Review: Shira Oka: Second ChancesPosted 2:57 am on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by Benson Chen
Shira Oka: Second Chance is a dating simulation game created by a company called Okashi Studios that is based in San Francisco Bay Area. As one of the first dating simulation game that is created by an American company, this is a great attempt at the genre.
The story of Shira Oka begins with a man who has wasted his life away just getting by through life. He became seriously ill and had a horrible nightmare. When he wakes up, he realizes that he is no longer the age he was. He is now a 15 year old about to enter high school. An angel appears in front of him to tell him that she has been send to give him a second chance in life. The main character, who you will get to name, decided that he will now give high school and the rest of his life another try, and see if he can have a better life than the one he once lived.
As the player, you will get a chance to distribute your status point and set the growth direction of your character. Also, points can be used to change the quirks of the character for the better: Things like intelligence and physical traits, changing the quirks so that your character is now more lucky, or has a better memory, and other character creation and development that most veteran players are very familiar with.
There are quite a few female characters you can interact with and potentially date. As always, each character will have their likes and dislikes, and it is our job as players to figure out what we need to do, and what series of events we need to trigger to have them fall in love with the character. If the character does not have any romantic interest by around April of the third year, the angel sends the character back in time so you get to try again. With each reset, your character does not retain any of the already gained skills from the previous run through. However, you as the player will have the knowledge of events already transpired. The available choices for the character also change between each play through depending on the events already triggered.
Besides the initial points to develop your character, often when the player is presented with a choice, the proper choice will lead to the award of 1 XP. The character starts off with 4 negative quirks, but as you obtain more XP, you can exchange the points for better quirks that either make you more lucky, more charming, have a better memory, or more determined to finish what you have started. Each quirk has 3 stages to complete. Stage one is unlocked at the beginning, and the other two stages need to be unlocked with XP.
The character has 6 main stats to get him through the game. The 6 stats are: literature, art/music, sports, science/math, fashion, and popularity. the first 4 stats will influence the grades your character gets in school exams, while the last 2 helps with triggering events, making other people like you, and creating an opportunity to get romantically involved with the female characters in general. If his grades aren’t kept up, the angel will send you back in the past and make you restart the game again, but if you focus too much on the academics and neglect your popularity and fashion sense, the angel will also send you back in the past, since you are not romantically involved with anyone by the end of the third school year. It is really, really hard to find a perfect balance to increase the stats of the character, but after a few play-throughs, even players not familiar with the genre can slowly catch up on what needs to be done.
The art style and music composition is quite simple, but at the same time, it is a refreshing change of pace from all the main stream games these days. Also, this game differentiate itself with Japanese releases of the same genre with simpler game play, but focuses on what makes the game part of the genre.
All in all, this is not a bad game to play. For fans of the genre, or people who has always wanted to try dating simulation games, this is something that they should pick up and try for themselves. Although it’s not as great as some of it’s Japanese brothers and sisters, it is still a really well made game. So for those who are into games like this, and don’t like going through the trouble of finding translation and what not, this is the perfect game for you to pick up ad try.
This game is now on avaliable on Gamer’s gate for 24.99. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.shira-oka.com/