Question is, did I just read/play the best Otome Visual Novel that there is on offer at the moment? It sure feels that way, but without any comparison I can’t say for sure! Let me elaborate: recently I got a chance to review Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth by Aksys Games for the PS Vita. It was my first experience with a real Otome Visual Novel. I didn’t really know what to expect, but let me tell you, I’ve been glued to the screen ever since.
The game is published by Aksys Games and created by Idea Factory and Design Factory for the PS Vita. It was my first experience with a real Otome Visual Novel. I didn’t really know what to expect, but let me tell you, I’ve been glued to the screen ever since.
I will start at the beginning (some spoilers..). As I’ve mentioned in my article about Otome Visual Novels in general, Code: Realize tells a highly romantic story of a heroin who meets several dashing young men. All have very different characteristics, and by choosing one of them you will get a unique storyline. The story starts at a decrepit old mansion, quite eerie in the dark, where a beautiful girl named Cardia sits, surrounded by dolls.
Now this got my attention immediately, as to me dolls are the pinnacle of eerie, but I digress. An army of soldiers under the command of Captain Leonhardt wants to drive the monster out and capture it, and it quickly becomes clear that the monster is the beautiful girl. Although she offers no resistance, one of the dogs that the soldiers have with them, tries to bite her, and dies a horrible death just sort of melting away.
It would seem that the girl is poisonous to the touch, and pretty soon it becomes clear that this is a mysterious lady. In her chest there’s a gem embedded called a Horologium, that seems to be the reason for the poison in her blood. She has no recollection prior to the two years she spent alone in the mansion, and no knowledge of normal things and interactions with others in life.
As they guide her out they are tricked by gentleman thief Lupin, who has her own reasons to capture the girl. He and Impey, a very gifted mechanic, take the girl to their hideout at the house of Count Saint Germain and the stage is set. Although the girl was told in a letter by her father that she must never know love or friendship, she finds just that in the company of her friends, as they set out on a quest to find a cure for the poison in her blood, and at the same time to thwart a plot to conjure a war that involves most of Europe.
Lupin, Impey and Saint Germain are joined by former agent for the secret organization Twilight, Van Helsing and Victor Frankenstein, the fugitive scientist. From there on they take Cardia under their wing, teaching her all about the world that is strange to her on an adventure with unexpected twists, turns and intricate plots. She becomes friends with Sisi the dog, and Delacroix II, the young vampire prince. She even meets the famous detective or that era, Herlock Sholmes.
No, no typo, that’s really his name in the story. You see, the story is set in the London of Queen Victoria’s time, and the Queen plays an important role in the story. Although this Queen Victoria doesn’t in any way resemble the black clothed matriarch we have seen depicted so many times. It’s a London where Cardia’s alleged father Isaac Beckford has made such a lot of inventions using alchemy, by far surpassing the technology of the steam-driven engines that London uses as a means to thrive.
The voices in the game are Japanese which felt a bit strange seeing familiar sights from my London travels like the Tower Bridge. That’s the only thing that could have made the game better, for it to have English voices.
If you have never played an Otome Visual Novel before and own a Vita, this is a perfect one to get started with. And even if you are familiar to the genre, I think this is a great one to read. I specifically say “read” as I could not really say it’s a game. It’s read on a gaming device and you get to make choices that influence the flow of the story; because of this there’s a lot of replay value.
I’ve ended the storyline that involves scholar Victor. Such a kind and sweet young man, how could I resist him? And as is usual in these games, I have the chance to play the story again, skipping the before seen text and experience it again choosing one of the other men. This really brings together my love of reading and gaming in the best of ways!