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Aristear Remain

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Clephas

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This VN is based a few thousand years after Tou no Shita no Exercitus, and without the background knowledge of that VN, it is a bit hard to get into the details of this one.  Unlike that game, this one has no gameplay and is instead a kinetic novel in the 'standard chuunige' style... which basically means that it isn't a high-detail wordsmith and CG artist's playground like the stuff by Light and Nitroplus.  Sadly, since this VN's setting had some nice potential to make such a game in.

I'm going to be straight... this game isn't really that unique, and the actual flow of the story feels more than a little forced.  The antagonists (save for the 'real' antagonist) aren't really... antagonistic, for the most part.  A lot of that is because the protagonist and his group of friends were also friends and coworkers (most of them anyway) with most of the antagonists, so there is a lot of back-and-forth talking about memories of old times even as they fight.

This isn't a horrible game, though it is being given horrible ratings by some people.  Unfortunately, it is undeniable that, rated as a chuunige, it falls below even stuff like ExE.  It is just too predictable and obvious in all the wrong ways, when it comes right down to it.  A part of this is that they didn't even try to make the motives of most of the antagonists' opaque at all, and practically nobody dies during the course of the story... a huge flaw for any chuunige.  Disgusting as it might sound to anti-violence people, but violent deaths of bystanders are a must-have in any halfway-decent chuunige.  Without that tragic element forcing the story into the realms of the emotional, a chuunige story won't even get off the ground.

The protagonist, Seigi, makes this worse in some ways.  Normally, I'd love to have this guy as a protagonist... he is a hot-blooded martial artist who has had half his body replaced by mechanical parts.  What could possibly go wrong?  A lot, here.  To be blunt, he is a 'punch them out and let someone else sort it out' type of fighter, and while he is an excellent teacher (as evidenced by Mai and Anzu), he can be surprisingly stupid sometimes about stuff even I could figure out just looking in from the outside, lol.

A final nail in the coffin of this VN is the dearth of action CGs.  All of Seigi's battle CGs save the last one are color-switches of the original, and the same goes for most of the other characters (additions onto existing CGs and few of those too).  The character that had the best CGs, Elza, isn't even the main heroine, lol.

That's another thing... this game commits the fatal sin for a chuunige with a harem setup... overfocus on the main heroine.  While it can be made clear that one of the heroines is more important than the others, when you are creating a harem situation, she can't be too much more important than the other heroines (of which there are a total of five).  Another huge problem is that personal scenes with the other heroines besides Ruru are restricted to ones viewed from the Extras section... and many of them occur in the middle of the story and would have served to enhance the experience at least somewhat (well, not the h-only ones, but the character-development ones would have done nicely) if they had been put into the main story in their proper chronology.

Overall, this was a game that had enormous potential that was brutally stunted by getting stingy on CGs and the decision to relegate important character and relationship development scenes to the extras section.  I'm normally not a guy to bash a game based on artwork... but when your narration isn't up to the genre standard, art is usually where you are supposed to try to fill in the gap.  I didn't have much hope for this game, but I did have some, so I'm pretty irritated right now.

Edit: Did I mention that one of the reasons I was pissed off was because the main heroine wasn't even a mimikko when there were all those mimikko (including a kitsune) to choose from?  lol

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