First Impression: YES! THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED!
Finally, with Guardian of the Rebirth reviews complete, I could start playing Future Blessings! And since I was so hungry for some Van romance, I didn’t really care so much about the order of play-through, I decided to start with him!
And what better way to kick off the game than being throwing me into the sea of feels when his route opens up with Van narrating about how much he loves Cardia. Oh my god, MY HEART! I FELT THAT. Then, when Van heard the news about Victor’s breakthrough, my heart just exploded when he ran into the room and kissed Cardia with such passion. I was so happy, I almost burst into tears. This was exactly what I wanted at the end of the main game.But I guess it would count as major spoilers of Victor’s own route if they were to do that.
SOBS It was so worth starting off Future Blessings with Van just for this moment!!!
The story this time round focused on Cardia and Van adjusting to the new norm. Van has become extremely soft and affectionate towards Cardia, but his desires of spoiling her, and putting her happiness above his own wasn’t having the effects he wanted. On top of that, as neither one of them are experienced with relationships, they found themselves struggling a bit about how to go about things.
For Van’s story, communication was a main source of the conflict. Cardia kept a lot of her concerns about how she was feeling to herself, all while failing to properly express herself. As for Van, after having let go of his revenge, he became an empty shell. He didn’t think about anything of his own happiness, and only cared about Cardia’s and how he could fulfill her ideals. Unfortunately Cardia sensed that, and she couldn’t truly enjoy the gifts and attention he was giving her, and eventually called him out on it. When she did, Van was hurt because the last thing he wanted to do was make her sad and lonely, and so while he tried to figure out what he did wrong, he ended up avoiding her.
The ones to help them resolve their problem were Lupin, Impey, Victor and Delly. Truth to be told, I didn’t really care too much about the conversation between Cardia and Victor. On the other hand, Impey, Lupin and Delly were absolutely fantastic. So it should come as no surprise my favourite scene of the game was when Delly was UNLEASHED. Oh my god, I couldn’t stop laughing, it was absolutely hysterical the way he scolded Van and called him out his glum behavior. It’s exactly what he needed, someone to point out the root of the problem.
I was also extremely pleased with how Impey also played an instrumental role by giving Van not just a much needed pep talk, but also getting his point across. In Guardian of the Rebirth, Impey was my least favourite character and my biggest criticism was how he was constantly written as a gag-roll that was disrespected by everyone. And by the time he finally got his chance to show his serious side, the game was basically over.
Better yet, I absolutely loved how Van’s and Lupin’s bromance was further cemented in this game, and developed a new friendship with Impey, who he previously regarded as an enemy; probably because of the canon fiasco, I don’t blame him!
And I must say, I really loved seeing Van’s softer and more affectionate side. I always knew he had it in him. It made my heart flutter with how he wasn’t shy to kiss, hold hands or cuddle with her in public. And damn, he almost gave me a heart-attack when he put Cardia on the spot, by asking the Bartender what he thought of her when she felt she was under-dressed at the restaurant they went to. I mean, it could have gone south, but Van was so confident the man would agree, he went for it, and damnit I’d be lying if I said I didn’t that bold side of him.
Some of my favourite interactions he had with Cardia was when he asked her to sit on his lap (GOD, I WISHED THERE WAS A CG FOR THIS, IT’S CRIMINAL THAT THEY DIDN’T MAKE ONE FOR THIS SCENE!), or when he kissed her heart (horologium). Although it was a bittersweet scene, I also thought it was absolutely mesmerizing. Cardia looked like a Goddess, and they way Van held her was just, AHHHH! It was so beautiful! It’s probably my favourite CG of their small collection.
Of the entire story, I would say the first and last scenes of the game were the highlights for me. Although the CGs were all beautiful, they were the ones that satisfied me the most, probably because there was no heartache involved. The rest of the scenes in between then, with the exception of their dinner date and their second kiss, gave me a heartache because it became more and more apparent that Van wasn’t thinking about his own happiness, and that made me sad because he deserves to be happy.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
It really didn’t take me very long to figure out Van wasn’t taking his own happiness in account. In fact, it doesn’t surprise me the slightest, if anything it makes a lot of sense. So I think this is actually quite a realistic conflict to follow up from the main game. He was constantly putting Cardia’s happiness above his own, and we can understand why, after-all, Cardia saved his life. She is his sunlight, his beloved, he doesn’t want to her hurt or lose her. But it was important for him to come to terms, for her to be truly happy, he needs to take his happiness in account too.
The story was cute, and the art was nice, but it still left more to be desired. But I guess that’s just how it is with Van, especially considering how he came into this with the least amount of romantic development of the pack, so this one was really all about making up for it. I am very curious to see what’s in store for Wintertide Miracles, so I’m looking forward to it— especially since everyone got a wardrobe change! Honestly, I had hoped to see them on a date similar to the first date they had in the first game, so I was a bit disappointed to see they didn’t revisit that or have either one of them wear the their stunning outfits. Maybe that could have made they proposal scene all the more sweeter?
Well now I am just being greedy.
It is also important to note that this is actually my first experience playing a Fan Disc. You would think after all these years, we would have at least a few, but no, this is actually the first, and I’m happy to finally experience it, especially since I knew nothing beyond of reviews I have read, most of them to my memory never mentioned the lack of options. So naturally I was quite surprised to see they weren’t any, and it was a complete read-through. But I didn’t mind it much, especially since I really enjoyed the story. However when I checked my timer, it only took me 2.5 hours to complete his route— and that’s including the time I have spent taking down notes. This leads me to believe, had I not taken any notes, I probably would have completed the route in anytime between an hour and half, or just under two hours. It’s a bit of a shame, considering if you are a fast reader, this game is going to be really short for you. If you are more on the slow side, well, that might be to your own benefit. Nevertheless, the lack of chapters did help make it harder for me to get a sense of how much time has passed, especially since I was completely focused on the game. It was only I checked my timer I knew.
On the more technical note: Aksys, why did you change the font, and why did you have to pick such a horrendous one of all things. It hurt my eyes to read everything in italic! It’s too much. I hope they go back to the old font for Wintertide Miracles. (Also, please invest in better quality control in the future! These things are important to us, the consumers!)
Read More Van Helsing Reviews
More Code:Realize ~Future Blessings~ Reviews
➛ Code:Realize ~Future Blessings~ Impey Barbicane Review
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Victor Frankenstein Review
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Saint-Germain Review
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Arsène Lupin Review
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Another Story: Lupin’s Gang
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Extra Story: Herlock Sholmes
➛ Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ Extra Story: Finis