Monday, October 26, 2015

Code: Realize (PS Vita) Review

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is a visual novel that follows the story of Cardia (you can rename her if you wish).  She has no memory of anything prior to the last two years of her life, where she lived in a mansion by herself, waiting for her father to return.  Why would she live by herself?  Well, her body secretes a deadly poison that melts things that touch her skin or blood.  That's not too conducive to making friends.  She even has to wear special clothes so she doesn't melt them off, too.  This poison makes others view her as a monster, so she stays away from society, hidden in her father's mansion in the woods.

The story of Cardia's meeting with five fateful friends (and a few other people) is actually really good.  The characters are all unique and have some good interactions.  It is set in a more steampunk version of Victorian era London.  The story thankfully does not follow every little detail about their lives, so things happen in a more natural progression instead of everything being crammed into a week or so.  It goes to some places and situations I would not have guessed.  Even so, the story does make sense and doesn't really have any crazy swerves.

There are some dialogue choices in the game, but not near as many as I would expect from a visual novel.  They do affect the direction of the story somewhat, but it can be hard to tell how.  At the end of the eighth chapter, the game will seamlessly transition into one of the five guys' ending paths.  If it wasn't for the trophy pop, I wouldn't have known as soon as I did.  I'm not fully sure how it choose what path to put me on, since I didn't think my answers skewed toward Victor that much, and there are no affection meters to see how the choices affect things.  However, figuring out how to get a specific character's path isn't too big of a deal.

The reason for that is after completion of the game, the Path of Genesis is opened in the main menu.  From here, you can choose any completed chapter to replay.  Plus, if you choose one of Cardia's, you can lock yourself into one of the character's paths, regardless of the answers you put.  Nice!  It cuts out a lot of the repeat story while still leaving you plenty of playtime.  If you choose one of the guys' chapters, you can choose to max out their affection, which will get you the true ending.  Again, that is really cool.  It makes it easier to get all the endings without forcing the player to reload several save slots or replay large chunks of the story.  Yes, the skip function will help with that, but I prefer this function instead.

Since the save files and the game don't track playtime, I'll have to estimate.  The story was a decent length, and never hit the "ok, let's just get through this" point.  Quite the contrary, I easily came back to play it whenever I had a few minutes.  It probably ran me about 8 hours to get through it all, as I was actually reading.  If you just mash through, it would be faster, but there would really be no point.  I'd like to go through and finish the other routes.  They diverge a lot in their direction, and of course I want to see them all because I enjoy the story and characters.  That should add another several hours on to that.

I've discovered over the past few months that I enjoy playing visual novels.  Code: Realize is no exception to that.  It's a really nice story with colorful characters that I had fun playing.  Yeah, you could be that person who complains about "reading isn't gameplay", but whatever, I had fun.  The game looks really nice and most if not all of the character's dialogue is voiced in Japanese.  If you are in the mood for an interesting story that has several different paths, then give Code: Realize a try.

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