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  1. Like
    Zenophilious reacted to Dergonu for a blog entry, Beat Valkyrie Ixseal Review   
    Beat Valkyrie Ixseal Review
    Choukou Shinki Ixseal, (Beat Valkyrie Ixseal), is the newest game in AliceSoft's "Beat" series. (Same universe as Beat Blades Haruka and Beat Angel Escalayer.)
    Though, while the game is set in the same universe as the other two games, it can be played without having played either of its predecessors. (The only connection to previous games is a few small references, that are not important to the story at all. In fact, I'd recommend playing this game first if you plan on playing a game in the series. I will explain why later in the review.)
    Similar to its predecessors, Ixseal is a gameplay/ VN hybrid, where you advance through a number of stages, defeating monsters along the way until you reach the area boss. Upon defeating the boss, the story progresses, and you move onto a new area. In between gameplay aspects, you see normal VN styled scenes, which makes up the bulk of the game. The game is voiced throughout all the story segments, as well as the H-scenes. The only portions of the game that are not voiced are "filler" scenes, that appear between gameplay segments, outside of the main story. These are normally only added for comic relief, and are not actually important at all, so the lack of voice acting in these scenes means quite little.

    The story
    In Ixseal you play as Oudou Tsuguhiko, a perverted man who swears he is the true "demon king," the most powerful evil being in the world. His dream is to make all female students in the world wear bloomers as their official uniform, through the use of his demonic powers. His best friend, Kirika, always brushes Tsuguhiko's talk about demons and such aside as jokes, but it turns out that he is actually telling the truth.
    With the help of his servant demon Bezel, Tsuguhiko's true power as the demon king is awakened by a dark ritual, and the power of the seven deadly sins, (the source of the demon king's power,) pours into him. The ritual is interrupted shortly after, however, as an angel with the name Xillia shows up, with the intention of killing the newborn demon king.
    Bezel and Tsuguhiko escapes, but things only go downhill from there for Tsuguhiko. He is betrayed by Bezel, who steals six of the seven deadly sins from his body, and uses them to awaken six powerful demons, leaving Tsuguhiko with nothing but the power of lust in his body. Bezel tries to take Tsuguhiko's life, but fails because of the angel, who finally catches up to them, driving Bezel away. Sadly, Tsuguhiko's friend Kirika is killed in the struggle.
    Kirika is revived by Xillia, but this takes up nearly all her power, leaving her defenseless against the demons summoned by Bezel. But, through the power of lust, which still resides within Tsuguhiko, he powers up Xillia with demonic energy, and she changes forms from an angel, into the ideal warrior in Tsuguhiko's mind— a valkyrie.

    With the power of lust, the demon king powers up Xillia through sex, and with the combination of her own power and demonic energy, she grows stronger, ready to take on Bezel's army.
    Bezel, along with six of the seven deadly sins, (in the form of powerful demons,) plan on absorbing energy from all humans, so that they can take over the world. The demons create a barrier over earth, stopping other angels from coming down from heaven to help, leaving Xillia alone.
    Now it's up to Xillia and Tsuguhiko to stop the demons' onslaught before it's too late.

    While the gameplay part of Ixseal might make it sound silly, (have sex with the heroines to make them stronger, by injecting them with your demonic energy) the story is miles better in Ixseal compared to Haruka. I'm not sure I'd call this game a nukige, actually, as the story does truly work by itself, not relying on the abundance of H at all. (Unlike Haruka, where the H content is the most appealing factor by far.) The characters are well designed and interesting, and the story is good. Lastly, the protagonist is very well done as well. He is actually powerful; he is the demon king, after all. The story is about taking back the deadly sins stolen by Bezel, powering up Tsuguhiko with each boss defeated. While he does not do the fighting himself, he does not feel like a pointless plot device. You actually feel like you are the demon king, trying to reclaim your powers, and not a can of gasoline that exists only to power up the heroines. (Like in Beat Blades Haruka.)
    Sadly, Ixseal wastes a lot of its potential by sticking to the same formula that Haruka did.
    Instead of making it possible for the player to choose how to guide the protagonist from the start, (choosing to be good or evil,) the game has it set in stone that Tsuguhiko is a good guy at heart, and he acts like the biggest vanilla-pleb in history towards his comrades, despite the fact that he is the demon king, and his objective is ultimately to reclaim his powers. Not exactly what you'd expect from the demon king.
    The story is good, but it would have been even better if there was more choices in terms of how the protagonist acts, in my opinion. The more you learn about the origin of his powers, and the history of the demons, the more you feel like making choices to impact his decisions, but you are left following the linear story until the branching point that only appears towards the end of the story.
    Another issue I found with the structure of the game is that it is very similar to Haruka at its core. While the story is different, and the characters' motivations etc also differ from that of Haruka's, it still shares enough similarities that the story can become predictable if you have played Haruka. Because of this, I would personally recommend reading Ixseal first, if you have not yet read Haruka, as the plot twists will be more surprising. And, seeing as the story is without a doubt better in Ixseal, this way you will get more enjoyment out of the game, compared to if you read Haruka first. That being said, the game is still good, and some predictability won't ruin that.

    The gameplay:
    Similar to Beat Blades Haruka, the gameplay comes in two stages. The first stage is all about buffing your heroines by sleeping with them, raising their stats in the process. Then, you advance through an area, defeating monsters, collecting power-ups, and fighting bosses.
    Each time you lose against an area boss, you see a rape scene with that boss, (with a maximum of two scenes per boss,) and the heroine's "lust" meter is filled up with one stage. (If the lust meter gets maxed out, you will get a bad ending.) These scenes can be disabled in the menu, if you do not like to see scenes of that nature. Seeing as what types of H you make your heroines do during the first phase of gameplay is up to you, you can freely choose to be evil and only see dark H, or be nice and only see vanilla. (Or do a mix of both!)

    You also have two other meters to keep an eye on. The love meter, and the demon energy meter. (Actually has a different name, but this sounds cooler!) While this might sound complicated, it is actually very simple. The love meter is raised by doing things like going on dates with the heroines, while the demon energy meter is raised by doing evil things to the heroines.
    Depending on the stats you are left with towards the end, you can choose an ending with your favored heroine.
    Just like Haruka, the boss fights can prove difficult if you do not boost the stats of the heroines properly, so do be careful there. Overall though, the difficulty has been decreased quite a lot. While I found myself failing quite a few times during my first playthrough of Haruka, I did not get a game over screen once during my first playthrough of Ixseal.

    H-scene and ending variety
    Beat Blades Haruka is known for being filled with all sorts of H-scenes, ranging from normal vanilla, to hardcore rape, beastiality and more. Ixseal also has a varied roster of H-scenes, though not as many as Haruka. (I believe Ixseal has a bit over 100, while Haruka had over 150.) But, seeing as Ixseal is more story driven than Haruka was, they might have opted for more focus on the story instead of adding extra H-scenes. But, while the game has less H-scenes, the quality has not dropped. Even the vanilla scenes are quite good, (I phrase it this way, as I did not exactly play the game for the vanilla personally.) The voice work in this game is amazing, which adds a lot to the H-scenes. There is a large variety of different H in Ixseal as well, with most scenes being very hot. So, while this might not be as nukige-ish as Haruka, it sure does have its fair share of good H, too.
    Now, the endings. I had high hopes for the Ixseal endings, especially the bad ends. The Haruka bad endings were very good, though way too short. Seeing as we are literally the demon king himself in this game, I was hoping that the bad endings would be longer, and even better than Haruka's.
    The game has six primary endings, one bad and one good for each heroine, a harem end, and a "normal" ending. You can also get other types of bad ends through the game, but these six are the main heroine endings. (For comparison, Haruka had three endings per heroine, a good, a bad and a brutal end.)
    In Ixseal, they did indeed make slightly longer endings, though they still felt too short to me. The bad ends did somewhat live up to my expectations. I don't want to get into details to avoid spoilers, but they felt satisfying to a certain extent. (To me at least, as I want dark bad ends.) And dark they were. Kirika's ending was something out of an utsuge, and Xillia's bad end was definitely a cool way to tie the "evil" side of the protagonist into the main story. That being said, they were still too short, which in turn still made me feel a bit disappointed. With how long the game is, and how much build up there is to the climax of the story, I would have wanted endings at least twice as long as the current ones, perhaps even longer.
    Still, they were pretty good, all things considered. As for the good endings, they too were well done, and even though I did not have any plans on caring much about the vanilla side of the game, I do have to admit, I felt some feels towards the end of the good routes. Sadly, these too were a bit too short as well.
    If they do make another game in the series, I hope that they finally make the endings a bit longer for that one.

    Music, art, the heroines and more.
    Like I mentioned above, the voice acting in the game is stellar. It had to be hard delivering some of the messed up lines in this game with a straight face, lol. The six demons representing the deadly sins were all handled well, and all come off as creepy and "demonic" in their own ways. I especially took a liking to Pride and Wrath, as the two really fit perfectly for the roles they are meant to fill. The VAs do a great job of bringing the "essence" of their sin into their character in their voiced lines.
    The heroines were... good and bad. While Kirika had lots of unique aspects that made her fun and different from her "counterpart" in Beat Blades Haruka, Narika, Xillia was way too similar to Haruka in my opinion. The two are basically the same, boring character, just in different settings. That being said, Xillia has a very good backstory, which makes up for some of her blandness.
    Overall, I wanted the heroines to be more unique compared to the heroines in Haruka, and found myself a bit irritated at the similarities at times. Nevertheless, the story for each heroine was done well, so it was not a complete bust. Also, Kirika's ass is just amazing. (/ω\)
    As far as the art goes, it's just great. The resolution was stepped up to HD, (Haruka's resolution was 800x600, which was a disappointment in my eyes.) The art is consistent and well drawn, and some of the CGs are truly badass. Like I mentioned before, the character designs were great, so I have no complaints about the art at all, tbh.
    I'm not really a music guy, so I can't give a detailed review of the music, so I'll just say this: I liked it a lot. There are over 30 music tracks in the game, all well fit for the scenes in which they are used. I especially liked the opening. Definitely a game I'd consider buying the OST for.
    Ixseal is much better than Haruka in my book. Pretty much everything I felt was lacking in Haruka was improved in Ixseal, (although it did not quite win me over when it came to the game's endings.) The story, characters, art, music and gameplay have all been improved, making a great overall experience.
    I rated the game an 8.4, which would have been even higher had the endings been longer, and more thought out. Still, this is a very solid game for both vanilla fans, and people like me, who likes games with darker H.
    If you're a fan of demons, angels and such, you'll definitely like this game. I am personally a sucker for anything that involves the seven deadly sins, so I was hooked from the start.
  2. Like
    Zenophilious reacted to Barry Benson for a blog entry, Localization Scene; New Companies: Good or Bad?   
    Hey, what’s up. This is Bee, or better known as Barry. So far, my activity on this forum has been limited to just spam troll comments and threads, and while that is, for the most part, funny and entertaining, I thought that I should make a serious post about something just to counter the not-so-serious ones I’ve been pumping out so far.
    I decided to start this blog with a series of posts, which I have named “New Companies: Good or Bad?.”It’s a series in which I’ll “analyze” and, hopefully, try to convince people that might be interested in supporting these companies to at least give some thought to where they’re getting their money into. Since this is a very broad subject I’ll be splitting this up into a series, in which I’ll be taking on the different companies and also give some of my opinion in general of them in every aspect that concerns localizations, such as meeting deadlines, having professional PR/workers and so on and so forth.
    Disclaimer: In these blog posts I’ll be reviewing the newer companies (although I might go over the old ones as well) detailing their pros and cons contrasted with my opinion. Remember that I am VERY biased and that my opinion is as worthless as anyone else’s, so take it with a grain of salt.
    Anyways, without further ado, I’ll start this episode talking about the newer company that has risen from the depths of hell (moe hell, to be precise), and this one being NekoNyan
    NekoNyan seems to be the newest company that has appeared in what I’d call the “Massification of VN’s” era, one in which people are just spawning new companies in an attempt to compete against the current monsters that gobble the industry, being MangaGamer and Sekai Project primarily (I’ll leave JAST and FrontWing aside because I do not consider them being very relevant in the market at the moment.)
    NekoNyan seems to follow the same pattern of thought as SolPress, this being their “core beliefs” if I’d call it like that.
    “We believe that we’ve learned the mistakes other companies have made.” - This is a general phrase that these new companies have been selling us; they assure that they’ve learned from past mistakes companies like Sekai Project have made (a fair example would be the latest releases of Hoshimemo and Leyline). Very strange that they’re saying this, because the main two members of Hoshimemo’s disaster (Akerou, CEO & Translator of NekoNyan, and Chuee, Editor at NekoNyan as well) are working in that company in the first place. I mean, I believe in the fact that people can change, but to be completely honest those two (especially you, Chuee) don’t really give me the good vibes. Especially from someone who is not critical about himself and refuses to improve his work. In summary, they seem to have a better scope of things, but I don't see much difference regarding other companies. How about being more open about what you do? *Daily reminder that Hoshimemo’s disaster was not because of these two alone, but they were part of the problem. “We strive to bring Japanese culture and to connect fans with developers.” This sounds awfully close to what Sekai Project says in their website. It’s not inherently a bad thing, but as far as I’ve grasped they’re using the same method of team compositions as Sekai Project. Hopefully their project coordinator (whoever that is) either exists in the first place (SP has none afaik, at least not a good one) or knows his shit, because otherwise prepare to see fiestas like Leyline. This is a very difficult and broad subject to touch but I find it funny how these people pride themselves for being professional at what they do. I don’t think that’s the case, though. One of the many definitions of professional by the cambridge university says as follows: “having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner,” aka, you have to have the skills in order to be a professional, it’s not only about being paid for translating or editing something. I’ve been paid numerous times for working on the English department in some Light Novels, does that mean that I’m automatically a “professional”? Not in my eyes, at least. Working on SakuSaku and Hoshimemo doesn’t mean you’re up for professional work, neither does having your edits released by Sekai Project. I’m not going to debate here whether the rest of the staff is up for it or not because I have yet to see something from them (not all, though, I genuinely believe that some of their staff is good) but before something comes out I’m going to say that the final product won’t be anything outstanding and won’t break any expectations compared to other companies. This talking about a translation quality standpoint, in the case of PR, Project Management and coordination we'll have to wait and see. About the choice of games they went for; to be honest I can’t blame them. Moege is, in my eyes, insufferable trash, but it’s what sells and what Steam users usually prefer. Not all of them seem like full moege/slice of life stuff, but in a general sense they’re more focused on a selling standpoint, meaning that they won’t take risks and will probably go after moege, which is what sells. What does this mean? Even though this means more VN’s getting localized, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be good. In fact, I dare to say that they’re just going to oversaturate the market (it’s already saturated IMO, but even more now).  
    To sum things up;
    Do I think NekoNyan will be the “saviour of VN’s and have a “unique personality” compared to other companies, like say, MangaGamer? No. Their choices are bland, most of their staff seems the same staff that every other company has (let’s remember that the same people are always the ones working for every single company) and my general distrust towards some of the staff members just doesn’t make it up for me. As for unique personality goes, I don’t think they’ll be any different than SolPress, for example. ALthough their focus seems to be specified on VN’s only (maybe they expand to LN’s and Manga like everyone else in due time, we’ll have to see.)
    Are their practices better than Sekai Project’s, for example? As far as consumer-focus goes, a very big yes. They appeal to a broader audience and they seem to have taken some very important steps in order to make things generally better and not bring shame upon themselves (thank god they’re not kickstarting their projects, that’s a big plus and deserves respect). As far as internal focus goes, we’ll have to wait and see. Same goes with PR, so far, nothing wrong. Hopefully they’ll hire someone actually competent at that job instead of random people.
    Should people instantly follow them like lambs and praising their work even if they haven't even read an excerpt of what they've translated? No. This is a recurrent problem nowadays, when people see something new they always tend to think it's better. And the matter of fact is that that's not the case, at least here. Companies like SolPress are already being labelled as the "saviours" of translations, when, as far as I've seen from their work it's nothing different compared to a decent translation work made by MG or even SP. Hopefully people will be more skeptic about new companies like these ones, but that's obviously not going to be the case and droolers will start appearing sooner or later. Tldr: they're nothing different from what we've seen so far.
    Unrelated to the post;
    Please leave your opinion on the format of the post and the display of topic in general: Did you like it? Would you add more info or less info? Would you like more company “reviews”? Was I too harsh? Constructive criticism so I can improve my blog posting is very appreciated. Since this is a very new company with no games released yet I retrained myself about commenting about other elements that are core when translating VN's, I'll probably make a more detailed post about NekoNyan in the future, once we've seen a full scope of their intentions and quality. Before someone raises the question: “Then who do you consider a good professional?” I’ll answer with people like: Conjueror, Garejei, Makoto, Koestl and Ambigravity for example, there are more but these are the better known people in my book. Another thing I need to reiterate: this is not a hate thread towards certain people (some will get the wrong idea reading "1."). If I mention names I just want to be clear about my intentions: I'm not here to hate on anybody. Thanks for reading so far (if you actually did).
  3. Like
    Zenophilious reacted to Kaguya for a blog entry, A rebuttal of FuwaReviews - Why Hoshizora no Memoria is a damn good VN   
    Did you know Fuwanovel was once almost called Hoshinovel? No? Well, you should.
    Today I am here to counter the travesty that is this website that was almost named after this game having two bad reviews giving it a 1/5.
    Now, I haven't played this game for years, never really liked it all that much and I don't remember half the plot points or really any of the character names. I did look at a CG gallery for two minutes while cropping this avatar so that should be a pretty good reminder of the story though.
    Under these circumstances, you might think that writing a defense of a game would be something only a moron would do - But the loli is pretty great and I've been called much worse. 
    Now, I don't actually remember anything about this game other than a sex scene with this one girl dressed in a maid outfit carefully licking the protagonist's ochinchin (or was that in the fandisc? Doesn't really matter), so it's pretty hard to actually write something about it. Luckily, we have Fred's review, and coupled with my memory from looking at that HCG set we can just read that and explain why he's wrong.
    Well, without any more chatter, let's begin. 
    Now there's really not a lot going on with his first two paragraphs - 15 lines and he talks about who made the game, explains the premise and says the release was shit.  Now, we can already see this writer's limitations at the very beginning of this review. In its first 15 lines, Hoshizora no Memoria already gave you a solid idea of something and had a girl you wanted to fuck. Probably. I dunno. Shutup it's fiction, if we do it by percentages, this is a big portion of the review, think of how much hoshimemo managed to do with that same percentage of its play time. 
    This is pretty  undeniable straightforward proof that the author of this review is a worse writer than the author of hoshizora no memoria, and so has no place to criticize his writing (since author probably just didn't get the genius behind hoshimemo.) 
    I will note that the review's author talks about how hanging out with a loli shinigami sounds actually neat, proving his taste at least isn't complete garbage. 
    That is, until this:

    Now, twintails tsundere girl is the worst girl of the story and it's pretty terrible to put her as your review's first image. She is a tsundere, and as all tsunderes are, her existence is testament that Hoshizora no Memoria is a game that truly appeals to all crowds, including, *ahem*, special people, but putting a character that's meant for the dull and braindead alike as the game's poster and first impression for normal readers is nothing but intellectual dishonesty, and I question the author's intent in doing so. 
    Past that, he says he'll talk about why he hates the game, but only says some broad stuff about the writing being bad and "failing the bigger picture" that you can apply to almost literally anything. There are VNs where you cannot apply this phrase to, but I haven't read them, so they don't exist. He says the game has no themes other than stars, but the game's title is clearly hoshizora no memoria, which means memory of starry sky. Him needing to say that shows the review's author isn't particularly fluent in japanese and as such he can't criticize the game's original writing because he never read it. I wonder how much fuwanovel pays these people, because I could probably do much better. 
    He criticizes the game for the use of misunderstandings as a romantic tool, but 2009 anime kimi ni todoke had a misunderstanding and it's like one of the top most popular romance otaku works of all time, so all this servers to show is that this guy doesn't know shit about romance in our medium. 
    He talks about how there's no substance or something to grab too, but I'll get back to it after this image.

    This is actually a pretty cute CG but I'd like to point out he posts the obnoxious text log no one cares about in front of the loli's face, just providing us extra proof he doesn't know or get anything about the appeal of this game. Literally no one cares about what these characters are saying, it's cute, she's talking about how girls want to get close to you and how you should only enter a girl's route after you already set your mind to fuck her, all stuff that's important to hear but that we all know already. This goes back to criticizing the game "not having anything for you to grab on" and complaining about themes, it's a moege not kafka, you're just supposed to want to fuck the girls, look at her beautiful eyes and hair and black dress with the little ribbon thing having space in between her tiny shoulders as the picture reveals her skin to the moonlight. This is one of the best parts of the game where you're supposed to be at 1000% and this guy is paying attention to stuff literally no one other than reviewers cares about, and he still dedicates a whole extra paragraph to talking about this shit. If that's not missing the point, I don't know what is. 
    He goes on to talk about how the game doesn't know how to build and mantain tension but that's clearly not true because whenever I looked at the blue haired girl's face the sexual tension went up the roof and I wasn't even reading the game. He also complains about the game giving info to you (while clearly complaining about the game not giving info for you to grab on just one paragraph earlier) but it's totally ok because the problem is that the game didn't give you info the way he wanted it to give, which at this point is pretty clear to all smart readers that he's just looking for excuses to complain about this masterpiece and he doesn't care about truth at all. 
    He talks some stuff about the characters but at this point it's pretty clear that he's a biased writer and I dunno who's who by name so we'll just skip over that. Here's some girls in maid outfits showing the game truly knows what's what. 

    Then, I shit you not, this review goes completely grammar nazi and starts talking about all this random english shit literally no one other than an english literature college freshman would care about, not even his teachers, for what is like half of the entire review. I didn't count the words so it might be less but I had to scroll my screen to skip over that garbage fire so half of the review is probably correct.
    He goes on to talk about how he checked the japanese script and found out the localization was nonsense, but that's clearly untrue because we already proved he doesn't know any japanese in this rebuttal so no need to spend any more time on that. 
    Now, even this guy can't deny the game is top tier 10/10 master artwork with pretty good ost, so he makes up some excuse about how the game's writing is bad so it's complete trash because it's a visual novel and you're suppoosed to read visual novels. 
    Not true. The VN community in the west started with people who didn't know a single word of japanese buying porn games they'd fap to because images and voices are good enough. If writing was also so important, might as well not even have visuals in the first place. 
    Anyway I think it's pretty clear FuwaReviews hates visual novels, doesn't want people to read the good ones in the west and wants everyone to read pretentious hipster book-ey shit instead. Because they took the effort to make fake propaganda about how this game is bad, I think it's blindingly obvious that it's 10/10 masterpiece and the best VN of all time. My face right now is just like the text below this loli's which is why I made her my avatar.

  4. Like
    Zenophilious reacted to Rose for a blog entry, Majikoi complete patch is live!   
    Hello everyone, quick post and no time for introductions this time, for if you didn't received the news, then there you have it: After four years in development, the Majikoi translation project is finally complete! So if you plan to read this game or was waiting for the complete patch to finish it, then go thank the team in the discussion thread, you can find their profile links in the translation thread if you feel like PMing then as well. Thanks a lot everyone on the team, you guys are amazing and our deepest gratitude!
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