Translate

Sunday, 13 December 2015

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [VIDEO GAME] -- Hatoful Boyfriend

Playthrough Status: COMPLETED COMPLETELY (seen all the endings; got all the trophies)
Approx. Length: 15-ish hours TOTAL (about 45 mins-1 hour for each character route; about 4-5 hours for the very last route)
Language: English
Played on: PS4 (Digital download)
Also Available for: PSVita, PC, OS X
Type of Game: Dating Sim; Choose-Your-Own-Adventure
Overall Impression: I thought it would be a light dating sim with birds -- something for my mind to unwind and relax with. Boy was I wrong! But -- it was a good wrong, hahaha. I really enjoyed the game.




SPOILER ALERT WARNING!!
This review will contain some spoilers -- or rather, there will be a "Spoilers" section at the end of the review to go into further detail about certain things. There may still be slight spoilers throughout the review, but I've tried my best to keep them at a minimum.

PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
So I didn't really know too much about this game. I kept the name in mind when Siliconera made entries about it last year, but that was it. I didn't look for any kind of information, but that's pretty usual for me. Then I bought it on Steam months ago when it was on sale, but never got to play it. Then I bought it on PSN 2 weeks ago when it was on sale, and finally decided to give a try

What can I say... my PS4 is way more powerful than my computer, lol. XP


STORY
Hatoful Boyfriend is about a human girl (the player, i.e. you) attending St. PigeoNation, a school where the students and teachers are all birds. As you go through the school year, you try to woo and get with one of the various available birds

And that's the story at its fluff. That was my impression of the story when I first started playing it. The first ending I got also confirmed that impression. The second ending I got, though, slightly veered away. The third ending I got, well, completely changed things around, and my initial impression of the story kinda just flew out the window. Please keep in mind that there are multiple endings so you may not experience the same kind of "revelation" that I did. I will say which endings I got in which order in the "Spoilers" section (and I will comment on them as well).

However, the main objective is still the same as any kind of dating sim game -- try to get the one you want to like / love you within the time frame you are given. The thing I find really interesting with Hatoful Boyfriend, though, is that even when you succeed and "get" the bird in the end, the result is not always romance-related. The endings aren't always happy either. But -- as a whole -- I think many of the endings build upon either the characters or the overall, real plot of Hatoful Boyfriend. 

And I just have to say -- the real plot was... wow. I didn't expect it at all. But I liked it a lot. I liked how so many characters were relevant or played an important part in it. I also liked that all (I think it was all) of the "loose ends" in the character routes were tied up and resolved in the end.

THE COMEDY
I just have to say this: while the real plot is being unraveled, there are fair amounts of humourous moments in-between. There were times where I straight up burst out laughing because of what the character's dialogue made me visualize, or because of what it was poking fun at. I'll mention one moment that I found really funny in the "Spoilers" section.

One thing I found funny. Hahaha, I like it when a game can poke fun at itself.
 
Another thing I found funny. Debauchery... It sounds about what 
I do everyday after work *giggle giggle* Just kidding! ;) (I think...)


GAMEPLAY
The gameplay is pretty typical of most dating sim games -- reading text and selecting choices. Make the right choice, and the affection for the bird you're trying to get will raise. Some choices will also increase your character's stats, to make some specific endings possible to get (as well as another thing that I'm not telling you about! I will mention it in the "Spoilers" section, though ;)). A couple of the choices will also trigger certain events.  

Making choices are generally fun for me so I like this kind of gameplay.

 An example of making a choice. Deciding which class to attend.

GAMEPLAY LENGTH
Each character route can take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete if you start from the beginning each time. Some routes can take less time if you save at strategic parts before making a decision. There's a feature in the game that allows you to fast-forward text so you don't have to read the same thing over and over again. The only downside is that the feature also fast-forwards new, unread text, so be mindful when using it.

The last route (let's call it the BBL route) was verrrry long. While I commented in my November recap blog that the length for Hatoful Boyfriend was too short, I take that back now that I've gone through the BBL route. To illustrate, I woke up around 8:30 AM last Sunday morning (Dec. 6), and started up Hatoful Boyfriend. I only had the BBL route to do. I thought I'd be finished by around 9:30 AM and be able to start my day at a good time. After some 'What the heck?!'s, lots of tears (I'll mention some of this in the "Spoilers" section), and hearfelt smiles, I finished the route by around 1:45 PM.

So... just be prepared to read for a good amount of time if you decide to go through the BBL route in one sitting.


CHARACTERS
Just look at these gorgeous birds! Hahaha. Which bird would you choose? ;)

In Hatoful Boyfriend, there are a ton of birds to choose from. The picture above doesn't even show them all. I really like that each character has their own personality. Even the human character (you) has her own personality. While I usually prefer my character's personality and values coming through based on my choices in dating sim games (so I may possibly feel more immersed), I like the cheerful and can-do attitude the writer already gave to her. She can be so funny at times.

At first glance, I liked Ryouta and Nageki. After experiencing the whole thing and finding out more about each character, I like almost all of them, with Nageki and Sakuya being my top birds, and -- hmmm -- Yuuya, Ryouta, and Kazuaki coming in second...? Lol, let's just say I want to give them all a biiiiiig hug! x3 <3


MUSIC
This -- there were some really, really nice tracks in this game. It's generally standard dating sim-type music -- so instrumental music that can evoke emotion or enhance the current atmosphere. Many of the characters have their own theme song and some of them I really enjoyed. I'll share a few of the tracks I really liked in the "Spoilers" section.

 
REPLAYABILITY
As mentioned earlier, there are multiple endings so there is a lot of replayability. Also, not all the endings are very straightforward and easy-to-get (at least for me). I had to consult a guide for a few of the specific stat-based endings after getting to the same end every playthrough (yodelling in a mountain somewhere...). Also, the BBL route only becomes available only after seeing certain endings. 

And of course... there's also replayability for when you want to see the outcomes of whatever choices you didn't make on your last playthrough. ;)



CLOSING THOUGHTS
Hatoful Boyfriend is quite a neat game. I highly recommend it. To say what I think many past players may have said, "I came to chase some birds, but stayed for the unexpected plot and heartfelt characters". Really -- I never would have thought I'd feel so much from a game about dating birds, hahaha. <3

Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, feel free. :)

So I'll do the scrolly thing and the "Spoilers" section will appear after that. Then I'll add some more scrolly things after the "Spoilers" section in case anybody wants to comment, but not see the spoilers.

..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................

SPOILERS


I will say which endings I got in which order. NOTE: stay away if you haven't 
seen all the endings!! I will be commenting on them!!! ><

-Ryouta: There was no doubt that I would get him first. I have an extreme soft spot for childhood friend characters (probably because I don't have one, and I think it says something about the strength of the bond if somebody chooses to stay with you for so long). Even though Ryouta's story was really sad, I think it was the most "generic" of dating sim endings. He reciprocates the affection and even suggests marriage, but then mentions his poor health and the short lifespan of birds and brings things into reality. But -- of all the other endings, the girl character gets into an actual romantic relationship in this one. 

-Azami (cafe): I DON'T actually count this as my second ending since I consider this a side story. But I did see it so I'm mentioning it here. I thought the story between Azami and Mister Fava Bean was cute.

-Nageki: I count this as my second ending. And I knew that I was going to get him next. I just -- didn't want to leave him alone, he seemed so withdrawn from everybody else. Realizing partway that he might be a ghost really surprised me. As he confessed his love, faded away, and the credits screen popped up, it felt like a punch to my gut. 'So not all endings are happy', I thought. 'Even if I get his love, I still might not be able to be with him in the end...'

-Yuuya: I count this as my third ending -- the ending that made my impression of Hatoful Boyfriend being a light, fluffy dating sim with birds fly out the window. All of a sudden, there was more to the school than meets the eye. All of a sudden, there was a mystery behind the characters. All of a sudden -- the story just got more interesting.

-Sakuya: I really like Sakuya's story. And I think it was fine that the girl character ended up supporting Sakuya with his dream instead of becoming an official love interest. With Sakuya's route, it seemed like his personal struggle was the focus, so I'm glad it stayed there. His reaction to Legumentine's was really cute, though.

-Anghel: His route was so unexpected and weird. His theme is also super spine-tingly-feeling. I loved the final showdown between him, Shuu, and that tree (I go into a bit more detail about it below in the "character's stats" section.

-Azami ("romance"): Azami is really a cool bird. I was a bit sad, though, when after Azami kicked the crap out of Mister Fava Bean, the girl character found Azami in tears trading / selling away her motorcycle.

-Kazuaki: I didn't have much of an opinion of Kazuaki until I went through his route. It was interesting to see that his ending was a respectful rejection, where he then changed his mind to, "if you still feel the same years from now, I will be here." I think if such a promise was made to me by a guy I really like, I'd have no problems meeting that promise. My loyalty and love knows no bounds sometimes, hahaha. ;)

-Okosan: Okosan's endings were just weird! I got his normal ending first, and then I got his true ending and went, 'What the? So that was true all along??' Hahaha.

-Shuu: His endings were... wow. If I was in the girl character's shoes, I'm not sure I would end up the same as her. >.>''

-Tohri: It's a bit embarrassing to say, but I don't remember Tohri's ending very well, in terms of how the girl character fit in. Like... do they become a couple in the end? I don't remember... though if they did, I'd like to think I would remember, hahaha. Tohri was probably my least desired bird, though, so maybe that's why I don't remember much.


I'll mention one moment that I found really funny.
What happens when you see Azami & Mister Fava Bean's ending. Hahaha! xD

This always cracks me up, hahahaha. It's something that I would likely do one day in one of my text-based games. x3


Some choices will also increase your character's stats...

What I'm talking about here is the boss battle in Anghel's route. The character stats are taken into consideration. When I first realized what was happening, I thought, 'Omg! Omg! A boss battle in a text-based game!!!'. It made me think of the text-based game I made with my sister a few years ago, and I just thought, 'This is so awesome!!


After some 'What the heck?!'s, lots of tears...

I know I'm going to miss some tearful moments, but here's what comes to mind so far:

-Nageki's past: Just to find out how he felt about himself, about the humans, about his family... and what he decided to do about his situation... it was really heart-wrenching.

-Yuuya's sacrifice and story: Well... I cried a lot in these scenes. When Yuuya took the hit for Sakuya, I could only imagine how Sakuya was feeling -- all the regret at not reciprocating Yuuya's brotherly affection and viewing Yuuya as somebody below him. Yuuya's story and reveal that Sakuya was actually his brother just made that regretful feeling magnify like a thousand times. That Yuuya would love his brother so much...

-Okosan's blind conviction: This is really silly of me but I shed a few tears just now thinking about this. I was never really a big fan of Okosan. But when he kept telling Sakuya that they have to leave the room to go find Yuuya... and when Sakuya kept saying that Yuuya was gone and that they'd never find him... and when Okosan followed up with "Okosan knows! The earth is a ball, so if we run far enough, we will find him!"... that just did it for me. 

That phrase... what it means to me... what it says to me: "Don't give up! Even when things may seem impossible -- even when they are impossible -- keep fighting! Even if you end up looking like a fool, keep running towards what's dear to you!". That foolish notion... I can relate to it sometimes -- because I am also one who chases dreams.

The phrase that does me in everytime.

-Kazuaki's past: Just to think that Kazuaki carried so much guilt for so many years... I'll bet the blacked out photo in Kazuaki's route was Nageki.

-Ryouta's choice: I think this is really sweet, Ryouta choosing to stay with the girl character after the school gets invaded. The strong bond of love and friendship strikes again. <3


I'll share a few of the tracks I really liked.

There are more tracks that I like, but these three really do it for me.

Tsuioku by TAM (Ryouta's theme). I like the hopeless yet hopeful feel I get from this.

Seijaku no Umi by SENTIVE (Nageki's theme). This is actually an 
extended version, so feel free to stop it whenever you think 
it's looped enough times. The original track is 38 seconds,  
which is way too short for me. I don't know why, but this 
really speaks to me. I feel this lonesome yearning from it.

DEATH TONE by η…‰η„εΊ­εœ’. This is my favourite tune from the whole soundtrack. 
It's now my ringtone on my cell (though nobody ever really calls, so I probably 
won't hear it from my cell anytime soon). The video is pretty neat 
to watch, BUT -- if you haven't yet watched through the BBL route, 
I'd recommend clicking "play" and turning away. 
There is a spoiler in this video!!


If you read my spoilers, thank for reading them! Now to finish with more scrolly things. Feel free to comment :D


..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................
..............................................................

No comments:

Post a Comment