Blew my expectations out of the goddamn water

Swords, pistols, and palace intrigue - will you fight to save your prince?
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Is this game wonderful, or is it wonderful?

It's wonderful
It's wonderful
Total votes: 41

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Blew my expectations out of the goddamn water

#1 Post by Bootsykk » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:47 pm

I am so impressed right now. BEYOND impressed. I never would have guessed that this game would turn out SO good, which is why I feel it is necessary to take my time and write out a separate thread as to why.

-The setting is interesting and unique (a matriarchal line of succession? That's not cliche and actually done well? Oh, hell yes!) and has a flair to it that obviously shows a lot of research and effort being put into making it believable.

-The characters are rich and have awesome personalities... not to mention that it was actually quite difficult for me to decide which 'cliche' each belonged to (the shota, yandere, tsundere, etc, etc.) They're all very well-rounded and don't have groan-inducing background stories, and each have realistic faults that make them really stand out. I found myself loving ALL of them.

-The MC is the most non-otome MC I have ever seen. I would always get sick of otome game reviews that praised an MC for being a strong character, then proceed to play the game and discover that wasn't the case at all--or at least, in certain routes their image as a strong female lead would be completely broken. She's clever, resourceful, strong, and actually worries about OTHER factors in a relationship other than pursuing the guy with a f*ck-all-else attitude. She's a fierce, super-sexy action girl who can kick ass in a dress. What more can anyone ask for?

-Decisions that affect the story--throughout the entire game. I held onto *that necklace* for the entire damn game after giving it up several times, because SOMEONE would mention it 3 chapters later and I would feel bad for giving it up. I was seriously surprised at how far your decisions carried throughout the game... especially with Oscar. You really don't see that kind of story-affecting decisions in otome games; it's always the "good decision" "neutral decision" or "bad decision", which effect little more than a few lines of dialogue and the ending you receive.

-An incredible branching plot that is way interesting and is so tastefully done that it makes me want to just kiss the writer (SMOOCHY SMOOCHY :twisted: ) . The story is an otome game, yet so far departed from it; in fact, as a visual novel it would have been incredibly good even without the otome elements. It's the perfect blend of story and romance--settling with well-developed characters and plot, and then icing the cake with a choice of romance. Om nom nom.

I was so pleased with how clever and subtle the humor was--it was rarely lowbrow, and when it was, it was sly and had a bite to it. Probably my absolute favorite moment in the game... ****MILD PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD***** ...was when Callum thought that Cassidy was actually a man. At first, it just made me smirk... But then I thought about it for a bit, and began cackling absurdly at the connection between the title and this little scenario. THAT is a very refreshing, very clever aside for the player, something that I don't even see in a lot of good novels these days. I also particularly liked Oscar's poetry--wanted to make a note of that. It was a nice take on the stupidly romantic, completely nonsensical poetry that was often used during courting in older times.

I can go on, and on, and on... about the pacing of the story, how I stayed up until 7AM (that's kind of embarrassing to admit) because I wanted to find out how the first playthrough ended, so on, so forth. I am just... I am so pleased with this. I've played other titles by Hanako Games, and I have to say, that this one is, by miles, the absolute best. I cried, laughed... it was just wonderful.

To comment on the art, the CGs were beautiful--the colors and painterly style was super yummy. The men were super yummy too (oooooh mister Callum oooooh :wink: ). However, I was a little less impressed by the sprites and the backgrounds--they were pretty good, but definitely paled in comparison to the CGs; it created a bit of disconnect to find that characters with sprites I wasn't particularly attracted to (Callum... Gaston) suddenly became ridiculously attractive in the CG art. If you ever hire the CG artist to design sprites and backgrounds for you... I would totally dish out another five-ten bucks just for a patch to make the art more consistent.

Finally, the music... really good! I really enjoyed the style and rhythm, and it added to the court-intrigue type atmosphere of the game.

LAST CRITICISM: there were quite a few times reading the dialogue where I found myself not quite understanding what was being said--the incorporation of what I'm guessing to be older english and a few foreign words here and there is a nice touch, but the way that they'e written in don't provide enough context to give the reader a clear understanding of what is being said. I also felt that in a few routes, the relationship might have progressed a bit too fast, but honestly, I can't say that's a true criticism, because you balanced that nicely with Madeline's inner monologues, and how she at times felt uncertain about her feelings towards the character being pursued.

Overall... 9.5/10, just... just... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: AUGH! I can't get over what a truly remarkable surprise this was for me. If you're not sure about paying for the game... it is 10,000% worth it. This is probably the first visual novel game I've purchased, in fact, where I really feel like I got my moneys worth (seriously, I actually thought this was better done than the two most commercially successful english otome games so far... enjoyed this immensely more than both Yo-Jin-Bo and Dandelion) Definitely going to be making some fan art for this one. :D

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#2 Post by Bootsykk » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:11 am

I have to note though, some of what I said regarding plot might be really, REALLY off. I was barely lucid by the time I finished playing, so I'm actually playing through again to get clear on the details I might have missed :P

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#3 Post by RedSocialKnight » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:03 am

Hm. You may want to play one of the other paths before dismissing certain possibilities as nothing but comedy.

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#4 Post by biscuit » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:04 am

...okay, I got a confession: even if I weren't a Hanako fan and planning on playing the demo (and face it, probably buying the game ANYWAY even though I have yet to even TRY it)...

...your review would have convinced me to at least give it a go.

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#5 Post by Oki » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:53 pm

Where the hell is the 'my obsession continues to be justified by Hanako's amazing games' button??
I've been here so long even Hanako is sick of me

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#6 Post by Phyllis » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:40 am

Okay, so I registered on the forums just so I can say....KUDOS! Definitely one of the best games I have played in a while! I love the story, love the characters, love the art...and the soundtrack? Gorgeous!

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#7 Post by leavesofmaple » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:20 am

Can I just take a minute to point at the writer of the first post and say "THIS!!!" x 1000?

Because, having played quite a few otome games myself (Dandelion included) I find this game SO refreshing in its strong characters and differing ideas of gender and gender roles. Seriously.

I loved this game. I didn't expect to love this game nearly as much as I did. But the music/art/writing/everything was just so well done.

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#8 Post by leavesofmaple » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:27 am

RedSocialKnight wrote:Hm. You may want to play one of the other paths before dismissing certain possibilities as nothing but comedy.
Yeah, that part of the review confused me a little.

However, the seen where the possibility is first brought up is fairly amusing, with Callum tip-toeing around the subject, and Dolores just diving in and being as crass as possible XD I think I laughed out loud during that scene, the first time I played through it.

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#9 Post by bluumberry » Tue May 14, 2013 4:05 pm

Posted a big wall-o-text at my tumblr. ... royal-trap

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