Collar x Malice - PlayStation Vita Review

You will be the one to exact your own form of justice

Game Info:

  • System: PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Aksys Games
  • Developer: IDEA FACTORY/DESIGN FACTORY
  • Release Date: July 28, 2017

Who it Caters to

Welcome to the wonderful world of otome games, but wait, Collar x Malice is not just any otome game. Developed by the same game developers who brought us Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and Amnesia: Memories, Collar X Malice is an otome game sure to bring some interest in the otome game world. If you have played an Otome game before, you know what to expect out of Otomate. If you are curious about the world of otome games, Collar x Malice may be the game to introduce to you what an otome game can do.

What to Expect

As an otome game, Collar x Malice plays similarly to Amnesia: Memories and less like Period: Cube or Hakuoki, however, we’ll delve into the details later on. Collar x Malice is an otome game that features a mystery, but unlike games like Amnesia: Memories, there’s a little bit more interaction in regards to the mystery itself. While the game is mainly a visual novel, there are a few extra features that are sure to entice someone looking for something a bit… different. However, Collar x Malice plays true to form and has 5 potential love interests with their own backstories. You may be the type who would rather only have to play once and stay with your chosen husbando, but beware, if you want to know everything, you’re going to have to choose every route!

Collar x Malice Trailer

Story

Collar x Malice is set in Shinjuku in a time where a terrorist organization that calls themselves “Adonis” is exacting their own form of justice upon the seemingly innocent people of Shinjuku as part of their X Day Countdown. It all started with the police, and now, it has become worse. The main character, whose default name is Hoshino Ichika, is a police woman who is really just starting off at her job. One day Ichika is kidnapped by Adonis and saved by five eligible bachelors by the will of Adonis. However, Ichika escapes the incident with a new bobble around her neck: a collar that will be her death should she reveal the incident. Now, Ichika must team up with these five men to figure out the mystery behind the X Day Incidents in order to save her life as well as the lives of many others...If she wants to.

While the beginning of the story appears dark, Collar x Malice is not to be taken lightly just for being an otome game. The story gets dark with stories of murder and fights for survival. You’ll see the citizens in Shinjuku becoming corrupt as they are encased in a world of no escape. If you remember Amnesia: Memories and how twisted it became, you’ll be in for a treat as Collar x Malice is extremely plot heavy and dark.

The story is so engaging and you’ll find yourself wondering how to broach the ethical dilemma regarding the X Day Incidents. Who do you think is in the wrong? What do you think should be done? Collar x Malice is a game that may have you thinking far beyond the fact that it is an otome game and make you think about the meat behind its plot instead.

Gameplay

Collar x Malice begins its gameplay like any other otome game with your character occasionally being given two options that you must pick from. However, there are a few situations where the gameplay does change. Sometimes you’ll have to do a bit of investigating or research in regards to the X Day Incidents. Other times, you’ll have to play the part of a police officer and pull out your gun. Regardless, all of your actions during the game affect your gameplay overall.
Collar x Malice’s focus is not so much on the romantic aspect of an otome game but on the mystery aspect of it.

The game publisher Aksys Games is known for games like 999 and Zero Time Dilemma, so you are sure to have a few surprises in store for you while playing. For much of the game, you will find yourself attempting to find out more about the X Day Incidents. You will meet new contacts in the police world and find out things that go on behind the scenes, but what is more interesting is what you will find out about your partner along the way. This focus on the mystery rather than the romance results in a more well-developed plot than games like Period: Cube and the first route alone can take you 10 hours!

While Collar x Malice is not exactly romance oriented, this is still an otome game so romance is to be expected. In fact, much of your own romance will affect the outcome of the plot, so keep in mind that your romance is linked to the mystery! We stated earlier that you have five potential love interests, however, you will just have to settle for three at the beginning as two love interests must be unlocked through playing multiple routes. This basically ensures that you will play multiple routes to attain either of these two bachelors should they be your time, much like Code Realize (the good ones are always last!!!). At the beginning, they introduced a little brother and we were struck with fear that this would be the shota brother route, but luckily, there’s no such route in Collar x Malice. No, but he has his own part in the story as well.

One thing we absolutely loved about Collar x Malice is the fact that all of the bachelors are adults. How often does that happen? Each of the characters has their own realistic backstories and while they still play off the same moe tropes, the characters don’t make us feel like cringing from being overly moe. These feel like real adults with real problems that make so much more sense than in games like Code Realize, which lacked any realism in its own plot ( a girl who erodes away at everything she touches like acid?).

Let us not forget our main character Ichika, who frankly, we loved. Unlike generic shoujo main characters, Ichika had spunk and she was feisty. She could fight back and we quite loved how there were CGs of her talking back to the other guys. Ichika may seem like she lacks any ability considering her detective skills, but she’s got a lot of attitudes and as an otome game character, Ichika is surprisingly well developed. Points to Idea Factory for that!

Music wise, Collar x Malice’s developers did a great job as the music always suited the occasion. In fact, we enjoyed it a great deal as it felt edgier than otome games are known to be. It might have to do with the dark plot and the morbid outcomes. The music suited the game just right.

While the gameplay can last days with 5 extremely long routes, you never really tire of the game. The mystery changes ever so slightly whenever you pick a different route and you are left wanting to know more. That is why you must obtain all five routes to know the true essence of the X Day Incidents and your part in them.

However, if you are the type who wants to play the game to its fullest and attain every ending and trophy, you might find this a bit hard in Collar x Malice. There is no list of endings, which makes it difficult to obtain all of the endings and with 32 bad endings, you have your work cut out for you. You will find it’s quite easy to die right from the beginning of the game. We found ourselves dying quite easily and unintentionally, but you get to see different aspects of the game through the deaths. Now, can you possibly get all 32 bad endings to get the platinum trophy? If you play with a guide, sure, but this is one otome game that’s not as fun to play with a guide. Don’t you want to figure out the mystery on your own?

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Collar x Malice is an otome game that really knows how to tell a story. It’s a great blend of plot and romance that shows that otome games can have a well-developed story as well as love. While it can take more time investment than other otome games and it can become dark, there’s a lot to enjoy in Collar x Malice. The plot can be dark and the romance sweet, but overall, Collar x Malice is an otome game to be enjoyed. The game cannot exactly be described as “fun,” but it is a relief from rushed plots and cringy moe moments, and it is a game that truly pulls you in. Think of it like reading a book and the more you read, the more you want to know.

Honey's Pros:

  • The guys are actually adults
  • Soundtrack is great and edgier compared to other otome games/displays eeriness of the situation or deaths
  • Great voice actors
  • Feisty main character with a real personality
  • Plot is well developed with a great amount of mystery

Honey's Cons:

  • To get the platinum trophy, you need to attain the 32 bad endings yourself without an ending list
  • Can take a large investment in time compared to many otome games
  • Not as romance heavy as other otome games
  • Terrible spelling and syntax mistakes

Honey's Final Verdict:

If you love otome games and are a fan of Otomate, Collar x Malice may have a spot on your PlayStation Vita. While it’s not overly moe or romance oriented, Collar x Malice tells a better story than many otome games with the main character that has more personality than the lot of them. It’ll take a lot of time invested and you’re going to have to do the problem solving, but if you like mysteries and otome games, maybe Collar x Malice is for you.

How many of you out there are excited about this game? How many are already playing it? Share your thoughts on Collar x Malice in the comments down below!

Jenangelx3

Editor

Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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