By William Haderlie / March 20th, 2016
*Authors note: This is an eroge, an erotic visual novel, and it is an explicit one. I will keep the conversation relatively safe for work and all pictures, but links are NSFW and this whole review is intended for adults. Enter at your own risk.
|Title||Beat Blades Haruka|
|Release Date||February 29, 2016|
|Genre||Adult Visual Novel (Eroge), Action/Fantasy|
|Platform||PC, Win XP through Win 10|
|Age Rating||Adults Only, Without Mosaics|
Beat Blades Haruka is the first visual novel by Alicesoft to receive an official translation here in the West. After playing through this one, the prospect of more titles from this developer is something I greatly anticipate. This ended up being one of my favorite visual novels, and the translation work done by MangaGamer is the best I have seen from them yet. So, what is it about, and what makes it so great? We’ll get into that fully, but first let’s go into a few necessary bits about what kind of experience you should expect. This is necessary information for those who may be using this review as part of their purchasing decision. So hold tight, and then we will get to the rest.
The first thing we should get out of the way is that Beat Blades Haruka is totally uncensored. What does that mean? As you can see in the “Age Rating” section above, this game has no mosaics. Mosaics obscure the provocative parts of a CG scene. For some VN titles that would be obscuring female nipples or the genitals of either gender. For others, that would mean that any contact with sexual organs is censored but nudity is allowed. Japanese decency laws are a bit open to interpretation, so it can vary pretty widely. For some Western (or Asian) markets, the developer is able to go back through and remove the censorship. I am just stating what it is and why, but my personal opinion is that I am happy to be rid of the mosaics in this title and they would have definitely interfered with my experience. I still would have played the game, but I consider this product to be better for their removal.
The next topic we should go into, only because it’s unavoidable with titles like this, is that of rape. The first, and most important thing I have to say about rape in this game is that viewing any scene involving involuntary sex or rape in this game is entirely optional in two ways. One way is that, by default, the option is set to have you be given a prompt when a rape scene is about to happen and you are given the option to skip it. There are two scenes of rape that happen in the main story, they can be skipped using the previously mentioned option, but they cannot be avoided by winning a battle or anything, they have to happen. All other scenes of rape or non-consent are as a result of loss. So my first time through the game, those two story scenes were the only ones that I came across because I never actually lost. The game does have certain boss type characters that if you lose to them, your party leader will go through a scene of rape or non-consent. This content is not for everyone, but it is fictional and designed to titillate, not to offend or to be excessively brutal. All the girls are put into a position that they are meant to be enjoying what is happening to them and to reform their thinking. I will go more into that later when I discuss the motivations of the “bad guys”. We can possibly go into the ethics of rape portrayal in games in some other venue, but for a review, I will just say that I am not bothered by the fictional representation of rape, so it does not affect my score one bit. If you want to experience it, you can, if you want to avoid it, you can do that as well. I chose to see it, personally. Just be aware, that about 1/3 of the sex scenes in this game are rape based, which could effect your enjoyment of the title or choice as whether to purchase it.
There is one last item that I will discuss before getting into the review itself. There are strong elements of romantic love throughout this title. And as such, many of the adult relationships are also very touching as well. But after the first scene of consummation, like most couples, they will tend to experiment. The content can be fairly high on the BDSM scale, but is mostly straight on the LGBT spectrum (with minor exceptions). Most of the fairly niche parts of the human sexual experience are left to the scenes of rape. I only even group them all under the rape banner because that is how they are grouped within the game itself. Mostly that part of the game is an avenue to get kinky. That being said, though, even the romantic portions of this title can go pretty far afield of what is considered “vanilla”. The other two eroge I have reviewed for this site, Atom GRRRL!! and NEKOPARA Vol. 2 were much “safer” than this one is. So I am putting a note in here that if 50 Shades of Grey is scandalous to you, then even the romantic content in this game will be too much for you.
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