Good Lord where do I start?…
Well, the intention of the blog was to bring you the cringe and this is pretty far up on the cringe scale. Welcome to Ore No Imoto Ga Konna Ni Kawwai Wake Gal Nai HappyenD for PS3. No; the last part of the title is not a typo.
Commonly abbreviated as Oreimo, Ore No Im… err… I mean Oreimo, was originally a light novel story before receiving an anime. It is about an older brother Kyosuke and his otaku (crazed fan) younger sister Kirino. Kirino is a magazine model and budding author, both of which she does to supplement her otaku hobby. Her older brother Kyosuke is a bit of a normal guy character, but some years prior to the story was not. When Kirino was younger her older brother was a book smart and athletic individual; a model student. An incident occurs that pushes him back to ‘normalcy’ and as a result Kirino comes to lose some of the admiration of her brother she had when she was younger.
So that synopsis in mind, what in the world would a PS3 game about this story be about?
It’s a visual novel with a camera mini game. No seriously; that’s the game.
The story of Oreimo HappyenD is Kirino decides to create a BBS type board to get people to follow her modeling work. She enlists the help of her brother Kyosuke to run the site and… take photos of her. The game plays out like a visual novel, where you interact with various Oreimo characters, make choices, and then play mini-games to rack up points.
I really cannot explain the game any further because that’s effectively all that goes on.
Let’s get the good out of the way. If you’re a fan of Oreimo it’s a treat. Not only do all the voice actresses reprise their roles, but the game has intricately modeled 3D characters that actually look very good. Each character feels like they came out of Oriemo into a game. There’s also quite a bit to do in the game. You’re force to play Kirino’s path initially but once she is completed the other characters gradually open up to the player, with five distinct stories total (even childhood friend Manami has a route, if you’re the type of person that knows glasses is always Best Girl). There’s also quite a bit of extras that unlock including various Free Modes and a plethora of DLC (one of the absolute strangest turns the girls into intercoms. No joke.).
This is at it’s core a photography game. The mini-games are comprised of a first-person through-the-lens view where the character you’re currently working with poses and makes comments while the session advances. You’re scored seemingly arbitrarily based on the composition of the shot, but you’ll find the “score” comes from obvious angles and focus. Ex: focusing on a slightly raised shot tight in to just the face and upper torso awards big points, while most far away shots at an angle are no good. When the session concludes, you select which photographs you want to keep for the site – typically you want the higher scoring images – which keep a running tab of points as you progress with photo shoots.
Believe it or not the biggest gripe I have about this title is the control, and how in the absolute hell do you screw up the controls on a title such as this? In the photo shoot mode the analog sticks control the camera, but not only do they operate like flight controls but also they have no momentum. When you thumb off the sticks, the camera just stops cold. No momentum forward. No feedback of any sort. It’s a strange way to describe it but when you play the first photo shoot mini game you first wonder what the hell you are doing and second realize you need a good half a minute to figure out the controls.
I will say is that this is not an uncommon type of game in Japan. There are many photo shoot or similar type titles on modern consoles but not many of these games have made it to North America in any capacity. A prime example of an ongoing photo shoot series is the character Super Sonico (a game that has recently came to the US) who was created with the idea of a gravure idol in mind. If there is something to compare these games to they’re somewhat of an evolution of the old school photo album CDs that came say on a PC or even some consoles like the Sega Saturn and PS1, except you as the player are creating the album.
In a way that’s actually a novel way of thinking about things, but where the game falls flat is the Free Mode that is unlocked is just a continuation of the photo shoot mode. These sort of games typically have extra modes where you can place characters, pose them, effectively create your own diorama. None of that is here.
Why did I buy this game? Well one it was cheap. Dirt cheap. Second, it plays on a North American PS3 with no issues since all PS3 games are region free. Third, pure curiosity. You do need a solid understanding of Japanese to play the game effectively. If you can listen to it you can get a good handle as to what’s going on, but you do need to be able to read some of the selections otherwise you’ll be lost. It is conceivably possible to play the game ‘ignorant’ and still get an ending but again it won’t be the most solid play through. I’ve actually not played a game like this and the title I’ve been wanting to play that is similar, Natsuiro High School, has yet to reach it’s Asian market price drop that these game typically have happen (and I’m honestly not sure if it’s going to happen, since it’s publisher D3 has yet to move on the title).
The game also received a PSP variant that is more in depth than it’s PS3 counterpart. The PSP game is more of a “what if…” scenario where most of the cast have extended stories into the future rather than focusing on the whole BBS-type photo shoot thing. It’s probably the better buy for Oreimo fans.
And that’s possibly the only people I could see buying this title; hardcore Oreimo fans. Or a person that just REALLY wants to say they own a cringy photo shoot game that plays out in no way a real photographer would take pictures.