Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and reminisce a little. Just close your eyes and think about your first love, your high school days, the very first visual novel you played…how relaxing! In my case, the very first visual novel I completed was XBlaze Code: Embryo for the PS Vita, coincidentally one of my first reviews for Popzara back in 2014: “Much to my surprise, the format works; shock and horror, I may actually end up playing another visual novel one day!”
Oh, if I knew just how many of these things I’d eventually end up playing…anyway, today we’re going to talk about the Steam port of XBlaze Code: Embryo.
This is a gaiden game to Arc System Works’ BlazBlue series, specifically BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, so if you’re already interested in that story, chances are you’ve played the Vita version of XBlaze Code: Embryo already. The Steam release is much the same; there’s some degree of improved resolution due to the game running on a larger screen, but this is a visual novel, not a graphically intensive showpiece. You aren’t going to notice a huge difference, though your eyes might be a little less strained.
If you’re into visual novels and don’t have a Vita…you should probably get one! But in case you haven’t played the original, here’s the quick rundown: we follow Touya Kagari, your average high school student, as his life is upended by supernatural individuals known as Unions. Touya’s ability to detect when unions are nearby means he’s a person of interest to the powerful Mitsurugi Agency; given his inability to defend himself in battle, the Agency assigns the taciturn girl Es to serve as his bodyguard. The usual anime tropes rapidly come into play, along with plenty of combat with less-than-savory Unions.
You’ve got choices to make in this visual novel, and these are largely influenced by the TOi, a newsreader on Touya’s PDA. Choosing to read or not read various TOi articles will push the story in different directions. As you’d expect, this means the game has several endings, and the writing and art are solid so you’ll want to check them all out.
There’s no need to go into an extensive rewrite of the review I originally wrote for the Vita version of this title; the game’s largely unchanged! The point of that review remains as well: fans of visual novels and BlazBlue are going to have a good time with this slightly upgraded PC port of XBlaze Code: Embryo. Let’s hope that the publisher follows up with a port of XBlaze Lost: Memories before too long.