Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 25.04.2017

Review for Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds on PS Vita

Otomate has always produced the best otome games, bar none. Any otome fan worth their salt will be well aware of their work with such series as Diabolik Lovers and Amnesia, and this tale of feudal Samurai and the legendary Shinsengumi is arguably their greatest yet. The series has had many releases on plenty of different platforms since its original release on PS2 in 2008, and now this remaster of the original title takes the story to PS Vita. This new rebirth places a focus on the Kyoto story, while also adding in plenty of new elements and some original characters. It's been a long time coming since its original Japanese release in 2015, but now it's finally here in the West, was it worth the wait?

For those new to the Hakuōki story, the tale is set around Chizuru Yukimura, a young girl searching for her lost father. While travelling in her search, she's accosted by a wandering Ronin for her sword, then set upon by some crazed killers. Thankfully, the Shinsengumi happen to be nearby and save the day, but this rescue soon turns into a capture as the Shinsengumi take Chizuru into custody. It turns out her father has a history with the Shinsengumi and developed an elixir known as the Water of Life, which can turn those who drink it into immortal Vampire-esque berserkers known as "Furies" that were attacking Chizuru. The Shinsengumi are searching for him, too, and force Chizuru into their custody for when they find him. The party sets out on a search, with Chizuru growing closer with each member and uncovering the truth of the Furies and her father's work.

The story is massively popular and has birthed numerous spin-offs, including anime adaptations, stage plays and plenty of games. The gameplay setup is one familiar to many Otomate games, playing as Chizuru and through numerous paths. There are six main characters to interact with and each has their own story to experience, romance to develop, and a pair of endings - good and bad. Like all of the Otomate and Idea Factory games, Hakuōki is made for multiple playthroughs, and there are tons of extra little pieces of the story to see and things to unlock.

In this new Kyoto Winds version, there isn't just a handful of tacked on scenes to quickly experience and then the old familiar story either. The base story itself has been expanded with tons of little extras, new supporting characters and little changes to the story to make it feel completely different. The devil may be in the details, but there are big changes, too: three characters who were previously just supporting cast members before are upgraded to full bachelor status.

Screenshot for Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds on PS Vita

This trio is made up of the finest swordsman of the Shinsengumi, Shinpachi Nagakura; the bespectacled and intimidating secretary-general of the Shinsengumi, Keisuke Sanan; and finally, the medical ninja, Susumu Yamazaki. With this new status comes a whole new story and complete romance added for each.

On top of those three, there are also three characters who are completely original added to the story. Hachiro Iba is a guard of the Shogun and seems to have a history with both the Shinsengumi and Chizuru herself, although for some reason Chizuru can't remember him… Ryouma Sakamoto is a gun wielding Ronin who enters the story as an enemy, but professes to be an ally - there's a lot more to this "realist" than meets the eye. Finally, there is Kazue Souma. Souma is quite the prominent figure in the history of the Shinsengumi, becoming the final commander of the group. In this story he becomes Chizuru's student, giving a unique romance and dynamic from each of the other members.

Each of these six new playthroughs live up to the stories that have come before, adding new depths to the existing characters and relationships, while also building fantastic new tales to experience with some great new characters. The Vita continues to be the best platform for visual novels, and if developers like Idea Factory keep putting out these quality titles, it will keep the platform alive for a long time to come.

Screenshot for Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

For anyone who has been interested in trying out an otome visual novel this is a perfect entry into the genre. There are tons of playthroughs to see the whole story, a wide range of characters to romance, and truly compelling tales waiting in this superb story. It's also a must-buy for the hardcore fans out there. For those who have invested numerous hours to see every romance, with endings both good and bad, this is the perfect accompaniment. It's a fresh breath of life that manages to tell new tales and even give further insight into beloved characters.

Developer

Idea Factory

Publisher

Idea Factory

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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