*spoiler free review
I bought Code: Realize last year at my local EB Games (Canadian version of GameStop) on October 24th. Four days after it came out on the NA Playstation store. It was the first physical PS Vita game that I had purchased for myself ($55 CAD!!) but it was totally worth it. However, it would have been nice if they had released a limited edition version with cool extras and fancy packaging.
I finally got around to finishing all the routes at the beginning of summer due to my laziness and procrastination (I was on Van Helsing’s route for 8 months!).
Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is a visual novel of the Otome genre released by Otomate in Japan in November 2014. Otomate have also released other popular otome games that were localised into English such as Amnesia, Norn9, and Hakuoki.
Synopsis from Playstation:
Restricted to an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of London in fulfillment of a promise to her father, lonely Cardia lives day to day isolated from the world. Her body carries a deadly poison that rots or melts anything her skin touches, prompting the locals to call her a “monster.”
Play as Cardia, a beautiful young woman whose poisonous touch means imminent death, and unravel the secrets of her past with the help of five charming guys!
Story – 8/10
The Victorian steampunk setting was really cool. There wasn’t much copy pasta and each route focused on a different conflict and antagonist.
There were many plot twists that I wasn’t expecting! I played Van Helsing’s route first because I thought it would be my favourite. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Saint-Germain and Impey’s route the most. Impey’s route was fun and a break from all the seriousness and Saint-Germain’s did the exact opposite. Van Helsing’s route was also pretty dreary.
My recommended play order : Impey Barbicane – Abraham van Helsing – Victor Frankenstein – Count Saint-Germain – Arsène Lupin (his route is unlocked when you finish the good endings of the other characters)
Characters – 7/10
Cardia was such a great heroine for an otome game. Many otome game MCs don’t have much of a personality or are a doormat but Cardia went from a lifeless doll to a strong woman. Most of the main characters are based on characters from classical literature with the exception of Saint-Germain being based on a real historical figure. The different routes include:
Arsène Lupin – the gentleman thief
Lupin had a strong sense of justice. I think he repeated that he was a “gentleman thief” over four times.
Abraham Van Helsing – the vampire hunter
His character was really focused on revenge.
Victor Frankenstein – the alchemist
Victor was really moe and cute but also strong at times.
Impey Barbicane – the inventor
In his route, it is revelaed that he is actually a vampire but they don’t elaborate much on that.
Count Saint-Germain – the wealthy and mysterious landowner
Saint Germain had a lot of self conflict which was interesting to see unfold.
Queen Victoria was also a strong and cool character. She as well had self-conflict in Victor’s route as one of the antagonists. Finis was pretty annoying.
Art – 10/10
Isn’t the art beautiful?
Sound – 10/10
The soundtrack was really enjoyable to listen to. “Guardian of Rebirth”, “Bustling London Town”, “Beside you this Evening”, and “Splinter in the Heart” had great piano instrumentals.
The voice acting was great as usual. The voice actor of Victor was also the voice of Shin, from Amnesia which was interesting because of the characters’ contrasting personalities. Impey’s voice actor has also voiced Okita Souji from Hakuouki, one of my favourite characters.
Gameplay / System – 8/10
Code: Realize has the general visual novel gameplay: you are presented with different choices throughout the game which move the story along. One of the cool features about this game is that the start screen changes depending on what time of the day.
The platinum trophy for Code: Realize was pretty easy to get compared to Amnesia: Memories (what is with otome games and colons??). In Amnesia, it is required to complete the mini games, get all of the 16 bad ends, and most annoyingly of all, listen to all the voices in the CG gallery which took me an hour to figure out. For Code: Realize, there are no extra mini games and all you have to do is complete all the routes, CG gallery, and glossary.
Overall – 8.5/10
This game can be enjoyed by all genders as it mostly focuses on the adventure. There wasn’t enough romance for an otome game but it was still pretty fun to play.