Synopsis: (this synopsis goes until the end of the third chapter) Wales during the Victorian Era: the Royal Guard breaks into a dilapidated mansion to capture a “monster” and are surprised to find out that their target is a young woman. But when a dog attacks and bites the girl, its face melts and the dog dies. The guards take the girl and for the first time in her memory, Cardia (the MC) leaves her home. Two years ago the Cardia awoke alone and without any memories. All she knows is that she needs to remain in the mansion until her father returns for her, that she is a monster, and that her body contains a dangerous poison. She is almost relieved that the Royal Guard has come for her and are taking her to what she assumes to be her death. It is then that the envoy is attacked by the famed Parisian thief, Lupin. Lupin carries Cardia off and tells her that since he wants to (literally) steal her heart, he will grant her one wish in exchange. Cardia requests her only desire: to be able to touch and be touched.
Lupin and Cardia join up with Lupin comrade and engineer, Impey, and the trio head to Steel London. They manage to sneak past checkpoint, but Cardia gets separated from the two of them. She is saved from some unsavory characters by Victor, the former Royal Alchemist and current fugitive. Victor saves Cardia a second time, this attack coming from an agent of Twilight, an elite group that wants to capture the MC. Victor agrees to help find a way to get rid of Cardia’s poison in exchange for hiding him out. Cardia, Victor in tow, reunites with Lupin and Impey, and they get permission from the owner of the hideout, Lupin and Impey’s patron, and Parisian Count, Saint-Germain, for Victor to stay in the mansion.
When the group (less Saint-Germain) goes to an underground doctor to get Cardia checked out, the doctor confirms Victor’s suspicion that Cardia’s heart isn’t beating and the source of both her life and her poison seems to be the crystal embedded in her chest, the Horologium.
To take Cardia’s find off her lack of a beating heart, the group goes to a casino. As they are about to leave Lupin is attacked by Van, a former member of Twilight and hero from the Vampire War, who wants Lupin to reveal the location of the monster he stole from the Royal Guards. After Van learns that Cardia is the monster he is seeking and the group prevents him from abducting her, Victor convinces Van to join their group so they can all achieve their own ends.
In need of information the group decides on a game plan. Each day one of the guys will stay with Cardia and teach her some of their skills so she handle herself against pursuers; the other guys will simultaneously go out and try to discover information about Issac, Cardia’s father who’s discoveries were responsible for advancing science by decades.
MC: Cardia has no memories from before two years ago; though she sometimes has nightmarish flashbacks of people chasing her. Since her flesh melts everything except specially prepared items her father left for her (like her clothes and her bed sheets), she both fear contact and desires it. Having spent the last two years alone inside her rotting house, she begins the story fairly emotionless. The only person she remembers is her father and she both wants to find him to question him, and also feels guilty for disobeying him by leaving the house. Although she has read the many books her father left behind, Cardia is very naive about the world and other people, and thus tends to take things at face value. Because of the Horologium she has great physical endurance and capabilities
- Abraham Van Helsing: A hero of the Vampire Wars and former member of Twilight. He is known as the Human Weapon. He acts cold and harsh, he also has a gentle side. His reason for joining the group is to find a man who was supposedly assassinated but might be immortal
- Arsene Lupin: An infamous Parisian thief. He is cocky and confident, but also has the skills to back up his words. Lupin is especially good at creating plans and caring them out. He rescued Cardia because he wants to stop a terrorist attack that he heard that Twilight and Issac are planning
- Impey Barbicane: The “genius” mechanic and Lupin’s partner in crime. Impey is loud, flirty, and usually the butt of everyone’s jokes. He has great physical prowess. He teamed up with Lupin about a year before the start of the game, and his purpose for doing so is to get back an invention that was stolen from him
- Saint-Germain: A Parisian Count. He is a mysterious man steeped in calm. He is a rich and distinguished nobleman who suffers from boredom, which is why he approached Lupin and Impey and asked to be let in on their scheme of the moment; since then he has been their benefactor and landlord. He claims to be helping the group because it is interesting
- Victor Frankenstein: A wanted alchemist. Victor is kind and intelligent. He used to be the Royal Alchemist, which is the top alchemist in the country, but he was framed for a terrorism attack and is now on the run. He becomes a part of the group in order to have a place to hide from his pursuers and also because he wants to help Cardia
Impressions: This game might not be for everyone on account of the length and the fact that some people hate the Victorian Era/Steampunk. But I think that this is a really great game. The heavy themes are balance by the plentiful funny moments. Additionally I enjoyed the action, which was a good thing since there are plenty of them.
The routes don’t split until the eight chapter; which I wouldn’t mind so much except that the decisions affecting whose route you end up on aren’t in the last couple of chapters before the split. Additionally the routes tend to drag near the end when everyone starts getting scenes in their point-of-view, which is annoying since at that point when you want to keep pushing to the end.
I felt like this was a really beautiful game. I liked most of the character designs, the CGs were gorgeous for the most part, there were really great scenes, the BGM was nice, and the voice acting made me smile. I really, really adore the ending song (Hanakanmuri) and Saint-Germain’s VA. I’m not really sure that the Vampire stuff or really the Idea stuff were necessary, but I don’t think it takes away from the story so I’ll let that slide. The only thing that really bugged me (and it’s a pet peeve thing) is that they switched some of the names up in the subtitles; for example, the subtitles will say “Victor” but you can clearly hear the characters saying “Fran”.
If you have the money and this game seems interesting to you please purchase this game and support the release.
My recommended play order is Van Helsing > Impey > Victor > Saint-Germain > Lupin (you have to play through an ending of each character to unlock Lupin)
Favorite Guy: Saint-Germain
Favorite Route: Saint-Germain or Impey
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