Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death Review – These Are Their Stories

    Title: Bloody Chronicles - New Cycle of Death
    Developer: Igrasil Studio
    Release Date: April 15, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Igrasil Studio
    Genre: Adventure

I seem to be drawn to detective and mystery visual novels just because I enjoy multiple twists in my adventure. However, I can understand how some titles force the story too much and fail to present a mystery that the reader actually cares about. Luckily for Igrasil Studio, Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death sets a nice foundation for a trilogy of mystery titles that I can easily say I’m now a fan of. While the game has all the right fixings for a detective adventure there are still some areas that could potentially hurt the game’s immersion.

Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death opens with a tragedy as a young Koyama Kazuki loses his parents in an event that was deemed an accident. Unsatisfied with the ruling, Kazuki spends his life dedicated to detective work while trying to find the truth to his parent’s death. This leads him to join a group known as Igrasil, a company formed by rich people with a group of gifted individuals who lend their talents to cold cases and do what they can to assist the authorities.

As the main protagonist, Kazuki is made out to be cold and unemotional. Several times in the story characters will refer to him as being mean. This put me off a little because when prompted to give a response to characters, I felt more drawn to the cold answers then the positive ones as I attempted to play the role of the type of character that Kazuki is. Thankfully, the game’s dialog handles any deviations from his personality with the supporting cast such as them making a comment that his actions are very unlike him. I enjoyed the power I had over Kazuki throughout the game, he’s a capable protagonist who enjoys sleeping in. More interestingly, he has a fuzzy past that emerges from time to time through the four chapters that make you question if he’s hiding anything.

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The supporting cast is formed of great characters except for Akito Ishikawa who I never liked. His jokes and ways of carrying himself become annoying throughout the game. Given that this is a pretty lengthy visual novel, having to spend time listening to one of Akito’s stupid jokes when there a case to solve just felt like a waste of time. Getting back to the other characters for a moment, each of the female cast members of Igrasil was overall well written and brought a nice balance to the story. Each character had a unique personality, but it didn’t fall into the typical anime trope that you’d expect given their overly defined illustrations.

However, the supporting cast doesn’t stop there. Throughout the game, many new characters will pop in and share crucial information to the case that the group is trying to solve. The game features moments of interrogation and pretty graphic murder scenes while the cast finds themselves journeying deeper down the rabbit hole. With that said, the game’s writing leaves little to the imagination and it often feels like you are being spoon-fed clues without doing much to acquire them. More interestingly, the game’s choices do have a nice weight to them and offer completely different routes to the game which made the consequences of some choices a little heavy.

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Throughout the game, players will be able to spend quality time with the female characters and possibly romance them. These scenes are not explicit and are pretty romantic overall. The reasons they work is that the player can opt out of them or not encounter them entirely which made getting them a little more special. I felt this was a great way to handle romance in a murder mystery game given that it doesn’t really need to be there. However, it’s difficult to not fall for at least one of the female Igrasil members so, in the end, I was glad that these routes were available.

Furthermore, the game is voiced with English audio, which surprised me at first. Given that this is a very lengthy game, I was impressed with the level of audio design and the delivery of some of the more emotional lines. However, characters often spoke over the phone and I felt that a nice telephone filter for their audio would have helped with the immersion of these scenes. Similarly, there is a lack of affect audio such as running, opening a door, or breaking something which made it feel like something was missing.

Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death has some great character illustrations and a handful of CG scenes. There are also side stories that are found within the game that offer more insight into the characters and what they’re talking about. Overall, I enjoyed the simple approach to UI and appreciate the explanation of key terms during dialog.

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While I was left at the edge of my seat for the last few chapters of Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death this all came at the price of a slow build up. It’s good to keep in mind that this is the first entry of a trilogy and much of this entry’s first two chapters are spent establishing characters and their personalities. The conclusion of the game doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but the cliffhanger ending has me eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Bloody Chronicles: New Cycle of Death is an amazing visual novel from such a small team. The game shows the developer’s passion to deliver a strong narrative and characters that players will care about, minus Akito. However, I think they need to have more trust in the reader and not overly explain too much as well as cut down on the chattiness of some of the cast. Leading up to the ending, the developer clearly proves they know how to tell a story when they are focused on a destination and I can’t wait to see more of this in the following chapters.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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