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Bloody Chronicles – New Cycle of Death Hands-on Preview

Bloody Chronicles- New Cycle of Death is a murder mystery/slice of life visual novel developed by a relatively new startup company named Igrasil Studio. It was Kickstarted back in April 2016, pulling in $47,622 from 862 backers. Now that the core game is just about done, Igrasil Studio has released it on Early Access to get some feedback before it’s final release sometime in February 2019. I sat down and played around 5 hours of the Early Access build, and I can say I’m already looking forward to playing through the final product.

Bloody Chronicles- New Cycle of Death
Publisher: N/A
Developer: Igrasil Studio
Platform: Windows PC (Previewed), Mac, Linux
Release Date: December 13th, 2018 (Early Access)
Players: 1
Price: $24.99

You play as Koyama Kazuki, a sarcastic and somewhat cynical private investigator that was orphaned at a young age when he and his parents got into a deadly car crash on their way to a family gathering.

An offhanded comment by a cop at the scene about the crash “not being an accident” was burned into Kazuki’s memory, and he vowed to one day figure out what happened.

Kazuki has since been recruited by Suzumi Misao, the head of a privately funded agency named Igrasil that investigates cold cases, in the hopes of one day being able to solve his parents’ mysterious crash.

The overarching plot of Bloody Chronicles involves their latest cold case investigation. A serial killer, dubbed “The Phantom” by law enforcement, is believed to be responsible for 5 murders.

Each victim is seemingly unrelated, with the only connections being the bizarre imagery the killer leaves behind that makes each murder seem like some elaborate and grotesque form of performance art.

While the Phantom case is the main storyline, Bloody Chronicles also has elements of a slice of life drama and dating sim. As the case unfolds, you will have chances to interact with other members of Igrasil to grow closer to each character and learn more about their own backstories and motivations.

While Kazuki has been a member of Igrasil for over a year, his distant nature and loner personality means that he’s never really developed any significant relationships with his coworkers, and over the course of the game you’ll have a chance to change that.

The other core members of Igrasil include the aforementioned Suzumi Misao, the strict but fair head of the agency. Kaoru Moriyama is effectively Suzumi’s partner, and helped her create Igrasil with the help of her millionaire father. Finally, there’s the Ishikawa siblings, Akito and Aki.

Akito is hyperactive, loud, and easily excitable, while his younger sister Aki is naïve but well-meaning, and a little on the socially awkward side. The characters so far cover the fairly standard range of anime tropes, but they are still likable and I’m already invested in seeing their stories play out.

Early on in the game, the player is mostly just along for the ride. You’ll occasionally get a chance to make a choice that leads to extra scenes where you get to learn more about the other characters, but for the most part Kazuki speaks on his own and you’re just watching the story unfold.

However, you do gain more meaningful choices later on, including branching dialogue options that can lead to romantic encounters with the other characters. On the subject of romance, yes, the game does have lewd material, but the H-scenes haven’t been implemented yet. There will also be a beach episode added at some point later on.

Most of the Early Access nature of the game has to do with it’s translation, which is still pretty rough. Misspellings and oddly-worded sentences are relatively common, but I’m not going to give the devs a hard time over it.

They have stressed that they are aware that the game needs work in regards to the grammar and sentence structure, and it’s their main priority right now. Aside from the mistakes, the story itself is fairly well-written so far.

Bloody Chronicles features English VO for the core characters already, though not all of the lines have been implemented yet. There’s also a few instances where the voiced lines don’t match the written dialogue.

I’ve encountered a few other times where the voice overs continued on without the written dialogue showing up. Minor issues aside, the English VO is fairly decent. The only character that sounds a bit off is Aki, whose actress has some rather awkward delivery and enunciation.

On the other hand, I think this might be intentional because Aki is portrayed as being socially inept and a little dense.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have Japanese VO options. From what I can tell, this is because they just didn’t have the budget for it. Japanese VO was listed as one of the stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign, and they weren’t quite able to hit the funding benchmark for it.

If you prefer to play your weeb games with Japanese audio and English subtitles, then sadly that’s not possible with Bloody Chronicles.

The art and presentation is pretty solid as well. The characters are fairly well-designed, and there’s some nice waifu material among the main cast. The music is pleasant and helps set the scenes, though there are a few parts that are oddly silent. I’m not sure if this is intentional, an oversight, or the soundtrack just isn’t complete quite yet.

You can technically finish the game in it’s current state, though not all of the scenes, choices, and endings have been implemented yet. Personally, I’m probably going to put the game down and wait for the full release so I can take it all in at once.

I just prefer waiting for Early Access games to finish development so I can enjoy the game in its final form, as intended by the developers. Bloody Chronicles is supposed to offer around 30 hours of content with roughly 70 choices interspaced throughout the game.

I’m around 5 hours in and haven’t even reached the second chapter yet, so the 30 hour benchmark sounds like its probably pretty accurate.

Despite my relatively small play time in the game so far, I’m already pretty invested in seeing Bloody Chronicles to its conclusion. The plot and characters have me hooked even at this early stage in the game, and the overall presentation is nice.

I must admit that visual novels aren’t a genre I usually play, so I can’t make any judgments about the game from the standpoint of a hardcore fan of the genre, but I’m enjoying my time with it and look forward to the final release so I can give a proper review.

The only major issues I’ve encountered so far are things that the developers are actively working on, and Igrasil Studio is promising near weekly updates until the game comes out in February.

If you’re like me and prefer waiting for Early Access games to hit their full release, then keep Bloody Chronicles- New Cycle of Death in mind.

If you’d like to play the game now so you can help the developers iron out the final release, then you can find it on Steam for Windows PC, Mac, and Linux.

Frank Streva

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Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.