Basically instead of progressing with SBL, I kept playing La Corda D’oro 3 Full Voice Special and finished it lol. So here’s my non-spoiler review for it. Any CGs in the post will be ones already shown on the official website.
The story is pretty straightforward, aim to win the national music competition. Our heroine, Kohinata Kanade, is friends with siblings Kisaragi Kyouya (CV: Fukuyama Jun) and Ritsu (CV: Konishi Katsuyuki). But Ritsu left for Seisou when they were young as he felt that one needed rivals in order to improve. Years later after receiving an anonymous note after a performance, Kanade recalls Ritsu’s words and decides to follow his footsteps. Kyouya is unable to leave her alone and follows her. At Seisou, they see the school’s orchestra club choosing members for the upcoming contest this summer vacation. Kanade wants to give this a try, and in order to convince the club members opposed to this, they compete first among themselves as an ensemble.
Once they get chosen, the three of them form the Seisou ensemble alongside Sakaki Daichi (CV: Uchida Yuuya) and Mizushima Haruto (CV: Mizuhashi Kaori). The team will progress in the competition as they first have to be selected – they compete against Shiseikan in this stage. Shiseikan’s brass band team is made up of Yagisawa Yukihiro (CV: Itou Kentarou), Hozumi Shirou (CV: Morita Masakazu), Mizushima Arata (CV: Kishio Daisuke) and two others sub-characters. Once they get selected, they compete against Jinnan’s Tougane Chiaki (CV: Taniyama Kishou), Toki Housei (CV: Ishikawa Hideo) and another sub-character in the semi-finals. In the finals, they compete against Amane’s Myouga Reiji (CV: Hino Satoshi), Amamiya Sei (CV: Miyano Mamoru) and Nanami Sousuke (CV: Masuda Yuki). So in total, there are 12 characters you can go after.
From the start of the game, they will guide you through all the game features so no worries. If you really want to, you can follow a walkthrough like I did too. The Kisaragi siblings branch off from the same route near the start. Yukihiro, Chiaki, Housei and Sei branch off from Daichi’s route. And Shirou, Arata, Reiji and Sousuke branch off from Haruto’s route. So my play order kinda went like this: Kyouya, Ritsu, Daichi, Housei, Chiaki, Sei, Yukihiro, Haruto, Shirou, Reiji, Arata, Sousuke. And finally I did the special ending which is basically going after all 12 at once. But in any case, play order doesn’t really matter for each character has his own separate events and endings. Just be mindful that you don’t get access to all characters from the start, since you meet them along the way of the competition.
For this release, as you can tell from the name it’s fully voiced up till the NPCs. I believe that they also added extra events and CGs including ones for the sub-characters. With each route you finish, you unlock bonus events. Naturally you can find the usual stuff such as CGs, scene playbacks, music etc. There is also a taikai mode where you can replay the music scores of all the schools. I was satisfied with all the bonuses you get to unlock – except when I finished the special ending, since you didn’t unlock anything and it was such tedious work sobs. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have that “completionist” streak in you.
It’s kinda hard for me to review since Corda is rooted deeply in its system and characters. System-wise, once you get the hang of it it’s quite straightforward. I don’t really want to go into too much detail since this isn’t meant to be a guide. Just know that at certain point you’ll be needing to use your quick-save/load functions quite a bit.
As for the characters, I actually liked most of them. It’s quite clear that some characters get more focus though, if you judge from the number of CGs and events. Anyway, personally my favourites are the Jinnan guys. I was really amused by how Chiaki’s oresama streak causes him to think highly of himself – but his artistic creations are of questionable taste lol. I found myself usually not being convinced when the guy(s) fall into depression, unless they have really valid reasons like Sousuke. But well, the character’s back story I’m not really convinced by is the violin prince…lol. But that’s all down to personal preference. Like I said, most of the characters are enjoyable so just have fun with their interactions and chemistry. I liked that they aren’t grouped solely by their schools eg. Haruto and Arata are cousins, the 1st years went to the same middle school etc. So it was especially fun to see how they act during lunchtime, if you happen to get the bunch of them together.
The romance, once again, depends on the route. I found myself thinking that some were developed better than others. As for the CGs, not all of them are pretty and they tend to phase out Kanade’s presence except for a few. But I really liked some of them including the new ones (hint: it has birds). Needless to say, the music is a huge plus point and so is the fact that it’s fully voiced. Kanade is quite the typical heroine, but there are moments where you can pick more “daring” choices such as embarrassing the other party. I found myself doing that a lot when I had the chance to lol. But if you look from another perspective, Kanade surely has nerves of steel to put up with the stuff
Reiji they throw at her.
In any case, I enjoyed the game as it was a nice switch from the usual visual novel mode. If you’re curious about the series, why not go for this full voice version? Koei is also working on three releases where Kanade can join either Shiseikan, Jinnan or Amane – the Jinnan one was just released last month! I don’t think I’ll play them, except maybe Jinnan’s? We’ll see how it goes. (And alright, I’ll return to SBL now.)