Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms is the continuation from last years Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. While first starting it, the game gives you the option to pick which romance you want to continue. There are thirteen different playthroughs you can pick from. Yes that’s right… Thirteen. That includes all the new romances as well as the original Shinsengumi samurai. This is along with a route that has no romance and just focuses on the main character and her story. Even with all these choices, every story truly is different. There is no skip option during the stories of what happened in the first game. It is offered though if you choose to play the same route more than once to get all the endings. At first we were nervous that after a while the story would get boring and daunting. But luckily because each story has its own different route and at times a different enemy you are fighting, it allows you to still be invested into each option and really focus on what is happening during the playthrough you picked.
Title: Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Idea Factory
Available On: PlayStation Vita
Reviewed On: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Game Provided by IFI for the Sake of This Review
Each beginning starts off with a brief recap of the events that took place during Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. After that it starts you off in Edo with whichever love interest you picked. Depending of which one you chose, you may start off still with the Shinsengumi or you may end up somewhere else entirely. While war and chaos is going on all around you, this game does not shy away from heart break and being true to what really happens during war. As the Furies are at an all time high and the Shinsengumi suffering battle after battle, it still takes the time to allow you to build a romance even with all the chaos going on around you. Just like almost every visual novel, your choices will change how the story is going to play out.
Unlike Kyoto Winds, this one definitely delivers on the romance aspect. Even though it took over 4 years in game time to get to the point of you and your love interest finally falling in love, it was well worth it in the end. This is because every love confession is usually taking place before the final battle of life or death. You can expect a lot of tears to be shed and a lot of kissing and love quotes to be involved. At one point it even hints to the main character mentioning something extremely rare in visual novels in one of the different chapters, and as a lover of all things anime and these types of games.. we can honestly say we were not expecting it. Which is a breath of fresh air with these games which oftentimes do follow the same formats.
Even though each route in the game is different, there is a main story going on in the background that stays almost the same no matter what route you are on. Depending on who you picked, you get introduced to different parts throughout the game and get a better understanding of what happened during that moment and so each playthrough you do you are allowed to have a better understanding of the game. We found ourselves having to hold back tears during certain parts happening. As we all know when there is a war, there will always be death. This game does not shy away from being true to the nature of the real world and has no problem killing off those you have grown so close to in the previous game.
The story in Edo Blossoms is beautiful. Although we came across a few grammatical errors, none of them were to the point where it hurt the game and the story they were trying to tell. The art style is beautiful and refreshing. The colors are beautiful and there is always that special song playing to help you feel the love that’s in the air. On top of this, there’s a fantastic group of Japanese voice actors that we felt fit each one of these individual characters perfectly. This game is true to how you would expect a visual novel to be. What we really liked about this is that Edo Blossoms offers the most love interests we have personally encountered in a visual novel. Of course sense all of them are gorgeous it wont be hard to want to enjoy every playthrough there is.
We will definitely be recommending this game to anyone who ask whats a good visual novel to play. We will say it is absolutely required to play through Kyoto Winds first, but if you played that one and love visual novels, you will not be disappointed.