In a nutshell
In the hopes of finding her father, Chizuru goes to Kyoto to search for him. Instead, she finds the Shinsengumi. Shinsengumi members are a bunch of guys who protect the city but is also feared by the people. However, these guys are searching for her father as well. So together, they search for Chizuru’s father while she stays with them.
I was really hesitant to play this game since I felt like there was so much to catch up on, what’s with the long line of Hakuoki titles. Even with the two new titles, it was hard for me to know what was the difference between Kyoto Winds and Edo Blossoms. But my curiosity won and I’m so glad I played the game.
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
The game only contains half of the story covering Shinsengumi’s stay in Kyoto. Meanwhile, the remaining half continues in Edo Blossoms. It is such a bummer, really. You’re basically playing an entire common route 12 times with small scenes with the guys here and there. That is most likely the reason why there isn’t much romance in the routes since you don’t enter one until you’re around chapter 4. And that is second to the last chapter! Just when the story is getting good, the game ends.
In addition to the 6 main guys available back in the first game, there are an additional 6 routes available. I ended up liking all the main characters. They are all fun characters with interesting storylines which adds to the enjoyment of the entire game.
The thing is, because there are 12 routes available, by the time I reached my 5th or 6th route, I’m already pretty much exhausted with the story. Things have gotten tedious even if I’m interested in the history bits. It’s a skip galore from then. I believe I finished a route within 2 hours including all the ends at that point.
As I already write my reviews on the routes, I won’t include them here. Please refer to my previous posts:
I was prepared to be disappointed but she proved to be a pretty solid character. I especially like how she does everything that she can within her ability. Sure, her attempts to fight are futile but she fights in a way only she can do. She isn’t as damsel-in-distress as I thought she would be.
As for the side characters, the game has tons of intriguing ones. I quite like the relationship of Chizuru with Souma and Nomura. Meanwhile, Ryouma’s friend Nakaoka turns into a real ikemen when he wears his western clothes. Takeda got a larger share of screen time this time in Hachiro’s route. But they ’re not my favorite. My fave turns out to be someone who doesn’t have a strong personality like everyone else. Hands down, it’s got to be Inoue. I spent 12 routes seeing him die or hearing the news of his passing. Poor guy. He’s more of a father-figure to Chizuru than Kodo could. I might have shed a tear or two in one of his dying moments.
There is a built-in dictionary. You can access them in the conversation window as you play. But I had trouble clicking the words if there are multiple highlighted words. I can’t click the second word using the directional arrows on my keyboard or even with my mouse.
Also, I noticed that when I have to choose an answer, I’ll skip a dialogue and move on to the next line. It felt like missing something in the story, so I had to go to the log and read what I missed.
While you can skip the prologue in the succeeding routes, there is no option to skip to the next option. You’ll have to plow through every line using the Skip function. Worry not though, as the Skip is pretty fast.
The game is subtitled in 3 languages – Japanese, English, and Chinese. You have to download the individual language pack for each. Each one has a separate save data. For example, you started your game in English and would have wanted to try playing it in Japanese, your English save won’t be carried over. You have to start again and have a separate file for another language. I did the switch at the beginning and it messed up my English data when I changed it back.
What I really love is how you can jump to a certain month, chapter or character scene once you finished the route. This is helpful if you are completing the trophies. You can choose a specific part of the story and identify whether you want high romance or low romance. It’s a nifty function when you’re aiming for completion. If you just want to see the Unrequited Love and Bad ends, this function, together with the Skip function, is your best friend.
As for the romance parameter, it is gauged by cherry blossoms. You’ll know the possible routes you might get into depending on if there are small buds starting to bloom or if it’s entirely closed. Similarly, if you want to know if you are on to romance route or not, you’ll see if the guy has cherry blossom in full bloom.
I was never a fan of Kazuki Yone’s art. But when I saw the old CGs, I realized that it is really beautiful. I love the palette used. It has a lighter shade but also has a homey feeling on it. The new CGs are just as beautiful with a darker and more enriched tone in it. In the Gallery, you can spot which ones are the older CGs and which are the added ones based on the size of the images. Look at these Okita CGs.
I think they also enriched the tone of the sprites so that the new characters can blend in well. Meanwhile, I loved the mouth movements as well as the different flash effects during fight scenes.
Wrapping it up!
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is a pretty solid game if not for only containing half of the story. It was a looong road to the end but it was worth it. It might have gotten tedious at one point but I pushed through because I enjoyed the story and the characters. It didn’t matter if there’s few romantic scenes as long as the story is interesting enough.
There are DLCs available but I haven’t bought them yet. Based on the description, there is a DLC for the art – kinda like a digital artbook of sorts, and side stories. I’m definitely getting the one with the stories and then post my thoughts about it here.
Till next game!