Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles Review – The Boys of Winter

    Title: Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~
    Developer: Idea Factory
    Release Date: February 14, 2019
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Aksys Games
    Genre: Otome

The otome visual novel genre definitely knows its audience. One series that really seems to understand what readers want is the Idea Factory developed Code: Realize series. Now, the naming scheme of the series can be pretty confusing with these games so here’s a quick breakdown: Guardian of Rebirth is the first game, followed by the first fan disc Future Blessings. Then you have ~Bouquet of Rainbows~, which was released for the PlayStation 4 and contains both games. Since we’re all caught up, Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles is their third title and the second fan disc in the series.

Jumping into this new adventure, I was excited to see how this world and the characters evolved over the course of the series. Balancing romance with an actual plot is something I enjoy looking for in these titles. Thankfully, Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles has nice moments of both, but it’s definitely geared towards a focus on romanticizing some hunks.

The series ultimately follows the adventures of Cardia, a poisonous young woman who melts whatever she touches. In the previous titles, she tries to find out more about her father in an alternate history steampunk Victoria London where she meets five unusual men who help her uncover more about the mysterious gem in her chest, which is the source of the poison. The first game is well rounded and sets the stage the sequels.

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Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles is a continuation of the original story featuring the return of the five datable guys from the first game as well as a couple of new routes. Additionally, there’s also the option to form a love triangle with two guys, which was probably my least favorite option because I don’t need that drama in my life. Herlock Sholmes is back with a route continuing off from Future Blessings. Even Finis also returns and receives an extra side route. Players can also play as Cantarella, a promising songstress with a deadbeat father figure and a man out to kidnap her. Best of all Cardia’s faithful corgi companion Sisi makes an appearance.

Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles definitely feels like an extension of the first game. However, that makes playing the first two titles crucial to truly understand what’s going on and who these characters are. Coincidently, if you have trouble keeping up with the storylines, the developer has added recaps in every route. I’d also like to point out that the main five routes all center on a romantic Christmas themed date, and the holiday spirit was definitely in the air.

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I find that a lot of female-centric visual novels seem to star women who have the personality of a wet noodle, but Cardia and Cantarella really stand out to me. Cardia stands up for what she believes in and is very resourceful and Cantarella, while she can be a bit meek, has a lot of snark to her. With that said, her storyline can often feel a little bit tacked on at times.

If going into Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles for an in-depth plot, I’d look elsewhere. The stories are all mostly centered around the short and sweet holiday-themed dates. If you weren’t satisfied with the amount of romance in the endings of the first two games, then this game definitely provides more of a traditionally happy ending. The choices offered in the game are incredibly straight forward and easy to the point that it almost feels unnecessary and makes the game out to be more kinetic. However, the story maintains a very light-hearted attitude which can be really endearing at times. With that said, someone should probably call Chester Cheeto because it gets dangerously cheesy.

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I started my adventure through this winter wonderland with best boy, Victor and his story immediately had me hooked with the fake relationship trope of “Let’s pretend we’re dating, but secretly we’re both pinning for each other”. The story didn’t have a crazy emotional plot like in the first visual novel, but Cardia stayed true to her character. There are about 5 to 7 CGs to see per route and they are all incredibly cute. I enjoy seeing Cardia and Finis develop their sibling relationship while sports her amazing winter outfits and the London backgrounds are now covered in snow. This felt like a nice route to take because Finis and Cardia feel like they’re developing a relationship as siblings which is endearing since they have been through so much.

Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles isn’t without its faults, one thing I found annoying was how much the game changed the first person perspectives around. It took me a moment to figure out who was talking because the perspective would switch several times in a single route. With that said, I usually enjoy the struggle that it takes in visual novels to get all the CGs, but this game rolls them out pretty easily.

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Overall, I enjoyed Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles and would recommend it more for those otome fans who found more enjoyment in the romance in the original previous entries of the series, rather than people who enjoyed it for the story alone. I enjoyed the pacing and romantic setting of the story since I felt Guardian of Rebirth made the romance feel a bit rushed.

As a continuation of these characters that I’ve already spent so many hours with, Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles is a great entry in the series. The Christmas theme sets up the perfect backdrop for some of the most romantic scenes that I’ve come across in a visual novel. Aksys Games did an amazing job at bringing this game west and letting me spend just a little more time with these characters, more specifically Victor. Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles is a game for fans of the series and, in that regard, it delivers a great story, but it might leave newcomers out in the snow.


The review was written by Jesse Wallis

Score:
/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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