- Developer: Idea Factory/Design Factory
- Publisher: Aksys Games
- Release Date: 06/02/2020
- Price: £35.99 / $39.99
- Review code provided by Aksys Games
Liberties with Literature
Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth is an otome game, which is a dating sim oriented for females. It originally released on the Vita, later earning itself an anime adaptation. This port does not contain any Future Blessings or Wintertide Miracles content. Your dating options in this game are all named after historical literary characters or some real life figures. These are all loose bases with a couple being absolutely nothing like their namesakes. Of course this is because the setting of Code: Realize is Steel London, a Steampunk London in the Victorian Era which has gained new prosperity and technology thanks to the alchemical genius Isaac Beckford, your father.
You, Cardia, are a monster, and have been instructed by your father to stay inside the mansion in which you live. As your body contains poison and melts anything it touches, thus you must never learn love. Contrary to those instructions a phantom thief comes to steal you away and promises to fulfil your wish of feeling human touch. Shortly after you come across the rest of your potential
beaus allies. Where secret intelligence agencies, experiments and more come into play.
Light On The Steam
There are only a few choices per chapter. As the first eight chapters of the game take the same path. With different arcs that focus on particular characters. Your dialogue choices and who you choose to spend time with will set you on their particular route. Of course, there are bad decisions you can make some of which end your story rather quickly. Another possibility is merely getting the normal ending which will not take you to the credits or give you the unlocks. Since there are few choices at a time and you can save anywhere it’s not hard. Often just paying attention to your conversations will help you find the right answer. Still, for dangerous situations saving first is a good idea.
Like a lot of visual novels you have a glossary, often explaining new terms or just giving more background detail on characters. As you go through the different story paths (and again make the right choices) you’ll gain quite a few of the special images. Once a route is completed you gain an extra scenario for that character. These short story bits might be set during or after that route and they come with a bit more of a tease of a CG. When you’ve finished Victor, Van Helsing, Impey and Saint Germaine’s routes you’ll be able to pursue Lupin. Which will give you the true story.
Once you have finished any one route you can actually use the “Path of Genesis” option in the main menu to chapter skip to any previous runs. Something I, unfortunately, didn’t learn until I was up to Lupin’s route. With it, you can lock onto a particular path. There is some benefits to starting from near the start and skipping read dialogue, as there are a couple new conversations when you choose who to hang out with. Though you might have twenty minutes of new content mixed with time spent skipping.
Smoke and Mirrors
The game has a beautiful art style and most of the characters are gorgeous. As this is an older game there are no animations on the characters. Shaking and moving images make a lot of the scene work. Early on it can seem that there are very few backgrounds but more come across in the later routes, these are all quite well detailed. The Steampunk style is shown pretty well thanks to this.
Unfortunately, there is no English voice acting, more’s the shame given the setting. Still, there is full Japanese voice acting for everyone but Cardia. Sound effects are pretty good, especially the high piercing sounds that are definitely effective at giving me the same feelings the characters would have. Generally, soundtracks in a visual novel don’t stand out (as you’re trying to read here!) but there were a couple of tracks that I actually really liked. Some of the music used during tense scenes were more memorable than usual and really set the tone.
During my play through I only noticed two typos and had no issues with the games performance. Whenever the game had an eye close-up cut away the image quality looked a touch worse than the rest of the game but that’s it.
A Realized Vision
Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth is a good otome game. The early half of the game had some interesting beats with illegal airship races among them. Since the plot of the game can vary dramatically in the latter half, the start feels quite weak. The romantic aspects don’t occur until partway through a chosen path. While the story didn’t feel particularly impressive, they did make all the options appealing (something many dating sims struggle with). That’s considering many of the characters personalities may come from the usual tropes. Of course Victor and Impey are the best boys, no doubt about it! Even without animations or a huge variety of images the gorgeous art still carried it with careful editing and sounds. The main disappointment this game has is the lack of a dub. Depending on your reading speed and if you use the chapter skip or not it can take less than twenty hours to complete (though it took me exactly twenty).
- Gorgeous Art
- Great Sound Design
- Decent Cast of Characters
- No English Dub
- Overall plot a bit ordinary
Code: Realize takes historical and fictional names to a Steampunk London and gives us sweet tales of a girl who was forbidden to love.