If you are into Otome visual novels, Hakuoki is one of the better visual novels released on the PS Vita so far. The latest game, Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms is a sequel to Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds and if you have enjoyed it, then the sequel comes highly recommended because it concludes the story perfectly.
The story continues from the first Hakuoki game so if you haven’t played that yet, you will be confused heading into the sequel. If you need a refresher on the story, make sure to atleast read the story summary before starting the game. The lead character is again Chizuru Yukimura who is part demon granting her the ability to have regenerative health. She is on a quest to find her missing father which leads her to Shinsengumi, a police force that is full of Ronin who are also the main attractions for the visual novel. They are gorgeously drawn characters that serve as the main love interest – or bachelors as they are called – for the lead character depending on which you pick for the main story. Just like the main protagonist is part demon, they are also hybrid and have vampire DNA mixed in with them.
As it is common with a visual novel, you are presented multiple routes for the main story. In the case of Hokuoki: Edo Blossoms, you will have to pick from a list of 12 bachelors at the beginning of the story and each one of them offers a completely different experience with its own ending. Hakuoki is purely a visual novel so hopefully you are prepared to read tons of text since it can easily take you several hours to complete the game on every chapter. Considering the fact that there are a total of 30 endings to unlock here, the game never feels like it is short on content.
There is a short prologue available for all of the main cast that plays out in the beginning of the story. There is also a glossary featured in the game that has most of the information available for the characters and events from the first game. It is a nice addition to fill out some of the gaps and get up to speed with the story in the sequel, but it won’t really help newcomers get many of the important story beats so if you really want to play the complete experience without spoiling much of it, it is best to start with Kyoto Winds first and then play Edo Blossoms.
If you are looking for some nice romantic action between the lead protagonist and other characters, this game should fulfill your needs very well. Unlike its predecessor, the romance element presented here goes deeper and without spoiling much, it is also darker than the first game. Just try to imagine someone who can recover from any injury at a rapid pace and now take it further by adding vampires to the action. It is certainly a lot to take for a visual novel but it should work out well for fans of the Otome genre.
The story is now shorter and more to the point which I honestly prefer to the first game. Don’t be mistaken that the game is smaller now. The different story routes add a significant chunk of content to the main game so you can still get your money’s worth from it. There are also some nice quality of life implementations that I have felt are essential to every visual novel. Texts can be easily skipped while you can rewind some of the conversations to pick a different dialogue choice in case you are not satisfied with the response received. There are multiple endings to unlock so both of these work well in making the game a more memorable experience.
I guess when it comes to the platform, I might be biased to say that I prefer the PS Vita for visual novels but if you have something to play the game portably on PC, it is also available to purchase from Steam. Visually, I don’t really know what to say aside from the artwork looking nice, there is not really much to take from the game. It doesn’t offer anything unique for the genre so there’s that. You also have to keep in mind that this is a remaster and works within its limitations.
Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms Review (PC/Vita)
Game Reviewed on: PC/Vita
Game description: Continue your journey to Edo in Hakuoki™: Edo Blossoms, where you play as the heroine Chizuru Yukimura. Romance the famous warriors of the Shinsengumi as you enter a fantasy drama of battles and self-discovery. Your narrative choices unlock multiple branching storylines and 30 different endings!
Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms is a fun Otome visual novel that succeeds with what it sets out to achieve. It might have some flaws but it is mostly a positive experience over its predecessor.