Review – Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

Have you ever wondered what life was with eligible bachelors during the time period of change in Japan? During this time period, you (the player) are thrown into some heavy plot. How will you manage with your choice of a bachelor, while uncovering the truth of the events occurring and achieving your set goal? Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds will throw you in this very situation and you must choose the path you will take. Will you get a harem or just 1 person in your quest? Let’s find out in this review of Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds.

Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

Platform: Playstation Vita/Playstation TV
Genre: Visual Novel
Release Date: US – May 16th, 2017; EU – May 19th, 2017
Developer: Idea Factory/Design Factory

*Thank you to Idea Factory International for providing a Review Code for the title*
Intro/Story:

The plot of the game is as follows:

1863. As the end of the Bakumatsu period draws closer…

A lone Chizuru Yukimaru travels from Edo to Kyoto in hopes of searching for her father who mysteriously vanished. As she ventures through the unfamilar city in the dark of night, she is suddenly attacked by a gang of samurai. Amidst the chaos, a mysterious figure approches her, hungry for the taste of blood. As the threat of danger approaches, she is saved by none other than the Shinsengumi.

After their encounter, Chizuru lives with the men of the Shinsengumi to fulfill their common goal: seeking out her missing father. However, she slowly uncovers the shisengumi’s dark secret: the Furies. A group of men calling themselves “Demonds” eventually confront the Shinsengumi, standing in opposition to their secret Fury identity.

Upon meeting these Demonds, Chizuru is forced to come face to face with the secrets of her past. This story is about a girl who allies with the men of the Shinsengumi, who are struggling to uphold their faith in an era of rapid social change in Japan.

Upon playing the game and understanding the story, I realized it is a pretty heavy lore story. It took me by surprise as to how much depth the lore that is in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. I only thought it was a Visual Novel that has an emphasis in on be in being a dating simulator.  I was very wrong on that assumption. I can honestly say that I am glad the assumption was wrong as it made this game much more enjoyable in different aspects. Read on to see what those aspects and components are.

Besides the story, I learned more about Hakuoki from this. From what I gathered, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a remastered game that came out in 2008. This game features new characters, characters that have grown alongside the franchise overall. In addition, it includes new story scenarios with new features, never before seen scenarios and character paths that were added to the base game. This includes new romance paths, new NPCs, and more paths outside the romance paths. It is up to the player to discover all of the new elements if they are veterans or a welcoming surprise to new players (such as myself). It is quite a treat for the franchise veterans and those introduced the franchise for the first time.

Intro/Story score: 4/5; Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds has a much more heavy plot than I previously anticipated. That came as a surprise, which is better than I though.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is presented in the way someone would believe if they played a  Visual novel. The visual novel format consists of a backdrop with characters talking on the screen in a 2D format. You make choices and the paths change in that format. There are a few scenes that will change from the typical Visual Novel format to a new backdrop that looks like a wallpaper. Regardless of that, it is just like the other format. However, in typical Visual Novel format, your choices do matter in the dialogue. The player’s choices in the dialogue will determine how the story will go. In this game, there are several different paths based on your choices. This includes story paths, romance paths, and any other paths that the game holds for the player.

As stated in the story section, the lore will mostly differ in each path. This works well in the game as everything plays out. This is how the gameplay develops in a typical Visual Novel game. In Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, the gameplay works and there are no complaints from me. Despite how it plays out in that format, it works for this type of game.

Gameplay Score: 5/5; For the typical Visual Novel format, it works well with the story told in this game. The different paths provide a different variety of what to expect in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds.

Visual/Audio:

Visual: In the visual aspect, the game looks fine in the Visual Novel format. You get a variety of backgrounds and of characters. While it is given in the 2D Visual Novel format, it looks appealing and beautiful. As stated for the gameplay, this works well for Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. It may be one of the best, in terms of appearance, looking Visual Novel’s around.

Visual score: 5/5; as a Visual Novel, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds looks beautiful and fits the format very well.

Audio: The first thing I always look for in a game (as I always state in all my reviews) is the sound and soundtrack of a game. I can happily say that the audio work in this game is wonderful. From the voice work to the audio tracks, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds delivers in each aspect. For those who are concerned, the subtitles in the game are in English, while the voice work is in Japanese. In General, this game is surprising to me because most Visual Novels do have good voice work, but not of this caliber. The same can be said about the music tracks.

Opening Theme

Audio score: 5/5; The audio in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is top notch for a Visual Novel. From the music tracks to the voice work done in the game, it delivers in all aspects.

Replay Value:

To keep this short and sweet, the replay value is high in this game. With much to be found, different story paths, and different romance paths, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds delivers in the replay value. If Visual Novels are your thing, you will be in for a treat for everything it has in the story mode and the replay factor after beating it for the first time.

Replay Value score: 5/5; The replay value is rich in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. This is more than a typical Visual Novel. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds delivers in this area.

Fun Factor:

The question that is always asked in nearly every game that is played. In my experience, it is fun to an extent. I enjoyed my time with it to a point. I didn’t get everything the game had to offer as it had quite a good amount of things to do. In addition, Visual Novels (in this pure format) are generally not my type of game. I do enjoy them, don’t get me wrong here, but not to amount of content that Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds offers and the caliber the game is. In addition, I enjoy Visual Novel games time to time and  I played a Visual Novel before this game, I was simply consumed and well burnt out on the formula. It was still fun to the extent I played it for, which was around 30 hours to make sure I can get the most I can out of this game.  However, if you are a huge Visual Novel player, this is made just for you. In addition, if you are a fan of the Hakuoki franchise, this is for you as well.

Fun Factor score: 4/5; Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a fun game. However, if you are a normal gamer just getting into a Visual Novel, or playing back to back Visual Novels, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed or burnt out. In contrast, if Visual Novels are your preferred genre, this game is right up your alley and made for you. Finally, if you are a fan of the Hakuoki series (whether game, animes or both) this is made for you.

Conclusion/Score Wrap-Up:

Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a great Visual Novel for those of the franchise and Visual Novel Players in general. It is fun to play, being a typical Visual Novel type game. The story is rich and with in-depth lore. You have beautiful visuals and music in the game. In addition, being a remaster of a 2008 game, there is much new content from the original version. There are things here for new individuals of the Franchise, and veterans. With mega-hitter games out right now such as Persona 5, Nier: Automata, and other titles, a game like Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds for the Playstation Vita is a nice break from the huge titles. This game was a welcome break from the big titles out currently in the world of gaming. I am glad I took the time to get into the game, it was a welcome change of pace. For those who have a Playstation Vita, I cannot recommend this game enough.

Score Wrap-Up:

Intro/Story score: 4/5; Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds has a much more heavy plot than I previously anticipated. That came as a surprise, which is better than I though.
Gameplay Score: 5/5; For the typical Visual Novel format, it works well with the story told in this game. The different paths provide a different variety of what to expect in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds.
Visual score: 5/5; as a Visual Novel, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds looks beautiful and fits the format very well.
Audio score: 5/5; The audio in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is top notch for a Visual Novel. From the music tracks to the voice work done in the game, it delivers in all aspects.
Replay Value score: 5/5; The replay value is rich in Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. This is more than a typical Visual Novel. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds delivers in this area.
Fun Factor score: 4/5; Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a fun game. However, if you are a normal gamer just getting into a Visual Novel, or playing back to back Visual Novels, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed or burnt out. In contrast, if Visual Novels are your preferred genre, this game is right up your alley and made for you. Finally, if you are a fan of the Hakuoki series (whether game, animes or both) this is made for you.

Overall score: 9/10

About Mgs2master2

A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

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