Piofiore Episodio 1926 Review – Welcome Back to Burlone!

    Title: Piofiore: Episodio 1926
    Developer: Idea Factory, Design Factory
    Release Date: September 22, 2022
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Aksys Games
    Genre: Otome

After what felt like years of being confined to Japan, with constant teasing for a Western release, Piofiore Episodio 1926 is finally here in the west. This fandisc to Piofiore 1925 is a visual novel highly praised for its intricate story featuring a triad of criminal organizations and some heart-throbbing moments.

In Piofiore Episodio 1926, our story returns to the port city of Burlone. In this town, the three mafia families, the Lao Shu, the Visconti, and the Falzone, declare a temporary truce to deal with a looming force that threatens to completely shift the balance of power after the robbery of a special relic. Unlike a typical fandisc, which generally tends to feature “what-if” scenario stories, this one doesn’t do that. Instead, I would argue that this story is a full-blown sequel, not just a simple alternative story—more on that in a bit.

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The story this time is divided into three types of chapters. The first is Chapter Burlone, which is divided into six routes, each being continuations of the love interests’ best endings from 1925. These stories have a different approach to the information you know because it manages to establish a sense of continuity, and further enhances the worldbuilding from the previous title. The chapters also add a brand-new Aria system, letting you re-watch certain cutscenes from 1925 but from the love interest’s point of view. This, in addition to the Meanwhile Story system also makes its return from 1925, which raises the stakes during particularly tense scenes.

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So you’re probably wondering about the translation. Piofiore 1925 had its…fair share of grammatical and punctuation mistakes; I won’t deny that. After playing through most of the routes in Episodio 1926, I noticed some typos, but they weren’t as prevalent compared to 1925. And while I did run into some font issues during some route-specific endings, the localization team definitely learned from their mistakes. So if you were cautious because of that, then I’m the person to tell you that it’s not as bad as you might’ve thought.

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In the interest of not spoiling the routes’ contents, I’ll keep my thoughts very brief: Some of the routes had me jaw-droppingly shocked. In North America, the game is rated Mature, and yeah, given how crazy the routes can get, I can see why. Unfortunately, even though the Aria system and the highlighted dictionary entries will give you some refreshers, I can’t recommend playing 1926 before playing its predecessor. Even if you aren’t bothered by spoilers from 1925, such as if a certain character is alive or not, they are all thrown around with the assumption that you are familiar with those events, making your experience that much more meaningful if you’ve played it.

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But let’s not dawdle any further, and talk about the main course known as the Alternativa chapter. Initially, it presents itself as an advent calendar, divided into eight different months just after the finale ending. Once you’ve completed each of the nodes of the calendar, you’ll then start the true Chapter. Further, one additional scenario opens up for a familiar character you may remember from 1925 once you’ve completed it…but I won’t spoil any details, for obvious reasons.

Piofiore: Episodio 1926 is much more than just a simple fandisc, packing a profound story that can be treated as a full-blown sequel. It successfully establishes a sense of continuity from the ending of its predecessor. Still, this means it’s hard or even impossible to enjoy without playing 1925. Regardless, I hold it in high regard and would recommend it if you’re in the mood for a story that manages to be heavy but also lovely in equal proportion.

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

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