Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ Review – Fanservice for Fanservice (PS4/Vita)
If you thought that Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ was all about the fanservice, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. While Future Blessings was 100% fanservice for Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth, showing what would happen after the events of Guardian of Rebirth, Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ is fanservice for Future Blessings. We have a fanservice game made from another fanservice game. We have officially reached fanservception. I can’t wait for the fanservice game to come forth from Wintertide Miracles in 2020.
More specifically, Wintertide Miracles examines what happens after Cardia and her little brother Finis return to Wales. Does she miss her friends in London? Do they miss her? Did any of them like like her? Does she like like any of them? How would they broach it now, after the fact? You know when is the best time to find out when someone likes you? At Christmastime, duh.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
The player has several options of when it comes to what they can read for Cardia’s next adventures in romance. The first five stories feature the various beaus from Lupin’s gang who have a few things left unsaid after the events of Finis’ alternate story in Future Blessings. In this alternate story, Cardia convinces Finis to give life and love a chance as a family. The two return to the Beckford mansion in Wales and live (presumably) happily the rest of their days. However, Cardia wonders why she misses her friends so much, especially one friend in particular. Depending upon which character you pick, you get to see Cardia and one suitor figure out that they have feelings for one another and witness how they finally confess.
The first time they get the chance to sort out these feelings happens to be on Christmas. Saint-Germain hosts a Christmas celebration at his London mansion and invites everyone who has ever lived in his home (no matter which route you chose in the previous two titles). The entire Steel City is turning itself on its head to celebrate as well, as Queen Victoria hosts a Christmas Festival in the main square. She wants her citizens to move past the horrific incident with the Nautilus, appreciate their restoration efforts, and enjoy the holiday spirit. Seems like the perfect plot device to invite Cardia and Finis to make the trip from Wales, doesn’t it?
Each one of these tales is super sweet in their own right, although some are definitely more entertaining than others. I was surprised to enjoy one story as much as I did, considering I did not like this suitor in either of the two previous titles. Conversely, one of my favorite suitors from previous games had a disappointing arc in Wintertide Miracles. I’ve even stopped loathing Finis through these stories, which I didn’t think was possible. Somehow, the little spawn of Satan developed a sense of humor. I guess that’s the power of love (cue Huey Lewis and the News).
Don’t Know Much Trigonometry
As you can imagine, all of these Christmas tales are fairly short. The only stories that are shorter are the Triangle stories, where Cardia can go on a date with two other characters. Sometimes, these can be two different suitors from the gang, and sometimes they can be jaunts with other side characters. For example, if you’ve ever wondered how Dr. Watson would interact with Hansel, now you can!
If Cardia spends time with members of the Lupin Crew, these dates take place at a time before she is cured of the Horologium and possibly in a timeline where she has zero interest in all of them. Perhaps these are all during Sholmes’ alternate route, or maybe she is completely clueless and thinks they’re poking fun at her. Either way, she gets to deal with two men who are definitely interested in her and try to vie for her attention and affections. Sometimes she ignores it. Sometimes she’s oblivious. Other times, she gets uncomfortable. Either way, they’re all good for a chuckle or two.
There are three other longer tales you can explore. One of them is the Future Blessings equivalent for Sholmes’ story, another is the Future Blessings equivalent for the Finis story (aka no romantic options here), and the last story is yet another side story with a brand new character that supposedly takes place during the events of Guardian of Rebirth. All I can say is, if Cardia really went through the adventures with the Gordon Family and Cantarella during Guardian of Rebirth, I don’t know how any of them found time to stop Code: Realize.
This new Cantarella story is painfully long and completely shoehorned in. The story tries to tie itself to Lupin’s past in a very obscure way, which makes it more eyeroll-inducing than it does interesting. I wasn’t a fan of the Gordon Family interlude in Future Blessings, but at least it wasn’t hours long and it told an original story. The Cantarella tale tries way too hard to be meaningful and relevant, and fails at both. I nodded off more than once combing through it, and after the big twist came in to play, I set the dialogue scroll on “auto” and just let it run in the background. I recommend trophy hunters do the same.
Finis’ second story is also long and rather boring. It’s as ham-fisted as Cantarella, and (if possible) even less interesting. At least it is shorter, which is a small plus in its favor. I understand that the developers want to provide more for players to do and read than just the short after-stories, but this is not the way to do it. Finis certainly didn’t need a second story; isn’t that what the five main Wintertide Miracles episodes are for?
At least you get a reward for suffering through them. After playing through all of the episodes, the secret epilogues unlock. These are future blessings to the Future Blessings. In other words, curious what happened after Future Blessings? Here you go!
As you can gather, if you didn’t play the first two games in full, and I mean in full, you will not enjoy a second of Wintertide Miracles. This is strictly for the absolute hardcore fans who have been dying to know what happens next with Cardia and her beloved. There’s a strong emphasis upon the word “fans,” mind you. Filthy casuals need not apply.
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ review code provided by publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a PlayStation Vita. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.