Jump to content

alpacaman

Members
  • Content Count

    278
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    6

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Mr Poltroon in What are you playing?   
    So I've been doing some reading over the last couple of weeks.
    I finished Musicus!. In my opinion it deserves most of the praise it's receiving. It feels to me like the kind of novel you'd read in literature class that everyone found extremely boring except for the literature geeks, so being this highly rated on vndb despite reaching a more mainstream audience thanks to the hype surrounding it is a pleasant surprise to me. I usually dislike it when people defend a boring story by saying it has ~themes~ (cough, Himawari, cough cough), but in the case of Musicus! I'd say it actually is themes-driven rather than plot- or character-driven. Characters often represent certain ideas or outlooks on life and once those are developed to a certain degree the game has no issue dropping those characters completely, and its approach to scene selection is somewhat similar, rushing through scenes that seem central to the plot and instead showing some slice-of-life surrounding them. Occasionaly there is an edgy philosophical monologue, but a lot of the time Musicus! communicates its ideas through small details, like most of the protagonist's classmates only getting sprites once you enter the school route or the bad route completely lacking BGM.
    I also read Meeting in the Flesh, a free otome EVN about romancing monsters in a gory fantasy world. What seems like the premise for a (bad) parody game turns out to be one of the most powerful love stories I've encountered in a VN so far. It reminded me of Saya no Uta to a certain degree, but inverts its core theme of how your perception of the world shapes your outlook on things, instead showing how an open and loving mind lets you find even the most deeply hidden beauty. This game is also one of the rare cases where I'd really recommend reading the R-rated version, despite, you know, the vore and tentacles. The CGs aren't that explicit anyway.
  2. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Mr Poltroon in What are you playing?   
    So I read Ciconia When They Cry - Phase 1 over the last few days. I know it's kind of a stupid idea to start reading the first episode of a series that's just been delayed until the end of the pandemic (whenever that is supposed to be) for dubious reasons, but I was in the mood for a murder mystery VN without wanting to buy one so I picked the most promising option from by backlog. As it turns out Ciconia isn't a murder mystery, which I could probably have guessed beforehand, given the Sci-Fi military setting. So it's less of a sequel to Umineko in terms of subject matter, but rather tries to develop (and deconstruct, of course) some of Umineko's core ideas and themes. What Ciconia Phase 1 basically does is to put a character who somewhat embodies the "golden" solution Umineko proposes for its central idealism vs. realism conflict into a situation where, despite him being one of the seemingly most important figures, he is powerless to prevent a war that could potentially wipe out mankind.
    I read somewhere that Phase 1 is supposed to be Ciconia's equivalent of the complete question arcs in Higurashi and Umineko, which would explain its length (~25 hours) and complexity. It is rather heavy on exposition and introduces a lot of characters and factions.
    As for overall enjoyment, I'm kind of torn. It has enough really strong moments, but it can get pretty cringey at times, especially when Ryukishi07 tries his hands at social and media criticism. Tbf Umineko had its weird/boring moments as well, but at least to me they didn't feel as central to the core of the narrative as they do in Ciconia. Then again Phase 2 is probably going to take the story into a completely different direction than I'm expecting right now, so chances are I'm completely wrong in this regard.
  3. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Dreamysyu in What are you playing?   
    So I read Ciconia When They Cry - Phase 1 over the last few days. I know it's kind of a stupid idea to start reading the first episode of a series that's just been delayed until the end of the pandemic (whenever that is supposed to be) for dubious reasons, but I was in the mood for a murder mystery VN without wanting to buy one so I picked the most promising option from by backlog. As it turns out Ciconia isn't a murder mystery, which I could probably have guessed beforehand, given the Sci-Fi military setting. So it's less of a sequel to Umineko in terms of subject matter, but rather tries to develop (and deconstruct, of course) some of Umineko's core ideas and themes. What Ciconia Phase 1 basically does is to put a character who somewhat embodies the "golden" solution Umineko proposes for its central idealism vs. realism conflict into a situation where, despite him being one of the seemingly most important figures, he is powerless to prevent a war that could potentially wipe out mankind.
    I read somewhere that Phase 1 is supposed to be Ciconia's equivalent of the complete question arcs in Higurashi and Umineko, which would explain its length (~25 hours) and complexity. It is rather heavy on exposition and introduces a lot of characters and factions.
    As for overall enjoyment, I'm kind of torn. It has enough really strong moments, but it can get pretty cringey at times, especially when Ryukishi07 tries his hands at social and media criticism. Tbf Umineko had its weird/boring moments as well, but at least to me they didn't feel as central to the core of the narrative as they do in Ciconia. Then again Phase 2 is probably going to take the story into a completely different direction than I'm expecting right now, so chances are I'm completely wrong in this regard.
  4. Thanks
    alpacaman reacted to Formlose Gestalt in Musicus! Discussion Thread [OUT NOW!]   
    Yeah Steam decided to tag the Steam version as Adult and with that it is out for german customers, even though the game is censored on Steam.
    But there is the option to buy from Mangagamer without an creditcard. You can mail to support@mangagamer.com to ask for payment though PayPal. You just need a Mangagamer account and Paypal for this.
  5. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Dreamysyu in Mangagamer April release of Musicus   
    To be honest, the review on vndb makes me mildly interested.
  6. Yes
    alpacaman reacted to Finhir in Mangagamer 2021 Licensing Survey   
    @alpacamanYou're fuckin' RAAAAD man!
     
  7. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Zalor in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    As to your second point, I think quality being 100% reliant on context or whether something does its job are different categories. The former is more is more about the assessment of quality depending on which subset of the potential audience you ask while the latter is more about resonating with the intended target audience. To pick Grisaia as an example: Many in the VN fandom regard it as one of the must-reads, yet there is a subset of readers who hate it passionately (including me). I'd say that has to do with it committing to a certain set of VN tropes and turning them up to 11. For the people who love VNs because of these tropes this makes Grisaia on of the best things out there. For people like me who got into VNs for other reasons and are only bearing with some VNisms because other aspects make up for them, Grisaia can be unbearably bad. I can totally acknowledge that if a certain type of experience appeals to you, chances are you are going to love Grisaia. Stuff that might be considered an indicator of quality for Grisaia's target audience might be the opposite for others. So is Grisaia a masterpiece? No! It completely depends on who you ask. I don't even want to know what my mother or the average newspaper critic would think of it. Which is no different to something like Twilight. If you ask your 14 year old niece, it might be the greatest thing in the history of things. If you ask anyone else, not so much? So am I calling Grisaia the Twilight of the VN community? Yes. But my point is, you could basically do a similar mental exercise with any popular and/or highly regarded piece of media. 
  8. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Plk_Lesiak in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    Well, I don't want to go too deep into this either, but you wrote mostly about hating tropes it uses which is a lot more in the personal taste/cultural sensitivities category. Just like the complaints @Dreamysyu mentioned, that's kind of a whole another layer of discussion. Plus with production quality... Sure, people may dislike the artstyle or it might age poorly... The same might even happen to storytelling, with VNs as a medium and culture people live in changing. But you can both acknowledge something representing high quality in its original context and it not standing the test of time – but honestly, 2D games suffer from this way less than many other forms of media.
    Well, I'll have to retreat to the intersubjectivity term that Palas was so nice to introduce to the discussion. Obviously no standards can be truly objective because objectivity arguably doesn't exist at all. But that doesn't mean things like consistent writing or technical prowess are completely up to one's feelings – it's grounded in the societally-created rules on what is considered positive, or sometimes the internal logic of the text itself. I, once more, argue that quality assessment and overall judgment on whether a piece of media is good/enjoyable are interconnected, but separate. Pointing out plotholes and poorly directed shots that make everything into blurry mess – these are as close to factual statements as you can ever get in media criticism. You can use the word "valid", "grounded" or whatever to avoid the misleading framing, but it's still the same principle. Like, the only possible riposte you would have for the asshats you mentioned above would be "these things don't matter as much as you make them seem", which is a fair opinion, but in no way invalidates their complaints. People freak out about the "culture of nitpicking" nowadays but if you don't have a counterargument against the nitpick, it means it pointed out a flaw. And small flaws can combine into a deeply flawed experience – which might still be very much worthwhile or effective, but that doesn't mean those are not worth discussing or can't ruin the experience for some. That final assessment, of course, is a lot more subjective and requires a lot more elaboration than sheer quality assessment can ever provide. That's why a review which tries to be as objective as possible will not only fail to achieve that goal, but will likely also be a very crappy thing to read. Or is, indeed, a pose assumed in bad faith/to mask one's opinions.
  9. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    I don't really want to get too deep into discussing Grisaia as I don't want to derail the thread, but is it really the character routes that are the most contentious? I managed to really not like it in the common route, and some of the aspects you mentioned as objective positives played a big role in that. The comedic scenes all basically culminate in a "women are irrational, amirite" or "Yuuji is so badass" punchline and most of them are accompanied by the same music track so at some point every time it started playing I automatically zoned out, which imo isn't what proper sound direction should do. I strongly disagree about the character build-up as well. Other VNs don't need close to 50 hours to build up characters to make you care enough for them to feel sad for them when you learn they were once forced to cannibalise members of their softball team or whatever. As for the art, I agree it's competently done, but artwork especially something where time and general trends play a big role in how it is received. Most VN artwork from the 90s looks somewhat ugly by today's standards (except to fans of this particular style), and it's completely possible we are going to look at Grisaia in the same way in some 20-30 years. High/expensive production values are not the same as high quality. 

    (Sorry, I couldn't contain myself). To add something more substantial, I completely get where you are coming from on this. I think the term you're looking for is "valid". You can point to a set of criteria a piece of media should adhere to in your opinion, explain where these criteria come from and why you accept them as an indicator for quality. You can say that the action scenes in the Transformers movies are bad because they are cut in a way that doesn't properly convey what is even going on instead of just cutting really fast between locations, and in your opinion an action scene should actually show the action. That is more valid than someone saying "skyscraper go boom", but it's not more objective.
    The reason I fight the term "objective" that much is probably because of these youtube channels that claim to do "objective criticism" when all they basically do is stop at every frame and scream "that's stupid", and by claiming to be objective they can pretend they are not just whining because they don't like a movie having a female/PoC protagonist who actually does stuff.
  10. Haha
    alpacaman got a reaction from Silvz in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    Fixed it. Also what Fiddle says.
  11. Love
    alpacaman got a reaction from Fiddle in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    Fixed it. Also what Fiddle says.
  12. Yes
    alpacaman reacted to Fiddle in What is a game's quality? Is it objective?   
    There is no such thing as objectivity in art, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just trying to justify their deep-seated opinions. Grisaia no Kajitsu is objectively bad, though.
  13. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Dreamysyu in VN presentation take: mix between puppet plays and comic books?   
    Isn't the presentation closer to point and click games or rpgs with story elements rather than any written or live action media? You have a static background and every time you click, you get a new piece of information, often accompanied by a line read, reaction shot or sprite or whatever. The soundtrack keeps on playing continuously until you reach a cue where it's supposed to change, and if you reload a point in the middle of a scene, the music starts over from the beginning, and not from the point you left it at when you saved. Also, you can't just revisit scenes at will unless you want to go through the whole thing again or the VN's creator purposefully decides to give you that option.
  14. Haha
    alpacaman got a reaction from Emi in How do I put a banner on my profile page?   
    So I can't use this?

  15. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Plk_Lesiak in What are you playing?   
    So, as actually reading stuff is apparently beyond my mental capacities lately, I'm slowly watching through two long playthroughs.
    The first one is Danganronpa and while there are things I definitely like about it, I kind of find most of its interactivity a bit obnoxious. While the limited game mechanics of Ace Attorney were more like tools to get you involved in the story, setting it much closer to visual novel territories, the Danganronpa trials, repetition involved and puzzles... I never felt they added to the experience. Also, the levels of dumb in characters' behaviour somehow got on my nerves a bit. I heard that the translation of the first game is generally considered poor, but I'm not how much that could break outside of some cultural appropriation that I was able to decipher and which didn't really change that much. It's stylish, well-produced and occasionally quite funny, but rarely genuinely smart or surprising. Shaping into something like a 7/10 rather than a real classic. And I'm kind of surprised by this impression, because I hold Ace Attorney in much higher regard and through it would be able to capture that charm in slightly more-mature format. Maybe the sequel will grip me a bit more? Now part of me just wants to replay euphoria for some genuine death game action. 😆
    VA-11 HALL-A on the other hand do not disappoint me in the slightest. Non-intrusive game mechanics, massive focus on dialogue and atmosphere... It's gloomy with its cyberpunk setting, but at the same time massively a feel-good game that let's you immerse yourself in its world and slowly get to know its characters, building towards more meaningful developments with subtle hints and seemingly trivial conversations. I don't think there's a single character introduced so far that I didn't enjoy on some level and it's interesting to see the deeper stories developing from this mostly-detached perspective of a bartender. It's hard for me to find anything to complain about here – not sure whether the concept itself was done before by any notable game, but its execution is just so good here... I'll be surprised if I don't feel like giving it at least 9/10 by the end.
    Oh, and by the way, VA-11 HALL-A in now available on game pass for PC. If you want to cheese it, the first month of subscription literally costs $1, so you can read VA-11 HALL-A and probably finish a few other games virtually for free if you cancel before 30 days.
  16. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Plk_Lesiak in What are you playing?   
    So, I'm done with VA-11 Hall-A, outside of the prologue chapters. I think it only lacks a more powerful ending and a bit more fleshing out of some secondary characters – with that it would be a 10/10 contender, but I still give it a strong 9/10. Even the gameplay showed a little bit more depth than I initially though – you not only get awarded for learning your clients' tastes, but also should actually care about making them leave as much money as possible, pushing bigger and more expensive drinks. It's a very low-key, but fun kind of puzzle, rewarding you with the ability to buy all kinds of thematic junk for Jill's apartment. And while I might complain about episodic characters being... too episodic, the game also surprised me with some stuff. Particularly with how deep the subplot of the ghost girl from the demo went. It was weirdly satisfying. ^^
    To be fair, I don't hate them, I just never felt they had the same amount of substance as AA trials. Those were also over-the-top and silly, but felt more like an actual battle of wits, while the wit of anyone in that Danganronpa trial room was highly questionable. xD Also, some parts of the gameplay, like rhythm-game sections, are something I'm criminally bad at, so I think I'd end up playing on casual and still feeling they were pointless. Plus, while I generally like the cast, the whole thing lacks a proper focus on main characters. Kyoko is cool, but she's an enigma for most of the game and Makoto... Uh, he's hardly anything. I mean, he's somewhat believable as random dumb kid being used as a tool by Kyoko, so she can keep a low profile, but that's hardly a satisfying role to play.
  17. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Plk_Lesiak in What are you playing?   
    And continuing with unfair comparisons, I've started going through Coffee Talk, the VA-11 Hall-A rip-off... And I'm starting to think it was a bad idea to give it a try straight after finishing the latter. It's quite stylish and interesting with the modern-fantasy approach to the mundane theme of being a barista, but it's just really hard to compete with VA-11 Hall-A's writing and atmosphere. The biggest issue is probably the protagonist being a complete blank slate, at least as far as I've seen. While Jill is reserved in her interaction with her clients most of the time, the personality and backstory she brings into the game make everything that happens in it more meaningful. Her backroom interactions with Dana and Gil were always funny and build up to interesting side stories. Here, you have just this self-insert owner and clients who are quite often talking with each other rather than with the protagonist. It's a lot of subtle differences that result in the whole formula feeling tepid, rather than captivating, despite visuals and music that could possibly carry it. But maybe it will get better further down the line...
  18. Sad
    alpacaman got a reaction from Dreamysyu in What are you playing?   
    If you've come this far I'd recommend finishing it if only for the epilogue, which has one of the weirdest genre shifts 80% into a piece of fiction I've had the pleasure (?) to witness.
  19. Like
    alpacaman reacted to ChaosRaven in What are you playing?   
    Finally finished some titles...

    It took a while, but Senren * Banka was very sweet. Probably my favorite Yuzusoft title so far (just played Noble Works and Dracu Riot before though) and ended up playing all routes except Koharu's. It still had the typical Yuzusoft problem that they come up with a decent plot (for a moege) in the common route, but then more or less drop it in the character routes. Only Lena's route somewhat built up on it. I think they could learn a lesson or two from 9-nine how to successfully keep things interesting with reasonable effort.
    Nevertheless, as a moege it certainly succeeds. In that area, it's hard to argue that Yuzusoft know their trade. The characters were very likable and had a good chemistry with each other. You really got family vibes from them. Like usual in a Yuzusoft the sprite dynamics were most excellent and made the characters feel more lively than ever. It also had a competent and caring protagonist. I really liked his dedication to his sword fight training. It's a pity it couldn't be used more. It would have been great to see some *Chusingura action* with him.
    Heroine ranking: Lena >= Yoshino = Mako = Murasame = Roka > Koharu
    I really have a hard time picking favorites here, since I liked most heroines almost equally. Though I think I liked Lena a tiny bit more than the others.
    Overall rating 7/10 (Could have been higher if they would have put more emphasis on story)

    Also finished Kyonyuu Fantasy Gaiden 2, the second fan disc for Kyonyuu Fantasy. I don't think this can be called a nukige anymore. In the first two hours you don't even see a girl, and the first H-scene happens after eight hours or so. They literally *plundered* all their previous Kyonyuu Fantasy games, including KF2 to get the sprite and image resources necessary to realize a full cross-pseudo-European conflict involving Spain (Iberia), France (Fronce), England (Hillsland), the Holy Roman Empire (Edellandt) and probably Denmark (Nordland). It's actually pretty impressive that they managed to pull that off, full with intrigues and wars.
    On the other hand, it's still rather 'cheaply' made, so it's essentially just more of the same. It also suffers from Lute's harem being too big with only Shamsiel, Gladys and Aphrodia having useful roles from the old cast. Lute's antics also slowly get old, especially in the later parts when every problem is solved by him just walking in range. It's a lot more interesting when he actually comes up with a crazy idea or turns an enemy into an ally.
    Heroine ranking: Gladys > Aphrodia > Shamsiel > Emeralia > Rosalyn > Estoria > ... (too much effort to list them all)
    Overall rating: 6.5/10 (I originally wanted to give a 7, but Lute's *demi-god* problem solutions were just lame)

    Well, Iwaihime was an odd one. I read a few chapters and then had a look at VNDB again if this was really written by Ryuukishi07. While the structure of VN resembles his previous works, the writing itself... does now. I'm not the biggest fan of Ryu, but my usual problems with his writing is that he doesn't find an end and just goes on and on until he suddenly comes up with a troll twist I hate. But on the other hand, he can also come up with some really powerful writing.
    In Iwaihime however, you get an almost lightning fast pacing. Considering I usually like fast-paced VN's, this should have been perfect for me. However, this wasn't simply fast-paced, there were just essential parts missing. No proper character introductions, scene build-ups to create tension pretty much didn't exist. The chapters show-casing the different heroine problems felt like copy & paste with slightly different scenarios. Overall, it felt like the VN was written by a complete amateur, since not a single thing was decently done - it was more like a rough draft of how the VN should be structured than the full thing. Ryu must have really hated working on this, probably because it was contract work and not his own. It was obvious that he just wanted to get it over with, so he could work on his own stuff again.
    Heroine ranking: Meh
    Overall rating: 2/10 (Seriously, this was just bad and not me being grumpy for a change...)
    Next on my list are Kami no Rhapsody and Gekkou no Carnevale. Though Gekkou is so unstable under Windows 10 that you can only use hotkeys, because accessing the game menu via right-click freezes the game. Story sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if it's worth going through those hassles.
  20. Haha
    alpacaman got a reaction from Silvz in What are you playing?   
    More like Iwaihi-meh! (I'm sorry)
    Anyway, the VN sadly doesn't get any better the longer it goes. 
  21. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Crowverlord in It is I, the bird man!   
    I'm just browsing, boys and girls. And saying hi.
  22. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Fujoneko in What are you playing?   
    Alrighty, one more finished! This time, I finished all the endings left from The Nonary Games.
    Ending 6
    Ending 4
    True Ending 
    Overall, it wasn't a bad game, not at all. I mean, I loved discussing it with my peers, especially when it came to the mystery!
    Paranoia: Deliver Me
    I started playing this one today and I plan on finishing it this week! 
    First Impressions
    Positives:
    The art and the soundtrack is beautiful, as it should be, since the game itself is about music lel The mood can be very spooky and me likey Negatives:
    The translation is awful and it kinda breaks my immersion and overall enjoyment of the vn... Also, the voice acting isn't that good; I'm not sure if it's because I'm not used to listen to Chinese, but they all sound like they don't care about what they are saying and don't really feel the character they are playing 😕 The choices are damn weird, the fuck... How am I supposed to know what to do? And there's no walkthrough available out there [cries] THE SKIP ISN'T WORKING AAAAGH—! Well, this is all I've got for the week! 
  23. Like
    alpacaman reacted to di.gi.wav in Hello!   
    Hey! I hope you're all well.

    I'm from Europe and am wanting to "get into" Visual Novels. My first VN was Danganronpa back in 2015 or so, and my latest is Root Letter. While neither are my favourite, I still like both. I actually Platinumed Root Letter a few months ago! I think my favourite VN is The 25th Ward.
    I am unsure how many VNs I've played, but I hope to play every English one there is! Some day.
    I don't have a set favourite or least favourite, but if I had to choose... My favourite(s) would be Sci-fi or Mystery, my least comedy. I do try to enjoy everything, though.

    Outside of VNs, I like other game genres (JRPGS, rhythm, SRPGS...), anime, manga, LNs, baking and music!

    I'm happy to make some friends and this community seems fun, from my lurking. I hope we can all get along ^^
  24. Like
    alpacaman reacted to Fujoneko in What are you playing?   
    Alrighty, it's posting time! I'm going to finish Iwaihime until this weekend, but so far I've read Kanae's and Riria's routes and I'm currently reading Kiko's. 
    Well... It's not getting any better. To be honest, the only reason I haven't dropped it already is because I'm reading this for my vn club, so I do want to discuss it with the people there, even if it's to complain lol
    Kanae's Route: Hum... This one was just weird, I guess. I don't know, I just noticed that the thing that made me really want to stop reading is the pacing, again. Well, it's not like this problem would disappear from one part of the game to the other. 
    Riria's Route: In a nutshell, can Lily just fuck off?
    I'm still reading Kiko's but man, this is going to be one heck of a route... Sexism and traditional gender roles: the route! Oh boy, I can't wait!  Hahaha... haha... ha...
    -----
    As soon as I finish this one, I'll start the zero escape games aaa I can't wait!
  25. Like
    alpacaman got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in Why is this a thing?   
    And I always thought you automatically cede your right to judge other people for what they do with their free time and money the moment you become part of the VN community...
×
×
  • Create New...