I didn’t expect Orangeblood to stymie my progress for days to come. Exactly what triggered the issue is up for debate but never before has one of the files of a game set off an antivirus alert. That’s not the only reason Orangeblood stands out from the crowd of games I’ve played, and for some time to come I will remember it. Nonetheless, ‘Memorable’ and ‘nice’ are not interchangeable, and while I can appreciate some of what is being done here, it has left me largely unconverted.
The whole of Orangeblood takes place in New Koza after a swift introduction into a CIA holding cell. Vanilla Vincent was charged with doing some off – the-record research to get released from prison, in a town off Okinawa’s shore packed with mafia members from various nations. Vanilla gets immediately targeted by the Russian mob along with her inexperienced assistant Machiko. Defeat in this encounter does not spell the end, and the pair sets off to investigate the various layers beneath New Koza while fighting off repeated aggressors of organized crime Orangeblood cheats.
Orangeblood’s setting is an imaginary World where history has taken several different turns, but very little of it is clarified or discussed. A couple of hints about the outside world never get the attention away from New Koza, which would be perfect if this place were built into an interesting environment. An artificially generated city off Okinawa’s coast where numerous organized crime gangs have separate fiefdoms and no authorities are obvious should be a mature place, but that never happens. Vanilla is no more interested in knowing about the place than she has to, while much of the things that could have happened elsewhere. New Koza does not become enough of a distinct position, except through its NPCs speaking in text boxes that are created automatically and disappear on the screen after a moment.
Localization of Playism allowed the option to continuously festoon Orangeblood with edgy profanity and hip-hop slang, which gives the text a special feel. This method often quite easily wears out its welcome, as the sharp ‘edginess’ of the chosen terms generally outweighs whatever comparative mundanities are said. Such a style takes over plot itself and distracts viewers rather than contributing more to it. The protagonists are far too excited about murdering their way through countless organized crime troops, even though Vanilla supposedly has a lot of field experience Orangeblood crack.
Fight, with some changes to the normal formula, is turn dependent on. The protagonists use bullets to packing heat and mow their enemies down, which is a gameplay feature because reloading a weapon takes a turn. Skill points serve the function of allowing additional moves to be employed beyond just gunning down enemies, but SP is obtained by receiving and dealing damage, and does not carry between fights. Things can’t be used in battle, and the small generation of SP can be a challenge to heal.
Fights in Orangeblood rely, more than anything else, on planning. Firearms come in a couple of specific forms but have a wide variety of possible impacts. Others carry incredible firepower in return for removing the ability to dodge something, or have a tiny magazine that requires constant reloading but is incredibly precise. Bosses possess the ability to act thrice per turn alongside minions that give substantial bonuses to them and are very capable of tearing the player’s side apart without appropriate equipment in place. Daily enemies at the end of the game often possess large numbers of HP and are able to move more than once, just in case the player has not yet come up with a coping device. At least Orangeblood is generous to defeated teams, losing only about a quarter of the current cash instead of any advances.
Do you like to be in the pool by the car park next to the flying? Will you really?
Owing to the multitude of variables at hand, it is not always easy to screw through all the details to make the best option for the equipment. To further obfuse matters, the definitions of objects are often couched in more hip-hop jargon that is not adequately explained, leading to an uncomfortable break-up of words between lines. Luck also plays a major part, as shops have a much smaller role to play in outfitting the player than is found in random chests strewn through the dungeons. Orangeblood is at least kind of making players sell spare inventory instantly after the limit of fifty is reached for each group, something that prevents the resources on hand from being overwhelming.
The musical accompaniment to Orangeblood is consistent with his hip-hop dialogue, and all of it is catchy. The number of compositions is not especially high but is certainly adequate to keep things varied for the ten to fifteen hours that the main quest requires. Sound effects often draw criticism due to how overpowering they are in the audio mix, but are effective in portraying items like opening gunshots or doors. As for the visuals, they do carry New Koza to life while appearing to be equivalent to what the Super Nintendo would have hosted. Enemies particularly have quite a personality.
Many additional achievements are hidden behind an optional dungeon but I was done with Orangeblood after failing to find the right formula for success against the later bosses. It tries to do a lot of things, and has certainly a distinct personality from everything else that I recall playing. Layering this in needless profanity is not the magic bullet to become awesome though, and using the actual bullets of the game is always more difficult than it should be. If a sequel is to happen there is plenty of room for development.