Kokuchou no Psychedelica (PS Vita)
I wondered what’s with all the hype in this game and now I know why. I walked in completely clueless about it and walked out full of despair. But I did not regret it. I wanted to learn more about the mansion, the characters, everything and felt frustrated when the other characters won’t even say anything to Beniyuri. But when the truth came out, I was bawling and was like “my babies T_____T, please be happy. All of you.”
I TRIED TO KEEP THIS SPOILER-FREE BUT FAILED. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
Beniyuri wakes up inside a mysterious mansion with no memories prior. She meets Hikage, Kagiha, Yamato, and Karasuba, all having no idea what they are doing there nor why they are stuck inside the mansion full of monsters. They decide to stick together for the time being to unravel the mystery of the mansion and hopefully, get out alive.
The story started out great. The mystery revolving the characters interest me so much that I couldn’t stay away from my Vita. I wanted to know what actually happened for them to be stuck in the mansion and what was it that the owner of the house wanted to achieve for gathering them there. But while it had a great start, the individual route ends were short. There are a lot of seemingly open-ended questions that remained unanswered in the end.
The colorful and intricate character designs balanced out the dark palette used in the background. But while I love the sprites, the CGs are another thing. A lot of times the characters have weirdly drawn anatomy like CGs where Beniyuri’s head is a little too big. Or there are also scenes where the texts and the image do not match. Like in this one scene, Beniyuri left the sweets on the floor and ran after Monshiro. So logically, when Yamato caught up to her, she shouldn’t be holding the sweets again right? But look at this:
Another thing is the CG gallery. For a middle-length game, it has a lot of CGs. But if you’ll take a good look at the gallery, most images are repetitive. Here’s an example, if Hikage appears in a group CG, it will appear on his album AND to the album of the characters included in the pic. Not to mention, being included in the miscellaneous album. Otomate WHY.
I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack though they are nothing remarkable, really. What I did truly enjoy is the op and ed song. The op song has a rock-ish beat which I loved. Meanwhile, Shimamiya Eiko sang the ed song which is totally rad. The lyrics combined with her voice heightened the despair I felt after finishing the routes which made me love this game more.
While most of the voice actors in the game are veterans (obviously good), the newer actor stands out the most. I’m talking about Ishikawa Kaito, Hikage’s voice actor. He’s relatively new around the time Kokuchou was released but otherwise pretty good. He managed to act out all facets of Hikage well. My favorite would be the way he lowers or changes the tone of his voice to hint sarcasm or subtle changes on his character.
The system of Kokuchou worked in an outline. Kind of like Zero Escape where it helps you to know which part of the story you are. Also, there’s this line in one of the ends where Beniyuri says that she’s contented with the end she got here. Sort of hinting of other ends in other parallel worlds and my mind instantly goes !!! Zero Escape much! (or probably Clock Zero too?) When you first play the game, you’ll only end up in either of the two ends – the Bad end and the Best end. After that, you can do the other ends however you like as long as you leave Monshiro and Hikage last. As for my route order, it went like this, Bad end → Best end → Yamato bad → Karasuba bad → Real World End → Yamato good → Karasuba good → Kagiha end → Grand Finale → Monshiro bad → Monshiro good → Hikage. I’m okay with my order, though if I rearrange it, I should have played Real World end right after Best end.
While I used “bad” ends to refer to the alternate endings, Kokuchou doesn’t really have bad ends. Well, except for one outright bad end. The rest depends on how you view things, if you see an ending good or bad for the characters.
As you go through the plot and ends, some side stories will be unlocked or ready to unlock (you’ll have to exchange points for this). I heard some people don’t like the side stories because it interrupts the flow of the main story since the game forces you to read a certain number of them to continue with the main plot. I loved them though! Compared to the dark atmosphere in the story, the side stories are lighter. They also give background information about the characters. Because of the things that I’ve seen in the side stories, I grew to love the characters as an individual and as a team. The downside is that the stories focused more on other characters but not Hikage despite being the poster boy. Understandable, all things considered, but still.
If you plan on reading only scenes depending on the route you’re on, I’m telling you it’ll be hard. I’ve only tried Choro’s and Momokan’s guides, so I’m not sure if there are guides out there listing all the episodes and when to unlock them. What I did was to read whatever is available and read them all in one go, regardless of whose route I’m doing.
However, you won’t be able to read the scenarios if you do not have enough points. And you can only get these points if you finish the mini-game. The mini-game includes shooting all the butterflies that appear on your screen. It is best to use Vita’s touchscreen and swipe every butterfly then shoot them off. It doesn’t affect the storyline if you get a low score, but your trophies do. If you suck at them at first (like me), then practice on the mini-game menu on the title screen and be addicted to it (like me).
Yamato wakes up in the mansion, along with Karasuba. Despite not having memories, he is in a hurry to get out of the mansion. He’d rush to things without really considering his actions or the other members.
I was pretty sure I’d hate him. After all, I never liked brash characters, always ready to lash out to just about anyone. He is always irritated, that it’s irritating. But my impression of him starts to change after various things happened to him. He’s a lot calmer and kind. All of a sudden, you have a more mature Yamato. He even treats Beniyuri nicely. With all the craziness that is happening, he looks like he’s a lot more chill. He gives off that kind brotherly feel.
I liked his confession as well. The brusque Yamato is laying his heart out, all while being his adorable self.
The charai character who has a sharp tongue.
Karasuba is clingy and flirty towards Beniyuri. Yet he is also the type you wouldn’t know if he’s joking or testing you. It appears as if he is mocking everyone around him.
But after the Real World End, he becomes my favorite and the character that I could relate to the most. I loved how he faces the problems head-on. Sure, he’s pushy, but it seems to compensate for his lack of action from before. I ended up hoping for him to be with Beniyuri in the end. So I was always worried about his reactions in Yamato’s route where they all woke up, and everyone gets the happy ending they want. Except him.
The gentle young man who pacifies the group.
He reminds me so much of Makoto from Free!, that made me liked him from the start. Even the character design resembles Mako-chan.
Somehow, he and Hikage are alike. They both lost who they are and become stained for the sake of their wishes. My heart forever bleeds whenever I see him. While I understand that Kagiha only has one end for reasons, I liked thinking of the Grand Finale as his alternate end so that he could have a ‘good’ end on his own.
The masked guy who saved Beniyuri.
He is MIA until halfway through the game. With that, I was pretty sure he is a villain. But he turned out to be really really adorable! The feeling like when you see a baby, and you just melt from their cuteness, and it feels like the world is all pure. Yeah, that’s Monshiro for you.
I’m not sure when did he get his silver hair though? I get that the deathly pale look he has is the result of years wandering inside the mansion. Is that also a result of that?
His bad end made me cry buckets because of OMG Beniyuri all alone without anyone. That’s worse than the story’s bad end. The good end, though, made me cry too since I can feel the despair in both his and Beniyuri’s voice when he let go. Then I cried happy tears because it was a hopeful end when Akira and Takuya stir from their coma.
The first person Beniyuri meets.
He is always cool, calm, and collected; the brain of the group and their unspoken leader. Hikage is decisive and quick to act depending on the situation that arises. Naturally, that draws me to him since he is my kind of bad boy.
Despite being the poster boy, we know so little about him. The revelation just came out all at once. Not like with others where you see how they struggle, how they acted or reacted in a given situation. In Hikage’s case, we were just told of what happened. To keep things a mystery, there weren’t many short episodes for him which makes me sad. I know that the focus of the game is more of the story than romance, but it felt like their romance ended before anything started.
The other guys just sort of got swept under the rug. We don’t even know if they come back. We can only hope. Which was hard because I sort of have the connection with them after spending like 90% of the game with them.
Another gripe is that I never see Hikage’s true face. It was understandable in the mansion. But what about him in the new life. I JUST WANTED MORE HIKAGE OKAY? www
Beniyuri is described on the official site as friendly and kind but also draws a line from other people.
Well, her meddling personality gets to me at first. But I soon realized that she is only trying so hard to keep their group from falling apart. The plot explains well why she is so gung-ho with the whole nakama thing.
While there are times when I don’t agree with her actions, there are a lot of occasions when I cheer her on, get hurt for her when they keep a secret, and I’m happy for her whenever she came back from the mansion. Though, I must say that Beniyuri has a sad love life. What’s with experiencing two tragic heartbreaks in a span of a lifetime.
Kokuchou no Psychedelica succeeded in providing a good mystery and suspense game. The twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat.