Visual Novel: Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen + Futari no Hakuoro
I actually wanted to write something about this back when I finished Itsuwari no Kamen back in January, but kept on putting it off. And now that I’ve finished Futari no Hakuoro I figured I need to write a post about it now or I’ll keep on putting it off forever.
Utawarerumono has been a series that continuously impressed me. When I played the original game, I ended up really enjoying the gameplay aspect despite at the time having a really negative opinion towards gameplay in general, due to experiences of it having a negative impact on the story. The story itself, as well as the worldbuilding and characters were also great and memorable.
With the sequel being released over 10 years after the original, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially since the original was complete in itself. There was absolutely nothing to worry about however, as both Itsuwari no Kamen and Futati no Hakuoro were extremely enjoyable.
Anyway, on to talking about the games themselves. Itsuwari no Kamen starts off in a way very reminiscent of the original. Haku (the main character), wakes up with memory loss in an unfamiliar world. Kuon (the main heroine), after seeing how helpless he is, declares that she will be his guardian and look after him until he can fend for himself. As the game continues, the characters, setting, plot developments, enemies are all very reminiscent of the original, but the game as a whole still manages to be a completely new experience feeling like a complete new work in itself not constrained by the original at all.
The gameplay, just like the original, was very enjoyable. It’s basically the same thing, just expanded upon and improved in every possible way making for a much more modern experience. Another impressive thing is that the gameplay feels like it really helps tell the story. The game also utilises the gameplay engine impressively well to show visually some of the scenes in a way to help portray the scene better, as well as to control the pacing better for the scene as it would be much longer or have to be written differently if it were told with text alone.
One thing worth mentioning is the characters. The combat system has each character grow so differently and in unique ways, which really helps show their personalities even better. But more importantly, the slice-of-life scenes during the story are really worth mentioning. It really manages to give all the characters plenty of screentime and making none of them feel unimportant. The slice-of-life is spread out really well where it is needed and never feels like it distracts from the main plot.
The whole game is well paced and in retrospect, really well planned out with everything leading up to the ending of Itsuwari no Kamen. Which in my opinion is one of the most impressive endings I’ve ever experienced in fiction.
Futari no Hakuoro continues directly from where Itsuwari no Kamen ends. It’s really impressive what this game manages to do. It is a much longer game, so with more battles the gameplay aspect manages to be even more rewarding. The characters are expanded on even more, and as much as I was impressed with the combat system in in the previous game, Futari no Hakuoro manages to improve it even more and makes it even more fun to play.
And as for the scenario itself, it manages to perfectly wrap up the events at the end of the previous game, as well as bringing the overall plot even closer to what I expect from an Utawarerumono game. The final fight was an experience I was really happy with, and the ending itself I was surprised to find out was even better than Itsuwari no Kamen’s ending.
Playing through both games was a fantastic and very memorable experience. Filled with fantastic characters, extremely fun gameplay, and a very impressive and enjoyable scenario. Plenty of characters showed up from the original game, especially during Futari no Hakuoro, and although that was one of the highlights for me personally, they don’t overshadow the main cast at all.
Personally I highly recommend this series. If you liked the original Utawarerumono, you don’t even have to think about it. Anyone who enjoyed the original will almost definitely enjoy these games too, probably even more so.
For anyone who hasn’t played the original. No, you don’t need to have played the original to enjoy these ones. It will certainly increase your enjoyment (especially for Futari no Hakuoro), but it definitely isn’t required.
If anyone does want to read the original however. Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether you play on pc or console. pc is more accessible obviously since the console versions on old consoles (ps2, psp) as well as the only English version being a fan-translation on pc. The most important thing is that you play a voiced version. Luckily for English readers the latest version of the fan-translation includes voices taken from the ps2 version, so make sure you chase that up. As for reading it in Japanese, there is a voice patch out there somewhere for the PC version (although its much harder to find), but the console versions are still probably a better pick since there were a lot of extra improvements added.
Anyway really enjoyable franchise. It obviously isn’t without faults, but the overall experience is so good that it doesn’t even feel worth it to point any of them out since they aren’t really important in the first place. Once again, I highly recommend all of these games.
Posted on May 23, 2017, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged Aquaplus, うたわれるもの, Futari no Hakuoro, Itsuwari no Kamen, Utawarerumono, 偽りの仮面, 二人の白皇. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.