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Plk_Lesiak

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Everything posted by Plk_Lesiak

  1. Paradoxically, I never feel the need to play the demo when a game looks this promising. After all, I will buy it anyways so there's no reason to spoil myself on any part of the experience (unless the demo has some exclusive content, what barely ever happens in VNs). Anyways, enough rambling. Good luck with the development, I'll surely grab this as soon as it comes out.
  2. Sup.

    Welcome to our glorious forum full of awkward nerds. I'm sure you'll fit right in!
  3. Highway Blossoms Remastered is live on Steam

    I don't know, but surely it will never reach KARAKARA's levels of excellence. ;p
  4. The devs behind the game just published a remastered version of Highway Blossoms (for those heretics unfamiliar with the title, it's one of the highest-rated yuri OELVNs) - one that is a free update rather than a separate product. It features full voice-acting and reworked visual assets, along with some technical improvements. I guess I'm a bit glad that I postponed reading it for such a long time, now I can experience the "ultimate" version on my first try... Unless it's targeted by the Valve's frenzy I guess? It has some sexual content, but hopefully, the all-ages version is clean enough for the Steam(y) Inquisition.
  5. Starting a blog about western VNs and VN developers?

    Hello there, brave soldiers of Fuwa! This was a rather insane week for me personally, but not without some cool developments on the blog. When it goes to minor announcements, I've added VNDB links to all the old reviews and gave a slight editing run to some of them. I'm not sure why I didn't do it in the past, but it's fixed now and I will obviously keep adding the links to all future posts. Also, if you started following the blog later down the line, this might be a nice moment to check out the things you've missed. This week I've tackled a game development of which we could observe on Fuwa pretty extensively - it's always really cool to see project in which you interacted with the developers, and maybe even left your small mark on, coming into fruition. It's also a game that tackles topics that I'm personally really interested about - that of more "human" aspects of war and totalitarianism. Panzer Hearts by HELYEES proved to be both a flawed game and a very interesting one and was definitely fun to review - hopefully that's also visible on the reader's side of things. I really encourage you all to read the post and if you're not sure if the game might be to your liking, there's a pretty large free demo available on Steam. Next week, I might tackle one more fresh release before I venture into the world of gameplay VNs - it mostly depends on the time at my disposal. Whatever happens, I hope you'll continue to follow my blog and have a wonderful week everyone!
  6. Hey there lovely people, I've mentioned in my introduction thread that I'm a bit of a graphomaniac - I most likely spend unreasonable amounts of time writing reviews on Crunchyroll and Steam, writing those might be a hobby of mine just as much as watching/reading the stuff I write about. Before I registered on Fuwa, an owner of a certain obscure otaku website noticed my "talent" and invited me to write articles for him - while I quickly realized that it was pretty much a waste of time and only delivered a few texts, that experience gave me a few ideas on content I could create for the benefit of my favourite western VNs and their authors. While looking for an outlet that would be interested in my writing, I actually found this community and later decided to get involved (regardless on whether it could help me with sharing my compulsive creativity). Now while I rightfully gave up on the idea that anyone would want something of mine published on the Fuwa frontpage, there's still this nice little blog functionality available here. I could use it to produce two kinds of content I had in mind earlier: 1. Reviews of Western VNs that were not caught by FuwaReviews team or any blog included in the Reviews portal (possibly even polemic reviews when I'm done with "undiscovered" stuff). 2. Interviews with notable western developers about their games and all things VN-related (should be doable, considering that they're often one-person studios or tiny indie teams desperate for positive exposure). I know that western VNs don't receive much attention/aren't highly regarded here and we're a fairly small community anyway. So the question is: would anyone here be interested in reading the crap I've described above (if you want to know what my writing looks like, you can check the Steam link next to my profile picture or my Crunchyroll account - obviously the blog would have longer, more detailed entries). I will appreciate all honest feedback, I won't be doing much about it in the coming two-three weeks anyway because of RL commitments, but I would love to see whether there's any demand for what I had in mind or should I just crawl to a shady corner and not bother anyone with my weirdness. ;p Cheers!
  7. Not true (nsfw), Yurirei is actually a relatively tame 18+ VN with sex scenes and went to Steam uncensored. It might actually be more appropriate target for the purge than most of the stuff that was hit, even if I very much disagree with it being categorized as porn.
  8. Yup, I know, but notice that Valve's request was to censor the targeted games, not just a notice of taking them down because they're pornographic filth - I haven't played this one but all others I know and were targeted had nudity (and not much more, if speaking about Steam versions). If you say that TL was well-censored in its Steam release, then maybe they're randomly going by user tags without looking at the actual content, it's possible that even now I was giving Valve too much credit.
  9. That's because I'm pretty sure Valve went after anime games with partial nudity (just like the bare breasts in Huniepop and Yurirei) and not the actual porn games that "properly" gate the hentai behind patches, like MonMusu does.
  10. Still, porn without actual depictions of sex isn't much of porn. Making sex a goal in the narrative is a bit too little - and I don't say it to claim HP isn't porn after all, just that defining porn by sex being the main theme is a shitty definition. Plus I don't envy anyone desperate enough to fap to the kind of material that HuniePop offers...
  11. Indeed, I actually forgot about the explicit CGs you get after the "bedroom" puzzles. Still, for the most part it's just fanservice, especially in the Steam version, calling anything in there porn is quite a stretch. And you spend most of the time on puzzles that are completely non-erotic in nature, so calling HP a pure porn game is really not accurate - you could maybe say that about Monmusu, where gameplay is non-existant and a very poor excuse to make you pay for hentai scenes (and it wasn't targeted by Valve so far).
  12. [redacted] I actually remembered it wrong, but Huniepop is not really a "pure porn game", it has actual gameplay and was properly censored in the "clean" version - in a way that was widely consider as appropriate in the past (with only bare breasts in the "erotic" CGs and "sex-related" puzzles) but suddenly became "pornography".
  13. There's a petition on change.org to make Valve reverse their desitions on HuniePop and other affected games. It obviously is extremely unlikely to work, but the more people show explicit discontent the more Valve will have to think about what they're doing. Also, Thank God for Jim Sterling.
  14. Panzer Hearts (western VN review)

    World War 2 and Nazi Germany aren’t completely atypical themes in VN and manga/anime – some beloved and high-profile titles, such as Dies Irae or Hellsing take a very direct inspiration from nazi imagery and legends about NSDAP’s elites’ dealings with the occult. More down-to-Earth war stories are however much rarer in this context – prominent franchises such as Valkyrie Chronicles or Saga of Tanya the Evil not only utilize much less controversial political and military framework of WW1, but also add significant fantasy elements to the mix. To apparently remedy this sorry state of affairs, a small OELVN titled Panzer Hearts was recently released on Steam. Developed by HELYEES, this game promises a story of war and romance in an alternate universe WW2. To this it also adds the theme of tank-building, that should probably excite every military geek such as myself. However, as fantastic as this all sounds, can this tiny indie game actually deliver on all that? The game’s vision of totalitarian society is believable and well thought-out, but with an around 5-hour long story, it's ultimately too short to explore it to a satisfying degree The game’s story follows Bastian, a young soldier of the totalitarian, expansionist Empire (vastly resembling Nazi Germany, but with the national-socialist imaginary replaced by Ancient Egyptian themes), who idealistically enlisted for the army and was humiliatingly wounded the first time he saw combat. After heavy recovery and an emotional breakdown, he’s personally enlisted by an influential officer, colonel Kontar Ackermann, to work at a new tank factory, starting a journey that will lead him either to embracing or rejecting the oppressive system he lives in, while falling in love with one of two girls, each of them pretty much representing polar opposite stances on the Empire. The focus of the story definitely lays on the political reality of Bastian’s homeland and his personal struggle to understand the reality around him. The losses inflicted upon his family by the war, indoctrination he went through and his naive idealism are all explored in pretty interesting ways and the way they clash with brutal realities of the Empire’s terror and violence are the driving force of the plot. Also, the writing makes clear the moral ambiguity of pretty much all of the possible choices – while the Empire is clearly a brutal, potentially genocidal dictatorship, rejecting it also means betraying all the people that aided Bastian and laid their trust on him after he returned from the front. From this point of view, loyalist ending is maybe the most interesting part of the game, not only resolving the moral conflicts of the story in a convincing manner, but also pointing out to the rewards an authoritarian offers to it’s most loyal and capable servants and the allure of power that it can grant to an individual. Tank-building segments could’ve been a very nice touch if they were even slightly more involved and varied What, however, is very praiseworthy in the general outline, it not always as good when it goes to details and the way some of these ideas are executed. Panzer Hearts on many occasions shows the cracks within the Empire’s perfect facade and various heresies against the dominant ideology, often coming from those publicly most loyal to the system and the first ones to silence anyone questioning it. This subplots, however, are pretty much never explored much beyond the sheer fact of their existence – and some of them begged to have deeper ramification and expose the characters more deeply to the dread of totalitarian violence, rather than just showing the inherent hypocrisy of ideology-driven regimes. Dialogues also disappoint slightly, feeling a bit unnatural and chaotic when they go into ideological discussions and conflicts between the characters – they never seem to reach the depth and impact that the authors obviously wanted them to have. However, a really major disappointment for me came from the tank-building “mini-game”, which was marketed as one of the selling point of the game and in reality can barely be even described as a gameplay element. Only a few “assembling” segments are present in Panzer Hearts and all of them consist of simply dragging the parts vaguely around their appropriate places, without any skill or challenge involved. While they’re well-embedded within the story and relevant for the plot, they just begged for more variety – the German armored vehicles of WW2 are a huge source of interesting designs and trivia and using that potential seems like an obvious choice for a game that seems like it was meant to appeal fans of military history and equipment. Sadly, the game stops at absolute basics, just borrowing a few famous tank models and vaguely describing their capabilities. The game’s simple visuals sadly take away some of the impact from the very dark, oppressive setting and storyline Another issue, for many probably much more important, is the choice system in the game, which is pretty much meaningless past a few paths that lead you to immediate bad endings and the final decision that determines the ending you get. The games give you Telltale-style feedback to most of your actions (including the always-ominous "X will remember what you said about Y"), making you feel like you’re working towards something on every step, but none of it actually changes the plot, which branches out only at the very end of the story – I personally didn’t mind it very much, but those hating having only an illusion of control might be heavily disappointed. The possible dealbreaker, however, comes in the form of game’s visuals – while the quality of the art is not dreadful, it definitely has a problem of not really matching the extremely heavy subject matter. I have a feeling that the same story, presented with a more refined and darker aesthetic, could be much more impactful. The artist’s take on Egyptian themes also looks quite interesting and at times appealing, but lacks the polish necessary to really make it convincing. Of course, considering that Panzer Hearts was made by a tiny, more or less amateur team there’s no point in bashing those aspects of the game, but they’re definitely something to consider as a consumer. In the end, though, I do recommend giving this VN a chance – it’s a decent attempt at telling a kind of story and building a setting that we don’t really see within the medium, done with obvious knowledge and understanding of the topic is tries to tackle. Because of that, it’s something I would definitely like to see more of in the OELVN scene and if HELYEES decides to create another title in similar style, I’ll be very interesting in seeing it. However flawed, it's a good start, hopefully, one that will lead towards more polished and expansive projects. Final Score: 2,5/5 Pros: - Unique setting - Serious approach to topics of war and totalitarianism Cons: - Mediocre dialogue - Simple visuals - Doesn’t capitalize on some of its best ideas VNDB page Buy Panzer Hearts on Steam or download a free demo
  15. Spring 2018 Anime Discussion

    So, this winter's Season of Fluff is ending and the spring Season of Sequels has begun! I have a bit of a problem with this one, as it mostly full of continuations of shows I haven't seen yet or ones I don't really care about anymore (looking at your HighschoolDxD...). So, what you guys are looking forward to?
  16. Highway Blossoms Remastered is live on Steam

    I wonder... It had a partial voiceover in the old version, if I remember well? I surely didn't have a huge budget back then, so probably the cast they used back then was fairly cheap and recording additional lines could be worth the added appeal (after all, more conservative/JP-centric VN fans ofter really care about VA). I do hope they'll make some decent marketing push though, a post on Reddit rather won't win that many new sales for a two-year-old game. :]
  17. Highway Blossoms Remastered is live on Steam

    You can always mute it. ;p
  18. Because that's their original niche? I assume that eroge fans in Japan want porn (if we can believe Dergonu, they even care about it way more than most of us Weebs do, and many of us care about porn a whole lot) and all-ages titles are mostly viable on the console market (and those are often just censored versions of originally 18+ titles, just like those that appear on Steam). I think this is a bit like asking while PornHub doesn't produce comedy skits - it's not what its customers want and even if they want it in general, they already get it from other places.
  19. Most VNs are eroge. Eroge, by definition, have porn. We get a decent number of all-ages titles (like Fatal Twelve or Chuusotsu lately), but the majority of what Japan produces have hentai. So that's what we get. Plus Steam have problems not just with porn, but also nudity, so games that don't qualify as porn by any reasonable standard can also get targeted by this. It can. But it doesn't want to. Because it wants to have kids on its platform and parents ready to spend money on games for them and porn is a big Boogyman in 'Murica (and to a lesser extent in many other parts of the world). Even having a "Steam 18+" as a seperate platform would, in Valve's perspective, ruin their "family friendly" image and make them vulnerable to all kinds of attacks and bad press. I don't really think that's the case, but it seems to be the line of reasoning they consistently follow. It's just like Twitch don't want to make a seperate 18+ section and just bans all games they find questionable (including Yandere Simulator, for no fucking reason or Sakura Santa, which is btw a tame and even fairly amusing fanservice game, solid 5/10).
  20. Yup, this definitely looks like a conservative organization, they even insert references to faith and actual feminist talking points are few and far between (and it's not a new thing for conservatives to hijack those whenever it fits their goals and adds to their credibility). ------------------------------------- Regardless, I agree with Sanahtlig that them claiming responsibility doesn't mean much in this instance - I guess anti-porn radicals are a bit like ISIS in this matter, they'll claim everything that suits their agenda as their doing. That "thank Valve for censorship" petition does make my blood boil though, I hope they'll at least get more complaints from pissed people than congratulations from dimwitted zealots that haven't see a video game in their life outside of random pieces of media fearmongering.
  21. Maybe, maybe, but that you assume they have guidelines and stick to them. Many of the games they're threatening to remove went through a meticulous approval process and the publishers did whatever they could to make sure everything is done according to the rules and with Valve's consent. Now, without changing the actual guidelines, Valve started going after games it suddenly perceives as too lewd. Valve has all the right in the world to set up its own rules and we might contest their choices, but mostly have to accept them. But if they don't respect their own rules and the publishers using their platforms, abuses their and our trust, we have all the right in the world to bash them. I expect a game that was greenlit by Valve to go live on their service to be safe and safe to buy, in meaning that it won't randomly infect my computer or disappear without a word after I paid money for it. It's not "whining" to expect a bare minimum of professionalism and consistency from the service you rely on heavily for your entertainment. Imagine if Netflix started pulling down shows every time you watch half into a season because they suddenly realized they are too risque. Not fun, right? I don't think many viewers would be happy about it either.
  22. As the title says. I'm not sure to what extent this is newsworthy to everyone else around here, but I'm super-excited. Both about it finally showing up and about MangaGamer making the sexual content optional. Cute girls'-love stories await.
  23. Games like Roommates also got the same warning and I don't think that one has any characters that are minors, let alone sexual content with those.
  24. They might be responding to mass complains (the Maidens of Michael debacle is said to be initiated by a notorious troll) or just wish to defend their image of a "safe"/porn-free platform. Attacking niches is definitely an easier way to do that than acting against major titles/publishers. That Witcher nudity and sex scenes won't be touched because people would riot and not enough customers will defend Spirits or WinterWolves' stuff for Valve to care - and "anime" stuff is generally a convenient punching bad because of the stereotypes around it. It is that especially dumb/pointless and prudish kind of censorship though and I would love to see some real backlash against it.
  25. Shame about Kindred Spirits getting hit, but considering how the all-ages versions of most SP and MG games are made I wouldn't expect this to turn into some kind of global disaster (unless Steam starts actually going after patches 18+, that would be a massacre). I can imagine that the inconsistency will be off-putting for Japanese companies and publishers, but probably not enough to change things drastically. I wonder if any Winged Cloud games got hit by this, it would be pretty funny if main smut-dealers on the platform were ommited. They always cover those SINFUL NIPPLES in the all-ages versions though. Bare breasts seams to be all this is about at this point.
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