The Japanese game with a long name many people will probably need to take a while to remember and learn how to spell is taking hold outside of Japan. By 2020, all four games in the Utawarerumono series will be available everywhere! It’s pretty cool!
Which means, well, people might want to actually know what they are and if they might want to play these visual novel and tactical RPG hybrids. That’s where we come in! Let’s learn more about Hakuoro and Haku!
So, how many Utawarerumono games are there?
The main story has three installments. However, you don’t have to play all three games. The first portion tells the story of Hakuoro, which is great for setting up the world and introducing the whole series. The second and third games focus on Haku’s arc. While they can be played on their own, and many people had to since they were localized first, knowing who Hakuoro is and the world’s secret first is a big help.
Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen (PC, 2002)
Utawarerumono began with the story of Hakuoro. A man who seems to be an ordinary human finds himself in a foreign time and place where every person has animal ears and a tail. A grandmother and her grandchildren take in the insomniac. However, there’s something unusual about this man, and he ends up becoming a key figure in the village and eventually put in a position where he must defend everyone and pulls together an army. This is mostly a visual novel with strategic battles appearing at critical moments.
Utawarerumono ended up showing up on plenty of platforms! In Japan, it started on the PC as a game from Leaf. However, Sting ended up getting involved for the general audience PS2, PSP, PS4 and Vita ports. In 2020, the PS4 and Vita versions will be released outside fo Japan.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (PS3, PS4 and Vita, 2015)
Another game, another man with insomnia being found by people with animal ears and tails. Haku is taken in by a healer named Kuon. However, much like the previous Hakuoro, he gets pulled into wars between different factions and called upon to help defend and fight for the people he now knows. It also is primarily a visual novel with turn-based strategic battles at important moments.
This was the first Utawarerumono game to appear outside of Japan. The PS4 and Vita versions were both localized in 2017.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (PS3, PS4 and Vita, 2016)
This installment tells the second half of Haku’s story. Except now, he isn’t Haku. Instead, he has taken up the mask and mantle of “Oshtor,” in the name of helping to save the princess and fight for what is right to defend a country. In the course of this, he has been separated from Kuon. Players fight through even more battles as they learn the truth about Haku’s identity and fight for Yamato.
Like its predecessor, its PS4 and Vita versions were localized and released in 2017.
I’m not into visual novels, though.
Well, in that case, you should look into Utawarerumono: Zan. This is going to be a retelling of Haku’s story. It is a Musou style game, which means you’ll head out on missions to defeat hordes of enemies as some iconic characters like Haku, Kuon, Ukon, Rulutieh and Ougi are all playable. Between these segments, you’ll go through the story starting with Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. It has been available in Japan since September 2018, and it will come to the PlayStation 4 in the west in September 2019.
What if I would rather watch than play?
Fortunately for you, you can! There are two anime series that follow the events of the original Utawarerumono and the Mask of Deception/Mask of Truth. Funimation has the 26 episodes for the original series online right now and has physical copies of the complete series. If you want to catch up on a second half, then go to Crunchyroll for all 26 episodes of Utawarerumono: The False Faces.