Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hakuoki: Shinsengumi and Zombies oh my

So yesterday I recieved my copy of Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom limited edition. This is a Otome Visual Novel or the dating sim type. So basically its a game made for girls thats like those choose your own adventure books. This takes place in the Bakumatsu starting in the year 1854, so one year after the arrival of Commadore Perry in Japan. Since I know the history of the period--I did write my seinor thesis on the Bakumatsu--I have had no issues with understanding the time setting. Now for people who have never studied the time period the game has a nice little handy encyclopedia. As you go through the game you unlock entries and so you can save your game and go look at it in your leisure time.

Besides there being Zombies the history part looks good to me so far. The premise at the begining of a girl desgiesing herself as a boy and ending up with the shinsengumi reminds me a bit of the Kaze Hikaru manga. However, its also a bit reminisent of Peacemaker Kurogane. In a way its like Chizuru takes the place of Ichimura Tetsunosuke--who is an actual historical figure not just fiction--since shes told to be a page to Hijikata Toshio. However, her role is vastly different from the main charachters of both manga series i mentioned. We have a girl who is searching for her missing father who is a doctor. When in Kyoto she is accosted by some Ronin who want her kodachi. She is saved but only momentarily by some zombies who then attack her. Okita and Saito save her just in time but since shes a witness to some kind of secret they need to decide what to do with her. So thinking shes a boy they are planing to kill her, but on learning shes a girl and the daughter of the man they are looking for they decide to help her. They said her father was loyal to the Shogun and that he disappeared.

The story is very intresting. Even though you don't see any graphically violent images. The description of the fights and how the blade slices the bodies is enough to make you cringe. Plus theres a splat sound everytime you get to a part of the text where someone is cut down. I don't think the text is bad. Its a nice clear text. Its dark brown on a sandy colored background. The still images are very beautiful. Though most of the time unless theres a coversation your looking at just surrounding images, for instace a room, or a vauge crowded street. The music on the other hand is really lame. It's probably one of the worst game soundtracks i've heard in a while.

Some intresting features are that you can actually set it to auto advance the text. That way you can just sit back and rest your hands until you have to make a descison. This eliminates a lot of button pushing. Since the PSP isn't exaclty the most comfortable thing to hold this is a great option.

So I did get the limited edition. The artbook is defintely one of the better ones I've gottan. Its soft cover, but compared to Atllier Totori, whose art book was tiny and you couldn't read the text, this one is far supiror. its much thicker and a bit larger then totoris. Actually its thicker then the one that came with the Limited edition for FFXIII-2, and Fate/Extra as well. Though i have no complaints about FFXIII-2 and Fate/Extra's limited editions. The soundtrack on the other hand didn't even come in a hard cover. It came in a paper slip cover. No soundtrack art, no soundtrack listings just a plain white paper slip cover with a clear plastic window so you can see the cd. The Cd itself has an intresting image on it, but the presentaion and storage of the Cd was a bit disapointing. It's like they put all the work into the art book and the OST was a side thought. Not that the music is all that great to begin with.

Overall, I think this game is great so far. I'm looking forward to getting the multiple endings and seeing how the Zombies tie into the story. And yup I'm aiming for Hijikata.

edit:
Egad! Yesterday since I was sick I took some codine cough syrup and I misread the date on the game. My brain went on vacation since I was so tierd. I should have realized the date was off since that was way too early for the shinsengumi to have even been formed. But the game takes place in 1864 which is 11 years after the arrival of Commodore Perry. Ok now its time to take some more medicine.