Arithmetic’s newest game might be for people who don’t like Arithmetic’s usually writing style Let’s just get this out of the way…
Those of you who have come to my site for a while might remember THE GREAT ARITHMETIC RAGE of 2015 that spilled into 2016. To say I have had an on-going falling out is an understatement. I’ve openly spouted my opinions about themes that I have seen repeated in their games that I personally do not like (and, it’s my site, I can opinion all I want).
So, when I received an email from them asking if I would be willing to review their newest game release on my site, it… was awkward. They know it was awkward. They also know that I’m going to give an honest opinion and they were very forth coming with that is what they want from me.
I was given 60 tickets, a handful of dolce raising items, as well as gacha tickets and a route switch item. I am telling you all this because it’s really important to be truthful about what I was given in exchange to review the game.
I went into this with as much of an open mind as I could despite all that I have said and experienced. Please, please don’t let this be what I’m expecting. Please…
The third game release by CYBIRD Inc, I knew of this game’s popularity even before its release in English. It’s getting a port of Playstation Vita, it had stage plays, collaborations, there was an anime coming. Basically, in the two years the game had been out, it had BLOWN UP to become one of CYBIRD’s most popular properties. So, when they finally announced that we were getting the game in English, I was ready to see what the fuss was about.
At the same time, I was cautious. I didn’t want to hype up the game too much in my mind. There are many games that are really popular that I have played only to be disappointed with the game overall whether is be in writing, gameplay, main character, ect. So, I wanted to go into this game not expecting much at all and have it do the work to convince me that it deserves to be thought of as a great game.
Just in case you are not up-to-date on this massively popular otome series, the plot of Hakuoki is:
Chizuru Yukimura goes to Kyoto to attempt to find her father and, through a series of events, she ends up with the Shinsengumi. From there, and after revealing who she really is, she joins up with the men to help locate her father. And, at the same time, uncovers a dark secret the group are keeping as well as some secrets of her own.
Hakuoki is the grandpapa of otome internationally. Originally released in 2012 on the PSP, it help boost the otome landscape of what we have today. It’s a long game in its original form being 30~50 hours with six routes. It has spawn anime, stage plays, musicals, and many MANY versions of the game.
Are we all caught up? Good.
Once Kyoto Winds (the upgraded version of the original PSP) was announced, I spent December playing the original game on my stream to build hype for Kyoto Winds and we had a blast! After the stream, many people told me they were very excited for the new version of the game that was adding sixlove interests and expanding the shorter romance routes.
Then there is the merch.
When the Limited Edition was announced I was like a puppy who had seen its favorite toy. Bento Box? Sign me up! Furoshiki? I will be the most beautiful weeb-bushka! Artbook? OMG, are you trying to make me cry?! Soundtrack? I’m gonna take epic roadtrips! Reversible Cover Sleeve? When I get tired at looking at these handsomes, now I will look at these other handsomes!
So, when I was contacted by Idea Factory International to be sent a review copy of the Limited Edition, I was floored. Yes, a thousand times, yes.
First and foremost, I have a degree in graphic design. I love touching and holding things. I enjoy well made items. I don’t want flimsy items. If I’m going to spend money on something, I want to get my actual feels worth. And because of that, I hold physical items up to a pretty high standard. I also am a bit of a package design snob. How things fit in packaging, was the package actually designed or is it just a box with things thrown in it, ect.
Oh god. I’m so happy right now I might cry and I want to shake the package designer’s hand. They did a beautiful job.
Let’s start with the collector’s box itself.
This is a nice box. It’s not flimsy. It’s a thick board. If you bought the Amnesia collector’s edition, this is a big step up from that. At no point am I worried I’m going to put the box back together the wrong way and bend it. Just hold the sides and let the bottom slide out. Awww yeah…
I gasped at opening this. I think it’s important to note that the last handful of Limited Editions I bought consisted of “just throw it in the box!” I can tell that everything has a compartment and I’m floored. (Sorry sorry, designer coming out in me again.)
We’ll get to the game itself later but first…
The bento box is not fake wood. It is legit Bamboo and Chinese Fir that has then had a thin layer of latex added. Hand-wash only, not microwave safe. I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable actually using it for its intended purpose because how nice it is.
Every Limited Edition needs its nick-nacky things, this and another thing in this box are those things. They are the body pillow and coasters from the Amnesia Box Set. In this set it’s this and the furoshiki, two items that I would be worried about ruining if I used them. OTL
Soundtrack, the necessary item in a limited edition. If there is one small thing I am disappointed in here, it is the same thing that disappoints me about CDs and games these days. I remember in my day we had booklets that came with our CDs and games! You kids these days have no appreciation for a well designed booklet!
20 tracks. I jammed to it on my 10 minute drive to work this morning.
Peek-a-boo. It’s the furoshiki!
For those of you who don’t know the use of a furoshiki, you wrap things in them. Presents, bentos, ect are wrapped in them for easier transport. And now here is one with all 12 bachelors on it. Also, it’s massive (Vita box for scale).
It’s made of polyester so there is a nice feel to it. This is another thing I don’t think I would actually use, though the idea of wrapping my hair in it like some weeb-bushka is very tempting.
Maybe I’ll frame it just to get weird looks from the people I get my prints framed at. They’ve seen what I’ve brought in before, I don’t know why they would be surprised…
Here comes the other thing that made me gasp when I saw it.
It’s a hardcover art book! I opened it to hear the crack. Ohhhhhh I’m gonna curl up in a ball of happiness. That’s some good stuff right there. Nice glossy paper that still has some tooth to it. I held it close for a bit and thought about actually displaying it on my bookshelf instead of hiding it inside the box.
The information is really nicely laid out for the most part. You get a lot of stats info that can help you figure out the age of the characters when you meet them during the game.
Husbando likes tofu. I’m gonna get that MFer some tofu so he’ll love me.
Also, stop calling Toudou the shota of the game, he’s the same age as husbando! Which, going by MC’s age and her birthdate, puts them both at 19~20……….
*lies on the floor* Still gonna get husbando tofu…
It’s just a really nice 64 page art book… Oh and there were ~40 pages of CGs in the book. TAG YOUR CG SPOILERS, IFI!!!
And finally we make it to the game’s case.
I’ve looked at the three new husbandos long enough. Gonna flip the cover to the other husbandos.
Straight up: For me, the artbook alone makes it. Just some nice artbook. 10/10, would artbook again. That artbook is easily worth $30 on its own. The bento and the furoshiki are nice thing to have for display or maybe a purpose outside of their original ones. And if you want to use them, more power to you! It’s up to you. I do believe that items are best and their happiest when you are using them.
Also, there are chibis all along the sides. And who doesn’t love some cute chibis?
Quick Game Comments
The game Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a wonderful upgrade too. The GUI (Game User Interface) has an amazing upgrade that almost made me cry when I saw it. Gone are the jagged edges and the yellow text box. Everything is crisp. Don’t want to press X? Just touch the screen now. The characters blink and their mouths move when they talk (I was surprised when it happened). Random characters, like one of the ronin in the beginning of the game, now have sprites, which adds to the game’s richness. Backgrounds are now added in where they weren’t in the original game. There are effects happening on screen, it’s now snowing in the game and there are animations when the MC moves.
Oh, and splatter effects. Bless splatter effects. lol
All in all a very nice upgrade from the original version.
I like it so much. I was thinking that I would have a few more gripes about it, but it’s a solid package with nice extras and the game itself has a beautiful upgrade.
Something I do feel the need to confirm with everyone is this game is in two parts. Due to the additional routes, upgrades, and extensions of existing routes, Idea Factory decided to release this game in two parts. The first part is Kyoto Winds (Kaze no Shou) and there is a second part, Hana no Shou. Think of it like an anime series that leaves you with a cliffhanger until the second season comes out. I have seen that most reviewers, who seem to not know what they are missing, feel satisfied with the game after playing it.
I’ll still be here ready for the second part. Additional releases could still be ahead for this series as well. If you look anywhere where fans are talking about this series, you will see wails for Hakuouki SSL ~Sweet School Life~ which is a High School AU game. Otome fans love their AUs…
If you want to get your hands on this, you need to make a decision FAST. The game isn’t even out yet and, on May 5th, Idea Factory Intl announced they are at 40% stock. It’s going and soon it might be gone!
Get those husbandos and enjoy your merch!
Thanks to Idea Factory International for sending me this to review. I’m still in shock when I hold it and feel I’m not worthy. Also, hearing I was the first person outside the company to receive this in no way made me super nervous. NOPE.
So, we played this game on the stream last Saturday and then this weekend (well, Twitch was being an ass today).
At first, seeing as I’m always in mode for games on a level with a certain company, I was kinda shooing it off.
But, in the end, wow. I found myself actually having fun! The game is funny, the MC is naive, but there is a reason she is this way.
And, if you want to see an actual healthy sub-dom relationship in a high school fantasy game, Shiba’s route is where it’s at!
I don’t even know if that’s how the game was intended for the relationship to be viewed, but that is actually when they ended up depicting. A girl being dominate over a boy in a very healthy way. She was not forceful, she did not make him do things he didn’t want to do. I mean, just something I had really yet to see in an otome game. A nice breath of fresh air.
Forget your sadism game.
Let a purple haired werewolf beg a girl to pet him and is happy when he’s rewarded for being a good sub. LOL
Yeah, now I HAVE to try out the other routes. Ray is such an little shit. I can only hope that she ends up with him happy to lick her zombie shoes as well.
You can apparently read the game for free (I don’t know how this works), but after that play through, I have no regrets on shelling out $3.99 for the route and kinda wish I had bit the bullet and bought all four at a discount.
Don’t let this review fool you, Liar! is a freemium game. I know, I usually review free-to-play only but the first part of this game is technically free. If you play your cards right and don’t use up your free tickets, you can probably come really close to clearing the whole game while using as little money as possible.
So, let’s see how this game goes!
After a rather nasty break up with her boyfriend, the Main Character [you name her] decides to go find the man of her dreams at a speed dating function with handsome, rich, and well educated men. The MC’s mother is pressuring her to get married and since the MC is from the countryside, she doesn’t want to marry a country bumpkin. Upon entering the venue, she runs into a fortune teller who tells her that evening, she is going to meet 10 men of her dreams. But all of them, except for one, is lying to her! Using investigation and the power of the MC’s “no damns given!,” you will help her pick off every man, one by one, until you are left with the one, THE TRUTHER!
And yes, he is the True Route in the game. He wins.
There are 10 love interests with varying personalities that the MC meets at speed dating. The first 5 who get knocked out of the running have pretty bad lies. The second half have lies along with lines of “This just isn’t going to work out…” (EXCEPT FOR ONE). The second half have purchasable “Lovers Route” that are 800 Coins each (~$4.80) where you can have the MC still date that person despite their lie. And there is also the game’s True Route who also has a Lovers Route where the true route continues.
Starting out, I had an immediate favorite whom, despite him being my favorite, did annoy me here and there throughout the game. These characters are all flawed in both good or bad ways. Even the guy who comes out on top is flawed and that is good. It shows that you that even Mr. Right will not be perfect and you have to work through your issues as a team!
Like most games I review, you get five free tickets a day to read the different Liar stories. This game, however, isn’t just reading the story. You also need to do some detective work. You will be asked to look through FindFriend (the game’s Facebook), look around offices, apartments, ect to find clues to who that story’s liar is. And you can bad end if you choose incorrectly! So take your time and look at everything.
Upon finishing a Liar Route, you will be given a rank and that rank determines which ends you get to choose from to read. The highest rank is S and when you S rank you not only get your choice of all FIVE of the possible end to read, but you also unlock every end meaning you can read every one. As the Rank goes down (A,B,C,F) the choices of endings to read also goes down. And if you want to read any of the other ends, you will have to either replay the Liar again and try to achieve higher rank OR you can just buy them using coins (I don’t recommend you do this. Check the Game Page Tips for more about this.)
The game also has checkpoints where it will check your Cool Points (CP) to determine if you can continue the game. You get CP by going on Flirt Time and answering dating questions to get points.
Then there are Savvy Points (SP). You are awarded SP based on how many right answers you make when calling out the Liar in each story. HOWEVER, the only way you can S Rank and unlock all the ends is to Early Clear. When you tap on the Liar story before starting it, there will be a window that will show you by what day and time you will need to finish the Liar in order to EC and get the extra SP to S Rank.
What do I like about this game?
It’s not a secret, I’m not a big fan of Voltage as I once was. But, there is a lot here to unpack.
Some people are immediately turned off by this game’s MC and I understand where they are coming from. Her standards for finding a man come off as shallow, she’s quick to judge, and can come off as bitchy. But that is what makes her GREAT. NO DOORMAT HERE. She’s so flawed, it’s amazing. She isn’t perfect by any means and even in trying to pretend she is, she doesn’t really understand the irony in some of her actions. But that is fine by me! Her actions made me laugh, yell at her, and make me wish I could take her aside and be like “…. No. Just… no.”
But, it goes to show that not all Japanese women are mousy, soft-spoken, polite, and put everyone else before them which is something most otome would have you believe. This is a woman who knows what she wants and is willing to lie (IRONY~) to find out the liars in the group of suitors.
Oh and she has a friend~
The game play is not typical. I have seen some call it otome+phoenix wright. I find investigating and going through evidence as a fun extra. Of course, you lose this completely in the Lovers Routes where the game goes back to typical Visual Novel game play, but that’s fine.
I found the event they just had easy to clear and the extras neat. Though, I found it hard to separate the AU guys from their Main Story lie….
The things that frustrate me
The only real headache in the game play is Savvy Points (SP). The fact that the only way to S rank is by SP alone and the only way to get enough SP to S Rank is to EC, while this will be easy to do for the first few handfuls of Liars, becomes impossible to do in the later Liars without extra story tickets.
This Liar gave 4 days.
Some of the bad ends, especially in the later half of the Liars, feel really forced. When their lie comes out, the Bad End is usually centered around them falling back onto that lie one way or another. The later half are so developed that their actions in the bad ends (EXCEPT FOR ONE) make no sense.
Some other things, there really are no CGs in the free-to-play part of the game. It’s mainly story and investigation driven.
Overall, a fun game if you are wanting something with some different game play and very different MC. Playing the first few to see if you want to continue might be worth it since you will be able to clear them easily.