By Diego Hernandez / July 18th, 2019
|Title||Nurse Love Syndrome|
|Release Date||April 18th 2019|
|Genre||Visual Novel, Romance, Simulation|
|Platform||PC, PlayStation Vita|
Nurse Love Syndrome is an interesting story when it comes to its upbringing. Originally releasing on September 2011 in Japan, the title receives praise for its ambiguous storytelling and character design. However, it was only available on the PlayStation Portable and thus the reach wasn’t great. The new year of 2012 arrives and alongside it a new version of this PlayStation Portable classic. Hakuisei Ren’ai Shoukougun RE:Therapy releases to a bigger crowd on PC (and the PlayStation Portable). This version adds routes for three characters, and new CGs alongside after-stories for the existing routes. With this new release, Kogado Studio works alongside Degica, whom they previously worked with to release another Hakuisei series entry, to tell this story overseas. With a Western release on PC and the PlayStation Vita now available, the only concern is – how does it hold up?
Your name is Kaori Sawai, and it’s your first day as a nurse at the Yurigahama Hospital. Nursing is a big deal to you as you’ve taken up the profession as your way of saying thanks. However, what warrants this? You were involved in a life-threatening accident at the age of 10 but were revived by the medical staff. Now here you are at the firm age of 21 ready to start helping those in need. Optimism aside, let’s not cut corners here, you aren’t very smart. From uniform ordeals to unconsciously calling your boss your sister alongside a slew of ordeals with patients. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but thankfully you have a colorful cast ready to assist you both on and off the field. Welcome to Nurse Love Syndrome.
Let us begin by introducing your co-workers. First, the ever-so charismatic friend from high school and former student council president: Nagisa Fujisawa. You have not seen her since graduation, but it turns out she finished her education and started working at Yurigahama a year before you! Nagisa serves as your preceptor, a guide, through the uneasiness that is working at the hospital. However, she’s only been there for a year. You will see her cry and thus she relies on you as a drinking partner once the day shift ends.
Next on our list is the ever-so comical Kansai born nurse, Yasuko Yamanouchi. She tends to poke fun of many situations surrounding your personal lives, however, when times get rough, you won’t find someone as insightful anytime soon. She sticks to her belief that we work for the patient’s sake. Details surrounding her out-of-work lifestyle are not well known, until a certain day. She’s always giving you a hard time and equally as hard pats on the back.
Following her, we have the prickly on the outside and cute on the inside Chief Nurse Hatsumi Ootsuka. During work hours, she really won’t tolerate any silliness from you and the other characters. She’s a true professional of the craft and what you strive to be. Outside of work, the picture isn’t as pretty. A study session at her place becomes quite revealing including a lack of any housewife qualities like cleaning or cooking. For how professional and strict she may seem, she does to care about you and does understand what you’re going through. Honestly, there is no better boss in yuri visual novels, just don’t embarrass yourself by calling her sis again.
With the knowledge of your co-workers in place, let’s introduce your first patient: Sayuri Sakai. I hope you have an exuberant amount of patience because you’ll need it. Sayuri has been hospitalized with a rather complicated disease stopping her progress within nursing school. Yes, she’s studying to be a nurse and she’s quite smart. Sayuri sends relentless verbal attacks every day you go to change her IV bottle and it leaves both you, as a reader, and the main character upset. You can’t believe she’s so blunt and cold with her words. Despite this, she is human, and you realize there may be something promising lying underneath the cold exterior. Sayuri is a constant reminder of your not-so-easy reality as a nurse.
Next on our patient list is a complete opposite of Sayuri, a small highschooler who’s as bright as the sun, Ami Asada. Whereas Sayuri seems to loathe you, Ami embraces and looks up to you. She’s popular among the kids in her room for her overwhelming positivity. However, how much of that is real? She’s been hospitalized multiple times for her illness. As a result, she’s unable to live out the promise of a wondrous high school life. She goes somewhere within the hospital to relax. What could she be up to? Protect her at all costs.
The final patient, this one you encounter unconventionally, is a girl shrouded in mystery, Mayuki Wakamoto. Initially, you are denied entry to her room over fear her personality might be fiercer than that of Sayuri. Regardless, when you do get to meet Mayuki you’ll soon come to realize how beautiful and smart she is. As you try to find out the mystery behind her and the illness that led her here, certain pieces of your tale might fall into place.
With the cast out of the way, let’s talk about how the story unfolds. A plethora of choices are tossed your way, some more obvious than others, as you grind tirelessly to understand your workplace and the other patients involved as well as choosing your route. Nurse Love Syndrome successfully recreates the intensity of working in a hospital and properly immerses you within the eyes of a newbie. From “simple” IVs to the After-Death Care, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes with nurses. In fact, when I spoke to a family member who spent over thirty years nursing about the scenes, she told me that it was a very accurate representation within media. I will give proper credit to the scenario writers, Madoka Madoka and Sakura Sakura, whose experiences as nurses truly give a sense of realism from simply reading the story.
Without question, the immersion I had within the setting for Nurse Love Syndrome stands on its own. However, where it all goes momentarily south is when it comes to romance. As I read through all the routes, only a couple of your choices really seem to transition well enough from the common route to their story. Furthermore, even less carry an intensity equal to that of the setting. However, it isn’t to say that they weren’t enjoyable. There are plenty of moments that left me feeling giddy and overall happy. Despite this, the scenes that were supposed to bring me down during the routes felt very cliché oriented. Close but no cigar.
While you’re going over differing choices and landing on different routes, the character design and soundtrack remain a constant. Both of which carry a rather unique style and properly demonstrate intensity over their corresponding scenes. In particular, the moments when you get a CG with your girl of choice, it’s an overwhelming joy. Likewise, when you get hit by a figurative truck within the story, you will feel it. These features are not incredibly special if left alone, however put them with this story and setting, and it is a near perfect match.
There’s clearly a lot to love with Nurse Love Syndrome, an all-ages title that conveys the most mature story I’ve read this year. For this review I spent 33 hours reading through all the good endings and knowing its price point sits at $40, I wholeheartedly recommend this title to not just fans of girls’ love but also fans of the medical field, great stories, and cliché romance.
Game key provided by publisher for review purposes.
All AgesdegicaKogado StudioNLSNurseNurse Love SyndromeReviewromancevisual novel