Review by Eric Kelly

Game Review: Kara no Shojo (PC)

Game Review: Kara no Shojo (PC)

Kara no Shojo actually released a year ago to English Audiences through MangaGamer, but in light of the release of Cartagra and the upcoming release of Kara no Shojo 2, they thankfully gave me a code for review to properly address the series. While it doesn't possess the streamlining that Cartagra does, it's still an interesting detective story to experience.

The game takes place 5 years after the events of Cartagra, placing it as the second game chronologically. It's 1956, and the scene shifts from a small town in Ueno to another in Tokyo, although you'll actually be traveling to several locations within Tokyo. You also take on the role of Tokisaka Reiji, an ex-police officer who was friends with Takashiro Shugo. The story is similar in tone to Cartagra, with Reiji investigating a string of bizarre murders that resemble the ones that forced him to quit the Police Force. Rather than be a straightforward story with several dialog options choosing how the story plays out, you are in a much more open ended environment. You'll choose which locations to go to in order to conduct your investigation. At certain points in the story, you'll actually enter Investigation Mode, where you'll click on various objects of interest to use as clues. These clues will then be used at points in the story during Inference Mode, which will help you summarize the data you've collected, as well as determine the path your route will take. 

The only real problem with this setup is that there are some objects in Investigation Mode that are critical to getting certain endings. Unfortunately they lock you into that path rather than making a separate option available. This makes getting some endings difficult without the use of a guide, which I highly recommend as it will result in less wasted time recovering lost ground even though you have a fast forward option. This game has a lot of endings, more-so than Cartagra. Of course there are also sexy bits, but they aren't as titillating as they were as Cartagra's. Then again, Cartagra's story had way more experienced women in it, and most were prostitutes at that. Although much like Cartagra, the amount is sex isn't in the overload category, with it happening about 2-4 times a path. This might be due to the game not having it be as integral to the overall narrative and setting. Not to mention that Reiji is a more reserved guy. Who's also a bit more emotionally tortured than Shugo was. The story is also more twisted and depressing than Cartagra's, with the true ending being unresolved. This means that it won't possibly be resolved until Karo no Shojo 2, due out later in 2015. The visuals look similar to Cartagra's, although some characters seem to look more realistic. The music is better in this installment, using a mix of jazz, blues, and some other styles that lend itself well to the narrative. However, despite the depressing nature, the story is still a great detective adventure. 
The Bottom Line : A great visual novel with an interesting story, being the basis for the prequel, Cartagra. Has some issue that were later fixed in the prequel. Still worth checking it out, although it's recommended you play Cartagra first.

Acquisition Method: This game's review copy was a digital code provided by MangaGamer.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • This game captures the feeling of being a detective more faithfully, despite some hiccups.
  • For horror fans, this story is even more twisted than Cartagra's, so they should be satisfied.
The Bad:
  • The True path has an unresolved ending, to be finished in Kara no Shojo 2 later in 2015.
  • Some paths require precise decision making, especially during some investigation and inference portions.

Eric is one of the co-hosts of the RPGrinders podcast, as well as a freelance video game writer. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRPG .

Review by - 1/4/2015 4:11 PM583 views

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