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VN of the Year 2013


kivandopulus

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Year 2013 exceeded my expectations. I was able to choose as many as 34 masterpieces, even one more than in fruitful 2012. Surprisingly, there's a better selection of chuunige as well - industry is absolutely alive and kicking. However, now it's truly the last year of abundance - sneak peek into 2014 shows the number of masterpieces being in the mid twenties. Visual Novel Openings 2013 . 

My list of masterpieces in 2013:
  1. Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta Wake
  2. ChuSinGura 46+1
  3. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
  4. Electro Arms -Realize Digital Dimension-
  5. Futagoza no Paradox
  6. Getsuei Gakuen -kou-
  7. Gensou no Idea ~Oratorio Phantasm Historia~
  8. Grisaia no Rakuen
  9. Hapymaher
  10. HHG Megami no Shuuen
  11. Himawari no Kyoukai to Nagai Natsuyasumi
  12. Inpyuri -Hito to Anata to Ayakashi to-
  13. Izayoi no Fortuna
  14. Jesus 13th -Ushinawareta Gakuen-
  15. Kara no Shoujo - The Second Episode
  16. Karumaruka * Circle
  17. Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi.
  18. Koi Suru Tame ni Umaretekita-
  19. Komorebi no Nostalgica
  20. Lovesick Puppies -Bokura wa Koi Suru Tame ni Umaretekita-
  21. Natsu no Owari no Nirvana
  22. Natsukumo Yururu
  23. Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname
  24. Prism ◇ Recollection!
  25. Reminiscence
  26. Ryuusei☆Kiseki -Shooting Probe-
  27. Seihou no Prismgear
  28. Sengoku † Koihime ~Otome Kenran ☆ Sengoku Emaki~
  29. Shoujo Shin'iki ~ Shoujo Tengoku -The Garden of Fifth Zoa-
  30. Timepiece Ensemble
  31. Tojita Sekai no Tori Colony
  32. Tsukiakari Lunch
  33. XBlaze Code: Embryo
  34. Yume ka Utsutsu ka Matryoshka
     
As for year 2013, apparently, Clephas chose Hapymaher . I'm absolutely subjective when I choose game of the year thinking only of personal preferences, so I choose ChuSinGura 46+1.
And I need to announce what I'll be reviewing. Sadly, Dunamis15 can't be hooked. Or rather it can and I can get wall of text, but no lines are loaded into memory, so proper play is impossible, and I'm not going to repeat what I did with Psyclone - copy-pasting lines from the wall of text on the fly, it was also a much shorter game. So for 2011 I'm going to review Noblelige instead . 
I find two games in the utter need of English reviews, so I'm taking up Seihou no Prismgear and Shoujo Shin'iki ~ Shoujo Tengoku -The Garden of Fifth Zoa- for review. See you there!
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Edited by kivandopulus

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Chuushingura is an excellent choice for VN of the Year, though it wasn't mine.

At the time, I wavered between Komorebi and Hapymaher.  I gave Hapymaher the win because its excellent soundtrack was used to enhance its most emotional scenes perfectly, with the rest creating a general atmosphere unique to the game.  In retrospect, Komorebi has edged its way slightly ahead of Hapymaher, in my mind, because Komorebi is much better when replaying.  Hapymaher's Christmas arc is fine the first time, but it puts me to sleep every time when I try to replay the game.  Its value on the first playthrough came from not knowing what was real and what was a dream, and the knowledge you gain from finishing the game reduces the replayability of that particular scenario way too much. 

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I'll be the boring guy and go with Kara no Shoujo Second Episode (yet to play Komorebi no Nostalgica, though). I'm surprised Garden of Fifth Zoa is so lacking in reviews, since i see that VN's ending theme being played in compilations all the time.

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I also was sure that Komorebi was chosen for 2013, but perhaps I got that idea from some later post and only found that comment in the moment. Good to know that impressions aren't set in stone and age differently with time as well.

Actually, I found a normal-looking review of Garden of Fifth Zoa, but it pissed me even more as it's written by otome gamer who gives the troll score of 3/10 for such ridiculous reasons as boring action scenes, repeating scenes in routes, vague ending, story that sucks. It's so misleading that gives me no choice.

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Garden of the Fifth Zoa was a game that got buried in a year of top-quality releases.   In a normal year, it would have at least made VN of the Month, if not VN of the Year (VN of the Year is a much higher hurdle, in my mind).  However, 2010-2013 was the period when the VN industry was still riding the peak, before the gradual collapse that led to today.  If I were to be frank, many of the VNs I named VN of the Month in later years would have easily lost out to ones that lost it to others in this particular year or the ones before.  While there were usually at least 3 VN of the Year candidates in any year until 2018 (where there really was only Haru to Yuki and Maoten if you ignore Fuukan no Grasesta being the last good Eushully game and the only one since Tenbin).  

Top-quality VNs slowed down significantly after 2016, when things started to go to shit.  You started to see a higher proportion of bland and uninteresting works and even a fall in nukige quality (which was startling in itself, since the average for nukige has been the same since eroge first came into existence).  This made works that would have been considered average in previous years look much better than they should have.

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