adamstan got a reaction from Eclipsed in What are you playing?
Actually that change of pacing didn't bother me much. Rather, the final route was perhaps my favorite part of the game.
I'd say that it was a bit artificially slowed down by all that adventure game mechanics. Of course final route makes some huge timeskips, but it still worked for me. And I really appreciated that it ditched the point'n'click mechanics.
Disclaimer: I played fan-TL of original with added voice patch. Maybe remake does some things differently?
adamstan reacted to Eclipsed in What are you playing?
Alright I'm apparently 69% of the way done with 2017 YU-NO Switch ver. , so I'll do a midway thoughts review thing. I went Mitsuki -> Mio -> Ayumi -> currently gonna start Kanna's route
It's been pretty fun so far. A bit "grindy" via the time travel/jewel save point mechanic because you'll have to frequently backtrack to recollect items that are needed to progress through whatever branch you are pursuing, because certain items are once-you-use-them-then-you-lose-them, even if you return to the past where you did not use that item yet, and so you have to return to the point where you actually got the item (did that make sense LOL) and then return to that branching point in order to see the other branch.
And then there's also the HUGE vulnerability where you forget to replace a save point (whenever you use a jewel it returns to your inventory AKA that checkpoint is removed from the map and you have to set the checkpoint again if you want to return to that point again but its soooo easy to forget when you're skip-grinding through the VN). AKA you set checkpoint A, load it, checkpoint A is now gone. If you continue the story without setting checkpoint A again, which is very easy to do, then you literally locked yourself out and if you want to go back to checkpoint A then you'll have to start the VN from the beginning and grind back to that point. Very annoying especially when you just want to see the other branch on a lategame decision.
One thing I like regarding the flow of the events though is how, uh, consistent? all the heroine routes are with each other. In other VNs with branching paths/multiple heroines it's very easy for the writers to just give whoever's not the main focus the vanish treatment, where in the back of your mind you're always wondering like, "Ok I'm currently flirting with girl A so they're obviously the focus, but I wonder how and what girls B/C/D/E are doing right now"...
Well, technically, the vanish treatment still happens, but since all 4 of YU-NO's heroine routes take place over a very, very meager 3 DAYS the writers have the luxury of allowing the reader to keep tabs on what the other heroines are up to, even if you aren't on their particular route. And the vanish treatment is a bit justified because even If you're off flirting with the hot teacher Mitsuki trying to find out what's the deal with Ryuuzoji, you'll still get glimpses of tsundere classmate Mio doing her Triangle Mountain investigations, you'll still see gentle stepmother Ayumi getting shrekt HARD by her Geo Technics controversies, and more often then not you'll bump into enigmatic student transfer Kanna mysteriously appearing and disappearing during pivotal moments as if watching over Takuya.
That being said, even though it's just 4 heroines over 3 days you may fall victim to the Time Travelers' Omniscient Burden, where you're burdened with knowing things Takuya technically shouldn't know because his own memories are reset every time you start over, and you can become overwhelmed with keeping track of what's going on/has happened/will happen/only happens in another timeline yada yada yada if you're not taking notes on the side or something lol.
The remastered soundtrack is 9/10, very good stuff, idk, most of the BGMs just clicked with me. Very catchy and memorable and I found myself playing them in my head more often than I did any other VN that I've read this year. The heroines all have distinguishing themes appropriately titled after their names. I can't even remember any heroine themes of any VNs I've read in the past... Ok wait I just thought of one. Rewrite's Kotori's piano flower theme. Ok YU-NO's heroine themes have nothing on that tbh lmao, but the main point is that they were distinct and memorable to me and would bring a smile to my face to see Ayumi or Mio pop up on the screen with their accompanying theme.
Dialogue/writing/translation feels subpar, it's still readable but there are times where my very limited Japanese familiarity can call out the translation freestyling. One example being Takuya audibly saying he knows a girl's "three sizes" and yet the dialogue instead said he knew her height. I'm like dafuq, is that a result of censorship??. Also sometimes he/she pronoun is mixed up, very confusing when it happens. H-scenes are reduced to Takuya and the heroine professing their love for each other, making out, and then blacking out to post-coitus-cuddle dialogue. I actually prefer it that way, I was never into H-scenes to begin with and would always skip through them.
Ok I'll be honest, I ended up wanting to write this post because I just finished Ayumi's route. Mitsuki and Mio were aight, nothing too special to note. But Ayumi, man oh man Ayumi, there was just something about her that drew me in so I was heavily invested into her. Dare I say it was the whole pretty, gentle, caring stepmother and forbidden love concept LOL. Overall her route wasn't too special either, more infuriating if anything due to the worst scumbag of the earth ever that is Toyotomi, but that bad ending though!
Misc. Thoughts/Spoilers! (Ayumi route)
adamstan got a reaction from Silvz in What are you playing?
Actually, no. (But it perhaps did happen with some of the moeges I played. Nevertheless I don't actively aim for that) Most of the times for me it's also just following the story - with various degrees of immersion. I just wanted to stress how much his attitude annoys me and makes me wanna smack him over the head (Well, Yuu-nee already does it, so maybe I don't need to )
adamstan reacted to Plk_Lesiak in What are you listening to right now?
New entry in my collection of ambivalent j-pop/anison fascinations, GARNiDELiA's music is kind of trashy... Or maybe very trashy even, but it's catchy and the vocalist... She's not just a good singer, but also has tons of charisma and seems to be the person behind the band's visual style, which is pure kitsch, but also elaborate and polished to the point where I can't help but appreciate it. Also their life performances are just SO TIGHT. ^^
adamstan reacted to alpacaman in What are you playing?
So I finished the YU-NO remake. My main takeaway is that it was a poor decision to do a shot for shot copy (minus the h-scenes) imo. Not in the sense that the things that they reworked are necessarily bad, although the visuals certainly aren't perfect. I haven't played the original so I have no nostalgia for its artstyle or voice acting. But rather there is a disconnect between its updated packaging and its script and gameplay system which are both barely able to hide their age. For example the pacing, story progression and plot construction are pretty weird from today's standards. They totally made sense when the original came out. The multi-route mystery was a novelty at the time and I imagine employing a point-and-click adventure gameplay mechanics for progression probably made the most sense at the time but in a 2019 release the pacing feels excrutiatingly slow at time when you have to click different places on screen to get lots of tiny pieces of information, especially as most of what you learn doesn't really have an impact on the true route. I think a reworked script that employed a more modern VN-route structure and got rid of some its more dated aspects could have worked wonders for a YU-NO remake and made it worthwhile for both fans of the original and new readers. As for the remake we actually got, just upscaling the original art and adding the QOL features to the gameplay would probably have carried better results imo.
The current Umineko discussion has made me kind of want to re-read it next. Originally I planned to wait for Umineko Gold, but that project sadly seems to be dead in the water (pun somewhat intended).
adamstan got a reaction from Templarseeker in What are you playing?
Yesterday I finished Lovers ~Koi ni Ochitara...~, which is a remake of Love Escalator that I played before.
It's quite decent high school romance VN with some light dating sim elements. Main heroine is Rie, and her route is pretty good. I guess I actually shouldn't use the word "route" here, as it doesn't apply too much. The thing is - Rie and Takashi (MC) get together at the end of the prologue, and whole game is mostly about her. There are two side heroines, Noriko and Hanako, but they don't have proper routes. And to get their endings you basically have to be a dick and neglect your girlfriend, while dating side chicks instead.
It's all especially grating in PC98 version, where in story part there are no choices, and everything happens in dating sim part. By taking chosen girl to a date that she likes, you collect "relationship points". If you fail to establish good enough relationship with Rie she'll leave in December, and that opens path for other endings. But other than that, the story doesn't in any way react to the fact that you're cheating bastard neglecting his cute girlfriend. And as for Noriko and Hanako - apart from some scenes in prologue when they get introduced, they don't have any events at all. You just take them to the dates during dating sim segments - which are just a few repetitive lines, and once you get enough relationship points, you can take them to the love hotel and watch h-scene. And then hold ctrl key right to the end - which again is very short and rather unsatisfying. That's why, even though main route was good, I rated Love Escalator with 7/10. It would probably be 6.5 or even 6, but it got bonus points for great pixel art graphics But with only one good route per three heroines, it doesn't deserve higher score.
Now, having the bad out of the way, let's talk about good.
(this applies to both versions, I'll point out the differences in text where relevant)
While MC isn't exactly great person, he was relatable to me with his insecurities. And his indecisiveness comes back to bite him in the ass. I really liked the main story - it follows basic high-school romance conventions, but not necessarily moege conventions, since it predates almost all moeges So it isn't all fluff, flowers and rainbows - MC has his insecurities, there are rivals appearing a few times, and well, there's main problem of secretly dating a girl that your best friend has crush on. The thing that stood out - in a good way - was how side characters were treated. This VNs introduces tons of side characters - and almost all of them have sprite and voice. Also, the friends of MC and Rie aren't there just to provide background - they have their own little stories, and they even get short arcs shown from their perspective. There are lots of funny interactions between cast. Well, there's one thing this VN shares with lots of moeges - best girl Mayumi isn't a heroine
(and there were no fandiscs...)
Lovers ~Koi ni Ochitara...~ was great improvement over Love Escalator when it comes to the structure/system - it at least partially fixes the most glaring shortcomings of previous version.
Main story got extended - they added two additional arcs (school trip and cultural festival) that were only briefly mentioned in PC98 version. Also, there are lots of choices added - some are meaningless, but some affect relationship score, so now it isn't restricted to dating sim part. Noriko and Hanako got at least their mini-routes. When you unlock them by getting enough relationship points and failing Rie's route, there are two additional events for each of the girls. So while not full-fledged routes, it's great improvement over PC98 version. (Also, they added more h-scenes for them, with the first one happening in-story instead of dating sim.) Noriko's story was okay. Hanako's was a bit WTF to me, I don't get what did MC see in her, but to each their own Dating sim part was greatly improved and expanded. Now for each date spot there are bunch of scenes, which also form kind of mini stories (and some are random). Also, in some spots there are quite funny minigames of various kinds. Beating those unlock secret CGs or H-scenes. Which brings us to the next point... H-scenes.
Animated and interactive. It's quite interesting, since it adds kind of role playing element to the game. There are only two in-story scenes in Rie's route. The rest is up to the player. You can go to the love hotel or home on every date and keep fucking (and there's a lot of animations/CGs to discover), or you can have more "wholesome" relationship. It doesn't affect the ending, so it's possible to finish this VN with different approaches. And the H-scenes are also kind of separate minigame, where both characters gradually "level up". MC has "action points" - starting with 3, but can get up to 7, while Rie has "endurance" - some actions have greater cost, so when you overdo it by demanding too much, she'll either slap you (at low relationship/sex skill levels) or start to cry, so you have to watch out. So I guess it's kind of realistic in showing that when it comes to sex people need to get used to each other, and it was actually quite satisfying to observe how they gradually got more comfortable with each other. Also "leveling up" gradually unlocks different poses or variations of those.
For side heroines Noriko and Hanako the system is simpler - after the first time, if you go to the "H" date, you get three random poses each time.
The animations looked very good, and I found them quite hot. I think they were the best animated H-scenes I've seen so far.
So, considering all of the above, I'd rate Lovers ~Koi ni Ochitara...~ with 7.5/10. Good, but not without thorns - I stil miss a bit longer epilogues, proper routes for side heroines, and Mayumi's route And I still consider the way to enter side routes solely via dating sim part flawed.
Also, there's this review. I mostly agree with it.
For my next read I might finally try Bokuten. But it's also possible that I'll get tempted by Sakura Strasse or Sukimazakura to Uso no Machi
adamstan reacted to Seraphim in IxShe Tell Release [UPDATED]
From what I can tell, giving hearts to girls that you don't choose doesn't make any difference whatsoever; the only thing that matters is the amount of hearts given to the girl you choose in the end. As I understand it, for Hajime himself to confess to the girl, you need to have given that girl a majority of heart points. If you pick a girl with either 0 heart points or one that has less heart points than any other girl, that girl will do a second confession instead and you get to choose whether or not to accept it.
To be honest, I have no idea why they even implemented this system, as it's mostly just needlessly confusing.
adamstan got a reaction from Silvz in Do you download all vn at once or one by one?
When I buy a VN on Steam/DLSite/wherever I usually download it immediately. I also don't uninstall the ones I've finished, so my HDD is full of VNs. I also keep disc images for the few disc-based VNs that I own.
Having unread titles sitting on the HDD helps me remember that I should read them at some point
adamstan reacted to Plk_Lesiak in Do you download all vn at once or one by one?
I install/download pretty much everything I buy (or plan to read, when it goes to freeware stuff)... Which led me to having 250+ VNs dowloaded on Steam, like a dozen installed from other sources and around 100 in a dedicated folder where I keep Itch.io/DRM free games and sort them by read/unread (and occasionally by the game jam they came from or a blog project I'm reading them for). One day, I might actually be able to completely clog my hard drive with just VNs and that's going to be something of an accomplishment.
adamstan reacted to Silvz in Do you download all vn at once or one by one?
I basically download everything my HDD can handle, even if I don't plan to reading/playing the VN/game soon. [yeah, I do that for games as well]. I have literally more than 10 VNs and countless games installed, but the reality is that most of them will only be used next year [or never, in some cases... I'm a compulsive buyer, after all].
I bought Adabana the day it got released with ATRI. I have it downloaded, ready to play. However, while I was reading Higurashi [which I finished yesterday], I also bought Room No 9 [my current read] and Flowers 3, which I plan to read before Adabana. Only these three may keep me busy for at least two or three months.
Then, I have Steam Prison, Necrobarista, Milky Way Prince, Hashishime of the old book town, Lonely Yuri, A light in the dark, Cupid and Angel Beats installed...
adamstan reacted to Freestyle80 in IxShe Tell Release [UPDATED]
Started reading this a bit, its a bit different from the usual moege i guess. The MC is actually deceisive and popular, bit like SakuSaku's one but is a far more interesting character so far.Liked how they introduced all the girls too and it was nice seeing them being aggressive from the start . The only intro that was lacking a bit was Ayaka and not a fan of her speech so far
Still not sure what route to go for first, all of them look interesting in their own way.
adamstan reacted to vocaotome in Tutorial on playing untranslated PSP games with PPSSPP+ ITHVNR/Textractor
While I'm sure this isn't anything new to people who have already been doing this, I wrote a tutorial (with videos) on how to extract text from untranslated JP PSP games using 1) PPSSPP and 2) either ITHVNR or Textractor.
I hope this will be useful to someone
adamstan reacted to Plk_Lesiak in For those who prefer to buy/own visual novels on Steam, what is your primary reason why?
Regional pricing is pretty much irrelevant in my country, but Steam sales are a big deal and the convenience of having my whole catalogue under one client is huge.
Also, I have my tiny Curator account to shill for EVNs I like, so if I can find something on Steam I'll rather play it there and review/catalogue it.
Plus I generally don't care for H-scenes, so the kind of censorship Steam forces on some VNs do not bother me, or is even preferable... Of course, that is when Valve does not randomly screw over developers and remove games for no legitimate reason, but that's a whole different conversation.
adamstan got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in What are you listening to right now?
I think I like the third one the best. Pumping dynamics compression on the first one kills my ears. Coupled with vocal processing makes it sound a bit too "modern US" for my taste. However that third one is pretty good. The second one has a bit similar mood, but I like those synth sounds on the third one more.
adamstan got a reaction from Seraphim in What are you playing?
So, yesterday I finished it. It was quite decent nakige. It definitely has strong KEY vibe - especially Sasara's and Chihaya's routes. Also, common route is rather short, and each route tells its own different story - a bit like in Making*Lovers.
The setting is like this - Souta comes in the beginning of December to the strange island where the summer never ends. Actually he comes every year, to help his aunt Miho, who's running a guesthouse. And there he meets (or doesn't - it is possible to never meet Chihaya and Sasara) the heroines, and stuff happens There's also a legend, that somewhere on the island there's a mirror that grants wishes.
LIke I said before, I started with Yuiko's route. She's Souta's cousin (Miho's daughter) and the first person we meet in the game. Her route seems to be the default one, if you don't actively go for another. It is the most stand-alone, and perhaps the shortest one of the three stories, maybe a bit like a "side route", but it is good to read it first, since in other two routes there are some light spoilers for it. I was initially a bit worried, since Yuiko looks like a loli, but fortunately it's mostly her sprite. I mean sure, she's almost flat-chested, and behaves a bit childish sometimes, but still she's the same age as MC, and when she turns serious it shows. Also, in H-CGs she's drawn in a more mature way. I liked how this route made use of the "group of friends" trope, portraying friendship between Yuiko, Souta (MC) and Goro. It also touches up very lightly upon the island's legend. Yuiko is also good supporting character in other routes.
After that I went with Sasara's route. She's the mysterious girl that we briefly see during preparations for the festival. Her route was very emotional, full of KEY mood, with family as one of its main themes. It also explains island's lore about granting wishes. Anything more would be a spoiler, so I'll stop here, but I really liked this route. It also has interesting quirk. There are two endings - two versions of epilogue - and they are determined by
And lastly I read Chihaya's route, since she seemed to be the main heroine. First thing to say is that she's totally cute, moe incarnate, one of the cutest heroines I've seen. And also very kind and nice. I can understand why Souta falls in love with her almost instantly. But then drama hits, since she seems to lose her memory every three days, due to past accident. There's more to it, but that would be too spoilerish, so let's leave it at that, since it's mentioned even in summary on vndb This route is kind of intertwined with Sasara's, or, to be more accurate, it also is strongly based upon island's "wish granting system" that was featured in Sasara's route. Chihaya's route also has two endings. On the first playthrough we're locked onto the "normal" one, and then on the second run there's additional choice that unlocks "true end". Both are more or less "magical", but my main complain would be that the "normal end" seems to be more developed and better written than the supposed "true ending", which seems to be a bit over the top with
and it lacks post-credits epilogue. But still it was very good route.
Supporting cast was also good. Yuiko (outside her route), Futaba (her younger sister), Goro and Miho - I really liked their interactions with Souta. Well, Futaba was mostly comic relief, but she was very good at it
Art is great - like I said before, backgrounds are very detailed, and I really liked the style in which characters were drawn. Especially Chihaya's sprite - she has that look taken straight from 90's anime that I love There were also quite funny SD CGs, especially in Sasara's and Chihaya's routes. Music is also good, emphasizing the mood of the scenes.
H-scenes were also decent. Very vanilla, but that's exactly my thing so I won't complain. They weren't too much out of character, and there was love in there, so I'm satisfied (although I skipped through some of the moaning and sfx lines ). They were definitely placed better than in some of the Natsu no Ame's routes.
While playing this VN I also often noticed, that some of the tropes used here also appear in the recent Summer Pockets, - the setting seems very similar, and the prologue, with the MC standing on the ferry's deck and gazing at the sea and approaching island.
When it comes to the final score, I'm a bit troubled tbh. I really enjoyed this VN, but at the same time I feel like it lacked that something special. Perhaps it's difficult to beat KEY when it comes to nakige, and when looking at it as just a charage, I guess I got spoiled by Mashiro Iro Symphony... But still, Natsukana is very good charage/nakige, and I strongly recommend getting it, especially since it can be got quite cheap on DLSite (2750JPY). 8/10
PS I also found it quite easy to read - of course, with the help of text hooker and dictionary, but still. It felt much easier than Natsu no Ame or To Heart. I think it could be added to those "beginner friendly charage" lists.
Now, what to read next... Perhaps I'll need some break, but after that... maybe Bokuten?
adamstan reacted to Dreamysyu in Any way to switch to some kind of dark mode on the current site theme?
Just for the record, I seem to recall that the current theme used to be the default one at some point in the past. Probably, before I even made an account here. I personally prefer Spectrum, so I pretty much instantly switched back to it after it was changed.
adamstan reacted to Clephas in Meta - Fall 2020 Site Chat
As I was one of the members that burned out a while back (too many VNs played for the sake of my blog on the site), I know something of where you are coming from. I was spending something like 50 hours a week playing VNs, many of them I didn't like or whose concept I found boring and pedestrian, to be able to be fair when doing my VN of the Month column. I was using a tiny scoop to try to get through the piles of hot steaming brown stuff to get to the stuff that shone regardless of genre, and my satisfaction levels kept falling until I just fell apart. I was even working on one screen while playing on another at times, while using meal times as a time to get caught up on a VN.
To this day, I have to be careful not to play too much in the way of VNs, or my trauma comes back, despite the fact that I am loving what I'm reading. Heck, I'm currently recovering from another bout of that while doing something else to put myself back together.
More recently, I was becoming increasingly depressed that the only community I still enjoyed being a part of was doomed. With the increased rl stress that hits every time I leave the house over the last four months, I was on the verge of collapse when I decided to get online and do my latest scan of the forums... and saw this.
To be honest, just the fact that you are getting involved in the site again at all eased a lot of the pent-up stress that has been weighing on me every time I come online of late, so thanks for coming back.