|Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4|
|Release Date:|| : June 19, 2008 (Wii/PS2)|
December 22, 2010 (PSP)
|Game Modes:||Single Player|
|Platform(s):||Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable|
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4 (遙かなる時空の中で4) is the fourth installment in the Haruka series. It's the first and so far only title in the series to be on the Wii and to be rendered with 3D models. It was voted as the number one otome game of the year for 2008.
Since the third installment was the climax of the Heian period, Ruby Party members wanted to explore the series's title of a "faraway time". They decided on a prequel title set in ancient Japan with aims to explain various aspects and origins of the series's lore. While its primary aim is to be a fantasy title to contrast its quasi-historical predecessors, it's heavily inspired by mythology in India and Japan. The overall theme of this title is "forbidden love".
Its Premium Box version included a still image collection book and an art card by Tohko Mizuno. The Treasure Box edition includes these books with a batch of new illustrations from Mizuno and a gemstone set used to represent the Eight Guardians in the series. A minor mistake was made with the gemstone collection for which the company issued an official statement and apology.
The protagonist is one of two princesses of a prestigious kingdom stationed in a land called Nakatsu Kuni within the parallel world. During her childhood, the kingdom was invaded by forces led by the king of Tokoyo no Kuni, a distant rival land connected to her kingdom. As Nakatsu Kuni is quickly overwhelmed, a divine power sends the protagonist through space-time to the modern world, protecting her from her kingdom's slaughter and ruin.
The time is April 17, 2008. Five years have passed since the massacre and the protagonist has suppressed her memories of her true origins. She believes she has been raised in the modern world and enjoys her peaceful life as an average high school student. Yet a mysterious encounter she has after school soon forces her to remember her true past and birthright. Returning to her home world, the protagonist is determined to save her people and resurrect her dying kingdom.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4 follows a similar RPG dominant format featured in the series's third title:
- The game's story is separated in a distinct chapter format and not by automated daily progression as the first two titles. The main story can be completed whenever the player desires.
- The player can replay any chapter they have completed. Data gained before completing a chapter in progress, however, will be erased.
- The party explores various locations throughout the game by moving the protagonist to locations on an overworld map screen. Glowing white areas on the map fully restore the party's vitality when the player reaches it. When a location is highlighted, the player can press the confirmation button to enter it.
- Active party members can switched in between battles to form a maximum party of four. The protagonist cannot be removed under normal circumstances.
- Quick battles rewards a miniature boost of relations for the participants and extra elements.
- The game's skip feature can be used to fast-forward previously seen story events, battle animations and automated travel on the overworld map.
Though the game shares these similarities with its predecessor, there have been small changes to the system for a quicker and easier presentation.
Players no longer have to hold down the skip button (L2 on PS2) if they wish to breeze through battles or events. The skipping speed can be adjusted to be as slow or as fast as the player desires and is automated with a single button tap (similar to Neo Angelique or Kiniro no Corda). A fast forward icon at the bottom right hand corner of the screen indicates if action is being fast forwarded or not. Skipping can be canceled by tapping the skip button a second time.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 required the player to hop back to a particular chapter if they wanted to change the timeline of the entire game. The process erased certain events from occurring and offered fluctuating chapter availability, requiring multiple playthroughs of the game if they wished to see each character's story.
This game has every story chapter that the player has completed cataloged in the chapter selection menu. If the player wishes, they can choose to revisit any chapter they want without any ramifications for affecting the game's timeline. While sub characters still follow the previous format of being tied to the main storyline, the main characters have their own sections for their story and endings. Once they are earned, the player can enjoy them again without needing to fulfill their events a second time.
Travel on the overworld map can be automated by opening a sub list of locations in the current area ( on PS2). The player can highlight and confirm whatever location they wish to visit; areas pertaining to the main story have a purple icon next to it for the player's convenience. Pressing the confirmation button within this menu then automatically moves the party to whatever location was highlighted in the menu. The player can stop the sequence by pressing the cancellation button.
While the game is mainly featured in 3D, 2D still images and cut-ins are present to illustrate the cast.
Health and Will power are also shown through numerical values the player can easily follow. Combat remains turn based like other titles; normal battles are now random encounters on the overworld map. Like other titles in the series, elemental strengths and weaknesses apply to allies and enemies.
Battles are often set in a four versus four formation. The main party sits in the center with the opposition surrounding the outer edges. Party members have their backs to one another to defend themselves from the enemy on all sides. The goal of the formation is to defeat enemies one at a time so the free party members can move to assist one another. A character cannot change their position until they dispatch the enemy before them. Character affinity with the protagonist can increase if the formation to assist her is done within the battle's first turn. If the protagonist finishes first, she can choose to support whoever she wishes.
The player is mainly restricted to choosing the protagonist's actions. She can:
- Attack (攻撃) - selecting this option gains access to two choices:
- Normal Attack - attacks the opponent directly in front of her with a normal attack.
- Oath (誓約) - costs 15 Will to use and requires another character in the party. Protagonist shoots an arrow high into the air. The character who shares high relationship ratings with her then offers to lend their strength for the attack. For it to succeed, the player has to correctly input the following special button sequence before the timer runs out. Has the potential to deal massive damage to target.
- Magic (術) - cast magic while draining Will. Magic available varies on the current party and the protagonist's innate element.
- Special Move (特技) - selecting this option opens a sub menu with the following choices:
- Cheer (応援) - words of encouragement to boost a character's attack power for one turn.
- Concentrate (集中) - uses a turn to restore the protagonist's lost will.
- Heal (回復) - costs 10 Will to use. Restores lost health for one character.
- Summon (召喚) - costs 10 Will to use. Asks a selected sub character to replace protagonist's actions for one turn.
- Escape (避難) - self-explanatory. Has a certain fail rate. May lower bonds with current party members.
Blue circular icons can be spotted near each of her actions in the menu. The amount of icons present indicates an action's efficiency for the current turn (three being best, one being worst). It may prove beneficial for the player to keep an eye on these icons for optimal results.
Before the player confirms the protagonist's actions, they can open a secondary battle menu to re-arrange the AI for ally characters (L1 for PS2). This function is particularly useful for grueling boss battles, as it can encourage party members to better support one another. From right to left, the following commands are:
- Leave the situation to the character - standard AI functions.
- Defeat enemies without restraint - selected character will perform their strongest physical attack abilities nonstop.
- Recover lost Will - the single character will concentrate to regain Will.
- Focus on healing and spells - character heals allies and performs their support abilities.
- Don't use any Will - auto-attack function for a single character.
- Protect (character name) - orders this character to guard one of their three party members.
Elements can be gathered by the party after completing battle. In the menu screen, the player can use allocated elements to strengthen party members with improved stats and special abilities. Unlike the previous title, however, elements are categorized into subsections with the Ten Heavenly Stems and yin-yang properties. Each character has different elemental needs so it's encouraged to fight a variety of battles throughout the game.
Certain characters in the main party can also convert elemental types if the player has an excess of a single elemental type. Although this feature can become costly, it offers an alternate method for building elements.
The player can build affinity ratings only between the protagonist and the main characters, a first in the series. Bonds are represented throughout the game as floating light green stars (★ throughout the game). They can be increased by quickly finishing battles, selecting favorable responses in story events, or by successfully completing a character's personal events. A deep bass drum will ring if the player has triggered a dramatic increase.
Characters who have personal story routes each have a feature called "Heart Scales" (心の天秤, kokoro no tenbin) during their personal events. The protagonist can see these scales as a symbolic gesture of changing a person's heart. Depending on the player's actions, these can be tipped towards success (right) or failure (faded in the menu screen). In extreme cases, the scales may even break apart. Scales are the triggers needed to see personal character endings in the game. Each character has varying conditions for the scales, and it's impossible to see all endings simultaneously.
Each main character and sub character has their own yin-yang affiliation in the elements, affecting the amount of elements the party earns after battle. When a character's Heart Scales are completed correctly, the main party can earn more of their innate element. Completing character routes, in other words, can speed the process of creating a stronger main party.
Load from a previous save. The player is given a total of 30 different save slots. One completed playthrough unlocks the option of keeping the player's previous settings for the protagonist. They can then hop to whatever chapter they completed from their last playthrough. Characters also keep their earned parameters and abilities from cleared save data.
Includes a gallery and music selection. The gallery shows alternations of the same illustration during story events and doubles as a limited event gallery. As the player views an image, they have the option to revisit a portion of the original event which featured it.
Lets the player adjust the speed of text being displayed on screen and the skipping speed of the game's events. Volume adjustments for sound effects, music, and voices (as well as a muting option for certain characters) is also included. The player can also choose to remove the button guides visible on the screen throughout the game. If these settings are changed before starting a new game, they will automatically be in effect.
Cellphone bonuses after inputting passwords given on the Gamecity Fanclub site. Rewards players with images and audio clips for their cellphone.
Nakatsu Kuni armyEdit
Tokoyo no Kuni forcesEdit
The PSP re-release (Aizouban) offers the following additions different from the first release.
- Voice actors from the game's drama CDs return to voice sub-characters in the game. They are only voiced during the extra events for this title.
- Bonus events and illustrations appear for characters after their ending.
- A trial version of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5 is available in the main menu.
Its Treasure Box edition includes an analog clock voiced by the eight main characters, a book with illustrations from Tohko Mizuno and signatures from the voice actors, a voice actor commentary CD, and a special drama CD. The drama CD entails a what-if scenario of the main characters within the modern world.
Save data from this version of the game can also be used to unlock small bonuses for players in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4 was first announced as a new title at Neoromance ♥ Alamode 3. It was promoted at Neoromance ♥ Festa ~ Haruka Festival 2008 and participating voice actors stated their opinions of their characters on stage. It was also one of the titles presented by Ruby Party member, Mayuko Oomori, at the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference 2010. She presented Kazahaya as an example for the character portrait process.
The Aizouban version was simultaneously announced at Tokyo Game Show 2010 and Neoromance ♥ Event "10 Years Love" with Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5. It was later promoted at Neoromance Starlight ♥ Christmas 2010 and in the radio program Neoroma & Musou. The game's song Tanoshiki Madoi was also used for segments of the radio program.
Several CDs were published for the game. The audio dramas on these discs include scenarios that happen before and during the game's story. Characters from this IP crossover into other character image songs in a CD called Neoromance Friends. Three Haruka 4 character image songs were included in the first Neoromance Christmas CD, ~Seiya ni Love Song wo~. A Futsuhiko and Michiomi character image CD was offered exclusively at Neoromance Starlight ♥ Christmas and Neoromance Starlight ♥ Christmas 2012. Nasatya and Ernest Satow were available for Neoromance ♥ Halloween Party. Neoromance ♥ Festa Alamode 4 had Kazuhiko Inoue (Kazahaya) record an exclusive character monologue and image song for its event CD, Neo Romance Ondo.
Various publications have also been made for the game. Free samples of the fan made four panel comics can be read online at Gamecity. The March 27, 2008 issue of Dengeki Girl's Style included coverage for the game and a special book for the series up at the point. The game also received coverage in the August 2008 issue of Sweet Princess.
A short prelude comic for the game was illustrated by Tohko Mizuno and published in LaLa. The stories were then compiled into a single volume. Two light novels were authored by Yui Tokiumi with illustrations by Chiyoko. Interested fans can read samples of these novels at Gamecity Bunko.
- Performed by Yukihiro Takiguchi
*used as game's ending song.
- The ballroom music featured in the Kiniro no Corda series is reused during Mudgala's bonus event in Aizouban.
- Official website
- Aizouban official website, Official Aizouban promotional video on Koei-Tecmo's YouTube channel, Voice clock from Treasure Box edition
- Playstation Japan product page
- Dengeki first impressions report