The autumn season of otome games is upon us! YESSSS! My wallet is already bleeding. Following the release of Amnesia: Memories at the end of September is now Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~.
General gameplay tips for those who don’t want to know anything about the game:
- Chapter 8 is where routes begin to diverge based on your choices up until that point. You can start from that chapter on a designated route by going through the Path of Genesis menu, eliminating the need to start from the very beginning :).
- There is a hidden affection(?) gauge of some sort that will determine whether you get a true ending or not. Luckily, if you fail you can start through Path of Genesis at the latest chapter and choose to start with max affection.
- Unlocking the final CG for each route is done by going into extras after obtaining a true ending for the route.
Let me start out by saying the art in this game is gorgeous. The setting is lovely, and if you like steampunk at all, the outfits in this game are amazingly creative. London brings with it all the wonderful characters from fiction that are based there, including Frankenstein, Helsing, and Sherlock Holmes (as Herlock Sholmes), among others. Apparently Saint-Germain and Lupin were borrowed from France ^_^;.
The game starts out with the British military seeking out a special weapon/monster of some sort that the secret organization Twilight is after. But instead of a weapon, they find a young doll-like girl trapped inside of a long abandoned building. One of the soldiers carelessly attempts to grab her, and he burns away. It turns out that the girl, Cardia, contains poison in her body that will burn away anyone who touches her. This poison is generated by a beautiful jewel called the Horologium on her chest, which keeps her alive, and is the weapon that Twilight is seeking.
Cardia is about to be captured by the soldiers when Arsène Lupin descends on the scene. He is also looking for the treasure that Twilight wants, but when he finds her he instead decides to whisk her away and grant her freedom because he is a gentleman thief. They manage to escape, and Lupin takes her to his hideout where she meets the other members of the group!
There are a total of five routes in the game:
Voice Actor: Kakihara Tetsuya (Shin from Amnesia! Natsu from Fairy Tail O_o. This guy has an impressive range)
Victor (or Fran, as they call him in Japanese) is the dorky scientist/alchemist who is absolutely adorable and sweet. You first meet him when you’re caught in a bad spot with some guys who led you to and cornered you in a back alley, and he happens to notice this going on and comes out to save you. Did I mention that he has a huge bounty on his head? He saves you anyway because he’s a nice guy, even if it attracts the attention of some nearby police.
Apparently, Victor was framed for an incident that happened with Queen Victoria, and he’s been fleeing from place to place around London. After meeting Cardia, he asks to stay with Lupin and the others since the government can’t seem to locate Lupin’s hideout. Lupin and the others agree as long as Victor is useful. Most of his storyline deals with looking for a cure for Cardia’s poison and encounters with Queen Victoria.
Victor’s route was the first one I played (I have a bias for glasses and scientists/alchemists), and it was a good route :). He’s a sweet and gentle character who really is always thinking about how he can help cure Cardia’s poison and give her the life she wants. He’s carrying a huge burden and a lot of guilt. While I can’t say that it’s a super original storyline, I thought that the connection he had with the protagonist in the past unfolded really well.
Voice actor: Suwabe Junichi (The Undertaker from Black Butler, Greed from Fullmetal Alchemist)
Helsing (or Van, as they call him in Japanese) is a
megane hottie retired Twilight hero from the Vampire War. I would personally classify him somewhere between a Kuudere and a Tsundere with very little dere. You first meet him when he antagonizes your group while looking for the monster (you) Twilight is chasing, but upon learning that the monster is just a young woman, he seems conflicted. Eventually, Victor convinces him to join the team since your goals overlap, and he reluctantly agrees.
As you might expect, Helsing is a bit obsessed with fighting since his nickname is the human weapon. He certainly exhibits superhuman traits while fighting, and everyone in the house respects him for it. As you progress through his plotline, you run into ghosts from his past–vampires and members from Twilight. You eventually learn that he’s obsessed with getting revenge for something that happened in the past, and that he’s willing to sacrifice everything for that goal.
Helsing’s route isn’t for the weak of heart. There’s quite a bit of violence, a ton of scary tension, and almost none of the CG art has anything to do with romance. In fact, his route doesn’t even have a kiss scene >_<. Helsing pretty much constantly pushes the protagonist away in fear for her safety up until the very end of the route. There were also times where I got a little teary eyed. If you’re a fan of the cold hero, Helsing was made for you.
Voice Actor: Morikubo Shotaro (Yosuke from Persona 4 :D! Shikamaru from Naruto, Souji from Hakuoki, the list goes on…)
Impey is a bright, energetic engineer who is respected in the group for his brilliant mind as much as he is for his cooking abilities. At the same time, the group knows that his inventions have an equal chance to fail, and they tease him all the time for it. (If you’re familiar with Yosuke from Persona 4, just think of how the group likes to tease him all the time for being the Prince of Disappointment xD)
Impey is an aloof guy and a bit of a flirt, but he seems to fall in love with Cardia almost instantly and is open about his feelings towards her throughout his and every other route ^_^;. Because of that, Cardia doesn’t take him very seriously. In his route, you learn why he is so determined to go to the moon. The other character primarily involved in his route is Nemo, the weird hentai scientist.
Impey’s route is probably the brightest of them all. If you’re a fan of energetic characters who manage to stay positive regardless of how grim situations look, Impey is for you. Having said that, there’s very little deviation from the usual formula, so his route didn’t leave a strong impression on me.
Voice actor: Hirakawa Daisuke (Rei from Free! Eternal Summer)
Saint-Germain is the owner of the mansion that you live in with the others. No one really knows anything else about him aside from that, though. As is fitting of his name, he prays before every meal and appears to be a little spiritual, but all the members of the group know that he carries himself like someone who has seen a lot of fighting and death.
I don’t really know how to write about his route without spoiling anything, since he’s by far the most mysterious character of the group :). You don’t really get a glimpse of his story in the other routes like you do the other characters, and the only snippet we get is the mysterious shadow of a large suit of armor in the beginning chapters. Probably the biggest hint to his backstory is his name.
But wow, just Wow. Saint-Germain’s was my favorite route of the four regular routes both because of the plot line and because of the intensity. The beginning of his route is very reminiscent of Amnesia Memories and had me genuinely scared (I nearly dropped it because I thought they were going yandere, but it is not yandere after all). Towards the end of his route I was frequently in tears during some really powerful moments. The pacing is a little odd since it goes back and forth between calmer moments and really strong moments, but it’s a great and unique route overall.
Voice Actor: Maeno Tomoaki (Hak from Akatsuki no Yona :D)
Lupin is the character featured in the cover art, and I’m pretty sure he’s the canon route. He is the (self-proclaimed) greatest gentleman thief in the world, and his chance of failure is always zero. At the very beginning of the game, no matter what route you end up on, Lupin is the one who saves Cardia from the house she was trapped in and brings her to the mansion.
Lupin makes a living by stealing from bad guys and distributing (most of) the money to the poor. The rest he keeps for himself xD. He also has a love for appearances, as he always appears in a tuxedo with cape and mask when carrying out missions (I swear he looks like Tuxedo Kamen from Sailor Moon). Behind all of the extravagance, though, is someone who cares deeply for his friends, plans extra carefully to ensure success, and has a strong will to do good for the world.
I had high expectations going into his route since he’s the box art character, and overall I was pleased :). Lupin definitely has my favorite personality out of the group. His route pulls pieces from all the other routes, in addition to explaining Cardia’s existence. It’s a great way of wrapping up the entire game. When you finally unlock his route, make sure to play through again from the beginning since his options are added in.
Do I recommend this game?
Hell yes! This game is probably my favorite otome release so far on the Vita. The stories are excellent, the CG is beautiful, the music is great, the characters are memorable–there are a lot of good things to say about it. I have to admit that it takes a while to get sucked into the story, though, as the routes start a lot later than they do in a lot of other otome games, and some of the earlier chapters feel like happy filler episodes.
In terms of favorite to least favorite routes, I’d rank Lupin = Saint-Germain > Frankenstein > Van Helsing > Impey. In terms of extras, though, I’d rank Lupin = Helsing > Impey > Frankenstein > Saint-Germain ;). They were not shy about that gratuitous Helsing fanservice LOL. Additionally, I really enjoyed the Aleister reveal at the end of Lupin’s route :). His character really confused me throughout the game until that point, and then suddenly IT ALL MADE SENSE.
I hope that if you’re teetering on a decision that you choose to pick this one up! Norn9 just came out, so I’ll hopefully be getting to that next, after I receive my paycheck ^_^;. Thanks for reading and please leave a comment if you also played the game :D.
Other useful links:
Looks like the blogger named Anette has logged walkthroughs for all of the routes. I used her page to figure out how I missed a couple CGs, so I recommend it :D.
Victor Frankenstein Walkthrough
Abraham Van Helsing Walkthrough
Impey Barbicane Walkthrough
Saint Germain Walkthrough
Arsene Lupin Walkthrough
If you’re looking for the CG art, Himanami graciously posted all the CG scenes on her site here: