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Crystalline (Western VN Review)

Plk_Lesiak

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this game by the developer. All opinion presented here are solely my own.

PixelFade is a studio that from the very beginning showed an unusually ambitious approach to EVN development. Their first project, Ace Academy, offered some features rarely seen in Western VN of similar scale (~10h of content), such as good-quality, full voice acting and lots of impressive-looking, stylistically consistent artwork. It was also pretty atypical in its storytelling, featuring a mostly college-age cast, choosing a very tame approach to romance and avoiding the fanservice endemic to this kind of lighthearted, SoL-focused VNs. Initially funded on Kickstarter as Kendo Crush, it went through a curious evolution from a generic-looking, sports-themed game into a futuristic story about mecha battles but regardless of all the tribulations, the end effect was a highly refreshing, all-ages experience with a satisfying mix of light drama, non-violent action and mystery. In my opinion, it’s still one of the best EVNs ever released, with few real issues beyond the somewhat abrupt, anticlimactic ending and the overly simplistic "gameplay" elements.

            Considering the relative success of Ace Academy, it was obvious that there would be high expectations connected to PixelFade’s second project, Crystalline – a lighthearted fantasy tale with a single romanceable heroine, which promised a longer story and even higher production qualities than their debut. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, with gathered over 60k CAD (an amount pretty much unseen when it goes to original EVN projects), the game fairly quickly entered Steam on early access and was fully released in late August 2018 – the much anticipated final product offering truly impressive sound and visual design... And, in my opinion, a truly disappointing lack of compelling story content. But why is that exactly?

Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com



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Good review there, and to be honest can't say much about the cons seeing that it could be pros for some people. That said I agree with you that the graphic here should be the biggest draw for the player here, seeing that the reason I'm quite interested with this was exactly because of that. As for isekai, while in anime or LN it's already oversaturated (ie too much), actually the premise like standard isekai in VN is quite rare because there's less than 100 VNs that have tag 'Protagonist from Different World', so I think I can say that isekai genre here would be quite innovative for VNs, although I need more data in regard of LNs and anime that have similar premise though.

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Hmm. I don't know what happened to "graphics in games doesn't matter" me from the past, but in spite of all the bashing the screenshots still make me want to read it. And, like @littleshogun said, the isekai themes in VNs are actually pretty rare, and I wouldn't mind this changing just a bit (to a reasonable degree, of course :makina:). So, I don't know, considering the size of my backlog, most likely I will still skip this, but maybe I'll take a note and return to it at a point where I just want to read something stupid.

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

Hmm. I don't know what happened to "graphics in games doesn't matter" me from the past, but in spite of all the bashing the screenshots still make me want to read it. And, like @littleshogun said, the isekai themes in VNs are actually pretty rare, and I wouldn't mind this changing just a bit (to a reasonable degree, of course :makina:). So, I don't know, considering the size of my backlog, most likely I will still skip this, but maybe I'll take a note and return to it at a point where I just want to read something stupid.

Yeah, it does look good and is not unpleasant to read, so I really don't discourage it. Just, I'm like the most shameless consumer of isekai of all types and quality levels (remember, I'm a guy who LOVED the first half of Deathmarch, so it's hard to say I have high standards in this regard), but it was still for me to hard to find this story compelling. There's just SO LITTLE in there beyond fluff... :P

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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I'm playing it right now and I agree with pretty much all that you said, I also wanted to write a review for this dammit! What I really don't care for is the obnoxious amount of referential humor its just not funny. Just the amount of it is staggering, like that long segment in which they referenced breaking bad. Also the boob physics are annoying as well. Tits don't move like that!

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19 minutes ago, Ranzo said:

I'm playing it right now and I agree with pretty much all that you said, I also wanted to write a review for this dammit! What I really don't care for is the obnoxious amount of referential humor its just not funny. Just the amount of it is staggering, like that long segment in which they referenced breaking bad. Also the boob physics are annoying as well. Tits don't move like that!

I think boob physics weren't that bad most of the time, but I found it funny how the engine tended to freak out when moving sprites in and out of the scene and after you minimalize the game. It never looked very dignified, but can't blame developers for that, it's just a Live2D issue. :P And yeah, I found those X-men and Breaking Bad "references" (it's that school of "humour" that references things by smashing their exact copies into your face for prolonged periods of time) pretty awful, but I know many people like that kind of stuff, so I didn't talk about them in detail in the review.

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