Code:Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ Alternative Story: First Christmas – Arsène Lupin Review
Intro: An alternative story based on the events that transpired after Finis’ route in the previous game, Future Blessings.
To kick off Wintertide Miracles, I decided I would play the Alternative Story: First Christmas routes in the game’s “order” (Lupin, Van, Victor, Impey, Saint-Germain). Unfortunately for me, I was off onto a disappointing start.
It begins with Lupin making uncharacteristic mistakes on the job (one where he almost got caught my Leonhardt of all people) due to his mind being elsewhere, longing to see Cardia again. He regrets not asking her to stay when she announced she would be returning to Wales to live with Finis at their old mansion. He hasn’t heard from her since, so it was wearing him down. However we later learn that neither one of them were receiving their letters they had sent to each other.
For Lupin’s case, because Impey had been sending an absurd amount of letters, Finis has resorted to stockpiling them so he could deliver it to Cardia as a bulk instead. As result, Lupin’s letters ended up getting mixed up in the ever-growing collection. I didn’t mind this particularly exclamation because it’s definitely something I would expect from Finis’ character. On the other-hand, for Cardia’s case, I wasn’t a fan of the reasoning. It turned out learned her letters were being withheld by Victor, Impey and Saint-Germain in attempt to force the two of them to confront their feelings. And frankly, I thought this was the stupidest thing ever.
So two things I don’t like about this: One this is so unlike Lupin’s character to wait as long as he did. When I think about Lupin, I think about a guy who goes after what he wants. Two, it doesn’t make any sense, nor did they have any right to make the call to withhold the letters. The biggest joke about this, was once Lupin read the letters, he understood Cardia’s feelings for him. So whole fiasco of Lupin sulking because he misses Cardia could have been avoided had they just given it to him in the first place. All it would have done it speed up the process of Lupin going to Cardia to see her, and maybe we would have had the chance to see him be more direct than having to wait until the very end!
Another thing I was quite disappointed about was the lack of actual interaction the two had together. Although Lupin’s route in Future Blessing focused on Cardia trying to steal his heart, at least it was well balanced of featuring both of them even if they were not necessarily interacting with each other. Again, had they not beaten around the bush until the very end, more time could have definitely been spent, such as fleshing out their date in the city. It drove me nuts how Lupin kept on being interrupted.
The bits I did enjoy were the scenes where Lupin was struggling to write the letter (the contents of it, was absolutely hilarious), Lupin appearing at Cardia’s window in the Santa outfit (and damnit, he looked so damn cute in that suit!) It was also cute to see Finis being considerate enough to try and help the two of them get some alone time, and even teased her by spilling the beans in front of Lupin, how she would talk about him all the time.
Final Verdict: 2/5
Frankly speaking, although the early portion of the route had me in a fit of giggles, taking the entire story into consideration, it was terribly boring, and the conflict was so stupid, I wanted it to be done and over-with so I could just move onto the next one. I think it’s an understatement to say how much it pales in comparison to the likes of Lupin’s route in both Guardian of Rebirth and Future Blessings. More than anything, it felt lazy and an out of character (I mean, this is Lupin we are talking about)! I was seriously expecting a lot better from this one, making sadly, a disappointing way to start.
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