"Originally released as a manga back in 2000, Saishuu Heiki Kanojo tells the story of 2 young lovers, Shuuji and Chise against the bleak backdrop of World War 3. Living and attending highschool in the remote Japanese countryside of Hokkaido, the story begins with Chise confessing her feelings to Shuji. Though he doesn't take the relationship seriously at first, over time Shuuji finds himself truly falling in love with her. Then one day during a devastating attack on the city of Sapporo, Shuuji in..."
Originally released as a manga back in 2000, Saishuu Heiki Kanojo tells the story of 2 young lovers, Shuuji and Chise against the bleak backdrop of World War 3. Living and attending highschool in the remote Japanese countryside of Hokkaido, the story begins with Chise confessing her feelings to Shuji. Though he doesn't take the relationship seriously at first, over time Shuuji finds himself truly falling in love with her. Then one day during a devastating attack on the city of Sapporo, Shuuji inadvertently discovers Chise's hidden secret. She is in fact the Ultimate Weapon, Japan's final solution to winning the war.
Make no mistakes about it, Saishuu Heiki Kanojo is NOT an action story, nor is it a flash bang SF title. It is to put it simply, the most depressingly beautiful love story you have ever seen. On the eve of Armageddon, 2 young people who have not yet lived find themselves desperately in love and fighting against time in order to take back what little humanity they have left. It is bleak, it is depressing, but it is also an infinitely rewarding experience for the reader.
Flash forward 2 years and we come to September 2002 and popular Japanese animation studio Gonzo has just put the final episode of Saishuu Heiki Kanojo to air. To commemorate this event Konami saw fit to release a Playstation 2 game based on the series. Saishuu Heiki Kanojo the game is an inherently Japanese title that follows the well trodden path of turning popular Japanese animations into text driven adventures. In this type of gamer players are required to follow the story and make certain key decisions occasionally that alter their path through the game.
Saishuu Heiki Kanojo's gameplay will be instantly familiar to anyone who has spent time playing any one of the thousands of adventure dating sims available. You read what is happening on screen and then make a decision when prompted. At key moments you'll be treated to some wonderfully animated sequences, some of which were specially made for this game. These will no doubt be relished by fans of the series and are on par with the quality found in the animated series. Because of the text heavy nature of Saishuu Heiki Kanojo, I'd advise you to stay away from it if you are not fluent in reading Japanese. There is very little spoken dialogue to be found and even that is spoken in Japanese so buyer beware.
The object of the game is to save Chise. By being nice to her you can help her fight off her transformation into the Ultimate Weapon and she will be able to save her humanity. Of course you don't have to play it this way if you don't want to. You can choose to follow the story established in the manga/anime or you can opt take a different route through the game. What would have happened if Shuuji had stayed with Fuyumi sempai? Or if he had chosen to be with Akemi instead? The decisions are all up to you... but for me, having fallen in love with Chise myself I found it hard to do anything but try and save her. Reportedly there are up to 80 different endings but I find this claim hard to believe. Having played it through a number of times I've found 3 different endings and I'm sure there is more.
All the reading and watching is broken up occasionally by a series of charming mini games. These won't hold your attention for long, and nor should they. They simply serve as a diversion giving the gamer a much needed chance to re-establish their emotional equilibrium. Successfully completing each challenge will give Chise a little bit of her humanity back giving you another chance to set things right for her.
The music is a fantastic mix of tracks taken from the animated series. Everything here is first class stuff which isn't surprising seeing as it was originally created as a BGM score for TV. The opening theme and closing themes are present as are many of the incidental music tracks found in the TV series.
There is much that makes recommending this game to fans of the series easy. Heck, even if you're not fluent in Japanese, diehard fans may still want to check this out as it's your last chance to spend some time with Shuuji and Chise. Unfortunately though in the end this game isn't something that many people are going to enjoy. Most gamers won't have the emotional connection required to stay with this game longer than a few minutes... and that will be their loss...
* Compelling story
* Great characters
* Beautiful background music tracks
* Stunning art
* Original animated segments created just for this game
* The player MUST be fluent in Japanese
* Could be a little too Japanese for most gamers
* All the reading involved may put off some people
Community review by midwinter (April 25, 2009)
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