Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gakuen Club ~Houkago no Himitsu~ - Review

Game: [Gakuen Club]
Genre: Otome Game Visual Novel.
Developer/Publisher: Operahouse/Dogenzaka Lab.
Platform: Mobile, PC, PS Vita.
Release date: 2017-2-19 (English)

No one cares about this... but whatever since there is no otome game that's on my list to import
till june I decided to pick up Opera house's other otomege in english and well I mostly
expected another so-so experience since it used to be a mobage afterall and I wasn't far off.
This was originally called Campus Nightlife but they changed the title back to the original and I agree
its much better but if they wanted a proper english title Academy Club would've been enough.

- Characters, do it for them as most stories are worth it.
- Art, Melo's art is as beautiful as always.

- Overall plot is bland but it works I guess.
- Music's meh, definitely not a selling point.
- Copy Pasta.
- Not many choices and they don't matter much.

While I find Gakuen Club to be much better than Charming Empire because the characters
atleast exist outside of their own route and get properly introduced in the prologue
which overall made a much better introduction but other than that it wasn't much better.
 The heroine Akane Koizumi is a goody two shoes, she enrolls at a school after her father got a
promotion and somehow has to be that woman to stay in the kitched after finding out about the secret club.
Here it comes... all the guys are in this secret after school club to get to first place for their personal
wish granted, they need to be popular and cuz they so handsome all the girls squee at them.
If you were expected fun stuff like ouran highschool host club you'd be disappointed, there's
really not much comedy but I liked a scene in Renji's route were Wataru scolds him
 and the heroine, either way from the first route I did I figured all the guys have a dark secret
of why they're doing this, which you'll only find out in their own route and that is perfectly fine.
Either way I found myself slogging myself through the first route I did in this game(Sakai)
 to the point it took me 3 days when its really not that long maybe its because
I don't like school settings or maybe it was the annoying setting and screaming fangirls
but I am glad said fangirls are relatively tame in all of the routes.

Overall I think Charming Empire was still more enjoyable to me, Gakuen Club did some things
better as all characters actually exist outside of their own route but that's where it end.
Charming Empire had choices every chapter... Gakuen Club only had a few
and well they don't matter much story wise they only determine the end as it works
on some kind of point system, not getting enough will get you a normal end
but it not hard to get them right, so its a comfy system nothing rage worthy.
It took me two routes before I found one I could fully enjoy... maybe its
good that I got the bad ones out of the way without realizing, lol.

 I only recommend Gakuen Club if you're dying for another otome game with a decent translation.
Granted I saw a few errors but I didn't find any issues and compared to the dumpster fire
that was taiali's so called localization atleast Charming Empire and Gakuen Club are definitely
more worth your money!(on a sale) also you really shouldn't think about buying taiali in english
not even as a joke, the whole thing was a scam from the start so many warning flags
yet that company took advantage of the one chance we gave them.
Either way the route I liked the most here was Saku's. it was also imo the most well rounded.

Play order doesn't matter go with whoever you like
I literally chose the less well rounded routes first.😅
If I had to recommend anything the order I used is fine and please
do Yuuya's route BEFORE Asahi or else the truth will blow up in your face.

 My playorder: Sakai >Renji > Saku > Wataru > Yuuya > Asahi.

Sakai Touma.
CV: Ono Kenshou.
 I didn't know who to choose so I picked Sakai... he's a kuudere or atleast I think he is but its a bad
route to do first... do Renji instead and Sakai after that since their route are  partially shared.
Sakai seems to be the type of guy that is so done with typical girls and wants to be alone
but he doesn't want to be mr mean boy so sometimes his good side shows.
Sakai is really cute but tries to avoid the annoying fangirls, I understand this completely and well
he used to be a model for some entertainment business, during childhood Sakai had to pretend to be
a girl for his mom's sake, eventually he sorta said fuck this and quit lmao, sadly the real reason
of why he doesn't eat properly is because he's recovering from anorexia because of the stress
he got when he realized he's not female and started to look like a man, his mom is also a bitch
who decides everything and poor Saku has trouble deciding things on his own because of it.
Either way I could feel that they slowly got closer and the way the relationship developed
was cute but thats it you know? Sakai's personal issues are to cry about...
i'm not biased but he needs serious help and he got it from Akane.
The overall interactions they had felt forced and the general writing except his past was bland
so meh, I know one thing for sure and that is that I enjoyed my first route in Charming Empire
a lot more than in this game, Sakai is really likeable but I don't know about the rest...
While they knew how they felt about each other a little before the ending, the last chapter
felt rushed, they literally got together and just said we'll surely overcome anything cue credit roll.
The route was selfcontained... but I do not think I can see him as a romantic interes and
sadly the scene below ruined what was left of the route and there wasn't much.
Not much of a choice here right? well jokes on you but there weren't many choices either!
 Romance ★☆☆☆☆ (Looking at the above uh... OK.)
Plot ★★☆☆☆(I liked finding out everything about Sakai but... that's it.)
Enjoyment overall ★☆☆☆☆ (Sakai's cute but ahaha no...)

Kamiki Renji.
CV: Umehara Yuuichirou.
 I decided to do Renji next because I wasn't interested so I had hoped he'd surprise me.
sadly the story was much of the same, lots of copy pasta the only new bits
were related to his character and the relationship developed better than Sakai even if the end
was abrupt, atleast Renji wasn't moping around and stuff and being rude,if I had to describe Renji
 it would be the flirty outgoing type quite the opposite of Sakai.
Story wise it makes sense why he's always no,1 in the rankings since he really tries hard
and in the process the ladies love him since he's so nice to them but of course
there's a reason for everything it all starts after Akane over hears a conversation
 which happend in Sakai's route too... ah scenario copy pasta.
I went through it at faster pace and well Renji loves playing the Piano but it seems he lost his mojo
or atleast he thinks that way and it turns into Magic Kyun since there's no feeling behind
the beautiful music he performs, lol what am I even comparing this too?
The part where they ate ice cream was cute & overall it was more enjoyable than Sakai's route
but Renji is not without his own set of issues like he's actually not as nice as he seems it just an act
and doesn't want to be that nice to everyone but for the sake of pursuing the truth he will try.
He's actually quite the siscon who hates the concept of marriage, he hates his sisters husband for
her death and blames himself for being so naive and not doing enough to prevent it cuz his sister was
everything he had and Renji basically plays the piano for her sake to play the songs she loved.
The whole secret romance thing worked out better than in Sakai's route so I just
think I picked a bad first route, Renji's route was so good in comparison and well I enjoyed
myself a lot more! even if Renji is in fact a grumpy dude who can snap easily.
Anyway it all flew by due to copy pasta but the individual plot here was better atleast
and Renji was pretty likeable, I won't spoil  the truth behind it  or anything.
OverallI guess it was decent but the romance and happy end itself was just rushed and
at the end I just went oh come on is that it? are you seriously ending it there?
It literally was like oh you like me? sure ok after all support I do too, credit roll.
The normal end was the same except that his dead sister will always be no,1. 😢
Accurate, I lost count how many times she caused him trouble. ~_~
 Romance ★★☆☆☆ (Its there but its extremely rushed in the end.)
Plot ★★★☆☆ (Its OK I don't dislike the general writing...)
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆ (Enjoyed it more than the last route.)

Takizawa Saku.
CV: Toriumi Kousuke.
 I decided to the the megane next because I figured it would be a hit or miss and well
in the beginning it felt I was going fo Asahi... because Saku was minding his own business. 😂
Saku's route was a little more interesting but most of the general storyline was still the same
but once again it was surprisingly self contained? because it really was about him
sure the others are like that too but its the most obvious here I guess.
Anyway Saku is mr serious business he likes books and is often alone at the library, he's
hard to approach and to me Saku seems to be the most unpopular and normal one, so why is
he even in the night club? what is his goal? Turns out his lack of expression on his face is normal
 and he was born with it and he dislikes his family name because they're famous actors.
I figured Saku just doesn't want to deal with most of their crap but its cuz they're never home
and he's always alone, he only has books and likes listening to other peoples stories.
You know he could become a good counselor... but his dreams lie in writing stories.
Turns out being hard to approach makes Saku all the more desirable and a mystery to everyone.
I actually liked this route ALOT, the pacing was good and I was interested to figure out more about Saku.
The last bit is true for all routes but I liked this one the most so far, the scenes with Wataru were fun too.
I found Saku's story to be the saddest and his character is easy to like and it became
obvious they liked each other around halfway through which was cute to watch
and they actually seemed like to get together too so to me it was super enjoyable all the way.
Of course typical problems occured but it wasn't bad and well I just wanted Saku to get out
of this mess he's in just like with Sakai but much worse because its disturbing to be used like that
but I guess Saku could partially be seen as a yandere but its more like the innocent clingy type
since Saku never really had anyone, he just wants to be loved unconditionally.
After the last two routes I'm glad there was an overall good route with a decent dose
of romance and plot, I don't want to spoil the core story so I'll end it here.
Romance ★★★★☆ (Good, all the way to the end.)
Plot ★★★★★ (Finally, I thought it wasn't possible but it was well written.)
Enjoyment overall ★★★★★ (Perfect, good plot, romance and a great conclusion.)

 Kagurazaka Wataru.
CV: Yonaga Tsubasa.
 Wingu voicing a character that is not a trap? impossible!
Other than that Wataru is a cute, quite typical and a classic tsundere
really though if Wataru's around you won't have a dull moment.
Wataru is a shorty, richboy tsundere who doesn't know how to ride a bicycle properly.😂
See? Wataru is a fun character all around, he's actually nice but can get a little bratty as seen in Saku's route.
 Also I loved how he described the other guys because it was SO accurate.
His route dealt with family issues again and he wants his real family back and he tries
to hide his problems by being cheerful, Wataru also is the only one so far who brought
up the which guy in the club are you interested in? and wants to be a be no,1 in a special way
but as I reached chapter 7 I figured he just wants to be liked and loved by everyone
and Wataru gets jealous when Renji hit on Akane(he was trying to cheer her up).
Maybe I thought wrong... and Wataru just wants Akane to notice him.
Apparently some relatives took Wataru in one day cuz money problems but he hates
their asses and wants his real family back, it really angers him since its just not the same.
Other than that Wataru is just such a cutie-pie and the route was enjoyable because the reasons
 of his original goal changed and he had to go along with his parents wishes
sadly that fiance Nagi was annoying, forced marriage is never fun but as soon as she
went and treat Akane like an insect because she wants Wataru all for herself
without knowing what it is he truly wants and act like Akane is in the way my enjoyment lowered
I guess in some routes there has to be these walls to overcome but this was a terrible and cheap plot device.
It all started out great and then went downhill but somehow I managed to enjoy it because I just had
to know the truth behind it,I just knew Wataru wanted none of the marriage crap and it was great
to see that he had enough of being pushed around and that he wants to make choices too.
I felt the route was shorter maybe because I skipped half of the shopping trip...
or maybe there really was less text than in Saku's route oh well whatever.
I was sad when it was nearing the end because Wataru is so adorable and it was obvious
 he like Akane but... it was like Renji's route so the end was a little rushed
and sorta unbelievable how they just ended it like that just when they got together for real, sigh
 it was really cliche too so yeah after the last route I was naturally let down.
Overall Wataru's route was average but atleast he was so likeable which made everything better.
Romance ★★★☆☆(Passable)
Plot ★★☆☆☆ (It was pretty weak.)
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆ (Wataru a cute)

 Yamaoka Yuuya.
CV: Mark Ishii.
I never heard of his seiyuu before but a first time for everything I guess.
Sadly Yuuya doesn't have much presence in the other routes and well
I agree with Wataru that he seems like he's hiding something and from the other
 routes he seems very calculated, like someone who you could rely on?
Still he has some sort of inferiority complex and he's just sorta there compared to the others
and has this creepy/mysterious air about him so I decided to do Yuuya before Asahi.
Yuuya has this precious smile of an angel but he's surprisingly bossy? in the good way
but at first he didn't seem that special other than being good with his hands
and knowing about stuff other people don't think about, at one point
Yuuya started asking Akane about the deep stuff like what's your purpose in life...
Oh also apparently he has a special drivers license given to him by the school... huehue.
Sadly it becomes obvious early on that somehow Yuuya shares similairity in laughing with
Asahi, the latter is just confused while Yuuya gets grim and says how he's more composed.
Yuuya tells Akane not to bring stuff like that up, oh is Yuuya the type to easily be outshined
and get frustrated over little things? well he sure takes the host part seriously plus
he's sorta jealous of Asahi because he's so bright, sadly I found the way they described
the parts really gay and I didn't like the oh i'm just partly kidding attitude either.
Yuuya just wants to be acknowledged really, I found myself to be able to care about him a lot
and he's a genuinely good guy who's a bit frustrated about the past but I was saddened
by the lack of Akane's presence in the CG's it was mostly closeups, of course it was obvious
the two were getting closer and it was cute to see both the heroine and Yuuya get jealous I guess
and Yuuya keeps asking Akane deep questions like what if she would lose everything. :(
Yuuya is supposed to have a show off with Asahi head on so I figured its related to that.
Either way I like Yuuya's character and the story wasn't bad either, his past was interesting
and its perhaps the second best route in this game, atleast the romance felt right in the end.
Yuuya's a nice guy with a lot of issues but the route much like Sakai's took me more than
3 days to finish because part of it just wasn't fun and well the ending
itself was rushed yet again, its sad that thusfar only Saku's route felt complete to me.
After all the close ups before this I as well was surprised at this CG... and I am glad the two of them are in it.
Romance ★★★☆☆(Its there...)
Plot ★★★☆☆(Perhaps the best part... but at the end it wasn't so great)
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆

 Minakawa Asahi.

As I learned from Saku, Asahi is apparently the king of the school and son of the headmaster
but to me he seems like the typical easy going and friendly classmate thats super popular.
The start of the route was riddled with cliche moments like Akane almost fainting
for almost no real reason and Asahi catching her, wew see above^.
BTW sleep deprived my ass, wtf was Akane even doing last night?
 we may never know, ah convenient writing and I like how this is the only route
that brings up the fact cuz they work at the club that they don't sleep enough
to the point Asahi goes easy on Akane and almost let's her take a break.
The fangirls were extra annoying since Asahi's the handsome son
of the headmaster but thankfully they never did anything at all.
I feel that Asahi is like one of those genuinely nice guys who come up to you and won't leave you
alone, they try to help you even if you're like back off at times you're too close but atleast
Asahi turned out to be pretty cute over time and I am glad I didn't think of him as creepy.
sadly his goal was obvious he has to compete to show he's serious to succeed his father but
most of Yuuya's troubles do not exist at all which was pretty sad but it is Asahi's route
and in the end Asahi/Yuuya route felt like another side of the same coin, take that as you will.
Doing Asahi route last is a good thing, if you don't you'll just be confused by Yuuya.
Yuuya's route to me was arguably more interesting all the way through also lol Yuuya
driving them to the mall? doesn't happen, oh well less copy pasta is good.
I guess I could say Asahi's route was OK in general much better than Sakai atleast but
 by now the cliches really got to me atleast KENN's acting was pretty good.
Character wise Asahi is the guy who has everything handed to him on a silver platter but tries
so hard to be perfect to be acknowledged by his dad but atleast Akane shows him he can be himself.
I felt bad for Asahi because his parents are shit and just shove issues on him
and well I like Asahi more than Yuuya, nothing personal but Asahi's a cute, sadly Asahi's route
flew by and b4 I knew it I was done which was sad, because I enjoyed the later parts a lot.
The plot wasn't anything special and well I am sure it will work out in the future to the point
I do not need to buy the vita port for the extra scenes, i'm sorry Asahi but my wallet says no.
Also one more thing Yuuya was an ASSHOLE in the normal ending, oh my god
I am glad I did Yuuya before Asahi to save whatever likability in him. -_-
Really that was a massive NTR, I like Yuuya but that was the worst he could do man.
Romance ★★★☆☆ (I'd be lying if I said there wasn't any.)
Plot ★★★☆☆(OK I guess...)
Enjoyment overall ★★★★☆(Asahi a cute...)

Fav route:
Saku > Yuuya / Asahi > Wataru > Renji > Sakai.
 Its a hit or miss but Saku's route was the best in my opinion
 I also think he's the best match for Akane(Bias? what is it?!) but it is sad
Saku is the only route that felt well rounded with a satisfying ending.

Fav character:
 Saku > Wataru / Asahi > Yuuya > Renji > Sakai.
I really like Wataru and Saku too bad in other routes Saku much like the other boys are just
there which is fine because atleast they do exist unlike half the cast at Charming Empire...

Final Thoughts
Ah after putting it on and off I am finally DONE! I don't know if it just me but this
was such a simple otome game to the point I'd only recommend it only to beginners
like the art and seiyuu are nice but everything else? so-so to the point I had to force myself
through the last two route cuz overall it wasn't that interesting. It nice
for those who want something simple but I found the setting to be a little childish
like they serve non alcoholic drinks and treats to adult guests, don't adults
have better places to go too? the writing is so convenient its funny.
I enjoyed it for what its worth so that's a good thing and it really wasn't that awful but still its a
waste of pretty art and seiyuu for such a meager scenario, some routes had dissatisfying endings
and in the end all I can say to that is I am too old for this! its great if you have an open mind
but I can't say Operahouses titles are very well rounded but then again they were mobage...
For some routes the story and the way you interact with the characters just feel off... if its supposed
to be secret romance then why in most routes am I not feeling it? the spark or exitement just wasn't
there atleast for me, the first route I did was awful and the second was a little better but in the end
it really didn't feel like we are doing something secret/forbidden just normal highschool stuff.
The 3rd route I did however was fantastic... so I think its due to the sheer amount of guys
this is only natural that some routes leave to be desired and that some are just weak in general.
Second+ playthroughs are even worse the scenario is a copy pasta mess like Akane
will always over hear a conversation, find the guy alone at night... or go shopping.
I sped through chapter in which they went shopping after I found out its shared with another like
Sakai/Renji or Saku/Wataru the part with the lost child reuniting with her mother got so redundant.
Akane will always trip somewhere someplace it doesn't matter when but the dude will catch her.
The only thing different is the character story and the bit at the end so its only natural I went through
this pretty fast, I did Renji right after Sakai and I was done in around 2-3 hours at most.
Same thing happend when I did Saku which felt way longer than Wataru's route whom I did after.
With the exception of two routes there were no kiss CG's either... and I am definitely not
going to blow 6000 yen on the vita port which may have some much needed
 after stories but the general writing for most routes makes it not worth it.
Bonus points for Saku but the characters weren't exactly memorable
and I'll soon forget most of them...

I do not recommend Gakuen Club unless you're dying for an otome and bored in general, sure
it can be enjoyable but if you're a veteran otome gamer give these games a pass or wait
till its on a sale and get it for even cheaper... I think I am done buying these type of'
 games, sure part of it is good but... I'd rather invest my time in more interesting stories
the endings are too open and abrupt there's definitely room for more but there just isn't.
This truly was mobage quality and its such a shame and shows even Operahouse is a hit or miss
I only really liked one route from start to finish and that was Saku's.

Characters ★★★☆☆(Its a hit or miss...)
Art  ★★★★★
Scenario/plot. ★★★☆☆(Okay, the characters individual plot is the only good thing.)
Music★★☆☆☆ (Nothing special.)
System  ★★★★☆(Comfy...)
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆(Its okay if you like your otome games simple.)

Ain't got nothing more to say...  I am not surprised that this was yet another
unmemorable title but personally I'd sooner recommend Charming Empire over this.

1 comment:

  1. AWW I LIKE SAKU TOO! good thing tovknow i'm not the only one who think that he is the best, both route and character wise. I found myself almost crying on his route cause idk his story was soo believable and the drama is in the good portion~