Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Now here’s a series of visual novels I’ve been dying to get my hands on. Strangely enough, this game has been on my list of Otome games to play for a while and I’ve just never had the time to play it… Until now! Excuse me while I get comfortable in my chair, I have a feeling my heart will be fluttering non-stop from all the drama, romance and excitement.
Code: Realize is an Otome Visual Novel game that was originally released in 2014, for Japan, and 2015, for North America and Europe. Published and developed by Idea Factory, Otomate and Aksys Games for the PlayStation Vita. Praised for its in-depth storytelling and character designs, Code: Realize is well known in the Visual Novel community, being on par with highly acclaimed series, Hakuoki. So well known, in fact, that it has received its own Anime and Stage Performance.
The game takes place in a steampunk environment in London, England, back in the late 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth reigned. We play through the eyes of our heroine, Cardia Beckford, who has been isolated in an abandon mansion for quite some time at the request of her father, who has mysteriously disappeared. You see, our sweet Cardia has a secret. She was born with a strange poison in her body that has the ability to melt and rot anything her skin touches; making her a “Monster” on the inside.
One day her home is raided by the Queens Guard. They had been tipped off that a dangerous individual was living in the countryside and were sent to apprehend her. Being a possible threat to the country, she was sentenced to be hanged. To her unexpected surprise, she is saved by a chivalrous thief named Arsene Lupin. With his help she was able to escape and is now being sheltered by this handsome thief. Little did she know that she would eventually find out about her existence, through the aid of this dashing artisan and his band of marry– YES! Marry-able, men. This is the main plot for the Original story.
However, in Wintertide Miracles this game is set after the events of the main story. Cardia, now free of the poison in her body, is able to finally live her life as she sees fit. She moves back to her father’s Mansion, with her twin brother in tow, and settles to live a comfortable life. But, hold on, all the delicious bachelors from the original game aren’t ready to let their sweet little poison apple go. They will do everything they can to win over her affection during the Christmas holidays.
An abundance of lovable characters
If you think you’ll miss out on some of your favourite characters in the original game, don’t worry. Favourites such as Arsene, Van Helsing, Victor, Impey and Saint-Germain have returned with fire in their eyes.
In this version of the game you’ll be given options to choose who you wish to focus on. You’ll be sent to a room with a decorative Christmas tree. Starting from the top of the tree you can choose to be stuck in a love triangle scenario, giving you the choice to choose which hotties you wish to see pining for your attention. Each match up is different and with 20 different scenarios to see you’ll have plenty to look forward too. Luckily, this isn’t too time consuming as each one is roughly about 15-20 minutes long; short and sweet little stories to get you all giddy inside. They also go a step further by letting you playout scenes with other characters you normally don’t romance in the base game, such as side characters and villains. Yum!
Further down the tree you can centre on singular romantic scenarios with the five main bachelors. Each one is about a half hour long and you’ll have to make a few choices in the game. Choose carefully or you might not get the ending you’re hoping for. A good trick to remember is to quick save before you pick the answer. If you find that your lovers reaction isn’t what you want you can always return and pick the other option.
At the base of the tree you’re given a few extra side stories that focus on a few more side characters. There is nothing romantically involved with these stories, but it is a nice little slice of the story that will warm your hearts to characters you may have been curious about.
As I mentioned earlier I haven’t gotten the chance to play this series until now. So when I was asked to review this title I was excited to dive in. Unfortunately, I was immediately confused when I was thrown into an already finished story. For me, I thought Wintertide was going to be another full separate story from the original game. But what I got was short stories about characters I had no clue about. I found it strange that this game was released with the impression that you’ll be playing through a full adventure, not tiny novella’s here and there.
This game would be perfect to recommend to people who have played through the base game. They would get the full enjoyment of these extra skirts. But on a personal level it fell short, since I walked in with no knowledge. I was brought up to speed with a bit of a preview at the start of any of the solo stories you decide to play through, but that was it.
A Pretty Picture
Visually the game is stunning. Every still painted background, character and score piece is woven into place. With the fact that this game takes place around Christmas each character is drawn with respective winter attire fitted to their personality. Pleasing the palette of any hungry fan, making every moment feel like a Christmas Miracle. Get it!
If there is really anything I’d have to whine about is that during some background pieces the lighting is just enhanced to ‘SEEM’ snowy. Would it really be that hard to draw a snowier landscape? Apparently so!