Isn’t that a mouthful? A sequel to the popular game Chocolat ~maid cafe curio~ (the 2 games are in the same universe but the time is a few years apart and has different characters), Parfait chocolat second brew was developed by the company GIGA for the PC in 2005, and immediately gained a sizable fan base with its well written story and lovable characters. In fact, it was so popular that a PC re-make was issued, that re-make is what I’m reviewing today. The franchise also spawned a pc2 port (parfait chocolat second style) with extra paths and CG, and then a PC port of the ps2 game (the standard edition). However, most fans view re-order as the best PC version.
Premise: One day, Jin received a phone call from a person who works for Brickmall, new mall that’s opening nearby. The person wants him to open a cafe there, and Jin also really wants to. The problem? His brother, his sister in law, and him had a pretty popular cafe named Famille a few years ago, but then his brother died and the cafe burned down. Since then his sister (and head chef) had refused to have anything to do with cafes, and he hadn’t seen many of the former employees for a while. Of course, Jin isn’t a person who gives up that early, the story follows him as he reclaims his dreams and fights to be with the ones that he love.
A mysterious girl who applied for a job as a waitress at Famille the day before it opened. She’s clumsy but kind, and is great at singing. Even though she looks very happy on the outside, her mysterious past and a big secret threatens to take away her happiness…
When I first saw her I thought “Oh great, not ANOTHER klutzy airhead”, but after a while, she really becomes an important part of the cafe and I absolutelyloved her path, especially the dramatic confession and the twist at the end.
The obligatory tsundere and the chief waitress of Famille’s chief rival, which happens to be the cafe right on the other side of Famille. She also happens to live in the apartment right next to that of Jin’s. She always argues with Jin, but often leave with some word of advice (this is her way of helping Jin, remember, she’s a tsundere). For some reason, she often looks at Famille and then denies it afterward, just what is she looking at?
Her ending confused me greatly, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.
A flirtatious jokester who agreed to take the position of head chef after Ema refused to take the position. She’s always overshadowed by her genius sister who excels at making Japaneses snacks pastries, and her friend and teach Ema, who excels at making European cakes and pastries. For some reason, she has been getting mysterious phone calls lately.
In every story, there are some characters that has potential, but ends up not being very memorable. For me, Kasuri is one of those characters. Quote from a guy from the game translation group “she just didn’t have love.”
She’s high school senior and Jin’s tutoring student. Having worked in Famille as a waitress before the accident, she was also the first one to support Jin’s idea to re-opening Famille. She has a bright personality and a very obvious crush on Jin.
I didn’t like her path as most of it involved Asuka completely throwing herself at Jin, which is an act that I’ve always disliked. There wasn’t much of a twist in her story either.
Jin’s sister in 2 regards. First, she is his sister-in-law, and second, she is his adoptive sister. As Jin’s parents died when he was still young and while his brother was at legal age, he wasn’t capable of taking care of his younger brother. Ema is warm person who can’t wake up in mornings and is very protective of jin, in fact, her co-workers all agree that she has a brother complex. While she went against re-opening Famille at first, she eventually reclaims her position as head chef.
While I didn’t have high hopes for her path, it gave me a pleasant surprise and a huge twist. It was definitely touching, and one of the better paths in the story.
The previous chief and main accountant of Famille, she is the only person who didn’t to back to work at Famille. She is known at her college as being a cool beauty, and she tells everyone that tries to confess to her that Jin is her boyfriend. That hurts Jin quite a bit as he knows that Rikako dumped him a long time ago. She is good at everything she does and doesn’t often smile. Just why did she dump him? And what is the big secret that’s she’s carrying?
I’ve saved the best for last. Rikako is my favorite character in the whole game and I absolutely loved her story, especially the heavy use of foreshadowing and the eventual reveal of the truth. The story brought me to tears, and it is definitely one of the best stories that I have ever enjoyed.
While some parts are lacking, the majority of the game was well written and enjoyable. I was never really bored with the game, and this is one of the very few games where something that’s important and relevant to the plot was expressed through the h-scene. The protagonist, Jin, is also a very developed character, and you can clearly see how all the characters change throughout the entirety of the story. All of the paths connect together in some way, and it’s only after finishing all of them that I had could see the bigger picture. A theme in the story is rebirth. This can be seen by the destruction and then rebuilding of Famille and the many broken and then mended relationships inside the story. Even though the path were long and hard, when the eventual happy ending comes it just feels so much more worth it.
In this edition, there are 3 extra side stories, they are small and enjoyable, and add to the value of the entire story.
Ugh, the art is… not that good, to say the least. While the maid outfit has lots of detail put into it, it feels unbalanced and awkward. None of the cloths in the story really impress me, and most of the poses in the event CGs look unnatural in a way. The most important part of the character, the face, feels too simple and generic. Also, the characters, especially Yui, are stuck with necks that are way to big for them. However, the backgrounds are very nicely done.
In the side stories, there are newly added CGs. I wept when I realized the lost potential…. Here’re 2 comparisons:
Voice acting: 9.5/10
The voice acting was superb in this vn, all the voice actresses had very different sounding voices, and most of them had this quality to them that makes them sound very pleasant. Asuka’s voice bugged me a little, but that’s just me. Yui, who sings a lot, sounds like she really enjoys singing; Ema sounds completly engrossed when she starts to tell everyone how Jin was like when he was small; when the characters cry, you can just hear all their emotions being poured into their lines.
The music’s interesting and light, with the majority being piano pieces. Some of the pieces that plays during the emotional moments still give me goosebumps. While the music is already good on its own, this game improves it even more by putting in 2 versions of the background tracks! You can switch between the 2 anytime. The opening theme is Leaf Ticked, sang by the popular KOTOKO. I really like this song, as it’s energetic, but slower than most of the stuff that you usually hear from KOTOKO.
Best system ever (well, it’s tied with that of fate stay night anyway).
I can just go on and on about how good this system is, but I’ll shorten it down for you. This vn has just about every single option that you can possible imagine, with lots of extra goodies thrown for good measure. Some of the more interesting things are:
There are pretty much no choices, you just pick the events that you want to see in order to get to the endings. There’s even a graph to help you keep track of the events that you’ve seen. There are retractable option buttons under the text box. There’s a save bar that you can turn on and off. You can change the text color, which is different for each character. You can config your key functions. You can use system voices for any of the heroines that you have finished. The title screen is normally like this.
But the background turns dark at night. The thumbnails in the cg gallery are mini sideshows and show all the variations of that particular cg.
Sadly, the games lacks a bit in effects. For instance, when it’s snowing, the flakes are simply painted into the background instead of being animated.
Voice acting: 9.5/10
Total: 87.5/100 A
An absolutely amazing game that will take you on an emotional journey. If you can play any vn and/or eroge out there, this is one of the first I’d recommend. I laughed and cried in the vn, and if you ever get a chance to play this, I hope you will too.