Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is an upcoming visual novel for the PlayStation Vita. The story takes place in Feudal Japan where players follow around the Shinsengumi in Kyoto. While most games today have a story focused on a male protagonist, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds features a female protagonist in search of her dad. Will she ever find the one she seeks, or will she meet her demise in Kyoto?
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds follows Chizuru Yukimura, a girl who lives with her dad, Kodo Yukimura. Kodo is a doctor that goes on numerous trips to Kyoto, each lasting the course of several months. While Kodo stays in Kyoto he would continuously send letters back home to Chizuru. After a month passed since Kodo sent his final letter, Chizuru gets worried and decides to travel to Kyoto to go search for him. Shortly after Chizuru arrives in Kyoto, she ends up in a sticky situation. She and ends up being rescued by the Shinsengumi and put under their protective custody. Thre she remains while she searches Kyoto for her father.
Throughout the story, the player will be able to interact with numerous members of the Shinsengumi. They can even have a romance with them. However, it takes some time for the player to even unlock these romance options. While the player goes through the story, they are able to affect what kind of actions they are able to do. Most of the time these actions affect who Chizuru accompanies. While it is amusing to see how particular events play out, there is no way the player will be able to change certain events.
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds story is interesting the entire way with new surprises and small plot twists throughout. As the story progresses, the player discovers more about the members of the Shinsengumi. Despite this, the story never slows down. Each part of this story is well built and keeps interest while trying to find out what happens next.
Hakuoki: Kyoki Winds uses a 2D art style for the visuals. Scenes consist of a background being a town, room, forest, etc. and a character in front of the background. Most of the time the character present is talking to Chizuru. The transitions betweens scenes are smooth with using small fades to black when there is a switch between backgrounds. While characters will just fade instantly. During any fight scenes, the characters move left to right to show some kind of movement. The transitions are smooth and the art is smooth for every moment. The major cutscenes show wonderful art with how the major character are behaving with Chizuru.
With Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds being a visual novel there are rather simple design choices made, but it makes all the difference. The most confusing design choice is the fact that the game never tells the player how to access the menu. Once the player is able to access the menu they will have multiple ways to do so. Outside of the typical save functionality, the player also has access to an encyclopedia for some of the more unusual words that the player comes across. Each word is given a short explanation to help out the player understand what it means. The warrior record is another tool that the player has access to. This record shows how comfortable Chizuru is with the other characters.
The last unique design choice is the quick save and quick load function. This tool allows the player to temporary bookmark any point throughout the story. This allows players to use it to revert a decision that they might have taken. This choice might seem flawed as it could potentially break the player’s immersion. However, It does not as it gives the player the choice for which option they want to play out. While all these choices combined it makes Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds a great visual novel.
This is where the game falls a little short. Throughout the story, it sounds like a single track is played on a loop. The only time it seems to switch to another track is when the situation becomes tense. When those situations arise, it amplifies the feel of those moments. Whenever two characters end up fighting with their swords, all music drops and all the player can hear is swords clashing with each other making those moments much more exciting as it amplifies the heated moment.The rest of the time, the music brings down the story.
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a fun and enjoyable experience. A few minor details prevent it from being one of the great visual novels. For those looking for a great reading experience, it is definitely worth trying. HEY! HEY!! LISTEN!!! gives Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds 7.7 Shinsengumi members out of 10
Trials of Chizuru Yukimaru
Pros: Great story, helpful encyclopedia, interesting design choices, medieval Kyoto Cons: Confusing menu, mediocre music, medieval Kyoto