With less than a week away from the release of Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation here in North America and Europe, I thought I put together a small informational guide regarding the series. As a long-awaited and requested item for most fans of the genre and followers of the franchise alike, it is understandable that this might be the first contact for some that are genuinely interested but never interacted with the source material or anime. In the midst of finishing up my own playthrough of all three games in the collection, this “primer” of sorts might be useful to those wanting to know what is all about and if the series might be for them.
I. What Is Date A Live
Date A Live is a sci-fi/romantic-comedy light novel written by Koshi Tachibana that started March 19, 2011. The series focuses on Shido Itsuka, a high school student that discovers his powers to seal “Spirits”, beings from another world and the cause of the spatial quake phenomenon his world faces. Of course, in order to seal them, Shido must make them fall in love and kiss them – his powers put to full use by the organization Ratatoskr. The title is actually a play on the words “dead or alive”, meaning that if Shido fails, he and everyone else could possibly die from the Spirits going out of control. Over the course of the series as Shido seals the Spirits, they do become reoccurring fixtures in his life as both allies and love interest. As of writing this, there are currently 20+ volumes of the light novels (not officially licensed) and 3 seasons of the anime.
II. Would I Like This & Would I Need To Be Familiar With The Anime/Novels To Enjoy The Games?
Like all things in life, it depends. Do you like romantic-comedies? What about harem elements in anime series? Do you like visual novels? Depending on the answer, Date A Live may or may not be what you are looking for. Since it would be recommended to watch the anime/read the novels before starting the games, starting with season 1 and seeing if that would be something you would like to continue would let you know right away. If you do try to play the games without the knowledge of the franchise, there is a quick introduction that is done but still might not make complete sense.
III. So, Rio Reincarnation is 3 Games? What Is The Order To Play Them In?
Surprisingly enough, yes, there are 3 games in this collection. The first is Date A Live: Rinne Utopia (デート・ア・ライブ凜祢ユートピア) released on June 27, 2013 in Japan. Lining up with the events in season 1, it also includes a new original character named Rinne Sonogami. In total, the game has about 6 character routes (the 5 main ones that must be cleared to access the True Route). This game is easily clearable in 6 hours.
Date A Live: Arusu Install (デート・ア・ライブ或守インストール) released on June 26, 2014 is the second game. This one includes routes for the Yamai Sisters, Miku, and an original named Maria/Marina Arusu. Previous heroines featured in Rinne Utopia make a return, too. In total, there are 8 routes (the other 7 playable to reach the final). This is considered a follow-up (more standalone in content) to the events of Rinne Utopia. This game is shorter compared to Rinne Utopia and can be easily finished around 5-7 hours by skipping previously read text.
Finally, Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation, a sequel to both games was released as Twin Edition on July 30, 2015. The Twin Edition also included both Rinne Utopia and Arusu Install along with some bonus material like audio dramas and novels inside the game. It later was ported to the PlayStation 4 on June 20th, 2017 with all the same content. This is the same edition we are getting here with a PC version as another option. As a direct sequel for Rio Reincarnation, the player doesn’t necessarily have to play Rinne Utopia or Arusu Install as a “Digest” covers the events up to that point, but it is more or less a summary and highly recommend to play the other two as some events do come full circle here. I was able to clear Rio Reincarnation in 6-7 hours.
To review: Rinne Utopia, Arusu Install, and Rio Reincarnation is the order for the games, but can skip to Rio Reincarnation, but a recommendation against doing that. You can also view the extra material anytime you wish and actually recommended to do so after finishing each game.
Knowing that I skip over a few miscellaneous details if you do have further questions (or any mistakes on my part), feel free to sound off in the comment section and will do my best to have them answered and appended to this guide. My full review for the game will go live near the end of the week. Thanks for reading!