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Dec 22 2008

Princess Waltz

princess-waltz

I haven’t posted on here for a week but I have a good reason sort of; Among other things I have been playing Peach Princess‘s newest translated visual novel Princess Waltz. If I had to summarize Princess Waltz in one sentence it would be a bishoujo version of Fate/stay night’s basic premise coupled with Nanoha-styled fight sequences played out using a card game. With such a strange combination of elements mashed up into one title I pretty much had no choice but to play it.

pw-brofist

The story follows Fukamori Arata, a regular boy living out a normal everyday life with his mother and sister and a cute childhood friend until one day a new student transfers in. This good-looking newcomer named Chris Northfield gives off a refined air and soon becomes popular among both female and male classmates. Arata literally bumps into Chris early on and after a short scuffle finds a ring that Chris dropped and puts it on.

Partly compelled by the ring, Arata finds Chris on the roof of the school with sword in hand fighting a wolf-like creature dubbed a “Guardener.” Chris is barely able to defeat the Guardener but in no time another stronger one appears preventing their escape from the “Garden.” Arata attempts to stop this Guardener but instead is brushed away with ease. Chris grabs Arata’s hand when something weird happens; the rings on their hands react and the two boys combine…into a beautiful women. As the Princess of the Sword, Iris, the two are easily able to defeat the Gaurdener. From this point forward, Arata finds himself entangled with Chris in the titular “Princess Waltz.”

pw-iris

It turns out that Chris is actually the Prince of Seven Central located in an alternative world called Eldhiland. A thousand years a ago a hero and six princesses stopped a war between their respective nations and formed what is now Eldhiland. When it is time for the ascension of a new emperor in Seven Central to rule over the rest of Eldhiland, six Princesses from the six other nations armed with combat armor called “Dresses” fight in a dangerously simple ceremony called the Princess Waltz. The Princesses fight each other one-on-one until there is only one left to claim the title of the Prince’s bride.

pw-angela

During fight sequences, you get the chance to participate via a simple card game that is representational of the battles played out by the Princesses and Guardeners. At the beginning the player draws five numbered cards from three types distinguished by the colors red, green and blue. Red beats blue, blue beats green and green beats red or as Citrus put it, it’s like the basic grass/fire/water relationship in Pokemon except in reverse. During the first phase you put down up to 4 cards and the player with the highest number count gets to act. In the second phase, you either attack or defend depending on the results of the first phase. It follows the same pattern as before except that if the attacker has a greater hand, then she inflicts damage on her opponent. If the defender has a number equal to or higher than the attacker than no damage is incurred. After this round, the players replenish their five cards and these two phases are repeated until someone runs out of HP.

Skipping some details this is how all card battles unfold. After each battle the player gets experience points used to increase stats or to purchase special effect cards that do things like doubling attack power for a turn or increasing hand size to six cards for a round. These special cards inject some complexity into combat but at its core the card game remains rather simple but not in a bad way. Princess Waltz in no way tries to make the card battles central to the game but rather uses it to make the player feel like they are actually participating in the battle and to break up the story sequences.

pw-shizuka

Princess Waltz sports fantastic visuals but the most impressive aspects are the special effects. The event and character images by themselves are well-done but Pulltop graciously went out of the way to also add image and sound effects to the static images whenever possible to add much needed energy and excitement to the story. The music also does a decent job to keep the mood in line with the story but it is not quite up to par with the visuals; much of the music will most likely not leave a long term impression after finishing the game though they do well enough while playing. The game is entirely voiced with the exception of Arata and all the characters for the most part sound like they should. Pigeon annoys me though while Lun Lun and Liesel are love.

pw-bath

There are of course H scenes but they are relatively sparse and a majority only occur at the very end of the story with each Princess getting one while Chris gets two. Though I am not against not safe for work content, I try to keep it to a minimum here if possible so I’ll skip talking about the H in much detail. All the visuals are uncensored and the scenes themselves are rather lengthy. Did I mention you get to take all the princesses’ chastity?

pw-intercourse

The actual story itself is solid though I won’t say it can compete with the likes of CLANNAD, Umineko or Ever17. As long as you don’t come in expecting something as grand as Fate/stay night, then it is an enjoyable read. The story is almost entirely linear with most player input coming from the card sequences and a few decision points at the very end of the game which is not necessarily bad. It lets players new to the genre acclimate themselves to the medium and makes unlocking all the Event CGs and scenes very quick and easy. However it is also partially responsible for the main reason I have to complain about the story. They way they were presented, I genuinely was interested in many of the Princesses especially Lun Lun, Liesel and Suzushiro (which I’ll outline in just a bit) but due to the lack of decision points and thus personal time with each Princess, there isn’t as much characterization as i would have liked. I know the plot focuses on Arata and Chris’s relationship but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

*Skip to the last paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers*

pw-liliana

Lun Lun was the first Princess to strike a chord with me. She has two distinct sides to her personality which I absolutely love. At one end she has a silly playful side who still holds the childish notion of one day marrying a prince with no particular reason why. Yet Lun Lun is also the oldest of the Princesses with the most combat experience giving her a sense of dependability. When she meets and begins interacting with Arata though, she starts to question her blind devotion to Chris. This dilemma climaxes during her battle with Angela and it is then when she realizes that she may be in love with Arata. Despite ultimately losing, she summons the strength to fight by thinking about Arata which I really enjoyed. Honestly Lun Lun end should be true end.

pw-suzushiro

Unlike Lun Lun, it took me some time to warm up to Suzushiro. At first she seemed rather plain and I didn’t feel strongly either way and at sometimes actually disliking her somewhat such as when she got too defensive. However my opinion radically shifted during her fight with Liesel. Despite being seriously injured by the giant Guardener, she immediately stood up to Liesel and protected the severely weakened Iris. Facing an impossibly difficult challenge from Liesel, she never gave up and continued to fight despite massive blood loss regardless of her relative lack of skill and her damaged leg. It was especially amazing when she used her gravity manipulation skill despite increasing the strain on her own body in order to crush Liesel with her explosive punch. My respect for her really grew after this as I began to understand her level of determination and devotion.

pw-liesel

What can I say, Liesel is just plain cool. With her ability to forge her own weapons on the fly from Alma, she demonstrated a versatility that no other Princess possessed. She was able to easily take down Iris and kept Suzushiro at bay for most of the battle. After her defeat I started liking her even more. I feel stupid for not realizing earlier that tall and awkward Riko was actually Liesel. I find girls like this cute for some reason so I really paid attention to her situation. She reveals that she isn’t really a princess at all but was only selected to participate in the Waltz due to a few chance incidents and the fact that the Dress she designed was too advanced for anyone else but herself to use. This along with her defeat by Suzushiro made her feel rather worthless about herself so I could really sympathize. I rooted her on as Arata helped her gain confidence in herself to become a true Princess. If Lun Lun were true end, then Liesel would be my preferred end.

*End spoilers*

As a whole Princess Waltz manages to be an enjoyable, solid if slightly simple visual novel. Peach Princess did a decent job translating this text-heavy game and I hope more plot-centric visual novels will get translated instead of just the smut games. You can purchase a copy at the official Peach Princess site or here at Play-Asia if you feel like helping me recover some of the money I just spent ordering my XBox 360.

Permanent link to this article: http://honya-ch.com/2008/12/22/princess-waltz/

19 comments

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  1. A Day Without Me

    Man, I’ve been thinking about getting this – I think maybe your review has pushed me toward actually getting it finally

  2. Zeroblade

    “Honestly Lun Lun end should be true end.”
    Damn straight. Lun Lun is cute and moe and love. She beats everyone in terms of likeability.
    I kind of hate it that you’re stuck with Chris no matter what. She’s like, one of my least favorite characters.
    Also, no writeup for Angela?

  3. Honya

    @A Day Without Me: Glad you found my post helpful and hope you enjoy Princess Waltz.

    @Zeroblade: Yay, Lun Lun fan!

    Anyways, I didn’t really have much to say about Angela so I skipped it. Even without it, this post is 1600+ words long.

  4. Zanaikin

    Wow, yeah definitely parallel FSN in terms of thinking and has an interesting design format. I need to get my hands on this…

    I’m surprised Peach Princess actually translated another long visual novel, not very common for the english translation companies to do that, especially since what happened to the last famous one that translated EVER17

    The one thing you have me utterly confused is exactly what gender Chris is XD

  5. Zeroblade

    Chris is a reverse trap. Boo. :<

    Zeroblade´s last blog post..Merry Christmas!

    1. markos

      Chris is an ftm!

  6. Zanaikin

    Finished first run, which seems to contain most of the game’s assets

    Pro: good plot twists (although the story gets a little predictable once the ch1-ch2 twist gets cleared up), very nice CGs, and personally I thought the battle descriptions were better than FSN’s (Angela and Lunlun’s was absolutely gold)

    Cons: God the voice acting, the voice acting, especially Suzushiro’s attack ones >_<. And while Liesel’s armaments were pretty cool (I liked lunlun’s better though), her “Morals are shackles, ethics are poison” made me dunk her character into the hate category…

    I actually liked Chris’ character, probably my second favorite, and you really can’t build the same dramatic twists in the story without her (kinda like FSN’s HF Sakura may not be the most likable but she definitely has the best and truest story =9). But yeah, Lun Lun all the way for pure awesomness =D

  7. Onime-no-Enishi

    I played through my first time as well, and i do have to say. The story isnt great but its good enough for me ;P I really love their descriptive ability during battles @_@ i can really imagine the battles going on in my head.

    And yea, Lun Lun seriously is UBER cute xD i really love the voice acting and her personality, its just too damn cute

    But if i were to choose a fav princess by looks, id go with Iris =p (possibly how chris will look like in future)

  8. Honya

    Yeah, it may not be the greatest but I really enjoyed the battle sequences.

    Is it just me or is everyone’s favorite character Lun Lun?

  9. -While 'Everyday Dance' song is playing-

    Geez! What’s with these Lun Lun fans? I wish everyone knew how I reacted to the first time Chris and Arata did it! It was a total shock! At the same time her beauty hit me by the way it was done! It was so freaking amazing! I seriously thought my big boobs fetish ran away from me! I went down stairs with goosebumps right after, all my fears that would catch me during midnight, were oblivious to me!! I was really dumbfounded and amazed! Yet you chumps still liked Lun Lun?!?

    On the contrary, after Chris got captured, I think Riko’s scene was the best one. I was dying to know how a shy girl would react naked infront of Arata. But who would have known they’ve done it in a bathtub, and she has big boobs! I’m so glad I picked her first! So freaking naughty! And then next to that, Suzushiro who was always afraid of men had anal sex for the first time, it’s just TOO ironic for a little figure like that. And who’d have known that Angela’s scene would be hilarious! And the Beast Princess’ scene was an eyeopener (not telling you the person’s name, find out yourself by picking 3 different princesses every choice you get) Lun Lun’s was cute but it wasn’t all that great. Ahhhh but that was the greatest Bishoujo game everrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! Ahahahahhahaha!

  10. Suzushiro

    Suzushiro 4EVER !

  11. I am me

    Suzushiro is the worst character I have seen in a while >_>

  12. That's my story and I'm sticking to it

    Lunlun rocks because she just does. She’s crazy, overconfident, straightforwardly crude and subtly devious in battle. The only thing I wish they’d added was…what was her actual age?

    Also, I think the true ending should have been The Beast Princesses (although I loved Lunlun’s too). It had way more stuff in it than all the other endings (e.g. the conversation between kije and her accomplice, and the hints about the whoopass the beast princess laid down on Angela).

    Finally, what was up with that sucky epilogue. Geez. How hard is it to tell us what happens to the characters after they get back to Eldiland and have to deal with the bucket load of problems there. Personally, I think Angela will not be satisfied with the future of the princess waltzs and will institute a “Angela gets to show-off against anybody who’s strong” waltz. Suzumiya will realize her love for butt sex comes from a lack of contact with the opposite sex and will therefore open a Eldiland’s first maid cafe with her of course filling in whenever she feels “empty.” Liesel will create the most powerful weapon ever and Chris will confiscate it by royal decree to throw it into the fires of Mt. Doom in Mordor, except April will steal it…oops did I steal, I meant “houseclean” it away. Finally, Lunlun will, for the sake of Lenstanza, commit vile unspeakable deeds of espionage against the royal family, from Arata’s bed. And everyone lives happily ever after…until Chris gets home.

  13. That's my story and I'm sticking to it

    P.S. Shachi (the whale) assumes her true appearance when she gets back to Eldiland and turns out to look like a dragon’s greatest wet dream. Unfortunately, Shachi had already hitched up with a poru shortly after the waltz. Angela, however, “somewhat” gently convinces the poru to dump shachi to ensure Glenn will be busy for some time. It succeeds and everyone lives happily ever after…except the poru :(

  14. Zedrich

    ..You know, the only other thing besides all of your suggestions would be an alternate end where it all turns into one massive orgy with ALL the princesses participating. Might even add Nodoka as an extra.

    Next thing you know, Arata has seven (eight, if you upgraded your stats enough) reasons as to why he becomes a father.

    Other than that, why not Suzushiro?

  15. Honya

    That seems to be a requirement for H games these days doesn’t it?

  16. ariinya

    I guess I’m in the minority… I just finished this game for the first time, trying not to pick any of the princesses too often because I didn’t want another H scene the first time through… man, I was disappointed! I think someone else put it best… the “one true pairing” fan in me loves Chris, and I just didn’t want Arata to completely forget his vow the first time through! Grrr…

    Virgin female’s point of view, I suppose. ^^; I wanted some romantic ending!!!! And I wanted to know more about the future!!! For Chris to realize, hey, being a girl ain’t all that bad, and maybe grow her hair out (god but I love long hair, mine is about the length of Angela’s).

    Btw… aren’t Arata and Chris half brother/sister and first cousins? Just wondering…

  17. maya

    Is there a true ending? I just can’t get it, no matter whom I choose. :S
    ^__^”

  18. kR1pt0n1t3

    Haha damn why couldn’t they just make up a normal princess :/ two guys combining into a princess is kinda lame and WTF at same time :/ :/ :/

  1. Princess Waltz « Life in Quadrant 4

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