DATE A LIVE: Rio Reincarnation is the latest visual novel published by Idea Factory to receive a simultaneous release on both the PlayStation 4 and PC. Previously released in Japan on the PlayStation 3, Rio Reincarnation includes both Rinne Utopia, Arusu Install. On top of Rio-Reincarnation, the package includes three games with plenty of extras and many hours of gameplay.
The storyline begins with Rinne Utopia with Shido Itsuka, a second year student, who is gifted with the extraordinary ability to seal a power’s spirit. He is stuck in an otherworldly situation when the entirety of Tengu city is engulfed in shadows and a large mysterious barrier. To make matters worse, the presence of looming spirits from another world poses a deadly threat to everything and everyone he holds dear. As the spirits all happen to be beautiful ladies, Shido fights to keep the city safe by making it his mission to seal their powers. As one may reasonable expect, it is easier said than done as Shido must figure out what to say and how exactly to capture the hearts of the spirits. With assistance from Kotori, commander of the enigmatic Ratatsokr organization, he is ordered to learn more about their primary agendas and to romantically pursue them whenever possible.
The events that unfold in Rinne Utopia lead up to Arusu Install with a comical spin on the story with the return of the femme fatale cast of characters. Shido senses something is amiss and is persuaded to try a new VR system only to find himself hopeless trapped after it glitches and the system integrity is suddenly compromised. Not wasting any time, the ladies quickly join Shido and rush to his aid after he meets an NPC by the name of Maria Arusu. More questions than answers are posed as to her true identity and purpose as they all spend time together in the VR world that closely mirrors the real world to a striking degree of accuracy. As for Rio-Reincarnation, it contains both Rinne Utopia and Arusu Install as well as its own unique storylines. Providing any details would spoil the experience as it is strongly recommended that you play the first two titles prior to delving deep into Rio-Reincarnation as it ties them together into one cohesive narrative.
Much of the gameplay stems from decisions and choices made on the city map. Several locations have characters assigned to them that vary from day to day. You have a limited number of choices to make by interacting with side characters as well as the main cast. If you select a key event, the clock icon will blink continuously, signifying that a choice is made for that respective day. By choosing one girl over the others, you will alter the available of characters that may be present or suddenly be unavailable due to the character route chosen. There is no particular order of events as you are free to choose any location you wish. Any dialogue choices that arise will come up as a result of interacting with the ladies with numerous outcomes, both good and bad, to the overall storyline.
DATE A LIVE: Rio Reincarnation offers a ton of value and gameplay all in one unique package. Though the price tag may turn off some visual novel fans, the amount of content you receive is well worth the retail price. The pacing is slow in certain areas but it doesn’t take away from the game’s intriguing plot, unique cast of characters and sheer volume of content. If you love dating sims and visual novels, look no further than DATE A LIVE: Rio Reincarnation this summer.
PROS (+): Cast of Characters, Multiple Endings, Comical Antics
CONS (-): Repetitive Dialogue
SCORE – 8.0/10
This review is based on a digital copy of DATE A LIVE: Rio Reincarnation on Steam provided by Idea Factory International