Rule of Rose has become for me one of the hardest games to track down for a reasonable price. The game was the unfortunate victim of ridiculous and sensationalist controversy started by politicians looking for an easy target to raise their profile and wasn’t helped by some of the worst members of the press, such as the absolute arse rag of a paper the Daily Mail, exasperating it. False allegations of sadomasochistic sequences involving minors and scenes of a sexual nature between children were entirely fabricated and despite ELSPA, the videogames rating board in Europe, giving the game a 16+ rating and releasing a statement that these allegations were false, publisher 505 GameStreet decided against releasing the game in the UK, which subsequently meant no release in Ireland. The game was released in the US by Atlus but has since become very rare. It’s a real shame that the game didn’t find a wider audience since it’s one of most interesting games on the PS2. I had to resort to ‘less scrupulous methods’ to play the game and am still on the lookout for a copy.
|The Red Crayon Aristocrats|
|The cute Brown sniffing out clues|
|There's some very uncomfortable moments in the game and while not explicit it's easy to put two and two together.|
|Combat is usually a total clusterfuck|
Unfortunately I can’t say many good things for how the game plays. The puzzle solving is unambiguous and the use of brown to find clues is inspired. However combat is absolutely atrocious. Thankfully the best method for dealing with the enemies is to run past them but there are points where you have to face large groups of unavoidable enemies that can lead to frustration. There’s also a handful of ill-advised boss that don’t work and drag on for far too long. The creative directors of survival horror games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil have explain that the poor combat was a design choice to increase tension but in the case of Rule of Rose it’s just really bad and serves no purpose. I know it’s realistic to make Jennifer attack like the delicate flower she is but it shouldn’t be at the expense of making the game playable. Thankfully the poor combat isn’t a deal-breaker due to just how compelling the story is.
Rule of Rose has some big problems but I feel that, just like with Deadly Premonition, it’s worth sticking out the rough patches to experience what the rest of the game has to offer. It’s one of those games were combat is needlessly added and I feel the game would have been better off as a straight up adventure game and forgo combat entirely. However the imagination and creativity in the storytelling complimented by the excellent visuals and sound design make Rule of Rose a game that is well worth experiencing.