Obviously I got the normal endings for both of these guys, since I lost the thread for their true routes pretty quickly. In Tsuchiura’s case I seem to have answered a question wrong somewhere. In Hihara’s case I either raised his affection too quickly or too slowly and missed some critical events. But the nice thing about the La Corda d’Oro series is that you always get some kind of ending for maxing out a guy’s affection. That’s good enough for me.
My fellow piano player! The drama on his route is that he and Hino Kahoko (the official name of the protagonist) did so well in the Spring Contest that they’re asked to transfer to the music course. Tsuchiura says no at first then talks it over with his parents and decides to go for it. And then the game cuts Hino off somehow because she can’t make her mind up fast enough? Or she says something wrong? I can’t be sure. That’s the thing about this game. Normal end = easy. True end = you’ve gotta be psychic.
Well anyway, the two of them get along well enough. They practice together, go to concerts together, he buys her a silver necklace and later a music box. In the end he… doesn’t confess. Doesn’t say he loves her either… He just expresses appreciation for her always being there at important moments in his life. Oh, and it turns out they kind of knew each other as kids but not really and anyway they both forgot. Remember kids, such twists are only terrible if FF8 does them.
I didn’t “get” too much out of dating Tsuchiura this time. He and the heroine are getting along like always, just better than ever. You learn a bit more about his family and the incredibly petty reason why he stopped playing music competitively as a child. The main earth-shattering development is his decision to focus on music in the future. It’s a pretty big deal, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Hino or with their relationship. So yeah, nothing really changes between them.
Hihara-sempai! I completely lost the thread with this guy, I’m so disappointed. When I did Tsuchiura’s route, I played with Hihara a bit on the side and got an event where Hihara signs up to star in a commercial. Later on the commercial airs, but Hihara doesn’t seem happy at all. He’s downright depressed, in fact, and doesn’t want to talk about the experience at all. What happened, Hihara-sempai?! I’ve gotta know!
I was really looking forward to finding out on his main route. Unfortunately I don’t think I raised his affection fast enough so while I triggered the event, nothing ever happened with it and the commercial was never mentioned again. I did get some scenes where he worries about his future as well as minor skits where he talks about how he met Yunoki and how he got into playing the trumpet, but that’s not what I really wanted. When I’m done giving everyone the once-over I’ll play with a FAQ and get to the bottom of this mystery.
Well at least his confession under the tree was somewhat romantic. Somewhat. I don’t really remember it TBH. Too busy wallowing in disappointment at losing the thread. I’ll get his true ending yet!
Finishing La Corda d’Oro 2 once on Normal difficulty unlocks Hard Mode. It’s hard! Until you get the hang of it. Then it’s still hard! But very manageable and a tremendous amount of fun. What’s hard about it is they jacked up the price of everything in the BP store and cut your growth rate in half or less. You have to work harder to get BP that only goes half as far. And you have to do all that while also wooing a guy and keeping your ensembles from falling apart. It’s awesome.
That said, I was never in danger of failing any mission. I don’t even know if it’s possible to fail them. Oh, that reminds me: you get a Game Over if you refuse to play the first concert. Ousaki will beg you, Fuyumi will beg you, the game will beg you… and if you still say no, the game ends right there. I love it when games do that. “If you won’t play, don’t play. Who needs you?!” The Game Over screen even says “Fine.” (yes I know that’s not what Fine means in this case)
Back to bragging about how hard mode was no match for me. As I said, I was never in danger of failing, but I did get an A instead of an S on two of the concerts when chasing Tsuchiura. I only discovered the trick on Hihara’s route: always think one step ahead. Start planning for the next concert before you finish the current one.
That means you raise your Skill ASAP so you can practise harder pieces.
It means you buy only the scores you need and target only the players you need for those ensembles.
Use Iron Armlets on the weekends to raise your skill, use the Auditorium to train your ensembles.
And multi-task like crazy: combine learning pieces with advertising your show and raising affection. Roam the maps constantly in search of the unconverted so you can fill their ears with music. I found the Entrance and the Auditorium best for this. Ignore the roof, the music room and the practice room.
While you’re busy doing all that, you might find you don’t have any time left to spend with your sweetheart. This is as it should be, since your parents sent you to school to study and not to chase boys. With the help of a FAQ you could probably concert prep and your romantic prep all at the same time, but I enjoy fumbling around on my own too much to give it a try. When it’s time to do all the routes properly, I’ll probably switch to Easy mode so I can focus on the story.
Before that, though, I need to get Yunoki and Tsukimori’s endings. I even started Tsukimori’s route, but he’s such a jerk. He turned me down three times when I tried to recruit him (and he didn’t get a game over, it’s not fair). He isn’t even the best violinist in the game but he sure has the biggest ego. Yunoki-sempai is just Yunoki-sempai and slightly nicer than last time. I’ll do those two later.
Up next: I can’t decide between Tokyo Xanadu eX+ and Shin Megami Tensei: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army. I’m not skillful enough to play two ARPGs at the same time either. Out comes the coin. Heads – Tokyo, tails – Raidou. *flip* Tails. Raidou it is. See you next time!