Just like Sword Art Online, this game had a lot of hype. In fact, to this day, it still has a lot of hype on it. But that's not to say it is perfect or "the best," as people often claim it to be. I know I said Hakuouki was the best I ever read, but I make no mistake on saying it's the best. I say it's the best I, as in, me, myself, the player, has read. Not the world.
Many have proclaimed how great this VN is, so I won't focus on what makes it good. This review is more of an anti-thesis that brings hating the game and loving the game into a mix.
Things that worked; humor. One of the definite strong points is the fact that there is a ton of humor. Not as much as F/HA, but still enough to lift away from the overall heavy atmosphere. Shirou's snarky commentary is a joy to read, as well as Rin's overall attitude and Saber's and Taiga's hilarious responses.
The overall feel of the game. Whenever there's a mood to made, it's made quite clear. Heartbeats, flashes, black and white. You know very well your end is neigh when Saber gets her "Evil Grin" on.
Characters. Let's face it. Most people probably came in for the characters. Iskander was proof of that in Fate/zero. They're all different in terms of personality.
Now for the bad; over-complicating everything. I think this goes without being said. When you need a material book to settle things, there's probably something going on with the world building. Oh, and info-dumps delux.
Rule Breaking to the max. I think it goes without saying that rules are meant to be followed, not broken every five minutes. If you do, then please use appropriate responses. Or make it the central theme of said story.
Timing is off. The pacing is very poor in the game. You get long strains of dialogue, then some fighting, and then some more dialogue. It seems rather uneven, especially when you compare routes.
Final verdict; it's a game you'll either love or hate. I try keeping to the middle ground, but I have mixed feelings for it. I think it mostly has to do with my overall view of Nasu's "methods." I will say give it a try, although you might want to dedicate an entire summer to completing it, as it is apparently longer than the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
There is no official translation, but the lovely folks are mirror moon got you covered.