Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen – Kariya-sempai GET!

Or to be precise, Kariya-sempai “happy end” GET! According to the game, anyway. Which suggests there’s a not-so-happy end and maybe even a bad end? Aww, I wanted to see those. This route was too happy happy yay yay, it needed more darkness!

The good news is, Kariya did officially ask me out, shortly after yesterday’s post. Whining on your blog never fails, I tell you. Most otome games end with the grand confession and you’re left to assume they all lived happily ever after. In Hatsukare, however, the couple date each other for about a month after confession, giving you a glimpse of what their relationship would be like. It’s like Storm Lover (same developer) and Love Plus in that respect.

And like those other games, ehhh, I don’t like that part. Sure I’m happy if the relationship goes well, but I really don’t care to see all that lovey-dovey stuff. The process of getting there is the interesting part, the rest I don’t care about. I used to think it would be cool to know what happened afterwards, but now I realize it’s just boring cheesy “I love you”, “I love you more”, “No me”, “No you”  teenage stupidity. And like stupid teens they’re always making out on the street corner, in the school courtyard, at the mall, on the stairwell, everywhere under the sun. GET A ROOM kids! Wait, no, get out of the room! No! Aaaaah!!! …I’m kidding. …Barely.

Long story short, the last month of the game was rather boring for me. It’s just day after day of Yui and Yuuji giggling and making out and making googoo eyes at each other. All the family dysfunction and drama I was promised on this route was quickly swept under the carpet and never referred to again. For example, throughout the game Kariya has been hinting about his parents being violent, neglectful ex-delinquents. He has even shown up at school once with bruises from being beaten by his father. But once we start dating the whole narrative changes and now his story is “They’re really nice people once you get to know them.” Uh, really. Uh, okay.

Moreover I was all hyped up to see some drama involving Reiji, but he and his gang just gave up and virtually disappeared once Yuuji and Yui became a proper couple. It seems Reiji was interested in her because his brother was interested, but once she officially became his girlfriend he was too honorable to go there (or maybe he just valued his life). Either way he never bothers you guys again. He even shows up at the fireworks festival to chase away some baddies so Yuuji and I can make out in peace. Thanks bro, I owe you one.

Not like this, sempai, not like this!

Ah well, Kariya-sempai himself is a nice enough guy. I think my main problem with the dating part was that Yui often says and does things I don’t necessarily think are wise. For example I already mentioned how much of a buzzkill it is on Shun’s route when she keeps whimpering about how little she knows about games. And there’s another scene where she tells a friend all about her brother’s teenage heartbreak. Uncool, girl. Just, uncool. And another scene where she goes to Kariya’s house and falls asleep in his bed. I’m like, is that really wise? Really?

So it’s okay for an otome heroine to have character, but whether that character will gel with the player or not is a hit-or-miss prospect. If the writing is strong enough you can still enjoy the game even if the heroine is a huge idiot (Kanuchi comes to mind) but it’s harder to do so.

Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen at all. I did. I’m working on Kakeru’s route even as we speak. But I think the best parts are the early bits where you’re just getting to know the characters. The post-confession stage which should be the highlight of the game is meh because you have to watch Yui interact with Mr. Dreamboat. And I don’t really like Yui. I don’t hate her but… nah, I don’t like her. And the game ends on that note so… eh. Well, all’s well that ends well.

That’s it for the mini-review. Next post I’ll summarize the results of my Kakeru and Shun routes and then move on to another game.

6 thoughts on “Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen – Kariya-sempai GET!

  1. K says:

    Sounds to me like the game has the problem of being stuck between a dating sim and visual novel, mentality-wise. There is none of the stat raising of a proper dating sim and the MC is more defined than one usually is in those, but on the other hand, it doesn’t have the stronger narrative that tends to go along with the more defined MC of a visual novel, being mostly about stalking the trophy of your choice into submission.

    • Kina says:

      Yes, it feels like they combined elements from Tokimeki Memorial and Storm Lover but stripped out the gameplay. It works really well, TBH, at least until the dating starts. They have a good cast and I’ve really enjoyed talking to everyone. Even the slimy teacher isn’t so bad once you get to know him. It’s just the dating… so cheesy… can’t stand it…

  2. ogopogo says:

    Any plan on giving Operation Abyss & Operation Babel a try? Babel just came out on steam a few days ago. They pretty much the standard Team Muramasa experience with a more sci-fi twist to it instead of the usual fantasy stuff. The UI’s pretty horrible if you don’t use a controller though.

    • Kina says:

      H-How did you know I was planning to start Operation Abyss tomorrow? o___o

      I don’t have a controller but I’m too curious to stop myself. I have to play it just a little bit.

      • ogopogo says:

        Haha, I just got it myself when Babel came out on the 17th and since you’re pretty much one of the only other big Experience fan I know so I thought I’d ask to see if you know about it.

        I’m about half way in and so far I’ve enjoyed how familiar it is, but in a lot of ways it’s really a lot more simple than Stranger of Sword City or even Entaku no Seito due to this being a remake of their much earlier title. For example, even though the class system’s largely the same, there’s no multi-classing until you get to Operation Babel. Also, they pretty much didn’t change anything from the vita version in terms of control scheme so the UI is horribly clunky compared to their later games. For example, it takes like 6 clicks just to heal outside of combat. I’m pretty much used to horrible UI already so I don’t mind it that much, but it’s certainly something a lot of people bring up when they talk about this port.

        • Kina says:

          I don’t mind if it’s a bit clicky (emphasis on ‘a bit’) as long as it’s otherwise fun to play. I want biiiig dungeons with lots and lots of treasure to find and enemies to kill. Less customization is actually a plus for me, not a minus, so no holding back there. I’ll let you know how it’s going once I’ve played through the first dungeon.

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