I'm delaying playing through anymore VNs until at least Saturday, mostly because I realized my fatigue was reaching its peak. The reason why I realized this was fairly simple... I wasn't enjoying the bloody scenes in Sen no Hatou, which is highly unnatural for me. Normally, I would have been on a blood high after that first scene, but after replaying Evolimit, I was a bit glutted on battle scenes. As such, I came to the conclusion that I can't fairly assess Sen no Hatou at the moment. Also, I was finding Akari unreasonably irritating (political naivete and naivete about basic human nature, taken to extremes, can be unbelievably annoying when there isn't enough character virtue to balance it out, lol).
Anyway, just as a preliminary word... August is following its usual pattern (creating an unbelievably annoying/weak true heroine for a game with such a dark setting) that I recognized from Eustia and Fortune Arterial. Many of August's characters in general tend to not fit the settings in which they are placed (the idol thing with Hotori is particularly worthy of complaint, since it was obviously put in solely to reduce the level of seriousness in the story), and it is hard to ignore this at times. I mean, when you have a nicely screwed up girl like Eris as a sub-heroine and a weak-willed, weakly characterized true heroine like Eustia in the same game... it says a lot about the writers (Fortune Arterial made similar mistakes, with one of the secondary heroines being far more interesting than the main one).
Anyway, enough complaints about the usual foibles of August's writing staff and down to a few specifics...
The setting of Sen no Hatou is actually pretty interesting. I especially find it interesting that the writers were naive enough to think a nation can subsist entirely through conquest during an era of modern technology (for better or worst, the costs of military conquest in modern times are crippling due to the logistics of modern weapons). The Empire (ironically the conquered nation in this case) is a bit more 'realistic' in that it resembles a 'what if' world where Japan's Imperial line never submitted to the control of the nobility or the Shoguns that came after them and kept control to modern times (no Buddhist takeover of religious roles, either...). Instead, the Imperial line maintained its role as the spiritual center of the nation, along with the actual power to go along with it, and they were supported by the warrior caste, who could wield the sorcerous weapons that let them protect themselves from outside threats (along with the barrier maintained by the sorcerer-miko and priests and the Three Sacred Treasures).
The characters... are sadly less so. The protagonist is good so far (think the 'ideal samurai' - the type that only existed in legend - and you get an idea of what he is like), but the heroines range from the simply out of place to the irritating (seriously, the least out of place is Nanami... and maybe Elza). Akari talks a good fight, but she showed her astounding degree of naivete over a dozen times in my first five hours of play. Hotori is... just out of the question. If they hadn't added the idol thing, she would have been a great character, but the first scene where I saw that I facepalmed.