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z827's Utawarerumono Game Review

Utawarerumono game Review

An injured man was found in the forest and rescued by the elder of a village, becoming part of her family. The man has no memory of his past and wears a mask he can't remove. Hakuoru, as he becomes known, proves to be a strong leader and eventually leads numerous missions to liberate the people throughout the country of its corrupt politics. While on this journey he unknowingly seeks out his past, as well as his true purpose while at the same time protecting his new found friends and family.

Written by littlejonny100.

Story & Playability

Story Introduction
You awaken , your body heating up by the second and pain courses through your body.
You know not of who you are , what your purpose is nor even your own name , but you awaken to find a girl taking care of your wounds and a village embracing you with kindness as though you are their own.
Soon enough , you are named "Hakuorou" by the village elder and later finds himself caught in a series of events which would eventually lead to the mysteries of the world and his own past.

Early Character Introductions

Hakuorou
Hakuorou was originally the name of the late son of the village elder whom decides to call the amnesiac man Hakurou as he does resemble him greatly from the back.
Hakuorou is bears a strange mask on his face , which can not be removed through conventional means and his also said to look like relatively old. ( Kids call him Otou-san and Oji-san )
Whilst he can be unintentionally comical at times , Hakuorou also cares deeply for those around him , using powerful words to bring them back from their pain and grief as well as being intellect in the arts of war.

Eruruw
Eruruw was the one whom tended to Hakuorou when he was unconscience in the late of the night and is the granddaughter of the village chief.
She is very modest , but to the state where she appears underconfident.
She is also very sensitive about how Hakuorou treats the other heroines in the game , the problems of others as well as being sensitive about her own feminine traits. ( She is envious of the other heroine's smell , assets and hair )

Aruruw
Aruruw is the playful , but shy little sister of Eruruw.
She acts like a spoilt child at times and enjoys being petted.
She is also very fond of her "father" , Hakuorou , whom she seems to deem as her real father.

Story Overview
Well , if I have to state the loose ends of the game first , it'll be probably the linearity and the instability of the plotline.
Unlike regular Visual Novels , Utawarerumono does not allow the player to choose the flow of direction in the storyline as compared to regular Visual Novels and the storyline may prove fairly instable owing to the fact that side-events occurs depending on where the protaginist decides to go first.

Not to mention that the plotline requires further elaboration on some points , for the game ends a bit too quickly for it's own good.

However , other than that , the storyline , is indeed , at the height of excellence.
Emotional , heart wrenching , comical whilst mixing in the contents of war.
The story is capable of making the audience love a specific character , grief over their plights , feel the pain that they bear as well as having a cast of unique and lovable characters.

Well , the antagonists are actually pretty badly made to be honest , but much effort can be seen in the creation of the heroes and heroines of the plotline.
The entire plotline is fairly captivating by itself as it had displayed the bonds between people and the problems of their hearts and it slowly shifts to the protaginist himself as the plot grows more grim by the minute.

Whilst the plotline by itself isn't the embodiment of perfection , the defining traits of the story would make one forget all about it's flaws and focus on what is ahead.

Rating: 7

Graphics

Artwork Review
Considering that the Visual Novel is pretty old and all , the artwork is surprisingly good for one of that age.
Smooth coloring and textures , certainly it is not of the same standards as newer Visual Novels but it is oddly pleasent to look at whilst bringing out the medieval atmosphere into play.

The characters' clothings aren't all too flashy like in other games , but they feel oddly distinct and memorable regardless of the simplicity - or is it because of the simplicity by itself that the characters' appearances are a sight to remember?

However , I do have a single complaint.
This game seriously needs more CG scenes for some of the scenarios.

Graphics Review
Is it me or the are the sprites actually pretty well made for the combat scenarios?
Even when compared to games of similar background and settings like Tears to Tiara , the sprites are actually very well done and the movement is relatively smooth in nature.
Though this game does indeed require a bit more... ahh , variety to it's graphical flavours.

Rating: 7

Sound

Music Review
The music variety in this game is painfully limited , the same music may be recycled again and again but I guess I can't complain , they aren't exactly difficult on the ears.
They do , after all , improve the scenes in their own way and the choice of instrunments and musical arrangements is actually quite fresh to the ears considering that most Visual Novels tend to use more "modern" sorts of music.

Voice Acting Review
The voice acting in this Visual Novel.... is beyond exceptional.
Well , yeah , the antagonists may sound kinda cheesy at times but it's without a doubt that this game is primarily based on a group of experienced voice actors.

The voice-acting is smooth , convincing and non-mechanical , in every way it's almost as though one is listening into a real conversation.
The screaming , the crying , the voices of contempt and the bellow of anger , the desperation in their voices and the hope found in their words , every single scene and every single word was - indeed - brought to the finest state , allowing the players to feel more in-depth with the scene as compared to any other Visual Novel with it's cast of excellent voice actors.

Rating: 9

Fun

= This is a review of Utararerumono ( Game ) =
It's been a very , very long time since I've last played a Visual Novel this enjoyable.
The vital focus on this game is not it's plotline but it's characters. A cast of characters the audience would grow to love after witnessing their typical everyday lives , to the dread they bear in a battlefield to the pain they bear in their hearts as the story goes on.

I found myself laughing , heartbroken and touched from one game with a fairly instable plotline that lacks proper elaboration here and there. I also find myself disturbed by a certain set of events , intrigued by the mystery behind the past of the protaginist or perhaps simply laughing my head off the comical scenarios of the game.

Overall : Others

Age Rating : Teen ( PS2 ) - 18+ ( PC )

Gameplay

Combat and Freedom
As usual , you can't expect a refined and in-depth gameplay from an SPRG but in the standards of such games , Utawarerumono is actually pretty decent as compared to other similar games.
Whilst the Magic system is painfully limited and the variety of options is constraint , I still find slightly more freedom in the tactical scenarios to this game as compared to the other SRPGs that I have played.
Though the problem is , combat is set according to events , which means the player can not fight whenever they want and however they want.

Humor and Others
Humor is a very common element in the game and most of them are actually pretty good.
Ranging from typical food-fights on the table to a dominant woman who threatens to crush Hakuorou's "manly organ" if he says the wrong words.
There are also scenes where the player would find themself inevitably smiling at not out of humor but how serene and beautiful it is. Like the bond child and father bond between Aruruw and Hakuorou , a special bond which is hardly displayed in gaming , Visual Novels and Anime alike.

Romance
The Romance involved with the other heroines is pretty thin and meek compared to Hakuorou's feelings towards Eruruw.
Well , certainly , some heroines are , very obviously , fond of the protaginist but the "romance" involved is fairly translucent and it's almost non-existent whilst the bond between Hakuorou and Eruruw is clear and firm.
In other words , the romance factor of the game is actually pretty bad.

H Scenes
To be honest , the H scenarios are pretty short and uneventful for a Visual Novel.
It's almost as though it's there for the sake of being there.
Or rather , the presence of H scenes is almost unneccessary for some of the characters.
Well , at the very least , all the heroines are fond of the protaginist before engaging in such activities with him :X
To put it bluntly , it's another Harem , but at least there's some emotions involved.

Trivia
- If your playing the PC version , you can get a voice patch for your game.

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

7.33 (above average)

Reviewed by z827, May 28, 2011

Comments

  1. angelxxuan May 28, 2011

    nice review, glad you finally got around to being able to post it, always a joy reading your reviews, spaced out evenly and I have no trouble understanding it. I haven't ever played the game but I know about Utawarerumono from the anime. I have to say the review left me with the fulfillment that I probably won't enjoy playing this visual novel, it seems sort of slacking the way your review went, to what I might be interested in. thanks for posting/sharing it

  2. aozoraskies May 29, 2011

    I had to come back for a second read before I knew how to comment. ^^; Sorry. Your reviewing style certainly separates everything into sections like a wiki article might, I was quite surprised to see such a format. I particularly like the section about the voice acting, it seems to be one of the most attractively written bits.
    I'm not very familiar with game reviews' format, but I thought that the first section was for story and characters, and so character interaction would have been in there? ...Or maybe since it's a visual novel, character interaction is part of the fun..? Just a question.

    On to the series itself, it seems to have some emotional depth but on my first read, what with weak antagonists and unstable plotline, I couldn't quite understand the score.. But all right, I guess it's a game that managed to win the hearts of the players via its characters, not so much combat and gameplay. You emphasised much on the emotional aspects of the story, and perhaps (I'm not sure of this) forgive the series' flaws some because its likability appealed to you so; and while it's not a format I'm used to reading on MT - this really isn't a bad review at all. Well done. :)

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