Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ All Star After Secret
うたの☆プリンスさまっ♪ All Star After Secret
Haruka is a composer who is secretly dating her idol work partner. Haruka and her boyfriend must keep their relationship a secret while also tackling personal and professional issues.
With 11 guys available, All Star After Secret actually feels more like a main installment rather than a fandisk. Players get much more story and content than Amazing Aria or Sweet Serenade. The downside is there is less intense fanservice.
Despite technically being a choose-your-own-adventure game, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ has never been big on the choosing part. The guys a least have a crush on you even in the original and All Star‘s Friend Endings, and Haruka gets a boyfriend or reaffirms her relationship with the boyfriend in all other endings. There has never been a common or general route nor are there bad endings like, for example, Hakuoki. For the first time, however, the story has a diverging path in the senpai routes. Haruka can choose one of two songs, and each of those songs has two possible endings. (The Rainbow Route is one path with two endings.) I liked this, as it feels like the player gets to make a real decision as Haruka. The downside is what will the writer(s) do in any future installments. I imagine the A route’s True Love Ending will be made the canon ending. This makes sense as the A routes were individualized while the B routes were pretty similar. But the B routes were good as well, so it’s almost a shame for them to be tossed out of the canon storyline.
The problems the Starish guys face are much less terrible (story-wise) than the ones in their fandisk routes. In fact, it’s Haruka who has troubles in many of the routes. As for the senpai, they each have a “bitter” and “sweet” route to go along with the game’s tagline. The bitter route focuses more of the guys’ problems. Fortunately, most of these directly tie into their problems from the previous game rather than new issues. Haruka also faces some difficulties in the Quartet Night path, mostly in the sweet routes.
It’s also good the guys generally stick to their route. Obviously, the kouhai show up in the senpai routes, and other guys appear in various routes, but the focus is on Haruka and her boyfriend instead of being hijacked by another guy. The game has Friend and Kouhai Endings for the senpai, but the friendships are generally not as BL fodder-y as they were in some other games.
This was the first time the chapters were not divided into months. With my lack of Japanese skills, I really couldn’t tell how long each route was or how long it takes place after Debut or All Star. I think I remember reading the story starts off 3 months after All Star in one of the routes (Camus?). The good news is that any sequel(s) do not have to keep pushing the timeline along.
You can also skip all rhythm lessons. Finally!
The biggest disappointment in this game was the lack of Shining, Ringo, and Ryuya. Outside of the senpai prologue, Shining only appears in two routes, and one is just for a quick scene. Ringo and Ryuya are mentioned but never seen or heard. I can’t tell you how much of a letdown it was not having these three around. I know there are a lot of Ringo/Ryuya shippers, and I doubt they’ll ever get sequels set after their routes in All Star, but I don’t see why they were written out of the game here. At least the one route Shining is in makes sense story-wise.
The chapters also tend to feel unbalanced. What I thought was going to be the source of conflict in some routes were quickly resolved, and other problems popped up late in the path. I guess it’s more like real life, but some scenes should have been expanded and others cut short. Reiji B Chapter 2 was probably the most severe instance of this. I guess this is the sacrifice Broccoli chose to make in order to have two paths, but still. A couple of the Memorials felt like they should have been in the game.
There is a lot of love and cute moments in All Star After Secret but less steam than the previous fandisk routes (Sweet Serenade in particular). It makes a little more sense for the senpai, since those relationships are a lot newer. Still, Reiji and Ranmaru are pretty subdued considering their True Love Endings in All Star. As for her Starish boyfriends, a lot of times I couldn’t believe Haruka has been with one of them for about two years. It’s one thing to be shy, but both Haruka and her boyfriend were often more forward in Amazing Aria and Sweet Serenade despite only being together between a month and about six months then. I know part of this is because of Debut, but show a little progress. Haruka still calls some of her boyfriends by their last name. Again, a lot of the time, it felt more like a new relationship that started after Rainbow Route in All Star rather than a relationship that started in the original game / Repeat.
Also, for Starish, the True Love B Endings were terrible. B Endings require the higher affection and music scores, so why were they less romantic than A Endings? I mean, it’s not even close. They really should have been switched. Unless they want to force the A endings for sequels and try to limit the physical intimacy. (Please no.) For the senpai routes, it’s more debatable which route was better. Generally, A for story, B for ending.
I also want to mention there’s an incredible lack of people in the area. Every route, there was nobody around. Home, downtown, park, it didn’t matter. I know time passes between scenes, but geez, all the guys have decent careers now, and glasses are not a disguise. I think Haruka and her boyfriend could have been wearing signs outside saying, “He is an idol and we’re lovers!” and nobody would have noticed. They regularly visit each other’s apartments without any consequences. Evidently, the paparazzi suck at their jobs.
The background music features both new and old tracks, but the majority of tracks are the ones players are familiar with. I really liked some of the new ones and wish they were used more. All Memorials still play the same song as before. I wish they would mix it up a bit. The idol songs for the senpai were released in advance especially for this game, but Starish’s songs were from the anime season 2 idol CDs. I thought the meaning behind the game’s theme song will play into all the routes, but it wasn’t. This was actually good because I thought the routes may feel repetitive if they all ended the same way. I still like All Star‘s opening better, both the music and the video.
Graphics are the same from before with some minor visual upgrades. I want to add the outfits for the senpai are much better than what they wore in All Star‘s musical festival.
Despite routes technically being shorter (3 chapters + 2 endings), having all the main idols featured along with less annoying stories than the previous fandisks or Debut make up for it. It doesn’t rank above Repeat or All Star, but it’s better than the rest.
I feel like the next game needs to be titled Uta no☆Prince-sama♪Scandal. Haruka and her boyfriend really need to be busted by someone outside the agency. (OK, Tokiya’s route in Debut and Seira, but still…) Especially Ranmaru. Sorry, Ran-chan, but how are you getting away with living with Haruka? At the very least, I’m surprised Shining hasn’t really scolded or threatened the senpai.
Ranmaru had the best routes without a doubt. Reiji A and Ai A had the most moving routes, Reiji’s in particular. Least favorite? Hard to say. I know Cecil had the most eye-rolling ending, though.
I imagine the next (non-Music) game will be on the PS Vita, so I’m sure they could fit good-sized routes for all 11 on one card. I want decent size routes, though. If necessary, I would rather have sequels split into two games a la Brothers Conflict instead of forcing shorter routes. You know, Starish on one cartridge, Quartet Night + two sensei on the other. Either way, we need more Shining, Ringo, and Ryuya.
In addition, I’d like to remind people that Broccoli is not Otomate (Idea Factory), the company behind otome games like Hakuoki and Amnesia. If you go on Idea Factory’s, Otomate’s, or Aksys’ pages to request otome game titles, ask for ones from Otomate. A list can be found here.