Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom was the first Otome VN I ever played. Honestly, it was the first VN I ever played, and I got into it in 2017. I have not been a part of this fandom long, and it seems I’ve stepped into it as it was finally beginning to pick up steam State-side.
I played it to completion on my phone. Learned there were exclusive extras for the DS version, bought it for that. Learned there were DIFFERENT extras for the PS3 version And. Bought. That. Plus two art books.
Without meaning too my friend had unleased a demon within me, and while this isn’t the first review I’ve written for this site – everything that this site is, and will become, is because of this “little” game.
Tipping the Scales:
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom a 10 – (I kind of have to, as I literally did everything I’ve listed a 10 deserves.).
If you don’t change the protagonist’s name the voice acting won’t say it anyway, so have at ^_^
This game is bloody and filled with Samurai and demons.
(Spoiler Free walkthrough Can be found Here It’ll leave you one CG short with Hijikata – if you can’t figure out how to get it just leave a comment and I’ll help you ^_^)
The Short of It:
The setting of the game is just prior to the start of the Meiji Era in Japan – swords were losing to guns, and the whole country was changing. The Shinsengumi stood to their last in the bloody battles leading up to the new era – so while it is a FANTASTICALLY well done story, it is Violent AF.
This original version of the game has 5 main choices and 1 “hidden” choice. Though, at this point in time it’s probably not much of a hidden choice anymore, but I’ll save that for the Spoiler version of the review.
The game forces you to pay attention – it was my first Otome so this might be part and parcel for most of you – but I really had to keep track of who was injured (so they weren’t going to the next big battle), who was being sent where, etc. You really don’t want to miss those affection moments for this game, it’s a tight rope to walk to the Good Ending.
The voice acting is solid. Okita’s Voice Actor was so good I have actively searched out more stuff with him in it – VN, or anime. I wasn’t even remotely interested in Okita until that actor brought him to life so well. (Toshi’s VN did a wonderful job too – and so did… well, okay, All of the Them were just perfect ^_^ )
The LONG of It:
If you play this game in opposite order I think it works almost better than the proper order. But I’m bad with names, so it would’ve making keep track of places and incidents a lot easier if I’d gone from shortest route to longest.
Which, considering you have to complete 2 routes to unlock the hidden one it would be:
Harada, Heisuke, Saito, Okita, Hijikata.
It just – to me – really helps the story AND the world unfold. If you’re familiar with the Shinsengumi already then by all means play in whatever order you want. Being familiar with the key players will make it a lot easier to keep track of everything that happens – but the extent of my knowledge PRIOR to this game came from Rurouni Kenshin, so…
Knowing this game so well it’s difficult to give a Spoiler Free review.
The Common Route is only the first 4 chapters. The start of Chapter 5 basically has you locked into whoever’s story you’re going to follow. So if you were going for one and you’re talking merrily to someone else in Chapter 5, you need to go back and figure out which pieces you missed.
There are a TON of choices in this game as well. You’re not just choosing what to say to who, but deciding what you’re interested in will send you do different variants in the Common Route. Fleeting Blossoms is a good place to start if you’re interested in Edo and Kyoto – the newest versions of the game with Double the options and double the choices as a result.
Blood everywhere – but there’s nothing squicky concerning the interactions with the Protagonist in this one. Not a warning so much, but there’s a TON of historical stuff, and some period-specific assumptions about gender for what it’s worth.
Totally personal Pros and Cons:
Cons: None. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. If I had to nitpick I wish the protagonist had been just a little more aggressive. She talks about being able to use her sword, but never steps up.
Pros: Your route choices are so varied and well-developed. Who I consider my favorite literally depends on my mood for the day, and even in playthroughs there are parts I’ll stop at and read slowly just because I enjoy the lines/situation/mood.