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Carpe Diem: Reboot (failed VN)


Plk_Lesiak

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Warning: Heavy spoilers ahead! If you want to play this VN yourself, stop reading now. I don’t really recommend playing it though…

As much as I’m a fan of independent VNs and appreciate the possibilities that crowdfunding opened for the western visual novel market, it’s not completely rare for these projects to end with spectacular disappointment, for various reasons. Carpe Diem: Reboot is an especially interesting example of a visual novel that ultimately failed to live up to the expectations, but not because of lack of effort or poor production values, but through the sheer “virtue” of horrible writing. As I’ll be treating this as a case study of how to screw up a good concept and waste a lot of work, unlike my normal reviews, I’ll be revealing many major plot-points, including some details of the games’ endings. As Reboot mostly relies on its plot twists and mystery elements to keep the player interested, if you want to play it yourself, ignore this review or read it after you’ve completed the game.

             While the title we’re talking about was released on Steam in September 2017, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, its history starts a bit earlier, with a free VN from late 2015 simply titled Carpe Diem. This very short, but nicely written visual novel served both as a prologue of sorts and an advertisement for the crowdfunding effort which later spawned Reboot. In it, a simple story about two friends (lovers?), Jung and Ai, deciding how to use a rare opportunity to spend a full afternoon together, ended with a twist – the girl was actually a computer program, an object of delusional love of a shut-in trying to escape from his real life. The Steam achievement for reaching the end of the game, “What are you doing with your life?”, served as a somewhat ironic punchline, making clear the main themes the author tried to tackle. Good dialogues and decent execution of Carpe Diem, while in no way breath-taking, definitely showed promise and made many people (including me, although I've discovered it after the Kickstarter campaign was already over) somewhat enthusiastic about its continuation. So, what went wrong?

Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com

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Guest

Posted (edited)

GOG, the True End felt like a pointless Non-Standard Game Over from what you described, at least the Sad True Ends from the Nasuverse games made sense... The whole organization thing felt like a badly written fanfic (though there fanfics with better writing than this). Also thanks for the review, gonna remove it from my wishlist. 

Edited by Guest
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21 minutes ago, SeniorBlitz said:

GOG, the True End felt like a pointless Non-Standard Game Over from what you described, at least the Sad True Ends from the Nasuverse games made sense... The whole organization thing felt like a badly written fanfic (though there fanfics with better writing than this). Also thanks for the review, gonna remove it from my wishlist. 

I suck at writing fiction so I'm usually cautious about criticizing others, but yeah, this whole game just screamed "bad fanfiction" - this situation when someone doesn't know how this whole "writing" business works but desperately wants to be original and stand out in some way. And the whole "true ending" thing was beyond my comprehension - I somewhat understand including it, but why make it the "official" conclusion, rather than leaving it up for the players, so they can choose which they find more compelling? My only guess is what I wrote in the review, that this was meant as a starting point for a sequel - definitely something on my "Top 10 games in the universe that I least want to play" list. ;p

And well, I'm at least happy I was able to save someone from buying this. ^^

Edited by Plk_Lesiak
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Two things:

1) Why give her a "human" body if it's not for porn reasons? And where did she buy a human body????????????? Creepy.

2) How can someone even fuck up a story with an AI/robot love interest???????????

Anyway, thanks for saving me too. If I found this randomly, I could have read it. And bad fanfics are only good when they are 11/10 bad.

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17 minutes ago, MaggieROBOT said:

Two things:

1) Why give her a "human" body if it's not for porn reasons? And where did she buy a human body????????????? Creepy.

 

Well, there's this one nude CG I've included in the review. Also she didn't buy it. She made it. Under a desk, using two wobbly robot arms. #suspensionofdisbelief :P

Quote

2) How can someone even fuck up a story with an AI/robot love interest???????????

Anyway, thanks for saving me too. If I found this randomly, I could have read it. And bad fanfics are only good when they are 11/10 bad.

 

Aye, I was seriously angry when I finished reading it, didn't think it can be done so badly after a seriously promising start - I mean, that little prequel game wasn't anything special, but showed that the author knows how to write some amusing dialogue and had at least one good idea. And the end product wasn't even awful in any amusing way, just made me wonder how could someone look at that script and think it's in any way acceptable for a semi-serious project like this. :notlikemiya:

Edited by Plk_Lesiak
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28 minutes ago, MaggieROBOT said:

 

2) How can someone even fuck up a story with an AI/robot love interest???????????

 

We need the writer for Clear's route to fix this.

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28 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Well, there's this one nude CG I've included in the review. Also she didn't buy it. She made it. Under a desk, using two wobbly robot arms. #suspensionofdisbelief :P

B-but, what about the pieces for that???? She couldn't have made it out of thin air!! Wait, why am I even trying to understand??????

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19 minutes ago, MaggieROBOT said:

B-but, what about the pieces for that???? She couldn't have made it out of thin air!! Wait, why am I even trying to understand??????

Unknown. She ordered a few boxes of mysterious stuff and put it together with robot arms. Under a blanket. In what I presume is contemporary setting. Nothing is ever explained. The machinery she used is "thrown away" by her soon after she wakes up in her human form, relieving the writer from the burden of coming up with an actual account of how she did it. :P

Why he didn't make her a human-looking robot is beyond me. There's an idea that Ai wanted to be a human and becuase of that created an exact replica when she could've made something much more efficient and durable, but it's not explored in a way that would compensate for the absurdity and lazy writing in that first chapter. 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak
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4 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Unknown. She ordered a few boxes of mysterious stuff and put it together with robot arms. Under a blanket. In what I presume is contemporary setting. Nothing is ever explained. The machinery she used is "thrown away" by her soon after she wakes up in her human form, relieving the writer from the burden of coming up with an actual account of how she did it. :P

Is it bad that there are probably Nukiges with better excuses and explanations than that?

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2 minutes ago, SeniorBlitz said:

Is it bad that there are probably Nukiges with better excuses and explanations than that?

Yeah... Although as Maggie pointed out, in a porn game it would be at least undestandable. Ai even gets a period somewhere around the halfpoint of the game, so every piece of the puzzle is there, just not the h-scenes and dozens of android babies. :D

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Guest

Posted (edited)

14 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

(...) Ai even gets a period somewhere around the halfpoint of the game...

GOG, if this game has a sequel I see so many potential plot holes, like considering that her brain is machinery, how will the babies be biologically created? Will the uterus somehow generate non-organic material to create the "brain"? How will she have babs considering the ass that is called the protagonist killed her off? Why the unnecessary cliff-hanger end (I have I disliked for those since if the devs don't have enough money to create a sequel, the story they created will be incomplete)?  Actually,  I'll stop, since I'll probably never get my answers...

Edited by Guest
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Really enjoyed your review it sounds like it is something I should definitely avoid. Whenever someone just causally mentions that they are part of a secret society like its nothing you know the story is in for a bad time. Also I'm going to echo the absurdity of creating a fully functional human body out of nothing but stuff you can buy online. Like how do you even begin to obtain the materials needed in order to create bone or the intestinal tract? It literally would have worked better if she had just magic to make it.

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On 6.01.2018 at 6:48 PM, Ranzo said:

Really enjoyed your review it sounds like it is something I should definitely avoid. Whenever someone just causally mentions that they are part of a secret society like its nothing you know the story is in for a bad time.

1

Yeah, it was also in the middle of a casual SoL section, so the absurdity went through the roof. What's worse, that whole subplot played no real part in the story other than explaining why the protagonist in a shut-in and why government knows about his project. Obviously, there could be no better explanation for that than Illuminati and some illogical, world-ending conspiracies. If you write something, you can at least write big! :wahaha:

On 6.01.2018 at 6:48 PM, Ranzo said:

Also I'm going to echo the absurdity of creating a fully functional human body out of nothing but stuff you can buy online. Like how do you even begin to obtain the materials needed in order to create bone or the intestinal tract? It literally would have worked better if she had just magic to make it.

2

But, after all, that's how you make EFFECTIVE PLOT TWISTS. No one can predict your next move if you defy all logic, including that of the setting you've created. :D

Edited by Plk_Lesiak
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I liked the original "Carpe diem". The gimmick seemed interesting to me, it was like a very mini-mini-MINI DDLC-before-DDLC. Though DDLC has had a much bigger impact, obviously, as the gimmick is better.

Funny thing, I played both Carpe diem and DDLC almost on release.

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9 minutes ago, Okarin said:

I liked the original "Carpe diem". The gimmick seemed interesting to me, it was like a very mini-mini-MINI DDLC-before-DDLC. Though DDLC has had a much bigger impact, obviously, as the gimmick is better.

Funny thing, I played both Carpe diem and DDLC almost on release.

Yeah, the gimmick was promising - and made the ultimate failure of Reboot that much more painful to see. It reminds you that having a good idea is a start, not a success in itself. :>

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I still like the original game for what it is. I'm not really interested in pushing the story further by getting the main game. It's like they did a sequel to Within Without with high production values and expanded playtime -what gives?

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