Being that Dies irae is a popular franchise that I have found myself invested in, I was excited when I heard that the spin-off would also be headed west. However, I will admit that when I started playing Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~, I was a little surprised since it was centered around a love story involving Wilhelm Ehrenburg.
Now, I’m sure you all are wondering what is so surprising about a simple love story, but those who already played the base game Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~, might know what I am referring to. Wilhelm is no ordinary man and it made it very hard for me to imagine him being lovey-dovey with a girl. Still, this game definitely didn’t let me down and delivered a very touching and sweet love story. I’d also like to mention that this game does count as a side story from Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~, but I found that this is a complete game on its own and could be playable without having to play the main game before.
As the name suggests, Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~ introduces Wilhelm Ehrenburg how happens to get interviewed while he was in a talkative mood, which is the reason why he went along with it. During the interview, he starts to talk about his past and where his story began, which ended up being twisted from the very beginning. It just so happens that one day he met a girl, named Claudia, who had a huge impact on him. Throughout the story, Wilhelm recounts their relationship from the first time he met her.
As I implied before, I couldn’t believe this was a love story at first. For those who might not be aware, Wilhelm Ehrenburg is such a cruel man who has never cared about anyone at all. Both Wilhelm and Claudia couldn’t be more different, while Wilhelm is cold and dark, Claudia is cheerful and bright. I really liked who the game was able to mix an element of the slice-of-life genre with a serious story.
Throughout the story, there are plenty of fluffy and light-hearted scenes and even if I couldn’t imagine Wilhelm falling in love, in the beginning, I was proven wrong early on. From the beginning until the end, the character development was fantastic and I easily started to fall in love with this couple myself. They were both so cute and the chemistry between the two of them was believable. The pacing of Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~ is quite slow when it comes to the two characters developing their romance, but that’s definitely understandable as love needs time to grow. Ultimately, it just helped with the overall immersion.
When looking at the underlining message in the visual novel, I adored that this game shows the reader that not all villains are bad per se. Wilhelm would be the kind of guy you would, without a doubt, point your finger at when it comes to determining a villain. But in the end, he is still just a human and while nothing justifies his crimes, you I could still sympathize with him as a normal guy who is capable of developing feelings for a woman. Sure, he is a bad guy, but his feelings for Claudia are genuine.
Given that Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~ is a Kinetic Novel, there are no choices available in the game and the players won’t have an impact of the story. I think this was a good way to tell this story given it is focused on the past, therefore the story has already happened and it makes sense that you’re not able to change the outcome.
A feature that I appreciated in Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~ is how the head of the characters would show up while they were talking instead of their names in the text bar. This way, I could visibly see who is talking and my immersion didn’t get interrupted to look up at who was talking at any given moment. However, this can get confusing as they always used the same sprite and it doesn’t change regardless if the character was upset or sad.
I also have to praise the animations done in this game since there are a handful of short videos encountered while playing Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~. These animations were implanted so naturally into the game that I didn’t even notice them until I looked up the “Extra” section and saw a video selection available.
While playing Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~, it’s easy to notice that it’s a high-quality Visual Novel. Every character, including Wilhelm, has superb voice over and each audio track was lovely. Interestingly, the game had realistic sound effects as well such as thunder or rain sounds which helped with the immersion quite a bit.
Additionally, the language switched to German from time to time which made it more authentic given this game takes place in Germany. As a German myself, I can say even the localization for the German audio was top notch, but it’s noticeable that it was voiced by a Japanese actor. However, most of the words were pronounced very well. One gripe I would have was that I wished there were more romantic CGs between the two main characters, as the game seems to be a bit reserved on this. With that said, there are still plenty of lovely CGs available.
After completing the game I was surprised at how well a seemingly impossible love story can be told. The ending left a sour taste in my mouth, but only because I didn’t want the story between Wilhelm and Claudia to end. Details of their relationship will be entering spoiler territory, which I wouldn’t dare step into.
Taking place in the past, we all knew this story has an ending. Still, from the very first time Wilhelm met Claudia, I was immersed enough to want them to be happy together. Even though I was originally put off by my preconceived ideas of Wilhelm at first, I easily fell in love with him as he and Claudia’s relationship developed. The visual novel community definitely needs more games with a focus on a bittersweet love story with lovable characters and a touch of serious themes — such as in Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~, a game I’d recommend to all visual novel fans.
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