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Plk_Lesiak last won the day on July 14

Plk_Lesiak had the most liked content!

About Plk_Lesiak

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  • Birthday 05/31/1989

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    Anime & VNs, writing, popcultural studies
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  1. Ithaqua Labs, named ominously after a Great Old One from the Lovecraftian Cthulhu mythos, is one of the more unique studios on the EVN scene, not following closely the tropes and aesthetic of the Japanese VNs. While their fantasy and horror games did not really break into the mainstream of the visual novel market, they definitely stand out among the generic romance and ecchi visual novels most often found on Steam. On June 14 this year, the two-man team added another interesting title to their catalogue – Perceptions of the Dead 2, sequel to a collection of 3 short horror stories which was Ithaqua’s earliest VN project, dating back to 2015. Before I go into details of the new release, it’d be a good idea to take a closer look at its prequel (which, by all standards could be considered as a short prologue to the “proper” story told in PotD 2). The first Perception of the Dead is simply the prologue for the „real” story, but does a good job of introducing the main characters and establishing the setting Perceptions of the Dead, in the "remastered" version released in late October 2017, contains three horror stories set in the modern-day US, plots of which are brought together in the sequel. While they have a slight Lovecraftian vibe to them, they are nowhere near as grim and suffocating as their inspiration – they’re mostly lighthearted, playing with the tropes of the genre in interesting and amusing ways, but not trying to be genuinely scary. The PotD episodes introduce two protagonists of the franchise – a streamer named Jill, who gets involved with paranormal phenomena by accident while making a Halloween trip to a haunted hospital and Tyrone, a powerful medium who works as a paranormal investigator (along with a substantial cast of supporting characters). While the first of the stories, The Phantom Icecream Truck, is rather clunky and underwhelming, it was also the earliest project by the studio, evidently still looking for their own style in both visual and storytelling. The other two, Jill Count and Perceptions of the Dead, are much more interesting though and tell stories that lead directly into the second game. All episodes of PotD share some characteristics that are also very much present in the sequel – distinct, colourful artstyle and good-quality, full voice acting. Both do a lot to make the characters feel alive and likeable – even someone like Jill, who has a slight “bratty social media starlet” vibe to her and could easily be off-putting, feels both believable and fun to follow thanks to her voice actresses’ work and good visual design. The art is sometimes simplified (or even slightly distorted, when it goes to anatomy and various environmental details) but is vibrant and gives the characters a lot of personality in that slightly exaggerated, cartoonish way. For the most part, I absolutely adored the aesthetic of the game and the atmosphere it created, especially after prolonged exposure to cheap ecchi EVNs and their depressingly generic anime art. The game’s artstyle and character designs are its most distinctive features, building a rather unique atmosphere The story itself might be, however, slightly more problematic, at least from a certain perspective. While Perceptions of the Dead established the setting and its basic rules, with ghosts, mediums and supernatural threats that will become center of attention in the sequel, even when looking at both games combined, they’re a rather short experience (up to 5 hours of reading) that is only starting to gain momentum and unravel the bigger intrigue signalized in the plot. While the sequel is meant to contain two stories, only the first one of which is already out, it’s hard to believe that the upcoming one would be able, on its own, to give us the backstories of the characters and push the story forward as much as we would want it to – and there are some really interesting pieces of lore that just scream to be explored more, while we also still know very little about crucial characters, such as Ripley, an ancient ghost that got interested in Tyrone’s power as a medium and Marcus, Tyrone’s longtime friend who also possesses significant abilities of unclear nature. PotD 2’s story, so far, starting with Tyrone missing and Jill, looking for help with her own hunting problem, teaming with Ripley and Marcus to look for him, mostly created more questions and expanded the intrigue without resolving anything. At least I can’t deny it left me wanting much more – hopefully, Ithaqua has plans to keep the franchise alive beyond another 2-3 hours long story bit, it would be a real shame for it to end without reaching its full potential. The consistently strong voice acting adds even more life and personality to the whole cast, including most of the supporting characters The other complaint I have to share is how linear the whole experience is – both in the case of PotD and PotD 2, the choices are both few and mostly meaningless (apart from literally one optional scene and a single, abrupt dead end). While the gimmick of Jill’s audience giving her direction by comments or voting while she’s streaming was fun and immersive, it doesn’t change the fact that in reality the game gives no agency to the player. The story is also full of popcultural references that give the characters even more genuine feel (especially between Jill and Marcus who are both popcultural geeks), but I can imagine them growing old pretty fast or falling flat if you don’t know the referenced material. Music is rather minimalistic, doing the bare minimum of ambience-building necessary in this kind of story. In the end, though, I see Perception of the Dead 2 as a very positive experience – not really as a horror, but as a casual adventure story with a fun cast and unusual premise. Definitely worth checking out, especially for the modest asking price of less than 10 dollars. Final Score: 3,5/5 Pros: + Great, unique artstyle + Great voice acting + Interesting lead characters with a lot of personality Cons: - Short - Linear with mostly meaningless choices VNDB page Buy Perceptions of the Dead 2 on Steam
  2. Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: Yume Creations

    Heh, well, I think that the first two (Aozora Meikyuu and Yozora Rhapsody) were terribly-written and clunky games, but they at least tried telling a story and weren't completely generic. They seemed like genuine attempts at creating something decent, that just failed spectacularly. Games&Girls, on the other hand, just feels cynical, just like that imouto incest VN (I think it's called Imolicious? [lol] It was apparently blocked by Steam a few months ago, postponing the release until they implement the new filtering tools - might be months away, considering the response Dharker got from Valve lately). But, hey, I don't think many people know the author is German. The horrible English make them even more believable as low-budget, poorly translated JP VNs. xD
  3. Hey guys!

    Welcome to Fuwanovel! Hope you'll have fun posting.
  4. There's a VNDB tag for it. My personal recommendation, or rather the only game with that feature I played in which it actually made a difference, would be Sable's Grimoire. A very cool, story-centric EVN.
  5. Fast paced VNs?

    Hmmm... I usually go with EVN recommendations, but here especially they could be more to your liking, as they're usually short and to the point. Sweetest Monster and Lynne are great, short horrors by Ebi-hime. Soundless is a slightly similar, unsettling and climatic game. Ace Academy and One Thousand Lies are a nice, relatively short plotge without excess SoL fluff. Obviously, things like Saya no Uta, Phenomeno or even euphoria won't give you much time to rest. At least, those are the games that come to my mind when people ask for stuff with less SoL/faster plot progression, after all even chuunige usually have enormous wordcounts and a lot of casual moments, it's a bit of a core feature of VNs as a medium from my (limited) experience.
  6. Hello! New guy here

    Welcome to Fuwanovel! I hope you never find your limit, no matter how long you seek.
  7. Japanese equivalent of notable OELVNs?

    Hah, I wouldn't mind to see EVNs grow in a similar manner. But who would be the Key of the West? Well, I know nothing of old VNs, so I can't contribute to the discussion, but I enjoy the premise. If only me or @Palas could DBZ-style fuse with @kivandopulus for an hour, I'm sure the combined knowledge would effect in a dozen or two of perfect analogies.
  8. Something happened at Sekai Project?

    I'm slightly more disturbed by the fact, if we believe the annoucement, that they got rid of pretty much all their marketing staff, with claims they're not touching the actual translation/development crew (and no indication they're actually moving resources there/expanding the localization team). Marketing was, pretty much, the only thing that worked as intended in Sekai. This plus the fact that people got fired out of the blue, it doesn't look too pretty. Hopefully it's not some kind of disaster in the making, I actually would prefer for Sekai to stay considering their involvement as an EVN publisher.
  9. Something happened at Sekai Project?

    After all, they clearly had excess permanent staff and their projects were all going so smoothly...
  10. What are you playing?

    I've finished reading SoulSet today (another Polish VN, yay!) and I have to say that while I don't have much experience with multi-route mystery, this was definitely among the best ones I've seen in EVN form, definitely on par with Everlasting Summer. The cast is really quite unique and interesting, including the first cross-dressing character I genuinely liked (I mean, he somehow combines a really foul attitude with being absurdly cute - and well, the game provided two, in a way even three "real" yuri routes so I had few resons to complain). The devs also did a cool thing with the romance options, that is even though you need to finish all routes to get to the true ending and every character is romanceable, you can freely choose between romantic and friendship scenarios in all of them. This way, it can be played as a "yuri" or an "otome" - whatever pleases you personally. I only skipped one romance though, as the character is question (Apris) was terribly dull. The mystery itself was... Contrived, to the point I wasn't sure about a few details even at the very end, but it was generally quite satisfying. I like how the game uses "clues", with you keep between playthroughs, to make all paths meaningful and encourage you to go through all the endings, including bad ones. I'm not sure if I would enjoy it without the guide though, there's a lot of choices and ways to screw up in most routes and exploring them blindly mustr take tons of time (obviously, people that don't have to hurry through gamers like I do might have a lot of fun with that). Generally, a very positive experience, and even decently produced (a bit of disconnect between the sprotes and CG artwork was pretty much my onlyu complaint) - highly recommended.
  11. Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: Yume Creations

    Catridges are not so bad, I would warn especially against doing that to DVD drives (radiation) or other ports (electricity). And when it goes to these games... They are among the best-selling OELVNs on Steam, if we can believe the recently-leaked data (especially Aozora Meikyuu and Games&Girls). To be fair, they're mostly dirt-cheap, especially when on sale, could've been included in some bundles too. :>
  12. Birthday thread

    Happy Birthday to You! Sorry for being late...
  13. Hello from Delusional

    You chose the name just to be able to write this everywhere, didn't you? Well, either way, welcome to Fuwanovel!
  14. Looks quite nice! I see thers are in-app purchases in the game and you can buy it chapter by chapter. Is there an option to pay once for full content and how much it costs to unloch everything?
  15. "Your Diary" is coming out

    All the screenshots I've seen gave me the Tricolor Lovestory vibe (that is MTL edited into something vaguely coherent), I might be wrong about that, as I'm not an expert, but I definitely can't really agree that's crucial in this case. I don't really care whether this is a scam or a genuine fuckup, or even whether Hobibox is responsible for this directly or were scammed by a con-artist. The effect is the same (unreadable translation) and the only possible fix is reworking the translation from the ground up. It's also not some indie team trying to make a name for themselves on the VN market, it's a huge freakin' media company and I don't give a shit about their feelings or being "fair" to them, as long as they try to sell crap like this and give half-assed responses on how they are "concerned" about the backlash.