Literally my first thought when I woke up last merry morning was ''Is it out yet?'' My morning routine consisted of brushing my teeth and then immediately holing up in my room until I'd finished the whole game hahah. This past week has been like a six course meal, except instead of getting food for the first five the waiter brought me stacks of exam papers, but for the sixth course I got six delicious desserts so it's OK. The best dessert imo was the forbidden fruitcake, a very fluffy and sweet cake though made a bit salty when I started crying into it, but I'll get to all that in a bit. Now clearly, I am not a woman who has utilized hyperbole ever in her entire life, so know that everything I shall say will be 1000% true and exact. I will do my best to ensure that my coming critique is insightful and fair.
Without further ado, my review:
Rating: Ten out of five stars
No, but really. If I listed everything I liked about this game I'd be here until Christmas, so I'm going to keep my focus narrow: my highly valuable, highly sought after, highly professional Opinions(TM) on characters and their routes! Which are, anyway, very much the meat and potatoes of the story. I liked all of the routes, though of course some more than others heheheh. A rough ranking of personal preference:
6. Bastien – OK, first of all, I'd like to apologize to Bastien lol. I can see why people would like him, and I don't dislike him, but he just... didn't leave any impact on me, not really. OTL I didn't feel his presence in the common story much, like he could've been replaced with any steward and things would've been mostly the same except the di Parisi get togethers would've had one less participant. He had an actual presence in his own route though, obviously hahah. That whole agonizing over his relationship with MC and their status difference etc. is the stuff of a good romance, but ultimately I didn't really feel like it was explored enough and that the conflict was resolved too easily... I gotta say though, them just picking up a random village goose woman to serve as witness + Bas freaking out and trying to get an annulment within like five minutes of being married to MC had me cracking up. I like to imagine we form a lifelong bond with the random goose woman and name our daughter after her, also at some point she meets Francoise and they fall in love. Duchess di Parisi has an aneurysm.
5. Sofia – Sofia felt like a kindred spirit to my MC, so I liked that aspect of their relationship, and I felt that a pair of clever dames like them could probably accomplish a great deal together – plus Sofia actually marrying into the family was Good+!! As for why it's one of my least favourite routes, though... Other than simply preferring most other characters' dynamics with the MC, it's that the central conflict didn't personally grip me... It's pretty divorced from the main story, and I find that an out-of-focus problem like that is hard to care about unless you're genuinely invested in the affected character... which I wasn't, enough, because I liked the other characters and their conflicts better. :'D Sorry, Sofi, I still like you. (Also I just want to say, that Frederique -> Sofia proposal scene? Making Frederique hold MC's hand during and having MC rather than Sofia be the one to say the big yes, did you do that to murder me? Was that an assassination attempt? I do not deserve such violence.)
4. Guillaume – His hair is 50% of his rating. I kid, I kid. Can't say I expected him to have as much of an attitude as he did though hahah, but since I do so love to be surprised, what might have turned a straight-thinking person off just made me more interested. Tbh I had my tinfoil hat on for a bit here and was one third convinced he had an evil twin brother that the King made him hide in his closet, or that he was being neurally reprogrammed by shady court magi, or something equally plausible. I do wonder which way a Guillaume who doesn't have the benefit of MC's advice develops as a king? Honestly, Guillaume's (and Leopold's) route(s) had me quite curious as to the wider political climate + future of Segunda and I'm having to fight off the urge to write civil war fanfic with a wooden bat. Anyway I'm kind of making Guillaume sound like a psychopath here LOL, which was not my intention. Sorry, your Highness. One more thing, I find it sort of interesting how Duchess di Parisi's efforts in making MC prime princebait succeeded in such a roundabout way in my playthrough, since her education – which she was supposed to downplay – was part of what allowed her to help Guillaume, and since the expectations placed on MC's shoulders, her isolation, the way she was born and bred for one role only etc. etc. made her experiences mirror Guillaume's so clearly, and were a part of what allowed them to bond.
3. Leopold – This was rather a surprise, since Leopold didn't really catch my eye when I played the demo. The first thing that convinced me this man was worth it was teaming up with him for croquet – if I've teamed up with a man for a round of light sports and our opponent isn't crying for his mother by the end, then that man is not for me. Luckily, Leopold meets my standards. Sure you become a queen apparent in Guillame's route, but it's so easy – just marry the prince and you're done, lazy lazy. Leopold's post-ending presumably has you become queen by blood, sweat and tears, which is more rewarding, and who DOESN'T want to overthrow a monarchy, come on? Anyway I love a guy who brings out the worst in me and joins in on my bad behaviour, this is good stuff. P.S. That throne room scene was ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)
2. Charlotte – Another surprise! I did like Charlotte before, but I didn't think I'd like her route this much. MC x Charlotte gave me caries, so sweet, so precious... but merely that isn't what makes me like the route this much. What really won me over was the ending!!! Eloping to explore and have adventures across the globe? How fucking awesome is this, MC and Charlotte are living the dream hahah. Out of all the characters Charlotte might be the one I'd get along best with in real life, actually not (just) because she's such a genuinely nice person but because she's got that great sense of play and adventure. I would fly kites and pretend I'm an Alvardian yak herder with Charly any day. Also she appreciates Frederique, which as we all know is a terribly important trait in any romantic partner. Frederique would probably love to live the kind of life MCharlotte come to live as well, wish we could've taken him along, he could've fit in the luggage – he might get jostled around a bit but I'm sure the silk gowns would prevent any bruises/concussions. Why do I keep ending up talking about Frederique in my comments? We all know why.
1. Secret Romance – 👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀 good shit go౦ԁ sHit👌 thats ✔ some good👌👌shit right👌👌there👌👌👌 right✔there ✔✔if i do ƽaү so my self 💯 i say so 💯 thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: ʳᶦᵍʰᵗ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ) mMMMMᎷМ💯 👌👌 👌НO0ОଠOOOOOОଠଠOoooᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒ👌 👌👌 👌 💯 👌 👀 👀 👀 👌👌Good shit
Where do I even start hahah? Unlike 3 and 2, 1 came as no surprise. Zero surprise. Negative surprise. Having the Secret Romance be unlockable only after you complete all other romances was a good decision imo, because it's saving the best for last. I actually wonder how many people who bought the game played through the secret route, and what percentage of that shared my enthusiasm, hah. I am an absolute sucker for forbidden romances, god damn, basically if polite society frowns on it I am living for it. It's like... two little magnets being pulled towards each other, trying to touch, but there's also another hugeass magnet behind them that's trying to pull them apart and in its own direction. (I passed physics by the skin of my teeth, okay?) How can I not root for the little magnets??? Stick it to society! Be free and in love! Life is too short to not be happy! Well, it's not just the taboo factor that I like hahah. Their character chemistry independent of relation is great for one, they always seem to have a grand time together. The relationship MC and Frederique have is unparalleled in closeness and affection even if you aren't doing the secret route. To paraphrase Frederique himself, they know and accept and embrace each other no matter what and that is... so beautiful... my true weakness: unconditional love. Their love is the one that feels the most genuine to me, that is the most plausible, organic outcome. This is my true route tbh, my canon. They're gonna be together forever because I say so. Oh, I'm crying again.
In closing, thank you for saving my life. I'm gonna be keeping my eye on Heaven's Grave and practicing my money throw, also I saw that comment about a possible TROS sequel and dropped my tablet in excitement, so DEFINITELY count me into the interested parties. <3