Posts Tagged ‘princess waltz’
In exactly one week it will be four years since Pulltop released one of the best eroge visual novels of the last few years, Princess Waltz. In 2008, I reviewed this title and wondered out loud and to myself, why isn’t this an anime? In 2010, I’m still asking myself the same question.
In the kingdom of Eldhiland, a fierce tournament is fought every generation between six princesses, the winner is crowned the new queen of the kingdom and rules alongside the prince making every princess enter this tournament with a life or death attitude. With a chance to be queen on the line, every princess from each of the six countries train their whole lives for the chance to win and will stop at nothing to get their wish.Meanwhile on Earth, the hero of the story is a high school student named Arata. After an odd first impression, Arata becomes friends with the new transfer student, Chris, who is actually rumored to be a real prince from overseas. As the two start to become closer, Arata stumbles upon Chris’ secret and his involvement with the latest Princess Waltz which is about to start. Joining the fight, Chris and Arata fight together and begin to unravel the mysteries of the waltz and its participants.
Moving in a linear path for over 20 chapters, the story in this title is one that could make anyone wonder why no one has even attempted to adapt it into an anime series. Driven forward by constant humor or intrigue, there are few moments throughout the playing experience that aren’t moving things forward or creating new story hooks that keep players going in their search for answers.
Leading the charge for always adding something new to the story, Chris and Arata are a pair that have been waiting patiently to be found by fans. I admit that Chris isn’t the easiest character to call a fan favorite. With such a strong and varied supporting cast carrying their own weight though, he doesn’t need to be.
Surrounding Chris and Arata are a cast of princesses which sometimes even overshadow their leads (which anyone who dances will tell you isn’t really a good thing but forgivable in this instance). For those who need a strong warrior and sometimes tsundere; the Princess of Dragons, Angela, or the Princess of Earth, Suzushiro, provide more than enough personality and attitude in their confrontations with the other princesses in the tournament. If you need a moe or meganekko (glasses girl) fix, the Princess of the Storm, LunLun or the Princess of Steel, Liesel, are right there as well.
While the leads in this series may be the ones finding out the truth of the tournament, it’s these princesses who provide some of the best moments of the game. Never forgetting their true purpose for fighting, a confrontation between princesses will always mean entertaining moments for those viewing from the outside. No matter if its an exchange of sharp insults or a challenge to a duel, the story would be nothing without the dazzling heroines just behind the leads.
Over the last couple of years, eroge adaptations have fallen into a very simple, sugary sweet mold and I’ll cite Tayutama, Princess Lover and Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka as examples right away (11Eyes and Tears to Tiara being recent exceptions). But more people outside of the core audience have been demanding the release of something that is out of the ordinary and different from the rest. With a story that isn’t afraid to twist and get a bit darker, it’s hard to imagine that any decent director and animation studio couldn’t adapt this writing into a series. After Fate/Stay Night and Higurashi: When They Cry, Studio Deen has already shown that they could produce something that looks good at least. All they’d need to find is a director who could do the same.
But with original material that already has characters that are so easy to bond with and writing that evokes strong mental images and feelings (seriously, the fight between Angela and LunLun would be an amazing way to spend half an episode), it’s amazing that no one has even said that they wanted to try at least.
Now coming up on 4 years since the release of this title, it’s very possible that its window of opportunity has closed. A title is only marketable for so long and every year that passes increases the difficulty just a little bit. However in one rare case of optimism, I’d like to think that there will always be a chance for Princess Waltz. As long as there are audiences for series such as IkkiTousen, Queen’s Blade or Fate/Stay Night, there is going to be audience interested in seeing this title given a proper chance at an anime adaptation.
After publishing my review of Princess Waltz last night I realized that due to the huge amount of time that the game required, I wasn’t able to talk about more than a few things that I had noticed throughout the gaming sessions mostly because they are just filled to the brim with spoilers. So, with that warning in mind I’ve written a blog post that gathers some of the biggest of these observations and comments.
Released By: Peach Princess
Peach Princess scores huge with the epic game, Princess Waltz.
Taking on the role of Arata Fukamori, things change when a strange new transfer student enters the class. He’s foreign, beautiful, athletic and rumored to be a prince. After Chris arrives though, Arata is pulled into a strange new world that he didn’t even know existed: Chris really is the prince of a foreign kingdom called Eldhiland and he is involved in a deadly battle between princesses called the ‘Princess Waltz’. All of these princesses are fighting to be the last one standing and take Chris as their husband. Only Arata knows that Chris is hiding a secret though and working together, the two seek to unravel the mystery behind the Princess Waltz and the secrets that it contains.
The female cast for this game is quite varied. From the princesses to school friends, the audience is always going to be able to find someone in a scene to connect with on some level. Starting with the princesses, Princess Waltz starts on a strong note creating six very unique princesses that are strong in their own way. No two princesses are remotely similar which creates a very strong cast for the audience to have fun with. Standing out from the cast, Lun Lun (princess of the storm) and Angela (princess of the dragons) were not only designed in such strong fashions but their personalities constantly stood out as so dynamic. The design for these characters could have come across any better.
Blending the line between art and storytelling though, Princess Waltz moves three steps beyond the average ero game. All throughout the game, the audience will be pulled into the story even further with artwork being incredibly well used throughout. Backgrounds will fade away, some images will slowly animate, all of the princesses get their own transformation sequence; the effects just went on and on. What’s best about this is that none of the effects ever come across as wasted effort. Every time something blinked, or the background changed; you always knew that there was a solid reason for it and the story was moving forward. Nothing ever happened without a reason making the effects all the more powerful in their presentation.
The ero content in this game is one of the most surprising aspects in the fact that there is really hardly any at all. Early in the game there are two ero scenes that you won’t be able to avoid and then late in the game there is the opportunity to have one short ero scene with one of the princesses. None of the scenes are overly explicit and the artwork during these scenes really generates a very soft emotional feeling.
Writing and Story
With over a day’s worth of game play, one is instantly asking themselves if they want to put in that much time. Yes, you do. Staying in mostly just a couple of different settings, Princess Waltz has a story that never stops for a moment. From the drama, to the comedy (and there will be a LOT of comedy) to the romance to the incredible battle scenes (oh don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a paragraph or so) this title delivered on every level in terms of its story and presentation.
Perhaps one of the reasons why I was able to get into this game so easily is because of the easy going nature of the dialogue which made it feel very much like an anime series. More than a few early chapters doing a great job of developing the lead characters while giving the girls reasons to be cute and screamy. This works perfectly for this title though as the jokes were always hilarious (and they will beat one joke over and over until it is long dead in the ground… and for some reason it’s still funny).
Up until the very end, the characters in this series will continue to keep you laughing. Nodoka is adorable as the cute ‘loli looking best friend from childhood’ character and April filled the ‘maid’ void with hysterical one liners. The drama of the Princess Waltz however turns into another very surprising aspect of the entire gaming experience.
The coming together of the princesses makes sense in itself but soon after they are introduced, all of the princesses start to reveal why they are interested in winning the waltz. All of them have their own reasons and all of them are valid. Some of them are a little fiercer, some are a little purer and some are a little more honest but all of the girls have real reasons for wanting to win. Players will have absolutely zero idea about how badly these girls want to win though until they get to one of the battle scenes and that’s where the writing takes it to the next level.
The battle scenes between the princesses are not animated but the artwork combined with incredible writing will make you think that they are anyway. Every action and move within these battles are organized and laid out with such incredible detail. Just reading through the battles and seeing the character portraits on my screen I had absolutely zero issues with imaging the characters having these epic battles in my head.
Normally a place where games lose the most points, the soundtrack to Princess Waltz is surprisingly another strong point for the series. With a soundtrack that contains three vocal tracks, the game starts things with a solid opening theme that really sets a good mood to begin with. Most of the themes throughout the game were easy enough to enjoy as background noise. The themes never felt intrusive or annoying to listen to on a loop though the organ theme did wonders to add credibility to the introduction of a character late in the game.
The place where Princess Waltz lost the most steam is in its final stretch. Telling its story in chapters, for almost the entire game the story remains strong. While some of the early plot twists are a little easier to see coming, it won’t take long before you give up all notions regarding trying to guess where the story in this game is going to go next. In the final chapters though, Princess Waltz seems to run into issues with tying up its loose ends. Arata ends up coming across as kind of an ass and the climax seems to come together a little too easily with not even a real boss character for players to beat at the end.
The second issue that Princess Waltz runs into in its final moments is that the princesses all seem to have similar final chapters. While there was certainly enough variety in them to keep me going back to complete the CG collection, the subsequent trips into the ending were increasingly difficult to get excited about with each trip in.
Constantly touted as one of the most innovative systems in ero game history, the card battling system adds a very unique element to the game. While players will rarely be allowed to make a real choice in deciding the game’s outcome or direction, the battle system does a great job of keeping things from getting monotonous for a short while.
After playing through the game however, it’s safe to say that the battle system could have used a little more work. It’s certainly not a bad system at least, it is a fun game that keeps things fresh and fun every once in awhile… it’s just painfully easy to beat. The card battle system basically is a game of war using numbers and colors. Your opponent will put out cards and you have to put out cards that are of the right color and high enough number to beat their totals. As long as you remember: blue beats green, green beats red and red beats blue there is almost no possible way to lose these matches.
Princess Waltz does attempt to add in a challenge factor to the game by giving players experience to boost up three primary stats, their color bonuses and even buy certain bonus skills. Even with that though, I found it easy to beat the enemies even on the normal setting. As long as I kept boosting up my stats and color bonuses, I never once had to use one of the bonus cards throughout the entire game and I rarely even took damage from enemies once I got past chapter four.
Upon first getting this game, I was devoting two to three hours to it every night before devoting two entire days to it which pushed me through to the end. If you enjoy marathon gaming sessions, this is a game that will keep you out of the public eye for quite awhile. Plus even with the fast forward feature going back to get all of the CG scenes is going to add another hour or two per princess that you decide to collect from.
With only one true ending though, the odds of me sitting down to play this game again from start to finish are pretty slim. I am certainly not sorry that I played it in the least but I just couldn’t see myself sitting down to play it again, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future.
This is a game for the collector in your life. If you know someone that has an established interest in ero games I can’t imagine them being anything less than ecstatic when they received a copy of this game and got to play it. While I couldn’t imagine anyone using this game to get their start into the genre due to how massive it is, this is a solid game for veterans to play through once and have as a prized piece of their collection. With a story and characters like this, having this release turned into an anime series would be a dream fulfilled but for now, Princess Waltz shines beautifully on a stage of its own. Very recommended!
Final Grade: B+
In a mailer sent out this morning, Peach Princess has revealed that they have begun shipping their newest game; Princess Waltz. In this game, players take on the role of Arata who is pulled into a mysterious competition called ‘a Waltz of Dancing Blades’. The purpose of the competition is to choose the next queen of Eldhiland which you help decide by taking part in a card battle system while winning the hearts of the various princesses to improve your own battle skills. The game carries an MSRP of 39.95 at both J-List and Right Stuf.
Edited: Incorrectly credited G-Collections and have properly credited Peach Princess.
In their latest mailer, JAST USA revealed today that the upcoming game from the Peach Princess label, Princess Waltz, has entered the final beta testing stage. The mailer also said that they hoped to have a ‘Golden Master’ announcement soon. In the newest release, players will take on an innovative card battle system in a story that follows the hero and a refined prince of a transfer student.