2019 is a big year for otome fans. A region that is normally lucky to get a localization of any otome games is getting the second fan disc for one. It is a big deal. But, someone might also see Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracle~ about to realize and wonder what is the big deal and how to start getting into this series. Well, fortunately for you, we’re experts on all things otome and more than familiar with Cardia’s journey.
What is Code: Realize?
Code: Realize is a part of Idea Factory’s Otomate line. That means this is a visual novel with romantic elements. You follow a young woman named Cardia as she goes on an adventure with five men, all of whom are eligible bachelors. Depending on the decisions you make, she might end up in a relationship with one of them at the end.
The twist here is that Cardia isn’t the average heroine. She’s a young woman with a lethal touch. She exudes some sort of poison that can kill people who get close to her bare skin. That would pose quite a problem on the romantic front.
Except the men who play a big part in her life are no ordinary people. One is Arsene Lupin, the thief. Another is Victor Frankenstein, who is a mad scientist in literature and the Imperial Court for the English Government’s Head Alchemist here. Abraham Van Helsing, who you might recognize for killing vampires, is a part of a secret organization here. The other two bachelors, Impey and Saint-Germain, similarly have secrets that tend to be rather out of the ordinary. It’s not your typical romance story.
How many Code: Realize games are there?
There are three Code: Realize games out there. However, the way they are sold might confuse people. This is because the series appeared on the PlayStation Vita first, but then eventually a PlayStation 4 version that included both the original game and its first fan disc was released as a bundle, for people who wanted to catch up.
Just to make things easier, we’ll list the Code: Realize PS4 bundle separately, so you know exactly what is going on there.
Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Vita, 2015)
Here we have the original story. Cardia, a girl with a poisonous touch, is living alone in a house. She’s discovered by a man and brought into the world of the living. This begins to expose her identity, provide answers about her existence and give her a chance to find love.
Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ (Vita, 2018)
This is the first follow-up. It features epilogues for the five main bachelors showing what a relationship with Cardia is like now that the events of the original story have led to certain things being resolved. It also introduced a new storyline starring Herlock Sholmes as a new bachelor option and an alternate storyline with Finis.
Code: Realize ~Bouquet of Rainbows~ (PS4, 2018)
Remember how things could get confusing? This is the one. This is the culprit. It contains Guardian of Rebirth and Future Blessings on one disc or in one download. It makes for a very efficient way to play all content that was available at the time, though someone would need to back out to a main menu to swap between the two games.
This version also received a Nintendo Switch release in Japan, so don’t rule out a possible localization.
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ (PS4 and Vita, 2019)
This is the latest Code: Realize installment and has an additional epilogue story set around the holidays for the five main bachelors, two-on-one dates that allows Cardia to go on a date with two bachelors at once, epilogues for Herlock Sholmes and Finis, and a Cantarella side-story.
Which Code: Realize games do I need to play?
If you are curious about Code: Realize, there is really only one game you need to play. That is the original Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~. It introduces us to Cardia, shows us her interactions with the five main bachelors and has us dealing with the main conflict. All of the other titles are what are called fan discs.
This means, instead of being full additional games, they are really supplemental content. Each one of the Code: Realize fan discs is building upon the original game with side-stories or epilogues. Sometimes, there are even additional routes or alternate storylines. It means they also are not games you play alone or separate from the main game. You have to go through the first game before heading into any other one.
Is there any other way to experience Code: Realize?
Why yes, there is! A Code: Realize anime series was released in 2017. It consisted of 12 episodes going over the main storyline and an additional one that acted as an original video animation. It is available in English, with people able to view it on Crunchyroll or grab physical copies of it. Unlike the games, which offer multiple possibilities as to who Cardia could end up with, it has a very specific pairing in mind.