Collar X Malice (Review) PS Vita

Collar X Malice (Review) PS Vita
Review Score:

Collar x Malice by developer Idea Factory is a Visual Novel from the otome genre, which is known for having good stories, likable characters and minimal interaction during certain points in the story. Collar x Malice takes place in Shinjuku, Japan, where a terrorist group calling itself Adonis has been murdering people under a countdown known as X-Day. The victims are usually found bludgeoned or shot to death with a coin that has a roman numeral carved into it.

The story follows Ichika Hoshino, a female rookie police officer of SRCPO (Special Regions Prevention Office). Her job is to patrol the streets of Shinjuku after the Government quarantined the city in response to the X-Day incidents. To make matters worse, the Government decided to issue firearms to its citizens to keep them safe. The weapons in question all contain serial numbers, so any bullets fired from these guns can be traced back to their original owner(s). This doesn’t prevent certain people from causing problems, though.

While the story is slow to start, it does set things up early on with Ichika Hoshino being captured on a routine investigation. Her mysterious kidnapper places a poison-filled necklace around her neck, warning her that ‘they’ can always ‘see’ what she does. From there, the reader must be careful about the decisions they make during the story. Asking the wrong question(s) – or tipping people off about certain events – will activate the necklace, resulting in Ichika Hoshino’s death. This is why ‘saving’ often is important. Once the story ends, the only way to return to a recent spot in the story is to ‘re-load’ a prior save. Otherwise, the player will have to restart the game from the beginning.

A Visual Novel isn’t worth playing if its characters aren’t interesting. In Collar x Malice’s case, there is a breadbasket of eccentric characters that play their parts well. For example: without giving too much away, the retired police officers that assist Hoshino are the highlight of the story, especially when they argue and have disagreements. This not only adds to the game’s flamboyant atmosphere, but it provides some much-needed comical relief between the bleak imagery of murder that is sprinkled throughout.

Where graphics are concerned, Collar X Malice does a good job of representing its characters and environments with eye-popping, colorful illustrations that contain a generous amount of detail. Even less important locations (i.e. like backdrops used during conversations) have a gritty, unique appearance to them. This adds to Collar x Malice’s urban atmosphere.

Fans of the Visual Novel genre will find that Collar x Malice has a lot to offer, especially where character development is concerned. And this doesn’t include the colorful, highly detailed graphics or the addicting, ‘whodunit’ story, which are both good enough to stand on their own. This alone is enough to make Collar x Malice a must-buy for any PS Vita owner.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $19.99

Collar X Malice Official Website:
http://aksysgames.com/cxm/buy/

Review Score
Graphics
Collar X Malice does a good job of representing its characters and environments with eye-popping, colorful illustrations.
Sound
Japanese voice acting is present throughout the game.
Gameplay
While the story is slow to start, it does a good job of setting things up early on.
Overall
Fans of the Visual Novel genre will find that Collar X Malice has a lot to offer.
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