Hakuouki – Demon of the Fleeting Blossom
This is the English version of the first Japanese Hakuouki game (Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan) released in 2008 for Playstation 2 and 2009 for PSP. The game is a visual novel, reverse harem, choose-your-own-adventure/romance type with multiple endings (both good and bad). The main protagonist is Yukimura Chizuru (approximately 16 year old girl) who heads to Kyoto, dressed as a boy, to search for her father. Her first night there, she ends almost getting killed by evil-looking men (rasetsu/fury) but is saved by members of the Shinsengumi. The Shinsengumi take her back with them to their headquarters. After they find out that she’s a girl and the daughter of Yukimura Koudou (a doctor they are also searching for), they let her stay with them and pledge to help her find her father.
Overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (updated 6/25/12)
Story (4 out of 5 stars): Interesting storyline that’s based on the real historical Shinsengumi and the battles they fought during the Bakumatsu period (late Tokugawa Shogunate). The supernatural element of oni (demons) and rasetsu (fury) is also incorporated in the story.
Art (4.5 out of 5 stars): The art is fantastic! I would have given it 5 stars, but I thought that a few of the characters had weird-looking eyes when they were surprised. My only complaint is that there should be more CGs. 🙂
Voice (5 out of 5 stars): Wow, the voice acting was great! I’m so glad that they didn’t dub the game with English voice actors (no offense to English voice actors, of course). I really liked the seiyuu (voice actors) who played Hijikita, Okita, Saitou, and Harada… especially Hijikata… swoon, lol. Hijikita (Miki Shinichirou), Okita (Morikubo Shoutarou), Saitou (Toriumi Kousuke), and Harada (Yusa Kouji).
Sound (3 out of 5 stars): The sound quality, at least through the speaker, could have been better. A lot of times the voices were so soft, even when I turned down the background music. I could hear much better with headphones, though, but I didn’t want to wear headphones the whole time. Maybe the speaker issue is a PSP problem in general and not the game? This is my first PSP game, so it’s hard to say.
Game Play (4 out 5 stars): The game play seems pretty standard for a visual novel game. It would have been nice to have a fast forward option if you want to skip to the next choice… did it have a fast forward option? When I had to go back and redo a scene that I’d already read through, I found myself pushing the X button repeatedly to get through it quickly. Nevermind… I read the directions, finally, lol… and there is a fast forward option. I will use that later if I try to finish the rest of the routes.
Romance (3.5 out of 5 stars): The romance aspect was a bit meh… not enough lovey-dovey stuff. The CGs and dialogue from the game were sweet but would have liked to have seen more!
Translation (3 out 5 stars): The translation was decent but there were some typos and at times it was quite different than what was actually said in the voice acting (it wasn’t wrong, just a really loose interpretation). I thought they went a little overboard with all the swearing, especially on Hijikata’s part, even though it made him sound pretty bad-ass, lol.