Title: Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Aksys Games
Website: https://www.ideafintl.com & http://www.aksysgames.com
Genre: Adventure/Romance/Visual Novel
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 06/02/2020
Price: £35.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth is an Otome visual novel game initially released for the PlayStation Vita in 2014 in Japan and 2015 in North America and Europe. According to Google, it is also available on PS4, Android, and now it has come to the Nintendo Switch.
In this Otome visual novel, you will explore a reimagined steampunk version of nineteenth-century London. You will play as Cardia, a young woman whose skin is pure poison, and you’ll encounter reimagined historical figures such as Victor Frankenstein and Abraham can Helsing. Cardia may potentially find love with one of these men as she attempts to escape the organization that’s after her.
You may be wondering what an otome game is. Otome means “girl” or “maiden,” according to jisho.org, an online Japanese dictionary. According to other sources, it is a rare reading of those kanji, used only in historical contexts. These games are primarily aimed at women – not to say, of course, that men can’t find enjoyment in them, but women are the main target consumers. They usually involve a female main character with a cast of male suitors and are often visual novels.
There are often multiple endings for each character, too: a good, a bad, and a “true” ending usually being the case. So there’s usually a large amount of content in these games. I’m a big fan of these games, and Aksys Games is thankfully a huge proponent of bringing them over to the West. This is mainly a big genre in Japan, but there is a cult following in the West as well. I’m excited to see what else they’ll bring! But for now, let’s take a look at how Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth performs in the genre!
Some Pros & Cons
The opening video is lovely and introduces you to the characters that will be involved in the game. The story begins, and you are given a glossary for when terms appear. It’s nice to have some of them defined, but things like “binoculars” and “automobile” are a little unnecessary to define. The glossary icon also stays on the screen and prevents you from taking nice screenshots. There doesn’t appear to be an option to hide the glossary icon or the dialogue window either, unfortunately.
There is full (Japanese) voice acting except for Cardia, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, there are some typos here and there. One glaring one was “solider” for soldier, and “afriad” for afraid. I was somewhat surprised to see these typos. I’ve counted less than a dozen so far, so it’s not glaring, but it is odd to see these kinds of mistakes.
A slight warning: Cardia’s skin – and blood – are poisonous. In the very beginning, a dog attacks her, and let’s just say the results aren’t pleasant; you can hear the dog’s pain as it happens. I’d maybe play the first few minutes with the volume turned down if this is something that would really upset you, but don’t think you should skip out on the game because of it either.
Cardia starts off mostly weak – besides her poison abilities. Her companions train her in a variety of subjects including first aid, combat, and London’s geography, as well as some basic engineering. Throughout the story, she becomes more determined and more useful to her companions. I was impressed with her development from weak to strong. I really like all of the cast, but do wish that perhaps another female character was involved. Even a housemaid for Saint Germain would have been nice, as the cast, including the minor characters, mainly consists of men. Even the cute little corgi is male! (This isn’t too inconsistent with otome games though.)
Introducing the Lupin Gang!
Speaking of the cast, I started with Impey’s route, the red-haired “genius engineer.” He is a huge flirt and takes great pride in his engineering abilities despite his many mishaps. Impey, despite his casual attitude, is quite reliable, and consistently has Cardia’s back. I quite liked his interactions with Lupin, as they were quite comedic together. He and Van Helsing also have a comedic and contentious relationship. I have a feeling that this will be one of my favourite routes, if not my favourite. I will say that Impey’s route doesn’t answer several very important and intertwined plotlines, however.
Next up is Saint-Germain, a mysterious man with the title of Count. His pleasant demeanour appears to hide a cold darkness inside. I wasn’t as satisfied with the romance aspect of this route, but it answers a big question I had. However, it, too, does not resolve an important plot point, which was frustrating.
We now take a look at Victor Frankenstein, an elite scientist/alchemist. He seems kindhearted and slightly awkward but has darkness in his past. I changed my mind about my favourite route so far. I think Victor’s route has to beat Impey’s in terms of intrigue as well as a type of resolution for a certain plot point. (Sorry, Impey!)
Abraham Van Helsing takes the stage next. A former war hero known as the human weapon, this glasses-wearing blonde, like Saint-Germain and Victor, seems to have a dark past. (Awww!) His route also doesn’t resolve an important plot point (the same one that went unresolved in Impey and Saint-Germain’s route).
Finally, Arsene Lupin, the gentleman thief, takes the stage. A debonair young man determined to stop a terrible plot, he acquires Cardia and takes her to safety away from those who would use her for evil. He has a bit of an ego, which is usually warranted due to his skill. His route is locked behind the other four routes, which may be a bit of a downer for those with little time that prefer Lupin. His route is probably the definitive route and answers more questions than the other routes do individually.
Throughout the game, you usually have two or three dialogue choices at most per chapter. I highly recommend using one of the spoiler-free guides to get the true ending for each character, as I understand people’s time is limited. There are bad endings as well, and you’d do well to avoid them unless you’re a glutton for punishment and want to see what happens. As for me, I prefer stories to have happy endings, so true ending it is for me!
The story itself isn’t necessarily sunshine and roses, but it’s interesting. It is fairly short, with only thirteen chapters in each route. The common route ends at chapter eight, so there are five unique chapters per character. There’s also additional content accessible from the main menu once you clear a character’s route. A good thing is that you have the ability to skip dialogue, but in skipping dialogue it simply goes by quickly. You, unfortunately, can’t skip directly to the next dialogue choice when you’re replaying the first eight chapters that are shared by each route.
Overall, Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth has some fantastic things going for it. It’s got a great cast that meshes well with each other, an interesting reimagining of nineteenth-century London with airships and vampires and more, and lovely art and voice acting. It is slightly lessened by its occasional typos as well as lack of plot resolution across certain routes, but as a whole, it shines.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth here.