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Venus Blood: Ragnarok

Clephas

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Yes, you were waiting for it, all you tentacle-loving freaks... this is the newest game in the Venus Blood series, as full of tentacles and sex-training as any of the others...  I come to you having finished the Law route and after being forced to go back a chapter in order to get to the Chaos route on my second playthrough (apparently you absolutely have to start the 'goddess insanity' chapter, by failing to complete one of the monster-hunting side-quests). 

The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who played Hypno, though there are differences introduced in the unit-creation screen, just as in all the others in the series (every game puts its own twist on this aspect).  It is the sequel to Frontier, occurring some three hundred years later, and it is based off of a partial 'fallen goddess but still on Law Route' path. 

The biggest difference in the gameplay from previous entries is the introduction of a 'research' system where you basically have to open each step in a tree to get access to other units.  You expend medallions to get particular units on each 'block' that you've opened up, and what medallions are available to you determine what units you can access and how much of each tree you can complete (it is impossible to get access to all medallion types and units in the first or even the second playthrough due to difficulty and route issues).  While this might not sound that different in fact, it was a great difference visually, making access to the various monster types more obvious than in previous entries.

The system of 'leveling up resources' is back from Hypno, allowing you to use research to level up your auto-healing, auto-experience gaining, and automatic resource allowance (at the end of each turn) independent from what places you've captured.  I advise anyone planning to do multiple playthroughs to get everything as high as possible (focus on healing over experience and all the other resources before gold, since gold is the most plentiful resource). 

Story-wise... it is standard Venus Blood.  You come, you conquer, and you decide whether to make the goddesses love you normally or just drive them crazy through sex training.  The actual basic plot is inferior to both Frontier and Hypno, though it it is more 'stable' in that it doesn't trip up in the last chapters like in the previous games.  Unfortunately, this game suffers somewhat from being a direct and obvious sequel, as the shadows and persons of characters from the previous game pop up everywhere, distracting you from the protagonist's story.

I need to say something about the Venus Blood games here... it really is a shame that this company doesn't go 'legit' and start making non-ero games.  The complexity of the skill system and the way you can make levels almost irrelevant through simply combining the right units in the same squad is incredibly rewarding.  This is actually only the second game in the series where I actually explored this aspect of the game in-depth, but I was seriously impressed with the degree to which you can customize your army, creating the ultimate force.  In fact, it wouldn't be far from the truth to say the outcome of all battles is entirely determined by the way you design your squads.

Sanah is something of a hard-ass when it comes for this game, always beginning on Hard mode... but I honestly don't recommend that for newcomers to the series.  For one thing, the basic endgame difficulty level is pretty high even on normal difficulty, and playing hard mode on the first playthrough has certain annoyances like running short of resources at key points. 

Anyway, for gameplay, this, like most of the Venus Blood games, is fairly enjoyable.  As a story?  Lots of potential here, some really interesting points, but in retrospect the story pales somewhat in comparison to previous entries in the series as a whole, despite exceeding most previous games when it comes to the endgame story. 



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I need to say something about the Venus Blood games here... it really is a shame that this company doesn't go 'legit' and start making non-ero games.  The complexity of the skill system and the way you can make levels almost irrelevant through simply combining the right units in the same squad is incredibly rewarding.

I need to say something about people expecting inferior gameplay in eroge.  The H-scenes can actually be disabled in the configuration screen.  Want a non-ero game?  You got it.

I keep telling people the gameplay in these games is good.  But until the games get an English release, they'll just have to take our word for it.

Edited by sanahtlig

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On 2017/1/13 at 5:03 PM, sanahtlig said:

I need to say something about people expecting inferior gameplay in eroge.  The H-scenes can actually be disabled in the configuration screen.  Want a non-ero game?  You got it.

I keep telling people the gameplay in these games is good.  But until the games get an English release, they'll just have to take our word for it.

I have to agree with Sanah, there's already enough devs making Non-ero RPGs and SRPGs, its nice to have the option for GOOD games which don't have any sort of content restriction or censorship. At the same time, there is definitely the question of whether or not they could be making more money and thus higher quality games if they dropped the H and go for steam sales or something, but I'm not really sure that's a no-brainer.

Edited by Valduran

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