Miyako – review

…this review will be biased since I broke my own rule: “expect nothing.”

Looking at the art and character profiles etc while waiting for the game to come out had raised my expectation of the game considerably, so when it failed to live up to the (admittedly) high expectation, the disappointment that followed was…

Oh, and expect some comparisons to Harutoki 1, since that’s the only other otome game I’ve played that had a similar setting to this one.

Let me start by saying this: the art is very PRETTY. So if prettiness is all you’re after, play this game. If you’re after more than that… well, just don’t set your expectation very high. Everything just looked pretty. The colouring, shading, character sprites, event CGs… and despite the numerous character sprites that littered the game, none of them looked less pretty than the others. …just how much time did they put into illustrating this game…? There’s a LOT of character sprites… one which piqued my interest was that they had character sprites of the character’s back. As in, when the text says that a chara turned his back on the main character, you actually see the character’s back. I think most other games don’t bother to do this…? For example, just check out the official CGs. Seimei’s CG has those pretty lighting effects, while Izumi… when Izumi’s wearing his battle uniform and has that battle pose he’s too pretty that I want to molest him well, basically the CGs looked pretty.

…this game also reminded me why I tend to avoid games set in an older era or anything historical. Namely, I don’t understand what’s going on. I usually play my PSP on the way to and from work, and I don’t want to lug around a dictionary with me… so whenever all the unfamiliar words started getting thrown into the dialogue, it became a button-pushing marathon for me. So… I’m guessing that lessened my enjoyment a lot. Strangely though, I remember playing Harutoki 1 years back and actually managed to understand a fair bit, despite my Japanese knowledge being a lot worse than now.

The choices of which event to have a CG was… curious. Let’s say… a character has an average of 10 CGs. Out of that 10, there’s probably 1-2 that’d show the character having a moment with the heroine. The rest would be the character fighting, or doing something else with the heroine nowhere in sight. Sure, they looked pretty (and it’s a key event in the game), but… isn’t this an otome game? If I want to see hot guys fighting I’d pick up Guilty Gear or its artbook…

The effects employed in this game was plentiful, and certainly helped in making it even prettier. There were cut scenes all over the place, which made the fighting scenes felt dynamic. The ending also employed the effect of falling flower petals, probably the first I’ve seen on a PSP game. There were sound effects, which ranged from swords clashing to doors opening to footsteps. But I suspect that all of these was what made the skip function slower than usual. Because when you skip, it doesn’t seem to skip the sound effects, so there’s that pause as it waits for the sound effect to finish, before continuing with the next bit of dialogue.

And with regards to the system, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but the game was rather slow. I’m used to seeing the next bit of dialogue showing up right after I press the button… but for this game the loading process was rather slow. Such that I actually noticed it when I first started playing the game, and it rather irked me.

When I played this game, it made me realise just how good the system in Wand of Fortune had been. Comparison: in WoP, L button is to quick save, and R to quick load with confirmation (do you want to load?), and square to skip all read dialogue. In this game… L to quick save with confirmation (ok, it’s only an extra button press, so sue me), R to quick load with confirmation, and square to skip all dialogues regardless of whether you’ve read it, but you have to hold the button down. To skip all read dialogues, you have to bring up the menu with triangle and pick the first option…

Characters could be broken down into the standard stereotypes:

  • Abeno Seimei: Ore-sama character, doS. An onmyouji who created the main character.
  • Izumi: The playful and rather flirtatious character. Crown Prince of some sort.
  • Ichigou: Token tsundere. Seimei’s first shikigami, uses/controls fire.
  • Genshin: The gentle and calming onii-san figure. A monk who runs a school for children day-to-day.
  • Minamoto Yorimitsu/Raikou: Your serious & straightforward character. Izumi’s bodyguard.
  • Nigou: The token joker/moodmaker. Seimei’s second shikigami. Non-catchable.
  • Ashiya Douman: Finishing Seimei’s route would unlock him, the emo-ing I-have-a-tragic-past-woe-is-me. Boss of the bad guys.

This was 1 game where I wished the villains had been given more depth. I got reminded of Harutoki 1… in that game, the villains were stated outright to be villains, but even then they weren’t 2-bit villains, they actually had reasons behind their actions. In this game… well, they did give the villains their reasons, somewhat, and very late into the game…

In terms of story, I think the balance is off, but that might just be me… it’s like they put all their effort in writing Seimei’s story and neglected everyone else. Story development was rather weird as well…  but I wonder if it’s because I couldn’t understand what’s going on. I mean, right after the story started, suddenly it became an issue of “we must gather artefacts and save the world”… I wished it had given more time to flesh out the relationships between the characters before chucking in the big drama. Also, the whole storyline ran for 12 days. …forgive my cynicism, but I think it’s rather difficult to fall in love in 12 days. There’s also the whole aspect of the main character being a shikigami… I was rather expecting more personal conflict, but the ending(s) where the guy confessed and she said “but I’m a shikigami”, the guy just said “it doesn’t matter”… and that’s it. …I’m not sure… on one hand I was expecting more of a drama and personal conflict and resolution, so to see it being resolved like that… was a let down. On the other hand… I guess it’s good for people who aren’t looking for drama in a game…? I just saw it as a wasted potential on character development…

Finishing all of the characters’ routes would unlock a bonus feature which was basically a voice message from the characters (not seiyuu) to the heroine. It’s a nice touch, but I guess just not for me. Finishing Seimei would also change the game’s start screen to also show Douman (I guess to signify that his route’s been unlocked). Other than that… the scene recollection is such that basically you can replay any scene from the game, regardless of its significance. In reverse, the CG gallery doesn’t seem to contain everything… I think it’s missing some CGs of the enemies or something.

Music was excellent. But it might because I’m a sucker for music with shakuhachi and taiko in it. …it still says something that, if given the option between buying the game or the OST, I’d pick the OST. Otomate, you’re slacking in draining my money. When are you going to release the OST for this game…?

Speaking of that, I’m selling this game for $30+shipping. Any taker before I put this on eBay? PayPal preferred. Also, no pre-order bonus or anything, since I bought this game after the release date.

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hairband
    Feb 02, 2011 @ 19:17:01

    Wait this game was from Otomate? I thought it was an individual company o.O <–fail.

    Reply

  2. kosetsu
    Feb 07, 2011 @ 06:15:42

    Hmm…I would play rpgs for the art, but for visual novels, I’m not so sure (since half the fun is exploring a beautifully rendered world). If the music adds and other effects add up to make it alluringly cohesive, that would make it more tempting, though *^*
    It’s too bad they weren’t able to made the sound effects skip. That should be an easy thing to do…And it does sound like it needed more romance ;o;

    Reply

    • sharakael
      Feb 08, 2011 @ 00:07:50

      Oh? That’s an interesting perspective… I usually play RPG for its storyline (with its art being a side bonus), and the ‘exploration’ part applies too… since in RPGs usually they have to create a whole new world/society/environment/people which can be explored, whereas in VNs you only see what the creator feels apt to tell you, and you don’t get to explore to your heart’s content. So I guess VN has to rely more on its characters to make it interesting?

      I found that some of the doujin VNs I played (where there’s barely any music or effects), I found to be brilliant just for the sheer strength of the story. I’m inclined to say that even with amazing OST and pretty effects, if the story falls flat there’s nothing to save it… MIYAKO is actually a perfect example of this, for me.

      Yea, this game really needed more relationship development -_-

      Reply

  3. Rin
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 17:35:54

    Actually, I’m pretty upset that we can’t go after Nigou. 8D
    Everyone who played Miyako said that it’s a bit lacking in the romance department.. and yeah I do think it’s difficult to fall in love in 12 days. But then again everything’s possible in otome games.

    Reply

    • sharakael
      Feb 11, 2011 @ 10:51:51

      Nigou was probably the most interesting character out of the whole cast 😐 …the fact that you can’t go after him only added to the disappointment from the overall “Huh?” story…
      …at the very least I wanted to see what his human form looked like D:

      Reply

  4. spadey
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 13:09:09

    Well this is apparently getting a PC port [whooaahzz] according to 2ch, but I kind of wish they would put that effort into just making a new game.:/ The art looks so pretty though!

    Reply

    • sharakael
      Feb 11, 2011 @ 13:52:53

      PC port… if they add a route for Nigou I might consider it, but other than that… I think I rather stay away from it. Don’t feel like wasting my time twice :/

      Reply

  5. Trackback: Wand of Fortune ~Mirai e no Prologue~ review « Otome Gaming Diary
  6. OtomeWeekend
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 17:48:03

    Er, this comment might be kinda late but…. I don’t think it’s really a wonder why they won’t bother saying “But I’m a shikigami” maybe because…
    *SPOILERS*
    Er, I’m not really sure if Seimei had even bothered announcing it to the others but the night when they’ve fought the ayakashi they thought was Masakado(which is not), Seimei asked Saiyuki if she wants to live in the same time as him and she agrees to him. Seimei casts some spell or something and while Saiyuki is still a shikigami, she isn’t particularly a shikigami in body(and definitely not in mind) anymore.

    basing on my theory, it might be because Saiyuki never thinks or wants to be addressed as a shikigami saying that she has her own will and name that it never crossed her mind to say “But I’m a shikigami”. If my memory serves me right, she said in the start of the game that she thinks she’s a human and not a shikigami at all…

    But this are just unsupported theory or conclusion. ^^”

    Reply

    • sharakael
      Nov 21, 2011 @ 15:41:26

      Thanks for the help 😀
      I’ve forgotten about most of what happened in the game… and the fact that there was a lot of kanji I failed to understand didn’t help my comprehension of the game…

      Reply

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Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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