Wooo what a productive weekend (in gaming terms, not so much in, say, cleaning terms, or getting organized terms)! Even though I was pretty mad on Friday because my website was down when I wanted to write about the SYK fandisk – it’s happened before, and if it happens again, I might change my hosting sevice.
Anywyas, I finally finished the original Hiiro no Kakera – I had never done Oomi’s story, so I did that and his bits in ~Ano Sora no Shita de~. Hmm, I tried to take it slow and read everything, but I got impatient sometimes because the story is so long, and near the end it’s like, okay, I know he does this, I know this happens, hurry up and do it and get to the ending battle! It was satisfying to finish though. I was surprised that his guardian backstory wasn’t anything special, I guess one good thing about having an older character is that you can have their issues coming from their current life instead of a past one, heh. I think his storyline was also one of the sadder ones (not necessarily for his story, but for what happens to other characters in it).
Anyways, I think I actually like the ‘Oomi’ storyline better in the new Hiiro no Kakera. In the original, for me, a lot of the suspense and drama was diluted because I’d done all the other storylines and knew most of the plot points already. In the new one, it doesn’t depend much on plot, it’s more of a character struggle, so it works even if you know the basic story.
And another milestone – I finally got the real Tomomori ending in Harutoki 3 Izayoiki!! I had the ‘fake’ one, and was disappointed, but went online to check, and found out what I had to do. It only took a few minutes, I should have done it a long time ago. Ah, Tomomori ~fans self~ Anyone thinking Edward Cullen is the ultimate in sexy bad boys should play Harutoki 3 – Tomomori blows him out of the water.
Now I’m playing Lucian Bee’s again trying to finish it – I had two characters done when my save file got corrupted, so I had to erase the whole thing and start over (yeah, I was NOT happy). But now that releases have slowed down for the winter, I can finally go back and finish stuff! My orderly Excel-spreadsheet* loving side is very happy! Maybe I should make another To Do list…hmmm…
* Some of you might know, I keep track of my otome games in an Excel spreadsheet, and have a percentage complete as well with lists of endings to check off. Yeah, I’m a list person…
Yay, I got Lucian Bee’s on Friday! Since I have to work today (*wrote this on Sunday*), I’m posting some of my first impressions. I’m almost done Luke Rockwell’s route, so I still don’t know the reason why the bad guys are trying to make dasao/dameotoko.
Let’s see, where should I start? Well, the setup, once you get through the introduction, is kind of a mix between Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and VitaminX/Z. You, as the heroine Anna, choose what guy, or target, to start the makeover with, and then as you progress (there are 5 missions for each) you can go back and redo them to improve your scores, or choose to work on another character.
Each mission focuses on making over one aspect of the target: food, design, hair, fashion, and manners. You work with the other two strikers of Lucian Bee’s, M and Q (your codename is A), and the member of Metropolis V in charge of that aspect. Part of the fun is all the banter between M, Q, and the Metropolis V members, and later on, Anna as well. When you finish a mission, you will see the targets’ grades in each aspect before and after, and if it’s something visible (like fashion), then you’ll see the difference in the characters as you go. So once Luke’s hair mission was done, he has that hair for the rest of his story (probably not for the other stories though).
Before starting a mission, you watch a backstage video of Romanxia highlighting the target and their particular problem, with say, hair.
During the missions, the majority is normal visual novel style, with two parameters to increase: Custom and Love. What’s Custom? I *think* it’s the target’s general improvement, whereas the Love parameter indicates how he feels about you.
Near the end of a mission, you’ll go into “stealth mode”, where your answers will not only increase or decrease parameters, but will increase or decrease your stealth meter. The stealth meter measures how suspicious the guy is of your disguise (since all of your interactions are in one disguise or another), and if it gets down to zero, the mission fails. During stealth, there’s a time limit on the choices – only 10 seconds! That’s pretty short when you have to read the Japanese and try to judge which answer is the best.
Finally, near the end of stealth mode, you’ll go into “emergency mode”, where you have to direct not only Anna, but all three strikers in coordination to head off disaster. Though all these events are just timed choices, the game does a great job of using cut-ins, zooms, and movement to make it feel dynamic.
Since I haven’t finished any stories, I’m interested to see how they’ll deal with the guys falling in love with Anna’s disguise and what happens when she shows her true self. Also, though the other Romanxia guys are in the missions a bit, there’s really not that much interaction with them, so I’m hoping that the conclusion, or the last chapter, has more of them as well.
If you can’t tell, so far I’m really enjoying it! I can’t judge the overall story yet, but the gameplay is a lot of fun. Lots of good characters too, not just Romanxia – actually, I think until I play their routes the Metropolis V and Honey Buzzard VI are more interesting…and I really like M and Q too.
Next post will be either a followup of this one, or about Saikin Koi Shiteru? which I also just got and started playing ^_^
Since I’m still in a lull (since my games still haven’t come yet!! :P) I thought it would be good to do a Top 5 Games preview list for the rest of the summer and fall!
1. Lucian Bee’s – I just can’t wait for this, the ‘undercover’ plot and gameplay look really fun!
2. S.Y.K. – in this game I’m looking forward to the characters the most, even just in the screenshots I’ve seen their interactions look pretty funny.
3. Souten no Kanata – and for pretty art and (hopefully) the epic storyline, I really want to play this. However, it might have to wait a while, since it’s for the PC and I’m trying to save money by not buying PC games…but I dunno, it’s very tempting…
4. Shin Tamayori-hime Denshou HnK 4 – new art, pretty much new story – can’t wait to see how holds up to the first 3.
5. Death Connection – I’m interested to see how this game develops; the premise is definitely new, and the setting too, the game in total could be really cool.
I’m going to do a couple posts on the last two games later (probably when I get next month’s mags with more piccies ^_^), which also happen to be the latest releases. I ordered the list according to which I’m looking forward to most and it’s completely subjective – how does your ‘Most Wanted’ list compare?
As a huge fan of VitaminX and Z, of course I’m planning on getting Lucian Bee’s (coming out July 30th), which is from a different publisher (5pb instead of D3) but with the same character designer (Maeda Hirotaka).
The full title is a doozy: Lucian Bee’s Resurrection Supernova – what that has to do with the plot I have no idea. However, that plot sounds pretty awesome.
The heroine is a new recruit to a secret group ‘Lucian Bee’s’, whose mission is to makeover ultra dorky / jerky guys the world over for the sake of all women. A very noble task! The heroine has two comrades, and they’re all called Strikers. The game focuses on making over members of a new idol group, Romanxia, whose members all have problems keeping them from being “ikemen”, and are from all over the world. Let’s take a look shall we?
First up, Luke(from the States) and Anjelica (from UAE).
Luke Rockwell (CV: Takeru) is a major geek otaku, is the son of current President, and is very nice, but due to his social awkwardness, is made fun of by his beautiful and smart fiancée.
Age: 19 Height: 185cm Weight: 69kg
Anjelica Asiyuwan (CV: Hino Satoshi) is the oldest son of the mayor of Dubai who loves gambling and women. He’s very spoiled and his dream is to become the richest person in the world.
Age: 17 Height: 180cm Weight: 60kg
Lee Katoru (China) (CV: Kaji Yuki) has been raised disguised as a girl since he was young to protect him, since his dad is a mafia boss. He’s expert in dance and music, but since he’s been so sheltered, has a hard time trusting people outside his family.
Age: 16 Height: 171cm Weight: 56kg
Vann (Japan) and Jesse (UK)
Vann Caien (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa) is the leader of Romanxia as well as the top motorcycle gang in Tokyo. Though he’s not a scholar, he takes care of his friends and is trusted by his gang.
Age: 17 Height: 174cm Weight: 65kg
Jesse “Kid” Squire (CV: Terashima Takuma) is the lead singer and guitarist of a popular London indie band, “Knights of Round”. He’s also the son of a famous rocker, but hates getting special treatment because of it, and doesn’t have a great relationship with his dad.
Age: 18 Height: 182cm Weight: 67kg
Remmy “J” Belmondo (France) (CV: Miyano Mamoru) is the star of a national opera company, Grand Etoile. He’s very talented, but also pretty narcissistic and always wants to stand out.
Age: 19 Height: 177cm Weight: 59.5kg
To help in this monumental task, the Strikers have the help of the Metropolis V, the advisors of Lucian Bee’s who each excel in a certain area vital to being a drool-worthy guy.
Guido Ashanti (CV: Yusa Kouji) Specialty: Fashion
Didie Lightnorth (CV: Suzuki Chihiro) Specialty: Cooking
Nathan Bloodline (CV: Kamiya Kouji) Specialty: Hairstyling
Frederick Barnard Jr (CV: Fukuyama Jun) Specialty: Design
Cromwell Neeson (CV: Oozuka Akito) Specialty: Etiquette
So what makes Lucian Bee’s job so hard? There’s actually a rival organization who work to turn cool guys everywhere into hopeless jerks and losers! Why? Hopefully we’ll find out in the game. Anyhow, this organization, Daresign, has a group called the Honey Buzzard VI:
Rai (CV: Suganuma Hisaya) Specialty: Fashion
Viola (CV: Toriumi Kousuke) Specialty: Hairstyling
Jagar (CV: Itou Kentarou) Specialty: Etiquette
Barbara (CV: Takahashi Hiroki) Specialty: Food
Michelle Woo (CV: Hatano Wataru) Specialty: Sense and balance
Zehyros (CV: Sugita Tomokazu) Specialty: Unknown
With all these secret organizations and conspiracies, this game is definitely going for a spy/undercover theme, which sounds really fun.
The gameplay involves makeover missions that you go on to ‘fix’ each guy. You first choose your target, then choose a mission (I think the missions for each guy go in a certain order, but once you finish one, you can replay it). You put on a disguise, and get briefed by the Metropolis V. During missions, you have to make sure the target doesn’t catch on to your disguise. The level is shown by the Stealth Gauge, which decreases as the target starts to suspect something is up. If you get through the mission with stealth left, you’re clear! Then you get the results of your mission as to how successful the makeover was.
I can’t wait for this game to come out, I’m hoping that not just the character style, but the fun of the Vitamin series was brought in to this new title.
And finally, here’s the PV:
There’s a Hakuouki PSP adaptation in the works, as well as another PS2 title called Hakuouki Zuisouroku (roughly translated as Notes on Hakuouki).
Also, the mysterious project from HuneX and 5pb is being slowly revealed. The title is Lucian Bee’s, and the tagline translates into something like, “Project Start: Global Makeover of Totally Hopeless Guys”. Sounds like fun!
Now back to Vitamin Z – I’ve been slow the past few days (trying to get all four endings takes time!), but I’m partially through Houjou Kei’s story, and have one of Fuwa’s endings as well (just the normal one). I usually do the normal ending first, since it means I don’t have to try too hard about getting all the tsukkomi/throughs, but it is definitely not as fun as the other endings! Plus, I haven’t found a guide yet for it, so it’s all trial and error! I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of how you HAVE to pass the last quiz (in Chapter 11) to continue – and I think you need 7/10 as well! Sometimes that takes a few tries. On the other hand, you can redo just the quiz, so it’s not horrible.