[Otome Game Review] Senjou no Waltz

March 17, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Otome Games | 12 Comments
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Senjou no Waltz cover

Senjou no Waltz is one of the games I was looking forward to back in 2014. After I first watched that really beautiful opening, I swore to myself that I’m going play this. Unfortunately, it was released around the same time as Code:Realize and Norn9 Var Commons so I never got to preorder it due to lack of $$$ (I prioritized limited edition Code:Realize and Norn9 ;w; ). More than a year later, I was about to order Ken ga Kimi but then Senjou no Waltz suddenly popped out on CDJ’s recommended for you items… and I remember that IshiKai is in the game so welp, I ordered Senjou no Waltz instead! XD

This is a spoiler-free review of the game ・´∀`・)

Plot

The heroine, Ran is just an ordinary girl. That is, until one day, she lost her father and entire village, when they got attacked by the neighboring village. Desperate to save the remaining people in her family, she accidentally awakens the legendary cursed sword, which lent her the power to fight back. Before she knew it, Ran is taken to Nirvana, a military school, so she can train as the new master of the legendary sword. With no place to go back to, Ran has no choice but stay in Nirvana, and there she meets friends all types of different people, who will help her find a new place she can belong.

Characters

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Abel (CV: Maeno Tomoaki) is the strongest and top student in the school. He’s a cool guy who’s bad at communicating with other people. To be honest, I didn’t like him at first because he’s so difficult to understand… until he showed his really cute side in his route and I FELL IN LOVE (*///∇///*). I also like the story of his route (-> says the girl who cried in the final chapter because she was too happy for Abel w), but unfortunately, it suffered the same bad event chronology writing, as in all the other routes.

Lustin (CV: Katou Kazuki), the second prince of a certain small country, is the resident flirt. It appears that he’s just a happy-go-lucky guy that sneaks out of the school to party every night, but there’s much more to him than that. Lustin’s personality is okay, but his route is oh so boring that it took me several days to finish his route because I didn’t have the motivation to do so( ;´Д`). I also had problems with his voice because for the most part, it seemed to me that he’s talking in monotones. Who is Katou Kazuki anyways? I believe this is the first time I encountered him?

Pash (CV: Ishikawa Kaito) is the kid who is apparently bad at communicating with girls. Throughout his route, I felt like I was watching over a son who is going through the trials of adolescence (´・ω・`). Pash isn’t the Ishikawa Kaito character that I like, although I did like his personality; he’s such a pure little boy and I loved seeing him get shy and blush ;w; Sadly,the story of his route is… well, crap.

Nike (CV: Ono Kensho) is the student who’s really bad at handling weapons that he’s usually just on the health committee. He’s always branded as weak, but well, his route won’t be unlocked until you finish the first three guys so prepare for loads of secrets revealed. Also, according the character polls, he’s the most popular character… though I didn’t like him that much? (Still, I agree that his route is good).

Tifalet (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya) is the magician with a really beautiful face. He runs some sort of clinic near the city port, and he makes medicines out of the Lunaria flowers that Ran has the task of sending to him every other night. He’s my favorite guy in the game (´ε` )♡ . I just really love him ;w; I don’t get why he didn’t rank that high in the popularity poll (Asaka even ranked higher than him!) I also really love his route, because there weren’t any dull moments that bored me, and I was engrossed with the mystery that I can’t help but marathon his route. Tifalet also has a nice bad end – best bad end in the game, imo – and it even got a nice CG.

Wilhelm (CV: Nakamura Yuuichi) is the guy inside the cursed sword. He’s definitely my least favorite character among the six main guys. He’s a big brat and I wish he would just stay as young Wilhelm forever ( ´_ゝ`). Being the unlocked character, his route should have been good, but it wasn’t. I think the only things I enjoyed in his route are the interactions between the other characters, and Asaka’s screen time.

The grown-up Wilhelm aside, I can safely say I like all the five guys. The other characters are likeable too, i.e. Asaka, Collet, Solon, Mafest, though my favorite side character is definitely Xiaolei. I really enjoyed reading his interactions with his bestfriend Tifalet. I also like Elias (Ono Yuuki for best seiyuu in the game, I say!), and I’m kind of wishing he gets a route too, like a studentXteacher story ;w; As for Ran, she was an okay heroine; not among the best, but just okay.

Review

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I get their idea for the story. I think it has the potential to be a good game, but unfortunately, the mediocre writing got in the way.

First is the pacing. It’s really inconsistent that it kills the mood most of the time. During the first few chapters of each route, the development is sooo slow, you don’t know where the story is actually going. Then suddenly, it gets good. You’re engaged in it. But when you get to chapter 9, the pacing gets really fast, you’re bombarded with VERY HEAVY plot… and right at the climax, it suddenly STOPS. Like, what was tension building up for, if you’re just going to end it too fast? This leaves a very unsatisfactory feeling after playing each route, so you’ll be left there going, “Uh, this is the end? o_O”

The inconsistent pacing aside, at the very least, most of the routes have a good story going on with them, i.e. Abel, Nike, and Tifalet. Tifalet’s route is my favorite; there weren’t much dull moments for me, though the ending is pretty anti-climactic. Abel’s route is good too, but the first few chapters were a bit boring. Nike’s is okay, it’s just that I didn’t like him that much.

For the other characters, Pash and Lustin… their routes were crap imo. It feels like they are just characters thrown in to have a route just so the game will have six capturable characters. To be honest, I think these two can be demoted to side characters, along with Asaka. I don’t see how their routes contributed to the main story, but well, they’re still good characters, so I’m cool with them having their own routes.

Now let’s talk about Wilhelm. His route can only be played after finishing the other five, so you might be thinking that his route will be a nice wrap-up to finish the game. That all the questions will finally be answered. Unfortunately, NO. The route just introduced more questions, and ended with some of those questions still unanswered. For example, Sapphire’s relationship with Wilhelm. I was looking forward to know more about this, but the route just gave a very vague and unsatisfying answer and before I knew it, the game already ended. Most stuff in Wilhelm’s route were like this; there should be a lot of things going on but they weren’t utilized properly… again, thanks to the mediocre scenario writing.

I have to say though, that at the very least, the routes do not follow a single template, so they do not feel repetitive as you play the game.

As for the BGMs, they are okay, and I think I like track or two. There were scenes with BGMs that do not fit the mood, though they weren’t that bad to ruin the scene. The art, on the other hand, is pretty, although some of the CGs… look weird? Nevertheless, I like the design for the main characters, and I say this game has plenty of pretty characters to swoon over (Tifalet, Collet, Asaka, Queen Kiora).

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Conclusion

It’s not really a bad game, thought it’s not a good game either. The writing is mediocre, but I enjoyed three of the routes, and I love the characters enough to at least like the game. Do I recommend the game? No. I say just play the other better games than this.

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12 Comments »

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  1. Seems to be the general consensus. Almost sounds like Princess Arthur but at least you could tell that the only draw (after much time) was the ikeman. Haha Japan always loves the characters international fans hate

  2. It’s a pity the game isn’t as good as it could be because it looks so pretty, it’s a shame( ̄~ ̄;)
    I’ve found it’s an increasing thing that really beautiful games are inconsistent or a bit of trainwrecks. I wonder if it’s the hurrying to ship them, or if there’s something beyond that >_<

    • Yeah, which is why we shouldn’t pre-judge otome games by their art :(( I guess we really can’t have the best of everything all the time.

      • I’m such a sucker for art, like massively, but story is more important than it. It rankles when I can’t have the pretty cake and it ╥﹏╥
        Thanks so much for warning about it! I forgot to say, sorry. I got all rude (⌒_⌒;)

        • Art is also an important factor for me. To be honest, I don’t play an otome game unless I like the art XD Sadly, not all games with pretty art has good story, so it’s really sad.

          Oh no, you weren’t rude at all D:

          • Art…can definitely be a turn off! And gameplay systems too. I’m really new to otome (only started learning Japanese in December for real) but I don’t feel very attracted to stat raisers either >_<
            If I know for sure the game has an amazing story, I don't care about art. I loved Higurashi and Umineko and came to really enjoy the art (´∀`)♡
            Thanks ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

            • Stat-raisers are definitely a no for me. I’m too lazy for them XD I’d rather play a straight visual novel ;w;
              Ah Higarushi and Umineko! I did hear that the stories are good, though I believe, they’re kind of… gore? I don’t think I can handle that kind of stuff ^_^;

              • I really really like when VN bring a bit of gameplay like Ace Attorney/Corpse Party/Danganronpa/Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Though Tantei Opera is QTE. It makes it lively without too much effort xD
                I do want to play one stat raider just to see if I’d like it, but I’d probably end up looking at a guide to help me. I’m super bad at figuring stuff out ;_;
                Gore? The PC versions have no CG, so it’s all written. They’re more atmospheric. Like horror/suspense/thriller without any blood/visuals of it. I don’t know about the remakes/enhanced for consoles version, but the stories are real good (though not otome).
                Corpse Party is the gore-y one, it’s graphic but I like it as long as it doesn’t become a horror game. I’m super scared of horror movies and games like Silent Hill ;_;

                • A friend *forced* me to play Corpse Party and I only finished the first chapter because, first, it’s gore-y, and second, I’m too lazy for to solve the puzzles/do the dungeons ^_^; My second reason is also the same with why I stopped playing Ace Attorney after one chapter — I was too lazy to solve the cases XD
                  Otome games are sort of the book-type where you only read as you progress with the game, so maybe that’s why I only play otome games ;w; I also never play an otome game without a guide; I want to finish the game as fast as I can! XD I guess we’re kind of different on that matter ^_^;

                  • Corpse Party is definitely an acquired taste! You shouldn’t play games that don’t work for you. I like visual novels because I can just play the story and be engrossed, I’ve gotten lazy and bored with RPG hehe
                    Books are the best, so I super approve of VN and otome (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤
                    Oh really? You play since the beginning with a guide? I like answering what I would I’m those situations, after that I use a guide too. Too hard to figure out by myself! XD

                    • Ahaha yes, I always should have a guide before I start an otoge ^_^; Since I follow recommended play orders, I make sure that my choices are correct (in the common route) so I can easily get to the route of the guy I’m going after.

                    • Ooh, I see! Hadn’t thought about that (*´∀`*)


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