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Name: Welcome to Pia Carrot 2 (65.83% in 12 votes)
Type: SIM
Platform: WINDOWS
Company: F&C
Release date: 1998
Reviewed by: Fukai Hajime

This is a sequel to 'Welcome to Pia Carrot', with all the enhancement that excells the previous of the series.

Story: 95%
The game features a group of young girls all laden with worries, dilemmas and agonies of their own. Are they concerned with the destruction of the earth? Or because of their awesome psychic powers? Or the fact that they have found themselves to be androids destined to scrapyards? No, the causes of their troubles are not of such an extraordinary kind. Nevertheless, or rather that is why, their problems matter to them - and only to them and to you who fall in love with them. Love is always like this isn't it? But which love? That is not quite obvious at the outset, and it only starts to be seen when you wish to know more about 'her' and start to act accordingly. There may be something painful on your way. Your careless word may hurt her. But do not stop at there, you need the courage to make a choice at every turning point - in the game as indeed in your real life. And your further step forward may give her a chance to get over the difficulty, be it your 'I love you' or your utterance at the eleventh hour. Of course such a development exists only in one's imagination, but we may all dream of a beautiful dream - a beautiful summer dream called 'Pia Carrot 2'.

'Welcome to Pia Carrot 2' treats such a classic example of love romance with utmost care and thoroughness. Its scenario is superb. There are certainly heaps of games of this kind with more or less similar plots, yet Pia Carrot 2 stands out in three respects: 1) The conversations between individual characters are carefully constructed, and they do not contradict each other. This may often be taken for granted, but it is in fact quite difficult to achieve such seamlessness in a game that features several girls. 2) The problems that the girls face remain unknown till you actively try to understand them. So those words which appear meaningless in the first gameplay, start making sense in the second as you already know the backgrounds of the characters who utter them. This certainly gives depth to the story. 3) The girls have different problems, which vary from an inferiority complex of one girl to the self-confidence of another. All this diversity illuminates the different courses of life they have taken in the past, thus giving extra depth to their personality portraits.

This judgement may be partly due to the personal preference of this reviewer, who nearing his 30s feels really fooled if all the girls should share the same and expedient (for the player) problem such as 'I love him, but don't dare tell him that!'

H Content: 86%
In Pia Carrot 2 you will search for deep H-scenes in vain. Yet that is what this game should be like. A hardcore sex scene abruptly tucked in at the highlight of a story like this would rather be a great spoiler - 'To Heart' is a good example of this ...on the other hand it might, perhaps, have been better had there been at least one character for a 'deep sex' too...

Graphics: 93%
Extremely high-quality graphics, an epitome of Cocktail Soft's workmanship in graphics for which the company is well celebrated. It's been rumoured that just after the completion of this game a few key members of the graphics team (including the chief designer) left the company. Little wonder if one considers the striking gap between the immaculate quality of the CGs they turned out and how little they were paid for their jobs...

I however did not give a perfect score. That is because only a handful of standing portraits (used for conversation scenes) appear per character, and they fail to express subtle changes in the characters' feelings. It would of course be too harsh to lower the rating thanks to such trivial points were it for other games. I did so precisely because it was for Pia Carrot 2.

Sound: 80%
The music of the game perfectly matches the atmosphere of the story, including its theme song reminiscent of some Japanese oldies (such as the Candies or the Pink Lady).

System/Setup: 80%
A safe and sound system, but there should probably have been at least thirty slots for saved data.

Game Play: 75%
There isn't anything obviously wanting in the gameplay. But once all the events with the girls are cleared, you wouldn't feel like playing the game over again if not for your favourite characters. Their costumes can be changed but the story can't, so that there is no new event that comes up. At this stage the gameplay becomes rather tiring, starting to give a less favourable impression - hence my 15 points.

Extras: 100%
All the CGs are displayed as thumbnails in the photoshop, so it's easy to choose which pics to view. The music room is also designed to be user-friendly, as the player can pick up his/?her favourite music from a score of data sources.

Rating: 87%
Unreserved applause to the artistry and perfection of Pia Carrot 2...

Female characters that you can sympathise with, a carefully drafted scenario that makes the best use of those characters, music that never asserts itself yet perfectly matches the ambience of the game, reassuring performance of its voice actors, gameplay that is not too demanding yet adequately tense - in all these the game maintains very high standards. Pia Carrot 2, in my personal opinion, far surpasses 'To Heart' in every respect.
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