. :(

Sorry to here that your copy got damaged. Could you maybe return it to a local EBGames for an exchange?

That blows, reminds me of the Skyrim soundtrack that came in a crappy envelope that I got. I would go in for an exchange if it's severly crushed for sure.

Amazon at least guarantees that I'll get everything with my game, and they'll deliver it unscathed due to the packaging they use. I haven't had problems with them, ever. Their store selection is terrible for sure, and they sometimes never get the same deals as Amazon US (prompting me to order from the US side, like in the case of Rayman Origins for the artbook, for example), but at least they seem to do everything else fine (though sometimes they delay stuff for some reasons which I don't comprehend).

I had a problem with EBGames.ca and I will never use them again; I kinda figured they'd cheap out on shipping like that and crush the box. GameStop.com at least shipped Chrono Trigger and 999 to me in a proper fashion, and that was from the States.

That really sucks, though. Maybe you could exchange it or file a complaint?

I'm just going to let it go I think.
None of my local stores have it in stock so I can't exchange it easily.

I just had a terrible experience trying to do online exchange of my Vita with Amazon. So I don't want to deal with more headaches. I'll just cry a while and I'll feel better. At least it's just the outside cardboard box.

Amazon is just so slow sending anything out and they have such poor stock levels. It's probably because I compare them to Amazon US or something. I don't know. I do like their cardboard foldy thingies they use. Way better than envelopes. But... 80% of the time, I don't get stuff sent until the week after release. Other people say they get stuff fine. I think they just put lower priority on my stupid little city or something.

All online retailers are so sub-standard. But the only local place that stocks niche stuff here is EB Games, and they only get enough for pre-orders, if even that. I've had pre-orders unable to be fulfilled because they weren't sent enough.

It's just Canada in general makes me sad sometimes.
 

frequency

Member
Aug 5, 2010
5,754
2
0
Do you live in Toronto, frequency?

No. As much hate as Toronto gets from other Canadians, I wish I lived in an important city like that. But I'm not fortunate enough. As far as retailers are concerned, my city is low tier and not important. We barely get any shipments of niche things, and shipping always comes days after it does for important cities like Toronto and Vancouver and stuff.

On like the Canadian deals thread and stuff, I always see people getting their shipments like right away for pre-orders. For the most part, the best I get is a week after release before stuff even ships out.

But now I'm whining too much. :(
Could be worse I guess. At least it's not Australia or something.
 

Cheska

Member
Nov 27, 2010
5,921
0
0
California
www.neogaf.com
Oh dangit, I was hoping to play this on my Vita :(


EDIT: Bought the LE off Amazon, though I am still keeping my fingers crossed about Vita compatibility. Is there an Englush dub available or subs only?
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Yeah, going to school in TO was really convenient for me because there are a ton of places to purchase games, or they seem to get stuff earlier than where I live/get more unique stuff than where I live. Ah well.

Been fooling around with my Vita, but I guess I have to go back to the PSP tonight since I picked up my LE. The artbook is quite nice. I'll be listening to the soundtrack a little later, but I'm quite eager to finally play this. ^__^

Fake Edit because I wanted to post something substantial:

Early impressions.

I've seen complaints about the font, but I don't think it's too bad outside of crossed ascenders. I've seen worse font implementation. I've also seen complaints about vocabulary usage, but I don't really see an issue here either. Perhaps I'm biased since I studied linguistics, but I don't think it's out of the ordinary for "heavier" lexical items to be used in this sort of context. I don't mind the profanity either because it's generally used naturally as opposed to being shoehorned in.

Music isn't bad so far. It's VN music. There are a few in there that I like quite a bit, though. Music loops like older versions of Sonic CD prior to the Retro Engine version--it doesn't loop properly, so the track fades out after a while as opposed to looping like it's supposed to.

Playing around with buttons during dialogue scene, I'm happy to see that I can pull up a menu at any time to check the encyclopedia if it gets updated. Saving/Loading any time I want is pretty much a staple of VNs (or the ones that I've played).

I'm glad that Chizuru isn't voiced since it seems like they could have played with her speech or dialogue and no one would know the difference unless they've played the Japanese version. Voicework for the other characters is nicely done (Japanese voicework only).

Mixing: It's a lot like Deadly Premonition/Red Seeds Profile--turn the music volume way down below the VA volume if hearing the VA is important to you.

Love/S-Link animation: I think it's nice that it's in there to show you if you're befriending certain characters, but they don't really add to the scene much. I disabled them.

Romance -- lol, if you think this is all lovey-dovey-fall-hard-for-a-guy-sugar-butterflies-rainbows sort of otome game, it isn't really. While the romantic stuff is a small fraction of the game so far, much of the narrative is focused on historical aspects, some of the violent/dark/dramatic stuff, and supernatural events, and thus the narrative seems to cater to both genders as opposed to just one. Guys'll get a lot out of this, I think, so I think they should give it a fair shot.
 

Hours Left

Member
Jun 28, 2006
33,689
1
0
Well, my copy did ship yesterday so hopefully I'll have it by the middle of the week.

I wanna get my mack on.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
I noticed that your save file reflects who you have the strongest affection rating for? I think? Mine's Okita so far. :3

I also want to express that I'm hopping on the Shinpachi bandwagon. I wish he were dateable.

Edit: I dislike double-posting, so I just want to say that I've tied up nearly of Okita's loose ends. I just have one more good ending to go before I fill in everything for him. I think I'll do Saito's route right after this.

Okita's route is great and it makes me feel fuzzy towards the end. But with that said, the game concentrates more on the supernatural, historic, battles/blood/action far more than the romantic stuff. The choices for your routes aren't always obvious, and for Okita, and likely for everyone else, there appear to be several endings. The game is certainly built around replayability like any other visual novel.

Haha, I've been studying health sciences for several years, and I can't turn my brain off while playing games, so... mid-narrative (maybe chapters 3-4) spoilers (even though this is common knowledge in Japanese history):
every time he coughed, I kept thinking, "oh no, he's spreading the mycobacterium tuberculosis around to everyone and exposing them to it why doesn't anyone do something about it oh god nooooooooooo
. But then I realized that the government was very slow on the uptake for that sort of thing, and very likely did not come up with measures to control anything at all outside of cholera and acute diseases.

To be honest, this makes me want to look up academic papers for
TB in 1860s-Era Japan since the bacillus was discovered in 1882
more than anything else.

I'm finding the game rather engrossing. I like this kind of stuff.

Edit: Keep multiple saves, btw! It's like any other visual novel, so save before you decide something.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Aw, screw it. Double-posting anyway.

After going through 1.5 playthroughs, I'm tempted to agree with shidoshi's review--it's a very tame Otome game, and a lot of the time, it doesn't necessarily feel like an Otome game in general. Picking the guy you want fleshes out the historical/supernatural experience of the game as opposed to being romantic with them (though it's a bit of a plus). The game really isn't all sunshine and rainbows. I'll hopefully write up some impressions when I finish off the Saito route.

Now I want the Hakuoki Musou game, or an RPG cuz I wanna play as Saito or Okita. :lol

Let's put it this way: it's very rare that I want to replay a game soon after I finish it off, so this is a good thing. Skyward Sword was the game I did that with last year (I did a mini-replay of Tales of Xillia on my US PSN account, but I stopped for a bit), and 999/Tales of Graces f were the games I did that with the year before. I don't usually replay VNs/otome games to get all of the endings right after I finish one route.

A question regarding the good ending of the Okita route, though:
I know he succumbed to his TB in real life, but I find it rather bittersweet that the ending was made to be rather ambiguous than implying that he died. :(
 

Lindsay

Dot Hacked
Jul 21, 2004
7,840
1
0
Mineral Town
I noticed that your save file reflects who you have the strongest affection rating for? I think? Mine's Okita so far. :3

I also want to express that I'm hopping on the Shinpachi bandwagon. I wish he were dateable.

Prolly not but does this mean affection levels stay the same when ya start a new game? And yes Shinpachi woulda been great to have!
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Prolly not but does this mean affection levels stay the same when ya start a new game? And yes Shinpachi woulda been great to have!
Okita went back down to 0 for my New Game despite having the System Data saved, so it seems like you start fresh when you start a New Game.

Edit: Ahaha, people sure like to say なるほど a lot in this game (though, ah, I guess that's no different than any other Japanese media). I think you could translate "I see"/"Indeed" literally only so many times. Hmm... I think the lack of honorifics in the translations was probably a good idea for accessibility and flow. Just an observation.

Mmm... I'm starting to think I should've saved Okita's route for last. I really enjoyed that route. Saito's isn't bad so far, and it has more references to war and politics which is to my liking, but Okita's route felt better, or more natural, to me.

Edit 2: I find myself relating to Saito's story in Chapter 6 a bit
as a left-hander
, just a little. And the ending bits of his Chapter 8 is pretty awesome.

Shinpachi's so awesome that he probably needs a whole game to himself. :lol :lol
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Finished Saito's route last night and I was d'awwwing and grinning towards the end despite
everyone else dying :(
. The last bit before the ending of that route was so damn awesome.

I started going for Harada's route right after I finished Saito's, and I think I'll finish off another route after that before I write up final impressions. Ideally, I want to finish off all the routes prior to writing up final impressions, but we'll see. I'm a bit busy.

So far, Okita ≥ Saito. There are some parts that I liked on the Saito side a lot (which I won't divulge since it doesn't seem like a lot of people are playing this at the moment), but for the most part, I generally prefer Okita's route since it felt very natural and progressed very nicely.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Hurry up and get your copies, guys. I feel lonely (planning to 100% the game, so I'm still playing it). Gunloc, tell Canada Post to fight the snowstorm and get it to you!

I finished Harada's route this morning. It was... interesting. I won't say anything more, lol. >.> It's one of the easier routes out of the three I've attempted, though, and that's because
he didn't have to deal with the supernatural stuff as much so the decisions were more obvious and easier
. I liked it a lot, but I have a real fondness for the Okita route, so I prefer that one.

Okita ≥ Saito > (but not by much) Harada. Harada and his buds are more like guys I'd bro out with as opposed to getting romantically involved with. That's why I felt like I didn't feel like I got too attached to the route overall. Not to mention I had a few
"*head in hands* Oh Chizuru..."
moments during this route.

I've been trying to attempt the
Kazama
route, but I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I tried to make the decisions to trigger it, but I ended up going on Hijikata's route by accident and I didn't want that. :|

If I don't figure it out, I'll go for Heisuke next. I'll say this: as you replay the game, making decisions is a lot easier because you know the chapter routines already. Couple that with the fast-forwarding text option, and the replays go even quicker (outside of Chapters 4 and up).
 
Mar 15, 2010
4,893
0
665
Dallas, TX
I think that is usually when they get a bunch of complaints about their shitty packaging jobs, which is a growing problem, especially with these somewhat fragile LE boxes.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
I'm glad I just received my copy, though I'm hesitant to open it. I'm dying to play it, but I really really want to play it on my Vita. I still kept a PSP but it just feels like a downgrade to go back and play it.
Not gonna lie--it really does feel weird going from the Vita to PSP. I just want that OLED Screen!

I'm honestly thinking of double-dipping on it and playing the last few routes on the Vita.

Got my limited edition yesterday..haven't got the chance to play it yet
Oh yeah, I got Suikoden on Monday. I want to finish this off first before I get to Suikoden, though.
 

Cheska

Member
Nov 27, 2010
5,921
0
0
California
www.neogaf.com
Not gonna lie--it really does feel weird going from the Vita to PSP. I just want that OLED Screen!

I'm honestly thinking of double-dipping on it and playing the last few routes on the Vita.

If it was something on the DS where playing on the 3DS generally means a worse looking game, I wouldn't care. But in this case, the game is likely to look even better. It's just sad that there is no word if this will at all be Vita compatible.
 

Kazerei

Banned
Nov 25, 2010
12,123
1
0
I've been trying to attempt the
Kazama
route, but I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I tried to make the decisions to trigger it, but I ended up going on Hijikata's route by accident and I didn't want that. :|

Just use the Record of Service and start at Chapter 3-4. You're guaranteed to end up on that route. Then to get the
Kazama
ending, you have to pick all the favourable dialogue choices. Otherwise you get the
"normal"
ending.

My favorites are Hijikata and Saito. They're both so badass, and yet so dreamy. Mmmmm.
 

Akselziys

Aksys Games Dev.
Feb 18, 2009
2,227
0
0
www.aksysgames.com
I'm glad I just received my copy, though I'm hesitant to open it. I'm dying to play it, but I really really want to play it on my Vita. I still kept a PSP but it just feels like a downgrade to go back and play it.

We've been trying to get it onto VITA since before the launch, but currently we still have to wait due to some technical things on Sony's side.

Your best bet would be to play it on PSP for now.

Hopefully we'll have more news on the VITA side of things soon :)
 

R_thanatos

Member
Apr 20, 2010
23,664
0
0
earth planet
Not gonna lie--it really does feel weird going from the Vita to PSP. I just want that OLED Screen!

I'm honestly thinking of double-dipping on it and playing the last few routes on the Vita.


Oh yeah, I got Suikoden on Monday. I want to finish this off first before I get to Suikoden, though.

what a strange world i plan on finishing suikoden before i tackle this :)
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Just use the Record of Service and start at Chapter 3-4. You're guaranteed to end up on that route. Then to get the
Kazama
ending, you have to pick all the favourable dialogue choices. Otherwise you get the
"normal"
ending.

My favorites are Hijikata and Saito. They're both so badass, and yet so dreamy. Mmmmm.
*smacks forehead* Oh, d'oh! That seems like the most obvious answer! Why didn't I think of that before? :lol Thanks, Kazerei. :)

I haven't gone for Hijikata's route yet outside of my screwup, and was planning to do that one last. He doesn't really strike me as my type, haha. Saito, though, I'll concur that he's dreamy and awesome (his Chapter 8 was a fantastic way to cap off his route).

But Okita's snark elevates him over everyone else for me. :3

what a strange world i plan on finishing suikoden before i tackle this :)
I thought you put Suikoden on hold for FFXIII-2? :p
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
^Awesome. Can't wait to see what you think of the Harada route.

Kazama
/Normal route was... uh, lacklustre.
Plot plot plot plot plot...

Meanwhile, the Heisuke route is surprisingly not bad. Enjoying it so far.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Can I ask a question? I think it was a good idea to fully translate ochimizu and rasetsu into English terms, much like how I think dropping the honorifics was a good idea. There are a few other changes for certain terms like the Ikedaya jiken (I've seen a lot of people keep it as is as opposed to translating it to English), which I think allows for far better flow in English. Was this for the sake of accessibility or to lower the amount of Japanese jargon in the game?

Anyway, I finished Heisuke's route last night. I surprisingly liked it! I thought it wasn't going to be great, and it isn't as great as Okita or Saito's routes... but it was adorable to read through. And it really helps that I warmed up to Heisuke's voice actor. The art in that one is also surprisingly very nice.

Also, I chuckled at the
Heisuke's haircut
bit. Not in a "wow, am I really reading this right now", but in a "CaptainHaddockhahahaohwow.jpg" kind of way since it was kind of cute.

I also appreciated that it was one of the routes where
Chizuru grows a pair, er, figuratively-speaking. She just seemed more confident this time around, and I wonder if it's because she and Heisuke are close in terms of age.
The only other route I've seen where
Chizuru doesn't always behave like a damsel in distress is the Okita route, but that instance was rather short-lived.
It's just rather refreshing.

that was before i got ff13-2 ending ..now i do both when i have a time to do one

wait ..that didn't come across right ... when i have the time i try to complete one of them.
lol, I figured the ending would put you off on getting all of the fragments. Yeah, after I 100%'d that game, I didn't really want to play it anymore. Well, of course, there isn't really any point to return to it since I've done everything.
 

ULTROS!

People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.
Aug 17, 2009
25,605
2,069
1,510
Philippines
psnprofiles.com
Just wondering. I like VN/ADV games so long as it has a solid story.

Is this game recommendable for a guy since I get the impression it's an ADV kind of game targeted to girls. :p
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Just wondering. I like VN/ADV games so long as it has a solid story.

Is this game recommendable for a guy since I get the impression it's an ADV kind of game targeted to girls. :p
The game seems to emphasize politics, opposing factions, Japanese history, battles, the supernatural content, armies, and wars more than the romance, honestly. And, uh, you know that sorta strikes my fancy. After finishing most of the routes--I only have one more to go--I'm inclined to say that while the game is geared towards females, there's a ton in here for men too. While I'm enjoying some of the romantic aspects, I'm enjoying the historical and battling bits a lot--sometimes even more than the romantic/fuzzy bits. The narratives for most of the routes I've played are quite solid, and the script and great Japanese VA helps a lot with that. The art is great too.

Let's put it this way: if I can play VNs generally aimed towards men like Katawa Shoujo, I don't see the problem with guys trying this out, especially since the game in general doesn't always emphasize the romantic aspects outside of a few bits in late-game. In terms of it being an otome game, it sometimes doesn't feel like one, and in that manner, it's quite refreshing.

When I finish Hijikata's route either tonight or tomorrow, I'll post impressions. For an Idea Factory game, I'm enjoying this a lot.
 

Herfstmonster

Neo Member
Aug 23, 2011
27
0
0
I saw a special edition of this a while ago. I've got a real weak spot for j-rpg special editions..
Didn't buy it because I had absolutely no more information about the game than what it said on the cover.
Can anyone tell me what the battle-system is like? Is it challenging? Cause I hate games in which you get so overpowered it's just pushing x all time and don't have to think about strategic moves.
 

ULTROS!

People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.
Aug 17, 2009
25,605
2,069
1,510
Philippines
psnprofiles.com
Man, I want to play it only for the supernatural bit. I have to think about it though.

Also, I had no idea this was an Idea Factory game. I always get negative impressions when it comes to their games.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
I saw a special edition of this a while ago. I've got a real weak spot for j-rpg special editions..
Didn't buy it because I had absolutely no more information about the game than what it said on the cover.
Can anyone tell me what the battle-system is like? Is it challenging? Cause I hate games in which you get so overpowered it's just pushing x all time and don't have to think about strategic moves.
Er... it's a visual novel, not an RPG. >.>

Mind you, I'd love an RPG set in this universe since I genuinely like how they played around with Japanese history here.

Man, I want to play it only for the supernatural bit. I have to think about it though.

Also, I had no idea this was an Idea Factory game. I always get negative impressions when it comes to their games.
I know, right? "Idea Factory?! Gosh, I dunno..." Their games are very hit and miss with me (with a lot of misses). But this is surprisingly very good, and I think they should stick to this kind of stuff since they seem to excel at it.

Ultros, if it helps, I was reading some of the dialogue aloud to my bf and he said the historical and warring factions bits sounded like Suikoden to him, lol.
 

Joe Molotov

Member
Nov 25, 2005
16,082
1
1,350
We've been trying to get it onto VITA since before the launch, but currently we still have to wait due to some technical things on Sony's side.

Your best bet would be to play it on PSP for now.

Hopefully we'll have more news on the VITA side of things soon :)

I hope you can get it sorted out. I'd like to give it a shot, but I've only got a Vita.
 

R_thanatos

Member
Apr 20, 2010
23,664
0
0
earth planet
I know, right? "Idea Factory?! Gosh, I dunno..." Their games are very hit and miss with me (with a lot of misses). But this is surprisingly very good, and I think they should stick to this kind of stuff since they seem to excel at it.

Ultros, if it helps, I was reading some of the dialogue aloud to my bf and he said the historical and warring factions bits sounded like Suikoden to him, lol.

Idea factory is at his best when doing 2D ...i do not find any problem with their 2D titles ... Their 3D titles however are different and should be treated on a case by case basis.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
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The Land of Bagged Milk
And I'm finally finished. I'm... a little sad that I finished it off because I enjoyed it a lot. It's just one of those games, I guess. I generally feel that way about a Zelda game I really enjoyed, a Suikoden game, Persona 4, and even 999. I'm glad that I did Hijikata's route last, though. Seemed like a nice way to cap things off.

Speaking as a neutral player, I liked Hijikata's route; it had everything--all of the history, the battles, a better impression and retelling of westernization, the supernatural stuff, etc. It was a blast, but rather bittersweet in that
nearly everyone died, and because I'd played everyone else's routes beforehand, it sort of played with my emotions, I guess
. But finally seeing things through the commander and leader's eyes was great. There were changes in voice to text translations here and there so listening to the voice and reading the text was sometimes... well, I'll go into that in my impressions later. Don't take that as a bad thing at all, really. Just... people who can understand the JP VA might find it a little jarring.

Speaking from the perspective of looking for a relationship on this route, ehhh... I still prefer Saito's and Okita's routes by far, but I'll replay the Okita route first since that was the very first one I'd gone through to see if I'm still biased. Then I'll write final impressions. Hijikata's not my type and I didn't really feel much towards him, haha.

To be honest, after playing the Heisuke route, I'm not sure how to rank the routes after Okita and Saito. I enjoyed the Heisuke route more than I had expected. I guess I'll have to mull it over for a bit. But the Harada route was great too. *shrugs*

I've seen some criticisms aimed towards changing Chizuru's character, but, well... I haven't played the JP version so I wouldn't know, but from what my friend who played the JP version has told me, Chizuru was a damn doormat who I "just plain wouldn't like" because I say that I "find those types of characters annoying and dumb and why do you have high standards anyway, omg", then, er, I'd take English Chizuru over the original. At least English Chizuru seems to have a brain.

Idea factory is at his best when doing 2D ...i do not find any problem with their 2D titles ... Their 3D titles however are different and should be treated on a case by case basis.
Yeah, definitely. There are a few Idea Factory games I don't really mind, but for the most part, they don't really get along with me.
 

Prax

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Feb 17, 2006
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My little sister bought Hakuoki and after going through most routes, I decided I wanted to give it a try.

I got Saito on my first go.. not even trying to get him. :I Somehow whatever logical decision I made seemed to just make him happy grow flowers of something. It's alright though. I think he's a good guy.
I also want to try for Okita because I hear from my sister that it's good.
And I guess Hijikata later because he's the main MAIN guy and gets the most chapters/fleshed out story or something like that.

I will also chime in and say that I wish Shinpachi was romanceable because he's bombastic and manly lol. I keep making fun of my sister that they are saving him for another super fan disc edition on top of the fan disc they already have out in Japan to milk the franchise. >_>

Music: Not stellar. Bad looping. Really annoying over time, especially if you're going to retry different routes.

Art: Pretty good syle-wise, but less images than expected. Though I do dislike the choice of shading technique they chose for the faces. It just contours the face wrong. And I guess the guys you get to choose from aren't very varied.. could have used few more masculine/chisel-jawed choices or something.

Game system: Not much to it, since there's not much "game", but yay, you can fast forward, and auto-play, and skip chapters!

Honestly, I was not expecting this "game" to be sooooo novel-y. I was actually expecting more gameplay or decision-making or something. xD I Guess that would have been difficult with how much writing would have to be included, but still.. I would prefer some kind of SRPG (with good gameplay, mind you--like Fire Emblem or FFT or Ogre Battle) with dating aspects aimed at girls. Plus not enough artwork in general to go with the narration. Plus plus, not enough steamy romance scenes or endings. They should have branched into 5/6 different endings for each guy or something (bad/death, marriage, bffs, lovers that grow apart, rivals, neutral) instead of the 2/3 they have (bad/death, together forever, neutral).
 
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My little sister bought Hakkuoki and after going through most routes, I decided I wanted to give it a try.

I got Saito on my first go.. not even trying to get him. :I Somehow whatever logical decision I made seemed to just make him happy grow flowers of something. It's alright though. I think he's a good guy.
I also want to try for Okita because I hear from my sister that it's good.
And I guess Hijikata later because he's the main MAIN guy and gets the most chapters/fleshed out story or something like that.

I will also chime in and say that I wish Shinpachi was romanceable because he's bombastic and manly lol. I keep making fun of my sister that they are saving him for another super fan disc edition on top of the fan disc they already have out in Japan to milk the franchise. >_>

Music: Not stellar. Bad looping. Really annoying over time, especially if you're going to retry different routes.

Art: Pretty good syle-wise, but less images than expected. Though I do dislike the choice of shading technique they chose for the faces. It just contours the face wrong. And I guess the guys you get to choose from aren't very varied.. could have used few more masculine/chisel-jawed choices or something.

Game system: Not much to it, since there's not much "game", but yay, you can fast forward, and auto-play, and skip chapters!

Honestly, I was not expecting this "game" to be sooooo novel-y. I was actually expecting more gameplay or decision-making or something. xD I Guess that would have been difficult with how much writing would have to be included, but still.. I would prefer some kind of SRPG (with good gameplay, mind you--like Fire Emblem or FFT or Ogre Battle) with dating aspects aimed at girls. Plus not enough artwork in general to go with the narration. Plus plus, not enough steamy romance scenes or endings. They should have branched into 5/6 different endings for each guy or something (bad/death, marriage, bffs, lovers that grow apart, rivals, neutral) instead of the 2/3 they have (bad/death, together forever, neutral).
Sounds like you don't play visual novels very often...perhaps in the future do a bit of research before playing and then judging incorrectly? Just about every review I've read has praised this game as a visual novel, not a game ;)
 

Prax

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Sounds like you don't play visual novels very often...perhaps in the future do a bit of research before playing and then judging incorrectly? Just about every review I've read has praised this game as a visual novel, not a game ;)
How many visual novels of high quality are there even for me to play? xD

I knew it wasn't a GAME game.. I think I just expected.. I don't know.. MORE paths at least. Or to be making more decisions that meant something.
I think given what it was and the amount of romances, I would have had more options or significant endings. I can see how that would be a pain to write for though, but still.. I feel limited! My sister and I realized after she got all the endings that in the status menu you see corruption meters and stuff like that, but that stuff hardly even matters. Or if it does, it's not apparent.

I also still stand by my judgments on the limited art, looping music, and sometimes the voices were so low they were inaudible (whispering/mumbling? but still).
For something that relies so heavily on visual presentation, I expected a lot more (maybe more animations or artwork). I assume this is one of the better visual novels for girls, so I would probably have many gripes with other ones in comparison.

The writing at least is not atrocious. But I don't know if I want to say it's amazing either.. a lot of it probably has to do with Chiziru being as blank a slate as possible for girls to project themselves onto. It's probably better than a lot of other games in the genre, but eh. :I

7/10 overall for Saito path! (extra point granted for not being really super ugly!)
Other paths may decrease or increase this score. I don't know yet~~
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
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The Land of Bagged Milk
Final impressions, go! It's lengthy as hell, but I just had to write all of this. Sorry.

A bit of background: I’ve played quite a bit of otome games (RPGs, VNs, etc) in the past few years; some good, some bad. I haven’t found the perfect otome game, and in my opinion, there aren’t a lot of games that do romance very well—even down to the otome games or certain visual novels. To be honest, half the time I burst out laughing at a line, shaking my head, and wondering if the writers were really serious when they wrote that particular line.

When Hakuoki was announced for North America, I was ecstatic because it’s very rare that we get localized otome games. I’d heard from a few friends that it was very good. I’m not a fan of Idea Factory’s stuff in general, so I was a little wary, but I was eager to take the game out for a test drive.

The meat of the game lies in its story, given that it’s an otome visual novel. Rather than being centred completely on romance, surprisingly, it’s centred on political intrigue, history, various factions, and battlesbattlesbattles. I love this kind of stuff! Even if you have no desire to woo a certain character in this game, you are adequately supplied with a very well-told narrative focusing on various points of the Edo jidai/Bakumatsu.

Throughout the visual novel, the game prompts the player to make various choices. They aren’t readily apparent the first time through the game, but most choices can enhance the attachment gauge for certain characters. Some choices will also unlock art in the media option on the title screen (which, if selected, will allow the player to revisit that particular scene again). Your save file will reflect which character is in the lead, and when the player hits Chapter 4, they will be on a fixed path for the character they have in the lead.

Nearly every character deals with the supernatural content in the game (there is one path that brushes the supernatural content aside in favour of a more natural path). The Shinsengumi are in possession of a drug which acts as a stat enhancer, but it comes at a terrible price. The user will slowly lose his or her sanity if he/she does not take certain medication, try to endure it, or drink blood. There is a dedicated meter to this called the “Corruption Meter”. This meter actually seems to matter somewhat. If the Shinsengumi member decides to drink blood, the meter is lowered. If the Shinsengumi member decides to endure it, the meter continues to increase throughout the chapters. This is obviously not a good thing, and if you’re not following a FAQ, it’s a nice way to gauge whether or not you’ll meet the good ending or the bad ending.

As for the narrative itself, as I kept playing through the routes, I ended up playing the game with less of a fixation on romance, and more with a fixation on getting to know the Shinsengumi better, and following the war through their eyes. Sure, the romance bit was icing on the cake, but I was more intrigued by the historical aspects of the war. I generally like games that play around with real-life historical events like Shadow Hearts, so Hakuoki doing the same while injecting a similar flavour of the supernatural is quite a treat for me. As you go on different routes, the war unfolds a little differently (ie: the character takes part in different battles a little later on). Thus, if you’re not really interested in the romantic aspects at all, the rest of the narrative from a historical/wartime standpoint is there for the player to immerse themselves in.

My favourite route continues to be the Souji Okita route. Historically-speaking, Souji Okita contracted tuberculosis and succumbed to his illness in Edo. It was interesting to see how that bit of history unfolded in Hakuoki, and how it was handled when the player decides to undertake his route. In fact, as I finished off the route, I ended up looking up health studies papers documenting the disease during that period in Japan. If anything, the route reflects that I got a kick out of the historical bits of the game more than the romance bit.

There is one thing that I’m a little wary of in Hakuoki, and that is unfortunately the main character Chizuru herself. Depending on your actions, Chizuru will be utterly helpless, or she’ll try to help out (and end up being utterly helpless in the future sometime). There was one instance when a pair of characters were discussing politics and she said something which implied that the discussion was too complicated for her (I cannot recall the exact line, but the fact that I remember the situation…), and I just put my head in my hands, thinking to myself, “Oh, Chizuru…” It’s the 1800s, but come on.

But with that said, I have to champion and defend how the localization crew handled Chizuru based on what my friend has told me regarding her Japanese counterpart. Chizuru was apparently moreso of a doormat than she is in the US version, where she repeated dialogue (not unconventional for Japanese speakers, but rather jarring in English), described her romantic encounters as assaults, and was generally even more of a blank slate. English Chizuru by contrast at least seems to have a brain and reacts more to situations than her Japanese counterpart. She’s still written a bit like a blank slate, but I like using her as a method to get to know the Shinsengumi better.

I’d read criticisms regarding chosen lexical items for the script and storytelling being rather… complex and consisting of underutilized English vocabulary? I’m not seeing it here at all, and it seems like natural conversational vocabulary to me. Perhaps some thought that the Japanese loanwords were too much? This situation, especially considering the game revolves around Japanese history and involves Japanese voicework, is absolutely unavoidable.

Regarding the localization, I think it’s quite good. I’m very pleased that there seem to be some liberties with the translation. I’m a fan of Working Designs’ old translations, and I have a very soft spot for Woolseyisms, so I really appreciate that kind of stuff. The addition of the Japanese dialogue is an absolute treat, so having to listen to the voicework and then read the localized text afterwards was fun for me. There are a few spelling and punctuation errors here and there (and admittedly, I’m a stickler for that sort of thing, so they jump out at me immediately), but they’re rather subtle, and I don’t think a lot of players would fixate on them since they’re few and far between (though there was one instance where the same stylistic error was made 2-3 times in sequence, but again—stickler). The lack of honorifics in the text (they are still obviously in the Japanese voiceovers) was an interesting move, but in the end, I thought it was a good idea in order to make the text less wordy and more accessible since there are a ton of loanwords and foreign terms being used already.

There is one little detail that I had a few gripes with in the dialogue, and that’s the majority of Hijikata’s route. I don’t mind profanity at all, and I think I get the reasoning behind making English Hijikata the way he is, but listening to the Japanese dialogue and then reading the script underneath was a little jarring at times. English speakers will not notice how jarring it is, but if you pay attention to the Japanese dialogue and then read the different dialogue underneath, it’s a bit strange. Hijikata struck me as someone who strove to be more elegant given his status in the Shinsengumi, so giving him exceedingly crass English dialogue was a tad jarring. Other than Hijikata, I have little problems with the localized dialogue in general. I’ve seen people complain about the changes to the dialogue and not translating the script word-for-word, but this is a localization for the western market, not a translation for a limited audience. Be reasonable.

The music is okay. Kenji Kaneko has composed a score that isn’t bad, but it doesn’t stand out. With that said, I haven’t played a lot of visual novels with fantastic scores. The music in visual novels generally act as background noise to the voice acting and the sound effects. Unfortunately, the music is rather repetitive (there are 17 tracks in all on the official 新選組奇譚 soundtrack), and the lack of looping is… well, it’s unacceptable in this day and age. It’s something I would have expected many years ago in Sonic CD with inadequate looping, but the lack of looping can sometimes take away from certain scenes. It’s quite unfortunate.

The sound effects, however, are very good. There are certain games where sound effects stand out to me, like Chrono Trigger. Here, they’re very good, or rather, true to life-like sound. Swords meeting each other in combat and ricocheting off each other, the wind blowing, and steps taken in a forest are rather nice to hear. It’s a bit refreshing after hearing footsteps sound like horses' hooves meeting pavement in other games. Really like the sound effect direction here.

The voice acting is also rather superb. They got some really good people to do the VA here like Shotaro Morikubo, Kousuke Toriumi, and Koji Yusa, so it was nice hearing their voices in this game. Even Hiroyuki Yoshino (Heisuke Toudou) grew on me after a while (my only experience with him was from Baccano). All of the VA sounded natural and well-directed. All of it fit the characters, is what I’m trying to say. Retaining the Japanese VA was a good idea, and I don’t think the characters would have the same effect had they been revoiced in English.

However, with that said, I have an issue with this game’s sound mixing. Sometimes the voices are quiet (for good reasons, but Saito is the biggest culprit here), and sometimes the voices are boisterous and loud (ex: Okita, Heisuke, Shinpachi). I ended up having to turn the music waaaaay down and the voices and SFX way up so I could hear the voices clearly. It’s really too bad, but if you’re going to play the game and you want to hear the voices, turn the music down to a rather low point to hear the voices.

The art is satisfactory, and Kazuki Yone did a good job with the character design. It’s better than some other Idea Factory art I’ve seen. The character designs and their different outfits throughout the game are nice, but the art itself is just okay. The Shinsengumi have really nice design and art (ex: Okita, Saito, Harada, Heisuke after Chapter 4, etc)… enough to encourage me to purchase the official art book (though the art book that comes with the LE is very nice and comprehensive too). The environments aren’t anything to write home about sometimes (but I generally expect this out of VNs), but it’s too bad that they don’t change depending on the season or scenario so you get a lot of repetition here.

Regarding replayability, this game has a wonderful feature: the auto-scrolling. You can automatically skip the prologue, and automatically skip text which you have already read during other playthroughs, or even text you’ve read after making a decision and then opening the menu, opening up the history and then rewinding to the decision point again. It’s a little too bad the game is rather repetitive until you hit Chapter 4 (where the story unfolds differently depending on the person whom you have the highest attachment to). You may also replay certain characters’ chapters using the Record of Service option from the title screen. It’s a rather convenient way to relive chapters you enjoyed.

A special note about Idea Factory: they should really stick to this kind of thing. I’m very surprised by how much I enjoyed it given that I don’t care much for a lot of Idea Factory’s content. The artstyle employed in this game is much better than their standard artwork as well. Do more of this, IF, not… that other stuff.

Overall, Hakuoki is one of the better otome visual novels I’ve played. The presentation in terms of voicework, script, and overall narrative is quite engrossing. It’s clear that this game is not exclusively for a female audience, since it clearly did not gain its M-rating for romantic aspects. There is a lot of action, references to blood and gore, historical aspects, and references to war scattered around this game, which makes the game transcend gender. To be honest, I was a little surprised by how little romantic content I ran into with this game, but I ended up not seeing that as a bad thing since there were other narrative aspects within the VN that I could embrace. I had a lot of fun with this game. I’m glad that Aksys took a chance with Hakuoki and brought it over here. Whether or not their experiment was a success, I’m very happy that I had an opportunity to experience the rare English localized otome game… and it was a great one at that.

Verdict: Recommended.

Summary:

Pros:
+ A tale for all genders, emphasizing different aspects to appeal to a broad audience as opposed to a single gender
+ Well-written dialogue, with different characters demonstrating different speech registers (sociolinguistically-speaking); some formal, others not so formal
+ High replayability, with several routes to choose from in order to fill out the Media and Record of Service sections
+ Easy to go back to a decision point if you notice you’re not getting the dialogue you want by selecting the “History” option and rewinding back to it
+ Chizuru isn’t exactly a doormat, and at least seems to think of the war and her relationships forged during it, and the repercussions of her--and the Shinsengumi's--actions
+ Romance doesn’t necessarily feel forced in most cases; some routes end up making it feel rather natural
+ Oh look, an Idea Factory game that I genuinely like
+ Sound effects are awesome, as is the voice acting. Character design is nice.
+ Different paths reward the player with different and well-told scenarios, sometimes focusing more on the supernatural aspect, others focusing more on the wartime aspect, and other focusing on both
+ Different paths will not take the same amount of time to clear. Some routes are longer than others.
+ Some of the character designs are enticing

Neutral:
# Music is okay, and does its job
# While multiple endings are nice, it’s unfortunate that there aren’t more
# The art here does its job, and it’s better than a lot of the IF art I’ve seen
# Not a lot of emphasis on romance, but your-mileage-may-vary on this

Cons:
- While Chizuru is improved from her Japanese counterpart, she still strikes me a bit of a lacklustre character
- Music doesn’t loop properly, which is unacceptable in this day and age
- The disconnect between one character’s Japanese dialogue and the English text can sometimes be jarring
- Reuse of environments even through different seasons. Repetitive.
- Sound mixing is rather poor. It’s hard to hear some voices sometimes, but at least the player can tinker with the mixing. It’s very unfortunate, though.

(As a personal note, I dislike assigning scores to games. But with that said, I liked this game a lot.)