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Liaison リエゾン ~liaison~ [Bell-Da]

kivandopulus

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Foreword: Bell-Da as a company has come a long way in visual novel industry, but prior to Liaison there were only terrible macromedia flash tasteless short games. But Liaison managed to turn the tides by presenting a solid story about working adults that kept my attention for over 4 hours till the end.

Title: Liaison

Developer: Bell-Da

Date: 1998-07-16

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8155

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dflf6As2eww&index=55&list=PLENAECnNmAq_3TQ0rXcu0n95aygm3PPQU

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Synopsis: Kusanagi Daisaku came to Tokyo to attend art university with a dream of becoming a painter, but he clearly lacked talent. One day he meets two women in jewelry store and that casual encounter greatly influenced his life and his upcoming biggest masterpiece.

Structure: No division, but choices determine the path of one of the two main heroines or the side heroine.

Length: 4 hours

Game type: Love triangle story with some NTR tilt

Difficulty: Flags are evident and there are usually only two variants to choose from.

Character Design rating: 7/10

Protagonist rating: 5/10

Story rating: 4/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 5/10

Rating comments: Probably the lowest rating among my reviews. The reason is that I felt betrayed by the story. The first two hours were wonderful and it was not clear where it all was going, then the poor plot became evident, but it was too late to turn back. I still rate characters quite high here as they are memorable and have great voicing. 

Protagonist: Kusanagi Daisaku is a university art department student. The worst thing about him is that he mostly moves with the flow and after one professor tells him he does not have talent, Kusanagi gives up and gets depressed. It's not fun to look at such a hetare protagonist.

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Characters: So there are three heroines with enging. Long purple hair Jun and short violet hair Minako work at the same jewelry store and compete with each other in sales every day. There's also childhood friend from hero's hometown Shiori who appears only during short stay of Kusanagi at his hometown and also visits him briefly afterwards once. Characters are quite well done as they don't belong to any archetype and are full of inconsistencies and own troubles. When I don't have clear preference I go for the main heroine and that seemed to be Jun since she had the most of troubles from the start. But the most delivering character for me was Kusanagi mangaka brother Naru. He's an egoistic man, but full of surprises and funny moves. He really invigorates the cast.

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Story: Since I rated the story as low as "4" I don't need to hold back. Kusanagi is an absolute failure as a man and protagonist. The story starts with an already stupid twist that Jun phones him while working on her sales list of customers, but instead of saying clearly what she wants she invites Kusanagi to the building which turns out to be jewelry shop. Cunning! He comes only to be offered to buy diamonds and miserably retreats. Then by a weird twist of fate Jun skips work with her friend to go to a countryside and they meet Kusanagi in person again even though Kusanagi was not shown going on a trip or anything. The next day Kusanagi decides to visit jewelry shop again and noone seems to care that he comes just to talk and never to buy anything. Somehow that ends up with a date with Jun. And Minako is so obsessed with sales competition with Jun that she decides to... stalk on Kusanagi and get him to karaoke to seduce him before Jun does so. Is there any logic in that at all? Of course Minako boasts of that at work to her rival which becomes the source of cheap drama. Then the real drama in the figure of former Jun boyfriend Daimon, SM relations apostate, appears. So it's a pretty normal relations story with cheap drama, drawbacks and restoration cycle. Former lover kindnapping of Jun and its resolution bring an end to the game.

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Humor: There were quite a lot of funny moments. While seducing at karaoke Minako asked Kusanagi to guess her cup size. There was a variant of "W" to which she says "What? World cup? Stop fooling around already!". 
CG and Sound: A very good number of high quality CG. There are only few CG that look weird. BGM is solid as well.

Overall comments: I expected the game to move towards artist profession self-realization and creating of a real masterpiece, but there was not even remotely enough time devoted to art. What I got instead is not sophisticated cheap drama without much basis behind it. Even in this state the game is really entertaining for a good half of it thanks to view zapping between the characters, funny sub-characters and fast pace. Later on it does not get worse, but it gets too repetitive and evident to my liking.

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