Language: Japanese (Audio), English & Traditional Chinese (Subs)
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory
Type: Visual Novel
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: Romance 12 handsome warriors and the samurai of the Shinsengumi, uncover their dark secrets, and conquer your demons in this historical fantasy visual novel! Your narrative choices unlock multiple branching storylines and 30 different endings!
Im a huge fan of visual novels, I’m also a huge fan of Otome games, and finally a huge huge fan of idea Factory. So here comes Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds a game made by Idea Factory, and is a otome visual novel. Needless to say I died and went to heaven! Which is why this post is a little late, I ended up completing it!
The story of this game is centred around the 1860’s Japan with the Shinsengumi doing their thing. Enter Chizuru Yukimura who, posing as a boy, arrives in Kyoto looking for her father who is missing. However she ends up confronting a mysterious group of attackers. Firstly we have the grey/white haired and red eyed bunch only to be rescued by the Shinsengumi, who were looking for her already as they were working with her father before he disappeared.
This is where things start to get interesting and the player choices start to come into play. Thankfully Idea Factory have done a great job on the story flow and diverging paths. It’s fairly easy to see where these diverging paths are, which makes for a easier and less frustrating time. Also means that the deployability is more obvious, as you follow different paths to different guys.
There’s loads of scope and different paths for you (the player) to go down, but it’s worth noting that the game doesn’t feel or play like the traditional game when it comes to romancing. In fact you’re only going to get a couple of chances to win over the guys, usually popping up right at a critical moment; and on a couple of occasions during fights. As a result you need to be careful and make sure you pick the right option so as not to screw yourself over!
In general, its wise to remember that this wont work if you play it as a traditional VN. The guys you’re after this time are warriors, samurai devoted to the martial way; and you should treat them as such.
Personally I found this interesting, and a rather nice change from the normal tropes we see in VN’s.
As I mentioned above the game is set during the Bakumatsu, and the game does an excellent job of recreating that time period. With lavish representations of clothing, environments, sounds and weapons.
Visually this game is stunning, being on the PC allows it to really shine with high fidelity visuals and glorious sound effects and music. I would actually recommend you play this with a good set of headphones on, as it almost on the level of sound novels, especially during the fights.
This version of the game is greatly expanded on in this PC version, six new paths, three new characters (who are harder to get!) added a load of new scenes to existing sections, and added a load of new subplots to find and explore.
The story itself is amazingly well written, to the point of it not actually having areas I found dull. I’m used to VN’s having ups and downs when it comes to story, this time though the story was gawd damn awesome.
As is usually the case with otome games I genuinely got attached to the main character, and actually got attached to her. This is only possible in games where the writing, art, music and direction are in synch with each other perfectly.
Some have criticised the game for not having a english dub, and on the one hand I do understand this; however I do feel an english dub would have destroyed the immersion I experienced with the characters. Also, to be fair, adding a dub to this game would most likely have resulted in the new content not being added, or the price being significantly higher, neither being a good option.
Finally lets talk about the PC port. For me the game has ran flawlessly across two systems, my PC and Laptop, without any crashing or anything. The only issue I came across was that my Xbox One controller wouldn’t work properly with this game. It would only use my old 360 pad. My final, pet wish, is for Mac compatibility.
I’m really happy I can say this: Buy this game! The last few games I’ve reviewed have all been well worth buying and this is right up there with them.
Buy this game and show Idea Factory that we want more!