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Review of Setsuna ni Kakeru Koi Hanabi

SubjectSetsuna ni Kakeru Koi Hanabi
Setsuna ni Kakeru Koi Hanabi - Download Standard Edition
ByHelpfulness: 1
Vote: 6.2
Mutsuki on 2024-03-04
ReviewI always find myself finishing sequels and wondering if it's me who's gotten too refined a palate (read: jaded), I have too high expectations of a series that's been pretty good until now or if the game is just not as good as previous games in the series. It could just be nostalgia for the original game that is making the originals seem so much better. At any rate, Kakehana was a game that was on my radar since announcement until release. I even preordered it at full price (ok there was a little DMM point kickback but eh) so I was super hyped at seeing how cool the game would be after playing the trial.

It was all looking good at that point. Music is as great as ever, they've pushed the graphics a bit further than before, written combat is looking good, and the protagonist is even voiced which is a welcome first for the series.

The problems start coming when you get out of that trial and into the main game.

The combat writing and pacing is super sloppy now. Fights in this version are just people spamming their special moves over and over. Fights either go in one of two ways, either it's an instant offscreen win, or it's a slog through all three rounds (I think there is one fight that is won in the second round in the entire game, the rest go through to the third round).
In this game, the plot is always the same. In round 1 person a is at the advantage and almost takes out person b, but they are saved by the interval. In round 2 person b who has been on the defensive until now goes on a wild attack and they almost take out person a but again saved by the interval. In the final round, whichever person a or b is the protagonist goes through an awakening to a higher tier of their ultimate skill and boom they win. Extra points if they go on for ages about how much this awakening is putting a burden on them.
Combat writing outside of special skills has massively tanked since MekuIro. MekuIro had a detailed play-by-play of each sword slash and thrust, characters would come up with clever strategies to counter their opponents instead of relying on cheap writing (special skill spam and awakenings) and battles were actually a bit unpredictable. I think they introduced the special skills and awakenings in Yureaka (e.g. Momiji's future prediction) but they were quite limited in the times they were used, and they weren't always foolproof.

Plot length of this game is short. I don't think in total it's shorter than Yureaka but seeing how garbage the plot is in other two routes are outside of the Nadeshiko route, the "good" part of the game is probably shorter than Yureaka. I thought they did Yureaka a disservice in having ONE route and then some SOL/H stuff as postgame content but looking back on it, it streamlined everything and let you focus on what was good about the series which was just the combat. It's no match in length to MekuIro. The routes aren't even all the same size! The Nadeshiko route has 4 big main battles with quite a bit of meaningful content between them, but the other two have only 2 big main battles with a whole lot of nothing in between. In Palvi and Komari's routes, they have a thread of the story to tell to try and improve the world building but they spend so little time actually unravelling that thread and it tends to be in the final hour of the route anyway so it's a lost cause by that point as you've already branded the route boring.

Characters are probably the worst they've been in the series so far too. Nadeshiko is OK-- her motives are a bit different to what we've seen so far but her personality feels a bit like Setsugekka turned up to 11. Palvi seemed interesting at first but the character is very shallow. Komari is a template example of a side character, I have no idea how she became a main heroine. Why there's only 3 heroines instead of the usual 4 is something I don't know but they probably saved me from wasting more time reading their route so I'll be thankful it's only 3.

Graphics are better than ever. This is something I'll give them this time. They're pushing the envelope a bit further but a vast majority of CGs are just individual character images for special skills instead of like individual event CGs. Music again is a real bop, but I'm starting to feel like these are in large part the same songs from the previous games-- no evidence but they are starting to seem familiar.

Like the game is short and overpriced but it's OK. It's nothing special but it's clearly not as good as the previous games. If they make another game, hope they get rid of the intervals and go back to the old combat writing style as that was what this series was all about. Get rid of the annoying loli characters too and bring back the MekuIro and Yureaka kind of heroines too...
1 point