First of all, it was delivered to me earlier than I had expected, so I was very happy! I really suggest getting the limited edition, because it comes with so much more stuff! The illustration book basically has character descriptions, pictures, some artwork, and a lot of it is CGs from the actual game. It's nice, because if I ever want to look at some CGs, but I don't want to turn on my PSP, I can just check the illustration book. Keep in mind that the illustration book doesn't include all the CGs.
Now, on to the actual game. When it starts, there's an opening video and whenever you exit the game and go back in, it will always display it. You have the option to skip it though (just click start) and I find that very helpful. I like how there are at least 12 (i think) slots for you to save in. Over all, the convenience of the whole game is 5/5!
The game is fully voiced and I find that very high class, because it's like watching an anime! You get to listen to the voices while reading the English subtitles. However, sometimes, the translations are a little off, but I suspect that is so that they can make it easier for English speakers to understand. Also, there are a few spelling mistakes here and there, but it's nothing big. Doesn't get in the way at all. Translation is probably a 4.5/5 for me, but that's just because I prefer getting the direct translation rather than having it altered.
The game itself is very fun! I knew the game would be lots of reading and I was prepared for that, but sometimes, it can get a little annoying. The one thing I'm very annoyed about is that even if you skip all the parts you've already read, it still takes a while.Read more ›
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Yeah for Original Japanese Voice Acting!Feb. 15 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
The only thing I was worryied about with this English version of Hakuoki is that the company might not keep the original Japanese voice acting. I got the game on Feb 14 (from my local game stop, the amazon pre-ordered copy is still on the road) and yeah the voice acting is still in the original Japanese! Yes!
Hakuoki is one of the top names in Otome games, and apart from great character design and story lines, this game features some of the best voice actors in Japan, which to me is a must have for a visual novel style game.
I really hope this game can sell well in the US, so other games of this series can be introduced as well. And maybe some day Koei's neoromance games will also see its way in the US market.
============================================== One update after playing through the English version: I realized the English version does not include the extra story sections (hakuoki ibun-senyu emaki). In the Japanese psp version, you get access to extra text stories (with voice acting) for all characters once you finish one character's route. Reading the story will unlock an extra CG of that character. In the English version, you still get the CG after beating the game, but there's no story, which is a shame. Because of this, I would like to take half a star off this English version if I can.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Great Visual Novel!Feb. 15 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Playing Hakuoki, I can see why this game has been such a huge success in Japan. I know a lot of reviews make it sound like this is a dating sim, but it is much more than that. Hakuoki takes place in the middle of a war that actually happened in real life. Most of the characters and events are (loosely) based off of real life, so there is a historical aspect to the game. But the fantasy and romance prevent it from getting bogged down with history.
The art is beautiful and the Japanese vocal cast is amazing. Idea Factory spared no expense with their voice actors, getting some of the top in the field.
As long as you feel comfortable playing a game from a female's prospective, I think that this game actually caters well to both genders. The only reason I could see someone not liking it is if they purchased it not knowing what a visual novel is. As the name implies, it is completely text-based with no actual game-play aside from choosing paths like in a choose-your-own-adventure novel. If you like to read books, I think this game might be just up your ally!
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Extremely addictiveFeb. 16 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I bought this game off the PSN (so I could play it on my Vita when I get it) and I have been very satisfied with my purchase. Gaming has always been about the story and the characters to me and this game, while lacking in actual gameplay, has that. As you make your choices, you learn more and more about each of the characters, fleshing out the story and learning more about what the time period was like. The story takes quite a few liberties, combining supernatural elements with historical events. The artwork and the music is so beautiful, I'm actually considering buying the limited edition of the game off of Amazon just for the art book and the soundtrack. The game has a very handy rewind/fast forward option so you can replay certain events or fast forward through the text you already read if you choose to go back and choose a different option.
Disclaimer: This is a very text heavy game. If you don't like reading, don't buy it. If you think you would be bored making choices and then reading the outcome (similar to a choose your own story book), this game is not for you.
Edit (2/25): You can't play the game on the Vita yet but according to Aksys games, they are working on getting it approved by Sony.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Addicted and Need RehabAug. 19 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Have you ever read an exceptionally good book or seen an amazing movie that you constantly think about even after you've finished it? You think about the characters, the plot, you get a butterfly feeling in the pit of your stomach as you read/watch because you're just so into it? That for me is Hakuoki.
As you can see by the product description, Hakuoki is an adventure/romance game that takes place during the end of Japan's Edo period. Much of it's events and even characters are based off of actual pieces of history, with more fantastical elements thrown in to spice it up. The route the story takes relies on your choices as the main character, a girl named Chizuru who originally comes to Kyoto to find her missing father but instead finds so much more than she bargained for. The game plays out much like those old create your own adventure novels, where the wrong choices can lead you to a "game over" aka "you're dead." However, choose the right paths and you're led to multiple different endings, many of the romantic variety with one of the choice main male characters. This alone gives Hakuoki large re-playability because even after completing it, you're far from finished. You'll need to work you're way through each route to fill in all of the holes.
The characters were very distinct and engaging, and I found I was easily able to grow attached to (or distrust, even despise) them as if they were real people standing in front of me. Of course, each character having a voice actor and being able to "talk to you" helped too. And learning about each of their specific paths is perhaps even more compelling then the overall underlying plot.
But the sweet icing on the cake would have to be the suburb voice acting and beautiful artwork. The US release maintains the original Japanese voice acting, which is not only top notch, but adds to the romanticism of it all (kind of like how people tend to be infatuated by foreign accents.) The artwork is crisp and clean, and really adds to the atmosphere. And they insert beautiful full illustrations at key points, some which just completely tear at your heart strings, or even freak you out. Add in some sound effects like the loud "clang" of a sword, and I was jumping in my seat on a number of occasions.
If I was to rag on anything it would be the music. It wasn't bad per say, just repetitive, and not even all of it. When things were "normal" and calm, the BGM almost had a generically light-hearted feel to it, which is fine, until you've listened to it for... 30 minutes? an hour? I don't know. I kind of lost track of time while playing, but you get my drift. But when it did suddenly change, it jumped at you. Like, "oh crud, stuff's about to go down!"
Overall, I don't think Hakuoki is for everyone, but for what it is, it deserves 5 stars. I'm a casual gamer with specific tastes: mostly adventure and RPG. Rarely do I play more than a few hours a week, but I played through Hakuoki the first time in three days (approx. 12-14 hours). The only thing that kept me from finishing quicker was work, sleep, and my Vita pleading for a battery recharge. (Yes, you can download it for your PS Vita now!) In a lot of respects, Hakuoki is an embellished book. So if your looking for a fighting game, worlds to romp through, or you just hate reading, I wouldn't suggest this. Also, it is an Otome game (targeted towards a female market) so if your not into men, you may want to pass. But if your looking for a historically fantastical adventure story, with some good 'ol romance, then Hakuoki is a no brainer.
Now, please excuse me while I recharge my Vita. ;)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Suspenseful & Amazing!Feb. 15 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I was so excited to hear a Otome game was coming out here in the US. I put in my order and got it on Valentines day. I haven't been able to put it down! Lol! The story is wonderful as well as all the different endings and events you can get. The story takes so many turns depending on who you deiced to pick so you never know what may happen. Hakuoki is a really a wonderful game. Normally I don't leave reviews but I really want this game to be known. I back it 100%
I recommend this game to any fan of Otome or people who are just getting into them. ^^ It is worth any penny. Hopefully more Otome will come out here to the US!