The name ‘Cardia’ (now associated with heart) has Latin origins and means ‘axis’. ‘Finis’ also has Latin origins and means ‘the end’, and the naming is probably important to the story.
I have mixed feelings about the game. The art and music were certainly top notch coupled with its full exploration of a Gothic fantasy 19th-century London (which made it easy for the player to sink into the game’s world), and the start screen was exceptionally gorgeous, with a different view of industrial London depending on the time you play the game, with clouds moving over the screen, and planes, if you were lucky 😉
However, I have a few points that I feel makes the game a disappointment.
1) The game feels like they tried too hard to surprise players and ended up becoming a bad version of Agatha Christie and whodunnits. I appreciate good mysteries but certainly not when the revelations are totally unimportant to the story. Example, Van Helsing’s master is a good man. No he’s not. No wait, he’s just lonely. No wait, he has some links to Erlock Sholmes. No wait, Erlock Sholmes is actually Sherlock Holmes because he used his name as an anagram. (((( ´,,_ゝ｀)w)t)f)
2) The multiple, uninteresting EVERYONE’S POV. For example in Frankenstein’s route, we have Cardia’s pov, then Frank’s, then Queen Victoria’s, then Leonhart her knight. (Gawd, stop it. Get on with the story!!!!) And in Saint Germain’s route, I swear I skipped over all the parts where Omnibus, the mastermind in Saint’s route was recollecting her romance. It made the game really draggy and I would have given up the game if it didn’t have such nice CGs. (I swear I would have just gotten its artbook instead)
3) The random get together. Otome games are made for the purpose of allowing the girls to go “Awww, he’s so cute” or “Man their romance is so special” etc. But after the common route, which was full of fighting and kidnapping and suddenly Cardia finds herself attracted to one of them, or vice versa. Wait a minute, Mr.Frankenstein/Lupin/Impey………… (see next point)
4) In the first place, Cardia isn’t even human. Sorry to throw that bomb there, but you miss nothing, no worries. While love stories between a doll and a human can seem wonderful, (like D.Grayman’s Lala) they ocassionally backfire into that of a pervert playing with a toy or into one like Code:Realize whereby the male characters try too hard to convince themselves Cardia is a normal human girl, and Lupin actually marries her in a church. (Heck, does she even have a reproductive function)
5) The really dumb final reason why Cardia was created. I was initially excited as to how a girl with poison would become the Princess of Creation, and for 5 routes I was waiting for the wonderful revelation, but no. She’s a replica, a Homunculus of Issac Beckford’s real daughter, who is a twin with Finnis, and they were killed in a fire. Issac then created a Finnis and a Cardia for his resurrection as some freaking machine thing with his brains in a globe like this, and aims to be the new God of the world :
What, now we have PsychoPass? Ha.Ha.Ha. Great story.
Yeah, and the above were the points I felt were what killed the game. It had a Gold rating which I can’t agree with simply because Koezaru Akai Hana had a silver rating, which isn’t fair, since this game, like I said, merely twisted random details to make it look like a major plot and there was hardly any romance at all. I suspect, Japan, with its craze for all things English just unthinkably went gaga over this rare Europe setting and its lolita romance.
Although there wasn’t a recommended play order, it’s always best to play in the order where they appear in the Opening movie, with the exception of Lupin who is a locked character. It’s also good for this game because the baddie in Van’s route also shows up in other routes which would make it a major spoiler.
However, that’s not to say that the game was zero fun. The characters were interesting when they were together, being different characters from different fantasy stories and the common route was pretty amusing, especially the helicopter race where they met Nemo.
Another good point is how apart from Lupin’s route where Cardia’s poison conveniently disappears, for the other 4 characters, Cardia’s poison is still active, which makes it more interesting since they have to live with it, and not make it a Kiss and Happy Ever After thing.
I didn’t think Lupin was sexy, but it’s probably just my taste, since I liked Saint Germain’s the most (probably because he was the most practical choice for her) and actually wanted to vote for either Dracula or Sherlock Holmes in the character poll, neither of which were playable characters, but voted for Saint Germain in the end to ensure he doesn’t lose out too much to any other character. (・∀・)
So I don’t recommend this game for its story if you base playing VNs on how good and short the story is, (but I recommend its artbook) and if you’re not going to buy the game, read the spoilers below. I lost my 2000 words (which was the common route) with an accidental backspace but I’ll retype a short version.
Lupin kidnaps Cardia from Leonhart, the Queen’s elite guard (knights) and brings her to London, and all the way Impey was hitting on her but mostly getting ignored. Cardia meets with some human traffickers and is saved by Frankenstein who is on the run. They meet Van Helsing, the hero of the vampire war who initially tries to attack Lupin to get Cardia, as she is the key to her father Issac Beckford’s whereabouts. But they convince Van and all of them now stay in Saint Germain’s mansion. Cardia receives training from each of them for defence purposes as Sunset, the country’s secret organization keeps attacking her.
They decide to kidnap the boss of Sunset to trace Issac and during the mission finds out the boss is Finis, who calls Cardia ‘older sister’. Van hesitates to kill Finis and they seem to have a past. Somone has been going around stealing treasures and Lupin decides to catch his imposter. They find out its Dracula or Delacroix II, the survivor of the Vampire War 2 years ago who is trying to retrieve the noble vampires’ artifacts. His father Delacroix was the vampire king and killed by Van. Van defeats him and persuades him to live in Saint’s mansion and promises to be killed when he has finished his goal of killing Finis.
Fran and the others plot some kind of terrorist thing to threaten Victoria into protecting Cardia and remove Fran’s status as a wanted criminal. Fran holds one secret of Victoria and she gives in finally and they are now safe. Fran continues to investigate the nature of Cardia’s poison and makes her new clothes, telling her that her heart is not beating.
This is the fun bit where they participate in a helicopter race to as the prize is a clue to Issac’s whereabouts. The meet Nemo, a mad scientist who hits it off well with Impey. But Nemo starts trying to shoot them down near the goal and Impey puts Van in a cannon and throws him out, where Van, the ‘human weapon’ steps on the cannonballs and destroys them, and invades Nemo’s ship, successfully making it crash. They win the race and next day, prepares to go to Issac’s hidden lab.
That night we learn of Cardia’s past. She once ran out of her house in Wells and encountered villagers who labelled her a monster after seeing her turn grass to black liquid just by stepping on them. She runs away and meet Elaine and her daughter Ety, who hides Cardia and lives with her for a month. But Elaine is found out and the priest of the village tells Elaine to close herself up in a cave for 14 days if she wants to prove Cardia is not a monster. But Elaine eventually dies since Cardia’s poison produces particles even in the air and Cardia runs back to the mansion deciding never to wish for love again.
The next morning they go to Issac’s lab which is under a graveyard and discover Cardia is a Homunculus created by Issac, the only successful one after 665 tries (and Cardia is 666, the Devil’s number – “monster”) Finis tries to kidnap her to fulfil Issac’s plan, but the guy whose route you’re on comes to save you.
Saint kills Finis out of the blue and everyone escapes. Cardia decides she doesn’t want to get them involved in her problems and leaves the mansion.
Van Helsing (the only poor guy who didn’t get a kiss scene)
Cardia gets involved in a Jack the Ripper incident right after she leaves Saint’s mansion and Van, the cool one overflowing with male pheromones comes to save her, and they are told of someone named Azoth, the mastermind of a few incidents that happened recently.
That night, they return to the mansion and this is a pretty sad scene where Van tells Cardia he needs her, but simply because of her link to Issac and Finis. He tells her straight in the face that he never thought of them as friends. They continue tracking down AZOTH with the help of Erlock Sholmes and Leonhart, and meet up with Jimmy A. Arrester, Van’s former teacher in Sunset.
Van gets seriously hurt in a fight with another vampire noble who was under a mad spell named Hidden Strength while protecting Dracula and its revealed Van was once sent by Sunset to investigate the vampires as to whether they were a threat to humans. After staying with them and getting close to them, Van reported that they were harmless but he was still ordered to kill the vampires when his family was taken hostage. And Van hates Finis because he thinks Finis was the one who killed Van’s mother and younger brother, even though he massacred the vampires and is guilty till this day. Above CG is where Dracula (they nickname him Dora-chan) asks for the reason why Van killed his papa. Van asks if his sin is a forgivable one even if he has a reason for doing so.
After a long drawn out story, with hints thrown here and there it’s revealed that AZOTH is Jimmy A. Arrester, and the reason why Van is so strong is because Arrester had pushed Van into a corner by killing his family, thus inducing his ‘Hidden Strength’. Arrester wanted Van as a human machine for his own sick pleasure since Arrester also had his family killed and wanted Van to understand his loneliness. Cardia threatens Arrester by gripping his neck but Arrester stabs himself and Van, in Hidden Strength mode due to his need for revenge tries to kill Cardia but Van thinks Cardia is the enemy but she manages to get him out of it by telling him she will die for him.
Van’s sexy threats were kinda gross when I thought about how Cardia is a Homunculus. Sorry Van, I like you but you need to change your taste in women. Not dolls, kay? I appreciate his bravery in loving a woman full of poison though.
Victor Frankenstein (A disappointing route)
Cardia is a ‘monster’ and Frankenstein is, well, that famous Gothic literature scientist who created ‘a monster’. So before I played I was expecting something interesting but it turns out that Fran’s link to Cardia is a thin one: he simply created a poisonous compound named Ziegterium (It’s German, no wonder they cast Kakihara for the role….) that was used by Issac to create the Horologium embedded in Cardia’s chest. Fran thus writes in his diary that he ‘created’ Cardia which led her to think that he might be her father. (lol whut. This is taking it too far.)
Fran’s route also revealed a really ridiculous plot, which was that of Queen Victoria wanting Fran to produce more Ziegterium for the sake of using it against other countries in a war to make Britain the strongest country, and it was what Fran used to threaten Victoria in the commmon route. For the most part, Fran’s route was going on about trying to find a way to stop Victoria and at the same time cure Cardia’s poison.
As Finis had touched a red stone to her Horologium, Cardia is slowly becoming a true ‘monster’ as the crystals in her chest were slowly becoming a Philosopher’s Stone, (the item you always get in RPGs lol) that would produce massive poison that would kill everyone within a city’s range. So Cardia needed lots of assuring that she was a normal human girl, which Fran happily gave to her with lots of kiss scenes and cute holding hands thingies.
But no. Frankenstein, you can get a real beautiful English lady anytime, so do not trick yourself into this.
They discover till the end that by using another poisonous compound, Cardia’s transformation into a monster can be stopped but near the end after that !@%@#!@%$!@% boring POV of Leonhart and Victoria Frankensteins feeds her the liquid to save her. He also manages to created a compound that neutralises her poison for a short while so he gets to icha with her.
To be honest, the best part of Fran’s route is in the extras and not the main route, where Cardia tried taking off his shirt to look for a caterpillar. Lol.
Impey Barbicane (Cute filler route)
He’s the mood-maker, always getting mean words from the others because he says dumb things to cheer others up, and the technical genius who built planes and automobiles from scratch. And he was also the one who picked up a male dog, gave it a prosthetic leg and named it Sissy (which is probably the reason Sissy hates him) And see what even Finis says about him: (lol)
Impey’s route focuses on finding Impey’s invention which will allow him to go to the moon, but it was stolen and Impey came to London looking for it. I enjoyed Impey’s route lots because of Nemo’s appearance, and they visit Nemo who was once Issac’s student. But Nemo captures them and its revealed Nemo knows about the Horologium which creates a massive amount of energy he wants to fly his ship Nautilus.
Even after knowing Cardia was a Homunculus he continues to hit on her, and protects her from Sunset and they escape from Nemo to meet up with the other dudes. But Cardia is weakened because Nemo stole a fragment of the horologium and loses her poison temporarily which makes Impey happy obviously. (lol)
Impey reveals to Cardia that he is also a vampire, but not a pureblood. He was a lonely child when young but made friends with a strange man who taught him all about machinery. They then built this cushioning device that would make the heaviest of metals be able to fly in the sky. (Impey wants to go to the moon, remember?) The device is however in Nemo’s hands but they later managed to get it back.
Nemo flies Nautilus over London and attacks some parts, demanding Victoria to hand over Cardia but they manage to shoot down Nautilus and Nemo, revealed to be another sad man abandoned by Issac, and Nemo was doing all this so Issac would recognize him. Nemo decides to destroy himself along with Nautilus.
The long battle ends and they retrieve the shard of Horologium so Cardia’ poison is returning and Impey kisses her again before she completely becomes poisonous again.
Saint Germain (My favourite route, unexpectedly)
San-chan (what Impey calls him) never opens his eyes until his own route, and I think his route was the most well-written and logical. It’s revealed that the reason why all the geniuses (Master thief, Imperial scientist, War hero, Genius technician) are gathered together is because of San, and San belongs to an organization named Idea, which cuts down anyone that threatens the history of the world. Cardia, being a created being, was against the morals of ‘life’ and also being a threat to other humans, had to be destroyed and San was given the task of killing her.
However he found her interesting and did not try to kill her in the common route, until she ran out of the mansion. San tells her to live with him in another of his mansions and he confines her there for a few days, attempting to kill her. She manages to escape but another person belong to Idea, dressed in heavy armour comes to kill her and San unexpectedly protects her from the armoured asassin, claiming that Cardia is his to finish.
Cardia escapes and return to the other guys and San is not heard of for a while. They search for information on Idea and discover that an old woman with prophetic powers called Omnibus (Latin, meaning for all) is the head of the organization. San’s past of a thousand years is revealed. He was once told to kill everyone in a village where the Black Death arose, but he spared a small boy, and that boy went to other villagers to seek help, eventually killing 1/3 of Britain in the Black Death.
Omnibus tells San that if he spares Cardia he will create another large scale tragedy but he decides to kill the other members of Idea to protect Cardia. After seeing that 4 members of IDea have been killed, Omnibus also threatens Cardia that she will remove San’s immorality and healing power if she continues to run and tells her to meet San at Tower Bridge. There, San tells her that he is the only one who can withstand her poison and burns his own flesh, with Cardia realising for the first time how warm a hand is. After defeating Ginervia (the armoured asassin) San begs Omnibus to give him more time (Oh he’s just a darling) and Ginervia aids, seeing how her own love had failed in the past. They then lie there in the morning sun, a pretty scene and it just made me like Saint Germain lots.
San ends up travelling with Cardia around England to find a cure for her poison and steals a kiss from her and says the rest will have to be till she’s cured.
They were perfect matches since one is an undead and one a doll. Alright, go ahead San-Chan, anything for you.
They reserved the best CGs for Lupin, I’m sure, and if only from the CGs I would have liked him a ton, but he wasn’t so spectacular in the game itself. I liked Lupin’s design because he has a “Erik from Phantom of the Opera” feel whenever he wears his mask but alas, it’s only the character art design that was tops.
To me, petty thief or chivalrous thief is still thief, and despite Lupin naming himself a ‘Dorobou Shinshi’ (Gentleman thief) his language wasn’t so much gentleman. (Take a leaf from Saint Germain!) He’s always kinda acting cool but there’s an important factor missing: threat.
Van was cool because he had a certain dangerous element to him. Lupin usually arrives and acts cool but then runs away in a smoke bomb which made me kinda (･д･) “Wait what, you’re not gonna fight?” O—–kaaaaaaay. I actually prefer the Lupin from Eikoku Tantei Mysteria. Besides, this Lupin is completely UNCOOL whenever he meets Sherlock.
And I would have traded Lupin for a Sherlock route anytime.
Lupin’s route focuses lots on getting Cardia away from Finis and lots of hogwash about Issac and Finis and Cardia fusing together for some resurrection to make a ‘God’, which is also why Omnibus wants to kill both Finis and Cardia. Essentially what’s left of Issac is only his brain and I was all pffffft, okay. Code:Realize is actually the name of the terrorist plan that Lupin’s teacher, who was initially a top soldier in Sunset found out about and ran away after knowing, so it’s what Lupin came to London to stop. Lupin indirectly caused the death of his master by reporting on his master who had become a bit of a major terorist.
Anyway, skipping all the boring details, Finis dies by rejecting Cardia’s help as he falls from Nautilus, Sherlock and Arrester face off and it’s revealed Arrester is Moriaty (thanks but we really don’t care) and Cardia’s poison is gone, however it happened. Yay.
Lupin, as with all the other crazy men loves Cardia the homunculus and decides to marry her in a church (Gawd stop it, this is so gross) and they live happily ever after.
I didn’t do any of the bad ends, but you need to do only Lupin’s normal end to get the Reward CG, and damn it was sad, because Cardia and Lupin disappeared after falling off Nautilus and all of them left San’s mansion (Van and Delacroix to reach the other vampires, Impey to America to get to the moon, Fran to his research) and San sits there, looking at their picture from the plane race and says he will wait for them so they won’t be lonely if they decide to come back, since he only has another 50 years left due to Omnibus’ punishment. It was a good closing and I preferred this end to Lupin’s true end, since it gives the game the tragedic feel it ought to have, and not having the homunculus shack up with Lupin.
-Not as touch friendly as Senjou no Waltz. In fact the only times you could touch the screen was in place of ○ and during selections. However, they did have something similar to Chronicle, which allowed you to start from a chapter:
-It was a really pretty interface of course, and I wish Senjou’s Chronicle was equally pretty, but Give & Take. This chapter selection thing helped refresh my memory while typing this review (´・ω・`)
I’d say it’s a draggy game for me since I guessed Arester and the reason for Finis’ endless resurrection by the time I got into the character routes and the bit about Victoria’s plan and Issac’s true motive of resurrecting his family was really disappointing. But I would also take into factor that I played it right after Senjou, and during the holiday season which made me pretty restless, I’ll admit. So taking all into consideration, I would give this game a 3.8 rating since I can’t accept Cardia’s non-human existence and because of its upturning-its-own-revelation thing which got me pretty annoyed.
Nevertheless, it’s a good long game for those who don’t wanna waste your moolah on too many games and I’d say it’s worth your money if you’re not always trying to guess Whodunnit like me. :p The music was good too, and like I mentioned at the start of the review, you could really feel yourself going back into industrial London. (Which is probably why English-crazed Japan loves it so much)
It’d say play it only if you don’t like character moe and don’t mind very little romance and an overall boring finale (￣^￣)ゞ
Hyakka Yakou , Re:Birthday Song and Otoko Yuukaku up for the next few months! And gotta get started on those CD backlogs……..