Title: Primal Hearts 2
Release Date: July 30, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
Primal Hearts 2 takes place a few years after the original game and stars a new cast of students attending Ainoshima Academy. Returning are the school’s traditions of the old Gekka vs. Tendo rivalry, but some elements are different from the previous romp.
It’s been a few years since Kazuma and his friends graduated, the council system has deeply degraded. Gone are the days of Gekka working for policies that respect tradition and Tendo for fresher ideas. Now they’re both just representatives of clubs, with Gekka working for the sports groups and Tendo being the head of cultural groups.
This arrangement means votes are only about those groups and never really about working for the sake of all students. Changing that situation is an important part of the common route, as the characters get to see how the distortions forced the school into a big rift that only detracts from the benefits of the voting system. Its theme of “restoring the councils to their former glory” makes it even more compelling to those who played the first entry.
Not to spoil too much, but the player will also help a specific heroine who has been suffering injustice for a long time. Her character arc is one of the most compelling in the story, and it even got me teary-eyed. Overall, the whole common route story is short, and it may feel like it tends to favor some characters, but they’re all charismatic people. In addition, the narrative allows players agency to side with Gekka or Tendo during dialogue.
The chemistry between all the characters is strong, and it’s fun to see how they all contribute to making the academy a better place. The protagonist, Daichi, is the young brother of Michi, one of the best characters from the first game. The girl rumored to have 31 boyfriends helped turn him into a sort of love machine. As such, he’s usually suave, even though he’s absurdly dense. Though this is cliche, I feel like the reasoning behind it is a nice touch.
Michi dotes on her little brother and is consistently all over him whenever she can. She cares about him profoundly and constantly tries to give him a push so that he doesn’t have a bad ending in his romantic life. Daichi is an otaku who loves the anime Magikal Mihonon, so he would likely tend to stick with 2D otherwise. His backstory has a variety of details players will discover more of during each route.
At a specific point, players can choose one of the five heroines to enjoy her route. There are two from Gekka, two from Tendo, and one other character. The latter’s importance to the voting system is different entirely though I won’t spoil it. Their routes begin with different versions of the school festival, and then things become a bit steamy later on.
Alicetia is the Gekka president and a second-year student despite her young appearance. She’s a kind girl, but she’s so shy it ends up backfiring on her. With her unusual appearance that seems to be of western descent and her deadly glare, everyone has the wrong impression of her.
Her only friend is Mashiro, the vice president. As Alicetia is too shy, Mashiro is the one who represents Gekka in official affairs. She’s a first-year student, but her stature as a noble and appearance makes her seem mature. She also takes care of the school flowerbeds.
On Tendo’s side, there’s president Usagi, who’s known for being an idol. However, she shows her true self during her first contact with the protagonist due to the circumstances and his baffling attitude. She’s a woman of many layers, always trying to keep her persona of an idol immaculate.
Tateha’s another Tendo representative and looks a little like Mihono. As was the case for Yuzuki, she’s easy to hang out with and works as a waitress at Rapunzel. Studying at Ainoshima was a dream of her as a kid, and she appreciates the school.
The odd one out is Anna, who’s not part of either council. She’s a student who loves chaos and wants something fun to happen at all times. The truth is she also has a secret role at school, which she often slips a few hints as to what that is.
Besides the main characters, I’d also like to point out the side characters are nice additions to the story. For example, Hidehiko is obsessed with muscles, Yattajima is a musician who is often laid-back, and Kirika is the leader of Usagi’s fan club, thinking about her 24/7. It’s fun to see their interactions with the other characters.
The story is mostly a fun, lighthearted romantic comedy with a little drama here and there. There are also references to the first game, with returning characters and some sense of legacy. Though it’s not required, I’d recommend playing it after Primal Hearts to enjoy it better and notice those parallels.
Primal Hearts 2 cuts to the chase with a shorter common route while not losing anything in character development. It’s a lighthearted narrative with charismatic heroines and side characters that is much more comedic than impactful. It’s a simple kind of fun, but it builds on the previous entry with a cast just as hysterical as before.
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