*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.
|Beat Blades Haruka
|February 29, 2016
|Adult Visual Novel (Eroge), Action/Fantasy
|PC, Win XP through Win 10
|Adults Only, Without Mosaics
This is Part 2 of a 3 part review series. Click HERE to read Part 1. In this section we will go over the gameplay elements of this large eroge title.
There are a lot more systems in play than your standard Visual Novel here. There is some management strategy involved and some role playing game mechanics as well. This is a very robust title in many ways. You have, typically, three phases during the day to make selections – Morning, Afternoon, and Night. Morning and Afternoon will look similar to the above screen, only morning is in your bedroom and afternoon is at class. In the above picture, it is Day 3 out of 99. You must defeat the last of the Tetra sealer bosses before you end day 99, so you must manage your (eventually) three Beat Blade kunoichis to grow in power over that time and to defeat the various bosses and castles on the way. If you strategize well you don’t have to get close to the 99 limit, but if you spread yourself out too thin, you may end up in dire straights.
Peace Points are the effect that the Noroi faction has on the populous of Tokyo. If you leave enemies on the map they will lower the peace points, and if you defeat them you raise the peace points. Never let them drop to zero or get a Bad End. Action points are the number of dice you roll to determine whether an action will succeed. An action will have a minimum number that you will have to meet, so the more dice you have to roll the better. In general, the minimum number for an action will grow the more often you do that action. Recovery Per Turn is how many dice you will regain after each night cycle is over or when you choose the “Rest” option. You can gain more recovery dice by raising your Libido LV. For every 10 Libido, you gain an extra dice recovery. Some conversations will net you libido, but mostly you will need to choose the option “Raise Libido”. When you choose that option you will normally watch a mini porn scene on a laptop in the school nurse’s office. But when you have captured a female Noroi faction member you can choose to have sex with her to “cure her,” and that will net you more libido than normal. These scenes are much more vivid than the general porn images you see on the computer. Brutality LV goes up as your Beat Blades are captured and raped. A few Dragon Synergy actions can net you Brutality and a few conversations as well. This will open up additional, more brutal, sex acts with your kunoichis.
Dragon Synergy is the act of giving sexual power (SP) to your Beat Blades. Pretty much any sex act will qualify as long as both the Master and the Beat Blade are both adequately turned on. So the above option is only the first one. The rest of that list can get gradually filled in after you meet certain requirements. And if you end up in their True Love route, three additional sex acts will be added to the bottom. As I said in the beginning, many of these acts are not vanilla at all, so be prepared for some interesting times. Subaru comes into the picture much later, so she has fewer options than the other two, but she starts off kinkier as well since she has experience already. Dragon Synergy is important both to raise your SP after using it for battle and to raise your stats from the Bonus. As each act levels up with use (up to LVL 3), the Bonus also goes up. But the Difficulty (total dice roll) also goes up. Much of your strategic resource management will revolve around this principle. And you may end up struggling against the last bosses if your characters are too weak. I’ll address it again later, but it is possible to go through a harem route where you spread your affections out, but wisely, they have locked off that ability until after you finish the game the first time. Initially, it is best to focus most of your affections until you learn the systems well and what will be waiting for you in the later parts of the game.
This is your Party Menu, and the Love Gauge will grow through dialogue choices or lower by being captured and raped by the enemy. One other possible way to grow the Love Gauge is via treasure chests in Castle Raids. Attack and Defense are pretty obvious, but Reflex seems to be both chance to dodge and chance to hit the enemy, so it’s basically Dexterity. Maximum SP will grow per enemy that the character kills and is lost by performing actions in combat or regained through Dragon Synergy. The Barrier that you see is basically the shield for your girls. When it hits 0, they will be defeated and captured. You can increase your Barrier by choosing “Training” and initiate a roll that gets progressively more difficult the higher their Barrier is, in increments of 5. To get my Barrier from 95-99 it required a Difficulty roll of about 45; that is a lot of dice! If you choose to train in the skill “Art of Blazing Fire,” you will also gain +1 to Attack and Defense and Reflex each time you successfully raise your Barrier through Training. So if you wish to go that route, choose that skill fairly early. More on Skills next.
This is the Learn Skills menu, and above next to Required SP is the amount of SP you need to learn a skill. It starts with 40 for your first, then 60, and the last one is 80. After you choose a third skill for 80, it turns to 999, meaning you cannot choose another. For your first time through the game, this is an important lesson: which skills are the best to choose. For me, I found it best to focus skills for each girl. I spread out skills and it made finishing the game more difficult (but not impossible) on my first time through. Each skill has their own benefits, as some work well for front line fighters, some for support, and three skills are exclusively for avoiding obstacles during the routes within a Castle Raid. I beat this title in every route, so I went through it many times. Eventually I settled on the strategy of having a primary front line fighter, a primary dungeon diver, and a backup fighter, and I allocated them skills appropriate to that, and even raised up certain stats through Dragon Synergy to make them the best at their task. But that is more of an advanced strategy that you won’t need your first time. It just goes to show that there is some decent strategy possible here. And a lot more than you expect from a typical Eroge. And that extends to the Combat as well, which is where we are heading next.