For centuries, the royal family of the Kingdom of Ng have lived under the blessings of their sworn allegiance to the Great Dragon God. But five years ago, the King of Ng realised that the Dragon God had tricked him and his ancestors, and plans to use the power of their condemned souls to destroy the world. The King, his family and the Shi clan of magic users sought to break the vow between the royal family and dragon in a ceremony. But while they managed to seal the god away, it came with a heavy cost. Only the King and his daughter survived the bloodbath, and now that the King is gone, his daughter, FuChai must rule the Kingdom of Ng under her brother’s identity. The new ruler of Ng, faces not only mounting internal and external political pressures but also must race against the clock to find a way to destroy the Dragon God once and for all before his curse destroys her.
My Vow to My Liege is the latest otome visual novel English release by YETU GAME, who is known for their game Lost in Secular Love. At the time of writing this review, I believe the developers and some fans in the community are working on a translation patch, so please be advised that any comments on translation will only be relevant pre-patch.
Where to buy/Price? Steam (Windows & Mac) – $9.99 USD
Number of Romance Options: 4 guys
My play through order: YiGuang –> ZiXu –> GouJian –> Chen Feng (there’s no recommended route order and no ‘true’ route, but I recommend starting with Chen Feng for reasons discussed below)
Game Set Up: 10 chapter main route + 5-7 chapters per individual route + epilogue
First play-through time: 6 hours
Total Play Time: ~12 – 15 hours
Content Warning: At the beginning of chapter 11 in ZiXu’s route there is a flashback to a sexual assault and in Chen Feng’s route when you help save him (I believe around chapter 15, you’ll know when it is as you’ll be make two choices in a row just before) there’s a flashback to the same scene but not as confronting as the one in ZiXu’s route
As a visual novel, the gameplay is centred around choices that you make to influence your play through. As noted in the ‘quick info’, the first ten chapters of the story are a main route, and your choices will decide whose route you get onto. Once on a route, there’s five – seven chapters, and those choices will influence if you get a good or a bad ending. As with all visuals novels, the story and characters come to the forefront. Set during the period of China’s history called the ‘Spring and Autumn period’ (771 – 476BC), My Vow to My Liege provides a rich and immersive story of struggle – struggles with love, political struggles and struggling against one’s supposed destiny. As the story progresses, these struggles weave in with one another, and with a healthy dose of mystical elements you get a truly legendary story. One of the highlights of this game is that you never really know what’s going to happen in any route. Friends can betray you at the drop of a hat, and an old foe can become your greatest ally. FuChai’s journey is a treacherous one, and one that players will be fully immersed into.
The story is supported by a great cast, the star of which is the MC, FuChai. FuChai was a strong character, not just because she was physically strong, intelligent or witty, but because she also had moments of weakness and showed that she was ‘human’. She made mistakes, trusted people she shouldn’t have and sometimes let her pride or anger influence her judgements. She was truly a multifaceted character, and playing through I was not only invested in ensuring her happy ending but also just had a real interest in how she reacted to different situations. In terms of the love interests, I found that they were also all quite intriguing characters. I did see from the Steam reviews some players felt that the story was a bit light on the romance but I actually didn’t mind it. Any romance seemed to progress naturally, especially in the context of a war! Out of the four routes I surprised myself by enjoying GouJian’s the most. At first, he was the kind of character I loved to hate, but as the story progressed there were so many twists and turns in his character I was hooked on him. I did find Chen Feng’s route to be a little weaker compared to the others. He reminded me a lot of Fin from Steam Prison, and I felt there wasn’t too much opportunity to develop his actual character outside of devotion to FuChai.
Art-wise the game is absolutely stunning. I loved the design of FuChai, in almost every image of her she looks strong and imposing – just like how I imagine a ruler to look. Each of the guy’s designs are fantastic as well, and the CGs you unlock are just gorgeous. I think my main complaint is that we don’t get enough art. In the game we learn of four divine beasts and their demonic counterparts, but we only ever get to see one CG of them – the Phoenix. I would have loved to see the other beasts, especially when they fight one another – I can imagine there would be some really spectacular CGs that could come of that. I also found that sometimes the battle scenes were quite hard to follow via text. Sometimes you’d be reading walls and walls of battle strategy staring at some scenery when a graphic of the armies moving (something simple like coloured dots) would have been very effective to give an idea of how the battles were playing out.
As a final positive note for this game, I have to talk about the sound & music. The voice acting in this game was phenomenal. Each character was brought to life with such expressive acting, Chen Feng’s torment, ZiXu’s heartache, GouJian’s anger and YiGuang’s cheekiness all of it was brought to life by the talented cast. Also, I swear I could listen to YiGuang (voice actor Lu Lifeng) whisper sweet nothings to me all day long. Like most otome games, unfortunately the main character isn’t voiced. Usually I don’t mind this too much, but since FuChai was such an interesting character I would have loved to have heard her voice especially in moments when she’s ordering the army around or standing up to her ministers. Music wise the game goes above and beyond, there are so many great tunes that go with each point of the story, really adding to the atmosphere. Perhaps my favourite song in the whole game is the ‘ending’ theme, the first time I heard it was when I got a bad ending and it just hit me like an emotional tonne of bricks. It’s such a fantastic track and was such a great listen to finish off a play through.
Issues in the game tended to cover two main areas – technical and translation. In regards to technical, I’ll preface by saying I was playing on a brand new computer I purchased during the Black Friday sales. I had an absolute hell of a time getting on Chen Feng’s route. As noted above, I completed the other routes before his, and for some reason when I got to his route, it was like the game had ‘locked’ me out of it. I followed two guides (one of them the official developer guide) and tried about five different times and just could not get onto his route. I noticed that when some people had stated on the Steam forums they were having trouble with getting onto routes the developer had commented saying that the save files may have become corrupted and you have to delete them and reinstall the game. So instead, I downloaded the game on my laptop and started a new game and immediately got onto Chen Feng’s route with no issue. I can’t imagine how or why the save files were ‘corrupted’ on my new computer but it also meant I couldn’t complete my Steam achievements of finishing the game and getting all the CGs, unless I wanted to replay the whole thing on my laptop (sobs).
A smaller technical issue was in regards to skipping ‘read’ text. The game would only recognise that you had ‘read’ the text if you started a new game. For example if I was midway through my first play through of Chen Feng’s route, saved, finished the route and re-loaded the save to get to a different ending, it would not recognise I had already read the text. This was annoying as I didn’t want to select the ‘skip unread’ text option as some choices lead to different scenes and I didn’t want to inadvertently skip these. Translation-wise, as mentioned above, there is a new patch coming out so I will try to keep this brief. A lot of the wording of sentence was quite convoluted or just strange. In one of the ‘good endings’, the LI is telling MC that he loves her and her response is “yah, yah what’s yours is yours”. In other scene, the MC describes a sound like “thousands of ants munching on cabbage leaves” (or something to that effect. Some smaller issues included misspelt words, words bunched together like ‘cabbageleaves’ and as mentioned previously it was difficult to follow how battles played out with walls of text.
Between the technical issues that had me pulling my hair out, and the translation issues that had me scratching my head, I almost went bald playing this game. But, and it’s a big but, the story and art were truly incredible. Playing as FuChai, I felt like I was truly in the middle of an epic legend slowly unfolding, from the political intrigue and the mystical elements – there was so much to love. Art-wise, you just have to look at it to know why I’m going gaga over all the love interests in this story. As mentioned above, I do wish they had included just a few more pieces to give visual representation to the battles, but I absolutely cannot fault the character designs or artwork. This was another fantastic otome game by YETU GAME and once the translation patch is out (and if it’s up to scratch), I highly recommend any otome fan who enjoys epic historical stories to check it out.