First released in Japan in September of 2002 and then just a few years later getting an official English release in 2006 followed in 2009 with an official release in China, Enzai Falsely Accused has over the years earned itself a bit of a cult following within certain yaoi and boys love circles as well as infamy in others. For in the west in the the mid to late 2000’s a new kind of yaoi fan was emerging and this game was for many a first step into the world of yaoi visual novels; and this wasn’t a light step into the shallows this is a title that dived head first into depravity and many from that era of the yaoi fandom have many a bad flashback to this game. That being said many playing the game at the time were still teenagers and not necessarily old enough for this kind of content. So that begs the question is this game as fucked up as many would make you believe? How has this game aged since its release in the early 2000’s and if it is so bad why does it still have fans today? This is Enzai Falsely Accused.
I went into this visual novel expecting some edgy yaoi story set in a prison with a lot of rape and torture; and yes, you will find those themes within this game. There are some truly horrific depictions of torture and rape in this game not unlike another title I reviewed here last year, however unlike Hadaka Shitsuji which is a game that is sadistic for the sake of being sadistic Enzai surprised me throughout my playthrough with the level of heart and sweet moments found within it’s many routes and some of the best written characters I have found in a yaoi visual novel yet.
The story of the game takes place in post-revolutionary France during the early 19th century though an exact date is never given. You play as Guys a young man barely out of his childhood who while out with friends one day is caught shop lifting and then charged with murder and locked away for life. It is not a stretch to say that many plot and story elements within this game can escalate very quickly within the game. One minute you are talking to your friends in the courtyard and the next minute you are being dragged to the torture chambers within the prison for some extreme torture that involves Guys being hung from the ceiling by chains.
Being just barely an adult Guys will come across as very naïve for the first half of many of the routes within the game and depending on which route you choose you will see him grow into either a confident man who over comes some horrible traumas and come out the other end with at the very least a happy ending or you will see him become an emotionally broken doll who wishes for death, the choice really is up to you, with the exception of your first playthrough.
In order to get all the endings you have to get ending one first which is the most basic of story routes where you must prove your innocence by gathering evidence by any means necessary and survive your time in prison, do not focus on any romance options for this first playthrough is my best advice because once you get the first good ending for the game or ending 1 as the game calls it more routes are opened to you including a hidden romance option that will not turn up until you have completed ending 1. You can still get bad endings on your first run so be careful with your choices, it took me five attempts before I got ending 1 but once I did and started getting the other routes that is when my real enjoyment came from the game, including unlocking a secret character that will only appear after this ending and under very specific choices.
There are a total of eleven different ending within the game to unlock within the game with a mix of good and bad endings and I found all of them well written, I especially enjoyed that through playing through the different routes you find out more about not only the prison but as well as side stories that include political sabotage and war crimes and you don’t just learn about the characters whose route’s you are playing but also learn about others within the prison. One of my favourite characters which I was very disappointed I could not romance is an insane inmate called Belbet who when talking to others about the game I came to find is quite a popular NPC within the game.
Each character you meet will slowly open up depending on the choices you make, will you help your lawyer Lusca find faith in himself again as a lawyer, fall for the charming Evan or innocent seeming Io? Or will you be pulled under the wing of the delinquent Jose? Maybe you will survive by becoming an obedient slave to the sadistic guard Durer or maybe just maybe you have enough heart to help Vallewida? Whatever choice you make you will not be disappointed by the path you choose just know that with many of the routes you will get angry and you will shed a tear for these characters.
The last positive I have to say for this game is the amazing soundtrack that fits the mood of the game and the equally amazing voice acting that is on par with titles released today. That being said one thing that pulled me out of the moment in many scenes was the sound effects within certain scenes, really drag you out of the moment and sound very unrealistic and during some of the more deplorable moments that should have had me feeling sad for Guys I found myself laughing under my breath at how bad the sound effects were, especially the sound effect for the licking of anything but that could be because of all the mukbang videos I have watched over the last year and from that knowing how fake these sounds come across.
The artwork could also be an issue for some who play the game, being of an older art style it will not be to everyone’s taste. I myself found much of the character designs beautiful when they needed to be and down right vile when they needed to be and the option to turn on or off censorship of certain body parts while playing the game was a good inclusion.
Over all I enjoyed my playthrough of Enzai though getting the secret character was a bit of a challenge for me and I did end up looking up a walkthrough to find him I found the game over all very enjoyable. As I stated in the beginning of this review all the characters were well written even the ones I ended up hating because of was hating them for being shit human beings and not just a bland boring character. If you have ten to thirty hours to spare and lets face it in this time of lockdowns many of us do I highly recommend heading over the Jast USA’s website and giving this game a try as it is also one of the most affordable BL titles on there.
If the story has you curious about the world of Enzai but you are not a VN fan you can go searching online for the anime adaptation of this title. Unlike certain anime adaptations of yaoi games this one stays very close to the source material and pretty much follows the story to ending one of the game with a few easter eggs from other routes sprinkled in, sadly however the anime does not have an official English release unlike the game.