Gamertell Review: Heileen 2 for PC, Mac and Linux

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Heileen 2

Title: Heileen 2
Price: $19.99
System(s): PC (also available for Mac and Linux)
Release Date: December 7, 2009
Publisher (Developer): Tycoon Games (Tycoon Games)
ESRB Rating: N/A. Winterwolves suggests ages 14+ due to mild language and sexual themes
Pros: Keyboard and mouse controls, lots of save slots, can check quests at any time, well written – very few distracting spelling or grammar errors, tarot cards add interesting elements and options, 15 endings, same artist worked on both Heileen and Heileen 2, a full ending gallery is available and there are soothing and subtle background music.
Cons: No voice acting, like the trailers showed. If you haven’t played Heileen, you’ll be left out. Some people may be insulted by Ebele and Robert’s accents and speech patterns. You’ll see a lot of the same character portraits, with no movement or variation.
Overall Score: 90/100

A year ago, Tycoon Games released a visual novel set in the 17th century called Heileen. It starred a young woman named Heileen, who was going with her Uncle Otto, his mistress Lora and her friend Marie on a boat trip to the new world on a business trip. Now, over a year later, Heileen’s story continues Heileen 2.

Heileen 2

Your actions in dreams shape your future in the real world.

If you haven’t played Heileen, brace yourself for spoilers. Heileen 2 begins with Heileen, Ebele, Robert and the ship’s cat, Black, stranded on a deserted island after the ship sank in the original game. They’re living day to day, managing to get by thanks to Robert’s fishing skills and Ebele’s cooking and gathering skills. Heileen still missed and wonders what happens to her old friends and family that were on the ship, and wonders if they are gone or still somewhere out there. One night, while they’re around the fire, Robert gives Heileen some tarot cards he found on the beach.

The tarot cards given to Heileen are magical. They not only seem to relate to her actions, but they are also able to influence her dreams. They can allow her to see people from her past that were lost in the shipwreck and interact with them once again. In addition, they will often grant her important objects in the real world depending on decisions she makes, and cause different situations to occur in the real world as well.

I want to make a quick note here. If you haven’t played the original Heileen you feel a little left out. You may also be mistakenly offended by the way that Ebele and Robert talk. Both Ebele and Robert are former slave children who were bought and freed by Heileen’s Uncle Otto and his mistress, Lora. Since they are not fluent in English, their dialogue is often stilted. It is not meant to be insulting, but if this is your first encounter with the two characters it may unintentionally seem that way.

Heileen 2

Lots of ending and choices, and a gallery to keep track of them.

Heileen 2 has a lot going for it. There’s an interesting tarot card mechanic that helps you shape the path of the story, there are lots of endings for Heileen to experience relating to the seven sins and virtues and its possesses a well written story that is engaging and moves along briskly. In movies, sequels may tend to pale in comparison to the originals, but that clearly isn’t the case in games, especially with Heileen 2.

I really loved how Heileen 2 encouraged exploration and multiple playthroughs. You can see the good Heileen and bad Heileen endings, depending on what decisions you made when using the tarot cards to dream. While the good endings end up being very good, the bad endings can sometimes be funny or more intriguing. You can go through the story quickly, by choosing certain tarot cards to dream with that will progress the story, or you can take your time and save before each tarot card usage, potentially solving every mission in the game and seeing every “side” story and dream.

There’s one thing that I found a little amusing. Why is it that Ebele managed to find torn, but mostly intact clothes, but all Heileen has is an incredibly tattered ship sail that she’s sort-of draped and tied around herself as a mini-dress. It’s been a while since I played Heileen, but I’m 90% sure when the game ended with the ship sinking into the sea, she was fully clothed. And even then – why are the clothes and sail dress so tattered? The ship sank, it wasn’t some kind of massive explosion or something. But I suppose fanservice isn’t supposed to make sense.

Heileen 2

Tycoon Games’ best visual novel to date.

Heileen 2 manages to be more compelling and enjoyable than the original Heileen. The story seems better, there are more interaction options and the varying “good” and “bad” endings really encourage people to keep playing. The only downside is, players who missed out on the original Heileen will really feel left out.

One thing I also noticed is that, while the original Heileen seemed to cater to male gamers, Heileen 2 is much more gender neutral. There’s the fanservice one’s come to expect from the series, but it is now much more accessible and appealing to gamers of both genders.

Site [Heileen 2]

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