Review: Time Princess - Si-woo's Sight

After almost a year of playing Time Princess for fantasy and historical visual novels, I was a little disappointed that the newest one times place in modern times. It was probably long overdue considering how many different eras and cultures the game encompasses. Si-woo's Sight is a ghost story that takes place in Korea and focuses on the trials and tribulations of becoming a pop idol, a type of celebrity that is specific to Asian cultures. Depending on their contract, American pop stars typically have more freedom than idols in the respect that they don't have to follow strict rules about who they can spend time with in their private and professional lives and how many years they can perform for. This story opened my eyes to some of the problematic elements of Asia's restrictive celebrity culture. However, the supernatural elements revolving around ghosts and exorcists felt a little too similar to the game's last visual novel, Tang Dynasty Hunter.

Si-woo's Sight Visual Novel Cover

You play Si-woo's Sight as an aspiring k-pop idol who joins a training group in spite of her mother's concerns about the unstable nature of the industry. The story begins when Si-woo mysteriously gains the ability to see ghosts and is haunted by fragments of memories that she doesn't recall experiencing. She enlists in the help of an exorcist named Ha Jin-hyuk to aid her with these new abilities. After a little practice, she realizes that one of the ghosts, Choi Hyun-woo, might knows her better than she realizes even though he appears to be a stranger. The Korean naming conventions made the characters in this story a little difficult to keep track of for me. Every name starts with a short last name and ends with a hyphenated first name, which makes them all look somewhat similar. It was something I needed to get used to in order to fully enjoy the story.

Si-woo shares her dreams of becoming an idolSi-woo's overprotective mother warns her about the rainHa Jin-hyuk expresses interest in Si-woo's supernatural ability

I had little interest in the supernatural elements of this story, possibly because I read enough about demons and ghosts already in Tang Dynasty Hunter. Instead, I was more invested in Si-woo's passion to become an idol in spite of her the many obstacles that stood in her way. It shed light on some of the darker aspects of celebrity culture such as eating disorders, backstabbing, and giving in to powerful men's desires to get ahead. The gameplay aspects of the story allow you to commit to Si-woo's dream without needing to compromise her morals. Hyun-woo's resistance to her path to stardom serves as a constant reminder of the potential dangers that she has yet to face. I preferred Hyun-woo as a love interest over Jin-hyuk because it seemed like he was more concerned about Si-woo's well-being. However, I was surprised when I learned the secret of his true identity. The story delves into aspects of Korean mythology that many people are unfamiliar with. I didn't find this story particularly romantic compared to previous visual novels like Romy and Julius or Little Women.

Choi Hyun-woo comforts a sad Si-wooSi-woo performs a pop song with a ghost idol at her sideSi-woo frees a lost soul

Si-woo's Sight had some of my least favorite outfits in Time Princess so far. I am not a fan of contemporary clothing, and some of the outfits are not particularly glamorous considering the celebrity setting. I liked the sparkly white dress the game provides when you begin the story as well as the shiny purple schoolgirl-like ensemble, but that's pretty much it. Everything else ranges from grungy to downright trashy. I guess it would be impractical for a popstar to be able to dance jump around in a full ballgown, but I wish they had put a little more effort into the designs. There seemed to be no consistency between looks, though I liked that one of them included a microphone accessory. In my opinion, some of the ghosts that Si-woo encountered had better outfits than she did.

Si-woo in some grungy rehearsal gearSi-woo in a shiny purple schoolgirl outfitSi-woo in a glamorous modern white dress

I think Si-woo's Sight is the darkest visual novel in Time Princess to date, even more so than Gotham Memoirs. It reveals the depths that some girls are willing to sink to become famous and the tragic fates that await those who make the wrong choices and die too young. There isn't much light to balance out the darkness aside from the main endings, which are pretty satisfying overall. I'm glad that Time Princess finally released a story that doesn't leave hanging, but I wish they had reserved that honor for one that I was more invested in like Saga of Viera. If you are playing Time Princess for the fantasy, romance, or historical visual novels, Si-woo's Sight might be a good one to skip. However, if you are interested in celebrity culture, this is one cautionary tale isn't afraid to explore some risqué scenarios.

Si-Woo's Sight story map

Comments

babe said…
This is one of the better engaging stories for me
Lisa Dawn said…
Hello! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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