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You know how sometimes, when movies come back for multiple sequels, they often get worse and worse? Or, alternatively, they just feel so unnecessary that it’s hard to watch? Everything’s been resolved and the characters have completed their arc, so there’s no need to draw things out with unnecessary sequels. I think otome games have a similar problem sometimes, because what are developers to do when fans want more content, but the story is over? You guessed it; you make a sequel.
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ is the third installment in the Code: Realize series of visual novels, which follows poison-skinned protagonist Cardia as she joins forces with the crew of Lupin the thief to thwart the plans of a mysterious and dangerous organization. She has the opportunity to meet a colorful cast of characters from literature – Victor Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Watson, and Hansel, to name a few – and possibly build a romance with them. Who she falls for (or destroys) is based on the decisions you make.
Wintertide Miracles, however, isn’t much of a continuation of the original story. That being said, though, it’s definitely a game made for hardcore fans of the series, and definitely doesn’t work as a standalone. It has three modes of story: triangle, alternate ending, and epilogue. All are somewhat rooted in the first two games.
Triangle allows you to choose two boys to go on a date with. These dates happen in the same scene, usually starting with one boy and then moving to the other before finishing with both. Most of the scenes are little slices of life, like going to a ball or visiting a cafe. They’re fun, but honestly nothing special, unless you’re wanting to spend more time with your favorite character.
The alternate endings are for the original five boys – Lupin, Van Helsing, Victor, Impey, and Saint-Germain – in the aftermath of ~Future Blessings~. These nicely tie up each of the paths of the previous game and stick a bow on the relationship between Cardia and each of the men.
The epilogues provide a wrap on two characters, Sholmes and Finis. These provide a little closure after the events in ~Future Blessings~ by allowing for a romance with Sholmes and a peaceful life with Finis. There is also a short story from the main plot in the epilogue section that follows Cantarella and her father, Miles. This is a pretty interesting side story, but it honestly raises more questions than it answers about the main plot.
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ is great for fans of the series who want to see more of their favorite characters, and possibly nobody else. The scenarios are fun, even if a little bland at times, and the game has clean, pretty graphics and a nice soundtrack. However, it does feel like an unnecessary sequel; it’s not adding anything new to the plot, but focusing on romance and tying up loose ends. If you’re looking for a little extra time with a special boy (for me, it was Watson and Van Helsing) this will be right up your alley.