Monday, March 12, 2012

Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Review

Finally, I bought Hakuouki. It only took $25 to download from Gamestop, 198 minutes of downloading, and an extra dose of patience—mostly patience.

In case you don’t know what Hakuouki is, Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is a visual novel styled Girls’ game for the PSP. You play as Chizuru, a girl searching for her father in Kyoto. You end up in the care of the Shinsengumi, a special police force. after they save you from a strange bunch of creatures obsessed with killing. It turns out, the Shinsengumi are also looking for your father. You both team up to find him. However, things aren’t as they seem and you’re caught up in a dangerous situation involving the secrets of the Shinsengumi and your father. Despite the dangers, you can find love with one of the Shinsengumi members.

Hajime Saito in Full Version mode
Since the only other text based game I've played from Aksys was 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors for the DS, I was a little wary. While I enjoyed 999, it wasn’t a Girl’s game, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This would be the first real time the US took on a game like this, and there were no predecessors. I was a little worried when they slapped the Mature rating on Hakuouki, but I must say, I am amazed at how the game turned out. The game has full Japanese voice-acting with English text, lovely art and unlockables, and pretty nice music.


I wasn't actually sure who to start with, but I ended up with Hajime Saito because I had the highest affection with him at the time. Despite choosing at random, Saito is currently my favorite character. In the beginning, I hadn't seen much in the way of interesting characters, but as you play through the story you begin to like them.  Each character has their own feelings and insecurites, which are addressed as you play through the game. To be honest, I actually played through Saito's route three times to get all of the CG images.Worth. Every. Minute.

I am a little annoyed at Chizuru's inability to protect herself for a minute despite repeated mentioning of her skills. However, she has her moments where she does help in battle so she isn't completely useless like other protagonists.

Heisuke's voice was a little irritating compared to the other members of the Shinsengumi, but it wasn't that bothersome.


The storyline didn't feel generic even though the game is in fact a typical reverse-harem. However, unlike other games, Hakuouki's approach feels less like "Every guy suddenly wants me!" and more like you have to gain each person's trust. Despite being a game geared for girls, it's not all fluff and sunshine. There are sad moments; people die. In fact, quite a few people die depending on the route, including Chizuru (which I found out the hard way) and main characters. However, it makes the game a wonderful engaging experience. I found it well worth the money and time.

The game isn't actually gory. Aside from a few blood splattered images, and descriptions of death and battle scenes, there isn't much else. There's a little bit of swearing, but it's almost non-existent in the later half of the game. No dirty images, no nudity, nothing. They probably could have gotten away with a T for Teen rating.


The game only has a few background songs. They're fine, but after a while they get a little annoying after hearing it looped. The BGM (background music) isn't good or bad, either. It's just average.

I enjoyed the opening song, but it's not anything I'd want to listen to multiple times.


The text in the game is a little too small for my liking, but that is negligible.

When using Skip Previously Read Text, it skips the first few boxes of unread text. This was a mere annoyance, but became extremely bothersome when I made alternate choices and hadn't viewed the scene yet.

The History feature came in handy very often. I loved it. It was extremely useful when I had forgotten which option I picked, made a bad choice, or just wanted to replay a scene.

I'm completely in love with the art. Which is very important because art is one of the most important features to me. The game has plenty of drool-worthy images you can view. They have two aspect ratios: the full version and PSP sized. I suggest viewing in full version mode.

OVERALL: 4.5/5
All in all, Hakuouki is an amazing game --Buy it. You won't be disappointed.

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