Thanks to Idea Factory International for the review code
Title: Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
System: Playstation Vita/TV
Release Date: 05/16/2017
In this Visual Novel adventure, you take control of a young girl who sets out to the city of Kyoto to find her missing father. After being taken in by a clan of samurai, she learns that there’s a sudden rise in crime, caused by evil creatures that attack innocent civilians. It’s now up to her to help her new friends find her father and restore peace to the town!
Considering how the entire game relies on the quality of the presentation, I’m happy to say that Hakuoki does an impressive job, with really detailed artwork for character and the major scenes, along with an AMAZING Orchestral soundtrack that’s somber and fits the setting perfectly. Seriously, I was blown away by how impressive this soundtrack, and if I could I’d buy a copy of the CD just to listen outside of the game, since it would be perfect for relaxation or working. Expect musical heaven when you go through this story. The story is also voiced in most major parts, but it’s all in Japanese, so be aware of that fact.
Like I said in my review of Psycho-Pass, I must restate that Hakuoki is a Visual Novel, and unlike Psycho-Pass, the visual novel is the only part of the game. What this means is that you can’t go into this game expecting it to have some sort of interactivity like in Phoenix Wright, or to have a minigame to play from time to time like in the aforementioned Psycho-Pass. Outside of experiencing the story and choosing the options you feel are right, the only thing that you can do outside of the main story is focus on collecting every single encyclopedia term.
During dialogue, certain words and phrases will be highlighted, and you can jot them down in your encyclopedia. This is pretty much the main reason you’ll be replaying the game after clearing a route, next to gathering trophies or out of pure curiosity. (since there are a lot of characters you can pair up with and learn more about) Outside of that though, the game works perfectly fine, and skipping dialogue you’ve already seen or don’t want to see is very easy to do.
In conclusion, Hakuoki is a decent visual novel, with a moderately interesting story, amazing music and lots of routes to choose. It does require your attention if you aim to get everything documented in the encyclopedia, which can make some of the more boring aspects of the story drag on if you’re hunting for missing words or phrases.
Outside of that though, the game is a fully functional, enjoyable visual novel, and it’s heck of a lot more engaging than some other basic ones I’ve “experienced” in the past. That being said, if you aren’t a fan of the genre or unsure if a game that’s entirely story if right for you, then it’s probably a good idea to skip this. Be sure to check out the soundtrack, though! I give Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds a 7 out of 10.