I finished DRAMAtical Murder recently and wanted to dump my thoughts on the game, the routes, and its ending on the blog. I wrote a piece on a First Impressions post for the BL game almost exactly a month ago so the timing is kind of perfect.
I’ll try to keep this short and succinct but let’s be real, I always end up rambling.
[Story and CG Spoilers Ahead!]
I already went over the story in the First Impressions post but here is a quick summary again for those too lazy to click the link:
Midorijima. Situated to the south of Japan, this beautiful island was once a place where people lived in harmony with nature. Then the Toue Corporation took over, driving off most of the island’s residents and forcing those who would not leave to live in the shadow of Platinum Jail, a walled-off megaresort where the wealthy wallow in luxury. Aoba is a young man living with his grandmother in the Old Residential District, the last refuge of Midorijima’s people.
While his peers join gangs and fight for dominance of the streets or immerse themselves in the virtual reality game Rhyme, Aoba works part-time at a junk shop and hopes only that his peaceful life will last. But strange things are happening on Midorijima, and Aoba will soon have to fight… or lose everything that he holds dear.– Steam Page for DRAMAtical Murder
It does sound quite dramatic and it definitely was. Each route I must say was very unique and added its own flavor (of love) to the overarching story. And speaking of routes, let’s discuss them, shall we?
Back in the First Impressions post, I mentioned that I had ended up on Clear’s Route and was only just starting it. I labelled him “Our Resident Eccentric” and I was pretty right.
Once we arrived at Platinum Jail, Toue’s base of operations basically, Aoba was stuck with Clear who honestly was bit of a handful for our poor protagonist. I mean, this dude made breakfast in just an apron (read: naked), wandered Platinum Jail himself in order to find Oval Tower but found a tower of a very similar name instead, and then he ended up being accosted by some gangsters and is seriously injured (acid!) but then Clear seemingly walks away just fine and your left wondering: what just happened??
Well, ladies and gents, we quickly learn that Clear’s peculiarity is partially due to the fact that he is an android of sorts created by Toue himself. Apparently Clear is “defective” and was supposed to be casted away but the worker in charge of that task smuggled Clear away and raised him…in a way.
And then, the gas mask comes off and boy…
But once the mask comes off, Clear becomes a more serious character. I was a bit surprised and a little disappointed that his goofiness went away with his mask but I still liked the “new” Clear and thought of him as endearing, too.
In all seriousness, I really loved Clear’s route. I ended up even crying a bit during the moments were Clear was dying but still wanted to be intimate with Aoba. Despite knowing full well that going even further with Aoba like that would just hasten his demise. It was definitely a tangibly emotional scene that surprised me with how moved I became.
Anyways, I was right Clear is best boy and is just someone out here trying to do his best from the start and is nice about it too unlike a certain someone.
(Side note: Clear’s the only route where I experienced the bad ending and can we just talk about it for a moment because that ending was wild. I also seriously wondered about Clear and while some may love seeing him that way, I was conflicted because on one hand, priceless bad ending and the CGs were…great I guiltly admit, but Clear…our poor Clear AND Aoba! The whole thing was an emotional wreck of a rollercoaster.)
I didn’t like Mink as a love interest but as a person I could respect his goal. I understand why he acted the way he did but I still felt uncomfortable playing through his route. Before I properly started on his route, I had the naive belief that maybe…maybe he’d get a little better in attitude and personality but it never happened. To be honest, I didn’t mind that actually.
Contradictory, I know, but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who vibe with Mink. If you’re one who has a kink for violence and masochistic pleasure, than this man is for you.
Eventually, Aoba just gives in too. He realizes Mink is just too strong and powerful to overcome so it’s just best to shut up and listen to Mink. Heck, Aoba even comes to enjoy Mink’s brutal thrashings and violent intimacy as he grew to find it pleasurable. Yet, I just felt bad for Aoba really.
I do understand that Mink was also trying to push the other Aoba out through violence (spoiler alert: he was successful) but that’s also just how Mink is.
Sort of. The main reason Mink acted the way he did was due to the fact that he was the last out of his tribe/group called the “People of the Gods” who were sacrificed for experimentation led by Toue. Mink was out for revenge and no one was going to stop or slow him down. Aoba was too soft for him but despite that, in the end when they’re about to confront Toue, Mink actually makes sure to order Aoba out to safety. He came to take down Toue before killing himself and he didn’t want Aoba or his men, the Scratch gang, to be involved in that.
I guess you can say that’s a kindness on Mink’s part, but I still wasn’t sold on his character. I’m just not the sort that enjoyed the violence and brutality.
Noiz was an interesting one. I knew he was going to be a rude boy but I was curious to see what his deal was. First signs something was wrong when Noiz wouldn’t react like a normal person to pain. So I was just like, does he just have high pain tolerance or…?
Turns out, he just couldn’t feel pain period. Which explained actually quite a lot from his hot-blooded behavior to his non-reaction to hot coffee spilling on his hand to beating up gang members and taking it a bit too far. Noiz has not been able to feel pain since he was born. Do you understand what that does to a person?
Exploring Noiz’s history without pain was actually a bit deeper than I thought it was going to go and it brought along with it more of an appreciation for his character. At first, I did say he was kind of annoying and a bit childish (note: he is the youngest love interest at 19 which provided great moments), but again there’s more to him than meets the eye. Not only was he ostracized for his issue with pain, but his rich parents who were embarrassed by him just locked him away all by himself for ages so if the lack of pain stunted his character growth than yup, parental abuse like that will definitely do the trick too. I’m serious, this boy didn’t even know the names of basic food being sold out on the streets.
I won’t go into everything as I urge you all to actually play the game and find out more about Noiz so you can be the judge yourself. For me, I really grew to like Noiz and I hope you do, too.
Also, can we briefly touch upon Noiz’s Allmate/s? Why does this prickly stubborn boy have such cute ones? The gap moe is strong in this one and I love that.
Koujaku was the last route I ended up doing out of the four love interests. I saved him for last because I thought he would be the nicest one besides Clear. He definitely was but he was also an unexpected one. Again, I show my naivety by thinking that he was going to be the most normal one and once again I’m proven wrong.
Not even 5 minutes in Platinum Jail, Koujaku goes off with some girls who approach him and Aoba. I figured he has his reasons but Aoba thinks he’s acting like the usual womanizer he is. And this just starts an unraveling of their relationship as Aoba reflects on the fact that despite being childhood friends, he doesn’t know Koujaku at all.
This feeling only deepens when Koujaku continously skirts around Aoba’s questions as he goes in and out of Glitter (their residence in Platinum Jail). It comes to a head when Koujaku sees Aoba getting entangled with a dreaded acquaintance and he sees red.
See, Koujaku has a…bit of an anger problem. I like him a lot but boy, he has a short-temper and when he sees red, he ends up having tunnel vision. Then this scene happens that was confusing, surprising, and worrying:
From here, it was really interesting seeing Aoba and Koujaku’s relationship repair itself and evolve as secrets are spilled and mutual understanding is shared. I won’t go into specifics since this was already long enough, but I will say out of all the love interests (besides the secret one~), I have to say I loved the dynamic between Aoba and Koujaku the most. It was just cute especially the confession towards the end.
Oh, and let me touch briefly on something else: Koujaku’s transformation due to mind control through tattoos was wild. Yes, mind control through tattoos was a thing. Seeing the effects of that had my eyes nearly ballooning out of my sockets. This game really surprises you, huh?
Hey, so you managed to somehow make your way through four routes with four man with personal issues and problems deeper than the bluest ocean. Congratulations, but you’re not done yet, my friend. See, go back to the main menu of DRAMAtical Murder which should automatically happen after you complete your last route. Tell me, what’s wrong with the menu?
If you guessed that Ren is missing, you’re absolutely correct! Where’d he go? Our beloved blue floofball? Well, that’s a sign that there is still more to DRAMAtical Murder’s story and you got to play one last time for the “true” route aka Ren’s route.
I was really happy to find out Ren indeed had a route because as soon as I saw that he had a human form in Rhyme, my imagination was already running wild with scenarios of him somehow becoming a love interest. I don’t know, I guess he was already growing on me since the beginning.
Anyways, I won’t give away a lot since a LOT happens in Ren’s route including new revelations and new people involved that it would be hard for me to summarize quickly.
I will say I love Ren a lot especially when he gives this puppy dog eyes-like expression that just screams, “Am I doing something wrong?” No, Ren, no you’re not – just continue what you’re doing. My man is cute both as a pup and a man.
But if you don’t care to do the secret route aka Ren’s route, is it still worth it to play his route? Absolutely. Whether you like it or not, his route is the true route and it certainly feels like it. Loose ends I tied up, Ren’s backstory is explored and through it we learn more about Aoba and the other Aoba, and you do still get to see all the men in the end so bonus there.
Overall, as my first true BL game, I found it really enjoyable to play. It wasn’t too long (approximately 25-30 hours), the love interests were all pretty solid (even Mink. Don’t like him like that but respect), and the true route was Ren and that’s all I wanted.
I would highly recommend DRAMAtical Murder if you’re looking to be introduced into the world of BL games. If you’re on the fence, DRAMAtical Murder actually has an anime that came out back in 2014 if you want to watch that first, although of course you should be aware of story spoilers. I have not watch it yet as I wanted to play the game first but different strokes for different folks, people. Do what you think is best.
I’m looking forward to adding more BL games to gaming list, so stay tuned for more.
Thank you for reading and see you in my next post!
My Personal Note About the Intimate Scenes
I honestly forgot to include my thoughts on what I know a lot of you were wondering about – the “intimate” scenes in the game. I glossed over it when talking about the routes and didn’t mention it at all in Noiz’s case, so I wanted to explain my stance on that.
Personally, I don’t care too much about those particular scenes in that I guess compared to the typical player I don’t enjoy it like that. As a person, I’m still tentatively looking more and more at the idea that I’m asexual (still researching and exploring though) and that may be a reason why when I play through these scenes, I don’t feel much. Like I’m happy for the characters, of course, but that’s the extent of my “pleasure.”
Honestly, I’m more interested in the story. That isn’t to say I disregard the scenes as I know they aren’t just there to be pretty as I felt they did add to the story and character development.
I appreciated that as it really felt like the writers of this game were thoughtful when added the scenes instead of just shoving them in there because we “needed” a sex scene. I may be wrong, but I feel like even for players who play for those scenes don’t want them forced in there like that – this isn’t porn.
Granted, I would actually prefer playing a BL game that didn’t have any sex scenes at all like otome games but interestingly enough I haven’t seen a BL game like that but I am new, so maybe I just haven’t encountered that yet. Still, I don’t mind it…but my eyes and ears might suffer.
Anyways, my hats off to those who fully embrace these scenes. My respect to you guys.