Played HnO2 and finished all the routes, and I have this to say… it’s good. It’s actually good
…that is, if you ignore some of the random stuff that came out of nowhere… and it would help if you start playing the game with as low an expectation as possible like I did. It’s probably because I just finished playing HnO1, so I was expecting its direct sequel to be a raep-fest… And since I started with that expectation, I was really reluctant to start playing HnO2. When it turned out that it wasn’t a raep-fest, well, that improved my interest in playing. …I can say that because I played for 12 hours non-stop during the weekend finishing 2 1/2 routes (and that’s with the skip function).
The game, interestingly, doesn’t have a major storyline. It’s just a story of how Mirai’s doing, 2 years after Kazuki’s death. And thankfully, this time, the 3 main guys are no longer rapists. There is an almost-raep you’ll encounter in Kouhei’s, Doumoto’s and Shinohara’s route, but there’s no CG for it (and it’s the same event). Apart from that one, there’s no raep anywhere else
The major feel of the story was bittersweet. The 3 main guys had the whole tragic love story in their past life (which made it satisfying to see their happy ending), and since their routes are longer than any of the sub-characters (none of which got the past life story going), pretty much their routes are the ones that set the theme. …theirs and Kazuki, but I’ll save my rant about his route for later.
The sub-characters don’t really have their own story, they pretty much share a route with one of the main guys, only diverging near the ending. So if you play the first 3 main guys first, the skip function works wonders with the sub-characters’ route.
The stories themselves… the sub characters’ story was alright, even if most of them had a melancholic feel to it. The 3 main guys (and Kazuki), however… do prepare tissue. …at one point while playing, I thought that this game seemed to cater to people who like “impossible/bittersweet love”-type of story (which included myself *sigh*). If you’re looking for a light, happy game, then this one’s not for you…
The 18+ scenes were pretty vanilla, and most of the time it only happened near the ending. Apart from the almost-raep, there’s only one 18+ scene that made me somewhat uncomfortable, but probably because I was disliking the heroine’s reason for consenting to the act.
In terms of romance… it’s OK, I guess? Didn’t get many scenes that made me go doki-doki. But then again, it’s probably because I’m used to Quinrose games. At the very least it didn’t feel like the characters just started liking the heroine out of nowehere… it probably helped that the heroine had already known the guys before the game started, so there’s no scenario where a complete stranger fell in love with her after having just met.
The seiyuu did a good job, although I think only few really stood out. They all fit the character though, and no one sounded out of place. To me, the most notable one was Souma. His past life scene, where he’s saying goodbye to the heroine… his seiyuu did an excellent job, and cost me a few sheets of tissue.
Music is pretty good, but in particular… there’s a song that played during a particular character’s death and in one of the ending credits, and that song made such an impact on me that I stayed up from 2-3AM just reloading my save file and listening to the song. …and having my credit card ready trying to find a place to buy the OST…
Can’t comment much about the art, although I was highly amused by the CG Gallery. Seemed like the principle was “anything that’s not a normal background or character sprite should make it into the CG Gallery”. …this would explain why a picture of a droplet of blood on the floor (from someone dying) made it into the CG Gallery.
Recommended play order : Satomi Bad Ending -> Kouhei -> Souma -> Satomi -> the others -> Kazuki (only because if you play the main 3 guys in that order, the past life story flashbacks would be more chronological, somewhat)
Favourite routes, in order : Souma -> Kazuki -> Satomi. The rest… neutral to me, I guess.