Posts Tagged ‘Kadokawa’


Prince of Stride – Game Review

December 18th, 2015

Prince of Stride was a pretty niche title over here until recently, when it got announced as an anime for 2016. But it had a huge build up in otome magazines over a long time. Girls Style first ran a light novel of it, then a comic, and then there were drama CDs.

It’s set in the near future, and focuses on a new high school sport called Stride, which is supposed to be kind of extreme and very cool. From what I can tell, it’s like the 4 x 100 sprint relay but with 5 people and in cities, where you can use the terrain to your advantage. Also (since OF COURSE girls can’t be good at physical activity, but this is an otome game so we need to get a girl in there somewhere) there’s a position called ‘relationer’ who basically tells the relay members when to start running and acts like an in-race coach, kind of, through headsets. And supposedly this position is viewed as critical to the success of the team, and there aren’t very many female relationers because then all the team members like her, or something…

I wrote the above paragraph after playing about an hour of this otome game. It shows my almost-disdain at some of the plot elements. Since I prefer fantasy and historical settings to modern/sci-fi settings, and the whole sport seemed kind of dumb to me (why is it so hard to recruit for this sport which is basically track, running and jumping, with some very limited parkour?), I was biased against this from the start.

Did the game win me over? Or was I right to be prejudiced? Here are my notes before I finished any routes.

Some good points:

So I was already starting to be won over. Now I’ve finished a few good endings, and I think I have enough to do a real review.

The heroine, a first-year at Honan High School, is a little bland but likeable. She also has a voice during races (unvoiced for regular dialogue). I found her backstory with Takeru and Riku, the two other first-years on the team, to be a bit outlandish, but it does give a good reason for them to like her.  The romance is interwoven pretty well between all the competitions, though it’s never really in the spotlight, except maybe in the epilogue. If you don’t like heavy-handed romance you might like this approach, though for me it was a bit too light.

Other than that, the plot about the competition leading up to nationals is done very well, and as I mentioned before, the dialogue and interaction is excellent. Each school that Honan competes with has its own personalities and style, and their interplay is pretty engaging. I think after you play once, you can skip the race parts with the same score you got before, which is good because you can’t skip through those any other way. Really good relationers seem to have some sort of telepathic link with the racers, which felt odd  to me since there’s no other indication of sci-fi or fantasy elements. The ending race, if it goes well, gets a little more odd in that the telepathic link is broadcast to the entire audience. There’s no explanation for this that I’ve seen so far.

I’ll get my problems with the game, really the whole story setup, out in the open now. One of the ‘themes’ in the game is how expensive Stride is to put on competitions for, since it requires blocking off city streets. It also is apparently expensive to enter, and each school team needs to have a big sponsor. Perhaps there are high fees to enter? They talk about gear, but really it’s just track outfits, shoes, and headsets, so I don’t quite get it. One of the main kind-of antagonists is the head of Stride in Japan, who’s always trying to sensationalize the rivalries and relationships to make the sport more popular with the public. He also has history with the heroine’s father – they were on the same Stride team in university, where they caught the attention of the nation and won dramatically with the heroine’s mother as their relationer (who died a few years ago, not really sure why that was necessary). It’s kind of implied that that whole Stride team was kind of in love with the mother as well. The heroine’s dad, Joe, has been coaching Stride in the US for a while now, but soon after the start of the game, he comes back to Japan and forms an ‘ultimate’ Stride team which is the final team to beat in the game (he asks the heroine to quit her team and join him, but she refuses – you have no choice in this). This ‘rivalry’ is also hyped up by the Stride national head, which all the characters are pretty scornful of. A constrast is made between Joe (stoically and quietly coaching) and the other guy’s philosophy about promoting Stride as a sport as if being commercial is selling out, but they never question their luck in having a big sponsor whose CEO is the older sister of a team member. They’re also completely okay with another Stride team being an idol group to muster supporters (and money). This could be taken as an astute commentary on the complexity of reconciling ideals about the purity of sport with the requirements of surviving in capitalist society, but I didn’t get the feeling that the characters recognized that (perhaps it’s metatextual?). Anyways, there are some points during the game where this can be kind of glaring.

Besides Takeru and Riku, I went through Heath, the captain’s, route as well, and his story has a nice but not very dramatic arc as well. I actually found him more and more relatable as the story went on, about how he feels like he has to make up for his lack of talent with grit and practice and acting like a model captain, which is easy for me to identify with.

Takeru and Riku were more familiar characters. Takeru is the childhood friend whom you forgot about but he never did, and Riku falls for you almost at first sight not realizing that you have a connection from the past. Their stories were well-done too, I have no complaints.

Long story short, I did enjoy playing Prince of Stride. The gameplay is fun – the only change I’d make is being able to choose more than one day’s activities at a time. Though the meta-plots (both the commercialism vs. sport purity, and the telepathy thing) never got a resolution through the routes I played, the character storylines themselves were done well and were fun. And I think the writers did a really good job setting up the other schools and characters as well, I’m actually interested to see what the anime will be like. I kind of hope it takes a broader view and doesn’t focus as much on Honan, but judging from the promo pics…it probably won’t.

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Real Rode after a few days

December 22nd, 2008

Well, I’ve been furiously playing Real Rode and have gotten through…4 stories!! Only 4, yes. But I’ve done enough to do a pros and cons list, which I’m making short because I want to get back to playing – next I’m trying out True Fortune so I can’t wait!

Cons:

Pros:

Overall, I’m actually enjoying it a fair bit – the first time through was pretty tough, but by now things are going really quickly.

Other thoughts – The gameplay, other than the battles, reminds me a lot of Otometeki Koikakumei Love Revo, which makes sense since it’s the same developer and the same artist. Even the training is a bit similar to the weekly diet plan, though I wish we were still able to plan for a whole week at a time like you could there. The stories are just as diverse, but it seems a bit easier to me to get everyone’s events – no worrying about fatigue for one thing. So if you’ve played that game, you might have a good idea about whether you’d enjoy this one – apart from the genre being different.

OK, back to gaming!

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My new games…two new and one oldie!

December 9th, 2008

RR banner
My Real Rode should be here any day now, squee! I’m very very excited for this game, not just because I’m an RPG geek, but because this looks like it could actually be a well-done RPG otome game, and those are way too rare. In fact, the only ones I can think of are Harutoki 3 and 4 (do 1 and 2 count? hmm…) Some games have RPG elements (like stat-raising through fighting a la Mizu no Senritsu 2) but not enough that I’d consider them RPGs. Koiyuuki tried hard…but wasn’t successful.

And also, I’m FINALLY, after several *years*, getting Little Aid! I was looking back at my old B’s Log from last year, and found a guide to Panic Palette, which I had mostly done but not totally, and I got the two characters which I wanted but missed the first time, Nainagi and Nuinuma. They’re the sempai guys who are friends with Sawato (the dancing sailor fuku guy from Little Aid), and a lot of their events include Sawato. They also talk about a lot of people from Little Aid as well, so it’s good timing that I’m finally getting it and can see who all these people are. I should get it in time to bring it home for Christmas holidays (it’s on PSP).

And lastly, I ordered True Fortune from Enterbrain. It’s been out a few months, and seems to be popular so I thought I’d give it a try. Another school romance! Real Rode will be a nice change between playing Panic Palette, Little Aid and True Fortune.

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Real Rode! Fall game from Kadokawa

July 13th, 2008

Yah, so I just realized, there are no pics yet in this blog!! Blasphemy! So here’s a post with lots of cute pics:)

Real Rode banner
Real Rode is a new otome game, the first that I know of coming from Kadokawa, the same company that produces a lot of great shoujo manga like DN Angel, Angelique (yup, it ran in Asuka at the same time it was released as a game), X, and many others.

Just as an aside, when I checked Asuka Magazine’s site to see what was going on with them, it looks like this month’s mag comes with a CD of Fukuyama Jun and Sakurai Takahiro in a…laughing contest? Truth is stranger than fiction, folks. I also notice that the artist of Angelique, Yura Kairi, has a new series that’s being adapted to anime. I think it’s about a girl who dresses as a guy to medically treat people in the court of Heian?? Japan, but I could be totally wrong because I’m going on a random blurb.

SO ANYWAYS, Real Rode is coming from a company with some good history in making female-targeted products, and this game looks totally fun. The main character is a gaming otaku (woohoo!!), Niina, who keeps her hobby a secret from everyone, including her popular boyfriend Naoya. One day she’s whisked away into the fantasy world of her favourite games, Rode, after she’s played it 99 times (yeah, even I haven’t played a game that often).

The player (you, not Niina), chooses what kingdom to start in, White or Black, and that determines two of the characters who end up in your party – a prince and his advisor. The rest are always there. Then you all go on an adventure to defeat the evil demon king to save the world.

Characters (I couldn’t resist putting the SD versions on the right, they are just too cute):

NiinaNiina: Cute and stylish, she nevertheless has a complex about anyone, especially her boyfriend, finding out about her secret hobby of playing games.

Weapon: She uses her game controller as a weapon! It’s still a mystery how she uses it…

Alvand

Alvand

Alvand

CV: Takeuchi Ken
The ‘white’ prince, he’s noble, strong, etc. And pretty! Look at those long blond locks!

Weapon: Sword

Raclot

Raclot SD

Raclot

CV: Nakai Kazuya
Alvand’s advisor, he’s known through the whole land of Rode for his knowledge. He’s smart and aloof, with a dry wit.

Weapon: A book! He uses it to cast spells.

DyseDyse SD

Dyse

CV: Kamiya Hiroshi
The ‘black’ prince, he’s supremely confident and very powerful.

Weapon: I think he uses a sword

KeithKeith SD

Keith

CV: Midorikawa Hikaru
Dyse’s servant, he keeps his thoughts to himself and is hard to figure out.

Weapon: He uses a gun that he made himself.

LukiaLukia SD

Lukia

CV: Kishio Daisuke
The cute, curious bard who tags along for the adventure, he can use healing magic.

Weapon: He uses a crystal staff as seen in his SD pic.

ShinnShinn SD

Shinn

CV: Tachibana Shinnosuke
A cool archer who never misses his target, sometimes he shows an eccentric side.

Weapon: Duh, his bow and arrow.

SomariSomari SD

Somari

CV: Yonaga Tsubasa
The friendly deliveryman who works in a small town in the blue country, he wants to explore the world…

Weapon: A baguette! How cute is that? That’s gotta be one stale loaf to be used as a weapon…

WataruWataru SD

Wataru

CV: Miyano Mamoru
A crafty thief who steals anything he desires.

Weapon: A short sword and hatchet.

NaoyaNaoya SD

Naoya

CV: Kondou Takashi
Niina’s nice and popular boyfriend.

Weapon: His tennis racket – does he hit monsters with it, or use it to shoot balls at them?

Gameplay:

There will be three types of gameplay in Real Rode, normal ADV mode (dialogue choices), town mode, where you can train with other characters to raise your stats, and RPG mode where you travel around, go to dungeons, and fight monsters!
Battle screen
Here’s a screencap of a battle. Yup, it’s 3D SD, looks a little similar to Ururun Quest: Koiyuuki if anyone played that (I did, but I might have been the only one :P ) Hopefully the RPG elements are better-executed than they were in that title…

The world map looks a little like a board game, where you follow a path with icons on it representing different events, like a monster fight, a dungeon, a town, or a character event.

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