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Plk_Lesiak last won the day on December 21 2018

Plk_Lesiak had the most liked content!

About Plk_Lesiak

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  • Birthday 05/31/1989

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  1. How long is the full script? I wonder what kind of playtime will actually be left after removing the gameplay. Also, just wanted to say that project is one of the best things ever. In general. Among all kinds of things. It's the best.
  2. Winter 2019 Anime Discussion

    I'm finally catching up with this season's shows... Mob Psycho II looks like it's going to be better than the first one and that is saying a lot, even though I wouldn't rate the first one as high as many people do. If nothing breaks, it's going to be a solid 9/10 - it seems they're going for some more character development and less sheer weirdness and it might be just the kind of slight rebalance the show needed. Slime Isekai is just the same fluffy fun it always was, playing IMO on all the right tropes. Not sure how the introduction of airhead-loli demon lord with world-ending power will play out, but I have yet to see a development in this show which wasn't turned into something at least slightly amusing. Kaguya-sama's opening episode was hilarious. I guess it's exactly my kind of romantic comedy, but I wonder whether they can keep it this over-the-top for long without the formula getting old. We'll see... Still have to get to watching Neverland and possibly going to pick up The Rising of the Shield Hero... Suddenly this season looks interesting and I'm not watching any stinkers? Weird... :s EDIT: Holy crap, the opening episodes of Shield Hero... Just excellent. Finaly, FINALY an interesting isekai protagonist, along with a meaningful twist to the formula. So glad I've decided to give it a try.
  3. Welcome back to the Shovelware Adventures, the series that most likely no one was missing, but it came back regardless! It's been a while since I last delved into the Sakura series, so with only a few of those games still not reviewed, and staying true to my grossly counter-chronological coverage of the Winged Cloud’s trashy catalogue, let’s finish it where everything started. When Sakura Spirit appeared on Steam in mid-2014, on what was still a fairly barren EVN landscape, it quickly became something akin to a viral sensation – achieving not only sale numbers that most likely no one ever expected, but also popping up frequently on YouTube and becoming popular enough on Twitch to quickly get officially banned. It also established a peculiar variant of ecchi formula, which took the fanservice usual for eroge and trashy anime, and dedicated every CG and the whole plot to showing it off, without ever going into actual porn to stay within Steam’s, at the time, strict adult content policy. Before Winged Cloud made a transition into actual hentai games, this model spawned an impromptu franchise that turned "sakura" into a dirty word for most Western VN fans, with a total of six "all ages" fanservice VNs released within it. Today, I’ll take a look at first three of those not-quite-porn Sakura games – in a distastefully biased manner, considering my relative taste for fanservice and cliched romance, and dislike for hentai. Sakura Spirit Sakura Spirit has been ridiculed countless times, but apart from the immense amount of typos and terribly implemented popcultural references, it’s actually not the worst thing Winged Cloud has even created (even not counting the obviously-trash-tier free games like Sakura Clicker). It offers both a semi-coherent, low-fantasy isekai story (although, of course, a poorly executed one with a highly anticlimactic ending), and a somewhat appealing cast of heroines (two fox spirits, who helps the protagonist after his accidental travel to a parallel world, and two human girls acting as village guards) which could all work as a decent basis for an enjoyable ecchi VN. However, it strangely doesn’t utilize the biggest strength of visual novels as a medium, offering pretty much no meaningful choices, very little romance and an inconclusive harem ending straight out of a shitty fanservice anime. Sakura Spirit also lost much of the appeal that the sheer scarcity of anime boobs on Steam gave it at the time of its release – for many it was an introduction of sorts into the world of Japanese and Japanese-inspired ero games, definitely having its role in preparing ground for the whole genre entering the Western market and the massive success of "proper" adult VNs such as Nekopara. Hilariously enough, it was also so badly written that many people thought of it as a poorly-translated Japanese game – this by itself might be clear enough indication that reading it nowadays is not really worth it, unless you treat it as a rather shameful, but still important piece of EVN history – maybe not fun to read, but worth it for curiosity's sake. Final rating: Smelly Poo Sakura Angels The second Sakura title is a bit forgotten nowadays and didn’t achieve as big of a success of some other titles in the series, but is still remarkable in a few different ways. Learning from the shortcomings of Sakura Spirit, the studio made slightly more effort to tell a proper story, with a clear focus on the two main heroines and a decently-paced fantasy/magical girl-themed intrigue driving the plot. Its biggest strength, however, might be characterisation – not only Wanaca’s designs are nice to look at, but the heroines themselves have quite a lot of personality – especially Sayaka, who at first glance looks like a typical airhead, but soon after shows a rather devious and dominant personality, far-detached from her cheerful and carefree facade. The merciless teasing she subjects both the protagonist and her mildly-classic-tsundere partner to is one of the highlights of the game, escalating throughout the plot in a highly amusing manner. Even the endings (one for both heroines + a “harem” one), while a bit abrupt and inconclusive when it goes to romance, were nice enough to be satisfying from my perspective. Still, while I enjoyed the story and characters in this game quite a lot (it’s also a bit longer than a typical Sakura game, which makes everything feel just a bit more fleshed out and meaningful), it’s obviously still a rather basic plot-serves-the-boobs setup with numerous problems. Maybe the biggest one it how little we learn about the heroines – while they can be vaguely identified as magical girls and both of them give hints about some rather dark backstories (fighting evil magic seems like a really shitty and draining job, I tell you), nothing that isn’t directly connected to the main intrigue is explained properly. It was the only time in the Sakura series when I’ve been seriously interested in the lore and pretty much none of it ever materialized. There’s also a fair share of WCs typical, cringy moments and fanservice showing up in the most inappropriate situations, but it’s not something you can seriously complain about after approaching this kind of game. In the end, I think Sakura Angels is one of the best titles in the series – at least if you don’t play them for actual porn, as even the fanservice here is among the mildest in the whole franchise. Final rating: Golden Poo! Sakura Santa One of the first Sakura titles to feature character art by Inma was also a surprisingly ambitious project by Winged Cloud’s standards. With three fully-fledged character routes and four endings, it offered a fairly impressive amount of content and heroine-centric storytelling, maybe getting closer to being a proper moege than any other game in the series. It’s also possibly my favourite one of them all, for a simple reason – it’s absurdly dumb, but fully embraces that stupidity to deliver relatively inoffensive romance scenarios that are simply fun to read, apart from delivering the necessary amount of fanservice CGs. The heroines – a clumsy daughter of Santa Claus, a lonely fox spirit and a childhood friend with an attitude – are a bizarre mix of themes, but all of them are amusing and well-designed enough to carry their own little stories. Adding a protagonist likeable in a way which makes this whole scenario borderline-believable (I mean, he's nice and selfless to the point he actually could get a girl to like him) and a genuinely funny harem ending to the mix, it’s maybe the very few Sakura game (not counting the generally recognized, positive outlier in form of Dungeon) that tempt me to sincerely recommend them to others. Really worth it, if approached with the right mindset. Final rating: Golden Poo! ----------------------------------- I have to admit that I have a peculiar affinity towards this early "fanservice age" of Sakura games. While hentai usually requires little imagination to make, trying to create a “sexy” game that can fit within Steam’s and similar platform’s limitations requires some creativity and when done well, can give a game something of a trashy charm – one that nukige, spending most of the time on bombarding you with plain porn, will rarely have. While Sakura Spirit wasn’t able to capture that ecchi “magic”, Sakura Angels and Sakura Santa were just the kind of mindless fun you would hope for from a fanservice VN. They also come from the age when the formula still wasn’t repeated to the point of pure absurdity – now, 20 Sakura titles later, it’s hard for the new entries to replicate this appeal and keep any kind of quality standards. Obviously, the games were never anything beyond “somewhat ok”, but being just “ok” is absolutely fine by me. Not every developer can create masterpieces and I can appreciate even the trashiest formula if there’s actual effort put into it – sadly, soon after these two games, Winged Cloud stopped fulfilling even that basic requirement. In two weeks, we’ll take a closer look at the final free non-hentai Sakura games – Sakura Beach 1 & 2 and Sakura Shrine Girls – last of the dying breed, but at the same time, symbols of things to come for the whole franchise… PS This time, my special thanks go to Noble, whose videos made creating this post a lot more fun than it would otherwise be.
  4. What are some OELVN studios?

    Yeah, they're alive, but some Alienwork people also got heavily involved in other projects, like Studio Elan... It might still be a while. I think just their quality first going stale and then dropping consistently was a bit too much even for their fans to swallow (I wrote a lot on how they devolved in the "Shavelware Adventures" posts on my blog). Basically, the Sakura games only got shorter, dumber and more basic over time, so even the good art couldn't save them. Maybe the studio's founder earned enough money to retire and just doesn't care anymore? We can only guess. :] And be sure that the scourge of Michael Bay movies is felt all around the world. Well, not sure what kind of business you're thinking of, but Watercress probably have little to no money to make deals with people (their jokes about "paying in exposure" weren't that far from the truth). In general, the EVN studios are still universally small companies that will keep a close watch on their resources. If you want to work with them in some capacity, you might need to approach many to make it sustainable (not that I know much about business, but that's my general impression).
  5. What are some OELVN studios?

    Wow, that's a big topic... There's many, although most of them are small and there are dozens of circles that pretty much came together for a single project and never produced a VN after that. Also, many OELVN labels are pretty much a single person, making their own VNs with help of commissioned artists, programmers etc (you'll find Hanako Games, Razzart or ebi-hime in this category, even though they have a major impact on the EVN scene). If you check out the list of Steam Homepages I've compiled lately and scan the EVN-related entries, you'll get a decent impression on what the EVN scene looks like. Watercress is not there, as they're actually not a commercial studio and don't publish on Steam, AFAIK. Most of the things I've labelled as "EVN development studios" are actually alive and working on new projects. If you want something more specific, I would most likely point to Love in Space (Sunrider and Shining Song Starnova people) and PixelFade (Ace Academy and Crystalline) as biggest and most active EVN studios. There are some notable aspiring teams, like yuri-focused Studio Elan, but they have to yet release a full game. You also have ecchi factories such as Dharker or Winged Cloud, although the latter really seems to be dying out. It's strange, as the Sakura series must've been super-successful commercially, but both their output and marketing are absolutely anemic nowadays.
  6. They are on the list (the external version, that is).
  7. It's a lovely day to dabble into the dark art of thread necromancy, isn't it? It so happens that I've made something that could be considered a final version of the list. Check it out here and if you know of homepages that should be included, but are not there, please let me know. :3
  8. Guys, I finally made a twitter

    @Happiness+, the event was on Sekai's Discord because the organizer is also a Sekai employee. I also enjoyed the Conference a lot, even though I missed a few initial talks (will have to check some of them on YouTube later). Also, I earlier thought that @NaiDriftlin got some tickets to distribute from the organizer, but then Aginyan mentioned that he simply buys extra tickets to give away every year. That insanely generous of you Nai, thank you! I owe you a lot of good time and 10 Twitter followers. I'd love to boycott all the evil tech corporations, but I'm afraid I'm not yet ready to throw away my computers and start living in a cave.
  9. Birthday thread

    All Best Wishes to @Eclipsed! :3
  10. Kaori After Story (Western VN Review)

    A short while ago I’ve reviewed PixelFade’s Crystalline, expressing my disappointment at what was a visually brilliant, but rather hollow experience, in many ways inferior to that studio's first project, Ace Academy. While AA, a mecha-themed game set in near future’s Japan, mixed convincing drama, a cast of archetypical, but compelling heroines and great SoL sections, providing a fairly balanced and enjoyable game, Crystalline focused much more on comedy and despite the fantasy adventure framework, failed to produce an engaging plot or characters interesting enough to make the whole experience satisfying. The genuine chemistry between Ace Academy’s characters and its compelling atmosphere let me even forgive its anticlimactic ending – PixelFade struggled heavily with that game's development, being forced to cut a large portion of the plot and rush the conclusion, infuriating many fans. The cuts and omissions were definitely visible, for me however, what was already there was simply too good to disregard and I still consider AA as one of the best EVNs I’ve ever read. As you can imagine, it was hard for me not to get excited when, shortly after Crystalline’s release, the studio announced Kaori After Story – a spin-off to Ace Academy, continuing the romance arc of Kaori, arguably the primary heroine of the first game. Using the Live 2D engine and animations from Crystalline, it promised to be another eye-candy, this time directed to the fans of PixelFade's debut title. What worried me, however, was that it was also described by the devs as primarily a comedy, most likely ignoring the bitter-sweet climate of the original and its somewhat ambivalent ending. Thankfully, as much as some might be disappointed with this game’s obvious disinterest in continuing Ace Academy’s main intrigue, connected to protagonist’s father’s scientific research and tragic death, there are many things here they should find highly satisfying – and even I, as reserved as I was when approaching KAS, couldn’t help but to enjoy it quite a lot. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  11. Something happened at Sekai Project?

    That's actually unfair to JAST. Their delays are insane for sure, but the quality is pretty reliable and they work on a reasonable number of projects, getting painfully slow, but observable progress on most of them. With Sekai, there's no rhyme or reason to what they actually get done and to what effect, when it goes to major projects at least. The only thing they do right is releasing small doujins thay take way less resources and long-term effort to translate properly.
  12. Winter 2019 Anime Discussion

    So, the Winter season is already starting and its probably the most alienating one I remember. Outside of the continuation of the Slime Isekai (is there something or someone the protagonist CAN'T devour?) and the second season of Mob Psycho 100 there's very little that catches my eye. Well, not completely nothing though. Kaguya-sama: Love is War is apparently based on a really highly-rated manga and is a seinen, so it might be intriguing. And.. There's pretty much nothing else? Apart from SAO also still continuing. So, do you guys see anything else worthwhile? What are you going to watch? I might actually do some legitimate catching up on older series this time.
  13. Something happened at Sekai Project?

    I, for one, wouldn't be that happy about it because of their role as EVN and doujin publisher, with probably no company that would be able/willing to fill the void. Plus, them going down wouldn't necessarily mean the licences they already have would get any kind of smooth transition to another publisher. I just wish they'd at least get their translation quality fixed, delays are annoying, but I see them as little more than minor inconveniences if the final product properly delivers. Although if they already mismanaged themselves into bankrupcy and are only delaying the inevitable with the restructuring etc, it wouldn't be that surprising. After all, if the mess on the outside is in any way indicative of how the company functions internally... "A mess" would probably be a pretty generous description here.
  14. Why is Sekai taking forever to release new VNs?

    Maitetsu, for one, is a loli game through and through, so it wouldn't pass on Steam in uncensored version even with the new rules. Plus, there are still benefits from releasing an all-ages version, as the game will be still visible to people that have 18+ games filtered out, and you can usually add the 18+ content as an optional DLC. Sekai especially has a policy of releasing the all-ages versions cheap, boosting sales on that, and asking a steep premium for the h-scenes. Quite a shrewd tactic IMHO, even if pretty scummy, as in general cheap VNs sell way better on Steam.
  15. I wouldn't mind having a ticket. I'll probably miss a lot of it, considering the timezone difference and other obligations of mine, but I'm super-appreciative for the whole event and will definitely watch as much as I can.