Kansei: The Second Turn HD
Publisher: Ratalaika Games S.L.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Visual Novel
Platform: Xbox Series X (Also available on Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 14/01/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Back in 2020, I reviewed Jisei: The First Case HD, when Ratalika Games S.L. ported the first instalment of the Jisei Series from PC onto consoles. The port of the second instalment, Kansei: The Second Turn HD, arrived a short time after the release of the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles. I reviewed the Xbox version, which is optimised for Series X|S. Did I find the next game in the series as engaging as the first? Find out here in my Rapid Review.
If you want to get the most out of Kansei: The Second Turn HD, you’ll need to play Jisei: The First Case HD beforehand. Kansei jumps straight in where Jisei left off and there are references to the first game throughout. This means that Kansei doesn’t really work as a stand-alone title. You’ll probably find yourself feeling a little perplexed if you leap into the series here without at least reading a summary of what happened in Jisei.
As in Jisei, Kansei sees our protagonist thrust into a mysterious murder situation. Most of the gameplay revolves around investigating your surroundings and questioning people to help you discover what happened. There are multiple endings and it’s only by finding the solution to all of them that you gain a full picture of events. For those who like to know, you’ll be rewarded for this not just in the form of satisfaction, but also with Xbox achievements.
Brought to Life
In the first instalment, our main character remained nameless, and much of his backstory a mystery. In part two, we start to find out a little more about the protagonist’s past. Although, some of this information raises yet more questions for a subsequent chapter. Other characters that we met during Jisei are also fleshed out through the course of this adventure. I enjoyed finding out more about the characters and felt that there was a good balance between developing the story and maintaining interest for the following episode.
At first, Kansei seemed a lot more narrative than the first adventure and not as interactive. However, the more narrative section at the beginning of the game delivers some much-needed backstory before our murder mystery begins. Once the ‘case’ starts, you can interact with the environment in a similar way to the first game. You can choose where to go, who to talk to and what to investigate. I felt that there was a larger area to explore than in Jisei.
Audio and Controls
In terms of controls, you use the thumb stick to move what looks like a mouse cursor around the screen and press ‘A’ to interact with objects or to select a response. As I mentioned earlier, there are multiple endings so it’s a plus to be able to skip through dialogue you’ve already seen/heard to get straight to choices or new content.
Something that we didn’t see in the first game was a section where characters travelled to a location by car. I liked the way the developers tackled this, with a moving background that did give the impression of motion. I think this helped to break up that initial long narrative section and made it more engaging.
I was a little disappointed with the audio options. You only had the option to change the overall language, which changed both the voice acting and dialogue box language. When I saw the option for audio in a variety of languages, including Japanese, I had been excited. I love using video games as a way to experience the languages I’m learning but, on this occasion, I wasn’t able to take advantage of the Japanese option as I’m a beginner who would need English subtitles.
I wouldn’t say that the voice acting in English was bad, perhaps the voices sounded a little more juvenile than fitting for the characters, but I would have preferred to have the option to keep the voice acting in Japanese and subtitles in English. It’s not a major downside and not something that I think would bother most people. However, I was surprised that the option to change audio and written language weren’t independent of each other as I’ve seen this done often in other visual novel games.
I enjoyed the art style of Kansei just as much as in Jisei. I’m a fan of anime and manga art styles in general but I do feel the visuals had a lively, bouncing off the page quality to them that sometimes made you forget you were reading a visual novel rather than watching cutscenes. I think the characters’ expressions were drawn particularly well and I loved the over-sized, emotion-laden eyes. In addition, I appreciated the greater variety in backgrounds than in the first game as there were more locations to visit.
A Worthy Follow-Up
I had enjoyed playing Jisei: The First Case HD enough to keep an eye out for the port of its sequel onto Xbox. I’m pleased to write that I wasn’t disappointed with Kansei: The Second Turn HD. It builds upon its predecessor and takes the story down an intriguing route. It’s a more interactive mystery and doesn’t just rely on the exact same format as the first instalment. If you’re in the market for a visual novel series, I can recommend this one. At £7.99, the second instalment won’t break the bank either.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Kansei: The Second Turn HD from the Microsoft Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.