A few months back, I reviewed the first act of Igrasil Studio’s debut VN, Bloody Chronicles – New Cycle of Death. While the game is still listed as being in Early Access, the first act is complete and offers about 25 or so hours of content. Last month, Igrasil Studio released Bloody Chronicles Act 1 – Secret Operation, a short DLC side story that is set towards the end of the first act. Now that I’ve played the DLC, its time to give my impressions of it and discuss what it adds to the story.
Bloody Chronicles Act 1 – Secret Operation
Developer: Igrasil Studio
Platforms: Windows PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: July 15th, 2019
Secret Operation is set towards the end of the game’s first act, and expands on some events that were briefly mentioned in the base game.
Igrasil is brought in to help the police track down Uzair, a murder suspect related to a crime early on in the game that has since escaped custody under some fishy circumstances. Uzair’s last known location is a mall, and its up to Kazuki, Akito, and Karou to go undercover and look for clues that can lead them to their suspect.
In addition to formally introducing Uzair, the DLC also marks the first appearance of Inaho Asaba, a rookie cop that has been assigned to help Igrasil with the case. Inaho plays a relatively small but important role in the story, and she isn’t particularly well developed, but the credits do make a point to tell players that she will be returning in Act 2.
Akito’s plan involves the group splitting up to search the mall while posing as couples, leading to lots of ship teasing for fans that are pursuing a Karou romance path in the main game. While the choices you make in the investigation all lead to a similar confrontation with Uzair, the way you get there and the outcome can be altered in some fairly drastic ways.
Most notably, the DLC includes the game’s first timed choice sequences, something I’m sure will return in later acts. These sequences are effectively just like any other choice, but you are given a short window of a few seconds to make your decision.
One such sequence does include a failure state that will force you to restart the DLC if you aren’t fast enough or don’t pick the right choice. Unfortunately, and I’m going to try to avoid spoilers here, the “right” choice is presented in such a way that its basically blind luck if you get it on your first try.
The DLC is also the obligatory “Christmas episode” of the story, and features some character development and relationship building as the core cast bond over Christmas dinner and gifts. Considering the stressful situation that comes before and after it, this serves as a quiet interlude before the characters return to the events of the main story.
While the story and character development in Secret Operation are nice and helps expand on the events of the main game, the DLC isn’t without its flaws. As with the main game, the DLC is full of typos and translation issues, and there’s no voice acting either.
I don’t know if they are going to go back and add voice acting later on like they did with many parts of the first act, though if you don’t like the dubs then this probably isn’t an issue in the first place.
The DLC is also very, very buggy. I had scenes get repeated multiple times, and in several instances the character models multiplied, creating a horrifying universe where there’s two Akitos. I’m fine with the second Karou though.
Secret Operation can easily be completed in one session. I think it took me about three hours to get to the end. That said, there’s multiple branching paths and different outcomes, so if you are a completionist, there’s some replay value to be found here.
If you loved the first act and want some more Bloody Chronicles to hold you over until the next part, then you can’t really go wrong with Secret Operation.
It offers some nice character development and sets things up for the next act by introducing new characters and dropping some plot hints, but its self-contained enough that you don’t need to play it to understand the full game.
Just be aware that many of the base game’s translation issues are present, along with its fair share of new bugs and glitches, so it might be worth holding off a bit before picking it up.