Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 10.12.2015

Review for Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth  on PS Vita

Cubed3 recently covered the first of two Western releases from Idea Factory's team Otomate with Norn9 and were summarily impressed. Now this second release brings steampunk Victorian London to visual novels, uniting famous literary and historical characters with a dark and complex story. Innocent monsters, immortality, vampire hunting with Van Helsing, cat burgling with Lupin, and facing off against Jack the Ripper; is this wondrous and fantastic grim tale worth reading in Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth?

The story places the player in the shoes of Cardia, a girl forced to live in total isolation from the rest of the world due to her strange condition, with anything that she touches melting because of a poison that runs through her veins; animal, vegetable, or even mineral! Two years ago her father abandoned her and vanished, with his final message being an advice to stay hidden and to never fall in love. Cardia can remember nothing from before he left, and has spent her time since sitting alone in her family mansion, seen as a monster by the villagers outside. It's not just what Cardia touches but also her very presence that causes damage, and, therefore, she's blamed for everything that goes wrong, whether that's crops failing or when people getting sick.

This is not much of a life. Days filled with painful isolation and loneliness, until one night when a mysterious organisation breaks into her home and force her to come with them. The organisation is about to succeed in taking her away when she is rescued by legendary thief Lupin. From there the two of them flee and embark on a journey to find Cardia's father and the truth to her condition, gathering up a motley crew along the way.

Screenshot for Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth  on PS Vita

As with all Otome videogames, the core of this one is a story of romance, following Cardia and her possible suitors. While Hakuouki had famous faces from the history of Japan to try to woo, with the famous peacekeeping force known as the Shinsengumi, Code: Realize brings literary characters from across the world, with the legendary thief Lupin being the first, but not the last in a cast including Victor Frankenstein, Abraham Van Helsing, Jules Verne, Impey Barbicane, and Saint Germain.

Each of the characters are fantastically developed and written, each being a very unique and independent character. Befitting of his source material, Victor is a bit of a mad scientist (the token bookworm smart guy of the group), his path follows his attempts to cure Cardia of her condition; Abraham, the legendary Vampire Hunter, is a brooding human weapon with a dark mission. He has a superbly dark story to experience and is one of the best routes through the game; Impey is a genius engineer who plays the part of the joker of the group, always being the but of the joke, and always with a dirty joke at hand, and, based on his namesake from the Jules Verne Novel "From the Earth to the Moon," his path follows his desire to actually travel to the moon.

Then there is Saint Germain. Germain is a rich French lord who plays host to the party, his dark and disturbing route filled with twists and surprises. Finally, the cast is rounded out by the first suitor to appear in Cardia's life, Lupin. To be able to unlock Lupin's route, the true ending of each of the other characters need to be completed. Lupin's path brings all of the paths together, wrapping up all story threads. There are plenty of other notable characters too, with Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper making appearances along with a fantastic original character as the antagonist of the story.

Screenshot for Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth  on PS Vita

Most impressive of all the characters is the heroine herself. Initially, Cardia is the quintessential meek and obedient damsel in distress (isolated and self-loathing due to her ability), but she develops into something much more. Throughout the story, she trains with each of her gentlemen suitors, learning combat from Van Helsing, chemistry from Victor, engineering from Impy, and just about everything from Lupin. She develops into a strong and independent woman, with some ass-kicking scenes where she shows she's capable of rescuing herself. Despite being aimed at a considerable female audience, Otome games are often as guilty as others when it comes to the female characterization, but with Cardia this is an instance where they massively succeeded, resulting in a character that their fan base can relate to, and one that is worthy of being proud of. With so many female characters falling into the category of either the damsel or eye candy, it is fantastic to see Cardia develop in this way.

Being an Otomate title there are of course plenty of romance aspects, but it's not the focus here like it is in other games of the developer, since there's more of a focus on the fantastic story. It is a dark and twisted tale that is worth experiencing even for those who have no interest in the romance, and it's also compelling when each character's path is followed, adding more and more to the overall story, with the final path with Lupin perfectly wrapping up the multiple story threads and delivering a satisfying closure.

Screenshot for Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth  on PS Vita

For those who want to experience the complete storyline without replaying each of the story moments that are the common route aspects (the moments that are the same across all playthroughs), the game unlocks a method of skipping through them called Path of Genesis. This allows the story to be started again from the eighth chapter, right in time to experience each character's unique ending. This combined with a "rewind" ability, allowing choices to be undone and altered, makes this one of the best designed visual novels for replays.

Unlike Norn9 which was developed for the PSP and then upscaled to the Vita, this game was designed and produced specifically for the Vita, and therefore, the final product is absolutely beautiful. The artist Miko has produced some truly gorgeous backgrounds and CG artwork between scenes, which, combined with the fantastic character sprites, it's a great end product.

Screenshot for Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth  on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Another superb visual novel from Otomate and Idea Factory; of the two releases this year, this one comes out as just a little superior, but both are fantastic examples of the genre. The aspect that makes it superior is the story, since there is more focus on the overall plot than the romance in here. It's a very high brow, twisted, and original tale that excels thanks to the strength of its characters - the protagonist especially. In conclusion: Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth is another top-tier visual novel for the Vita's impressive growing catalogue that fans are lucky to see come West.

Developer

Otomate

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

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