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Finished 999 today, which I've had in my backlog for years. I could see most of the plot twists coming from a mile away, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the remastered version was a really smooth experience overall. (I've heard that the original DS version was a bit of a pain due to lack of a flowchart and whatnot, so I guess you could say I got something out of waiting until now to play it.)

In comparison, Virtue's Last Reward, which I've now started, seems to not have aged quite as well. The gameplay feels more sluggish, the text speed is horrendously slow, and the 3D models make the characters seem much less alive than the 2D ones in 999 did. It also feels pretty weird to have a silent protagonist all of a sudden, and it definitely isn't doing him any favors in terms of making an impression on me. That said, I'm still just at the beginning, and I expect the story to be quite a ride, with a lot of character development.

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Read a bunch of VNs again, first up Under one Wing:

I had some major issues with this one, most of them lead back to a shoddy execution in their world building. The VN never really explains about the past(something something war), the current economy (affordable aircrafts possible), not even how the dogfight sport that enjoys massive popularity is even played (rules). With that kind of limited knowledge, every event that takes place loses either believabilty or impact. The tournament that everything led up to feels very anticlimactic without understanding the stakes of maneuvers etc.

It's like a child led the project, you can feel a general passion about aviation and the aircrafts, but not the skill to wrap it in a detailed/interesting story. The characters are generally likable, but the routes also lack direction and proper narrative. 4/10

 

Next up Noble works: 

Pretty much the opposite problem, it was very well executed, but the premise is a bit flawed. Complaining about charage were the protagonist joins a special school of some sort would be pretty hyprocritical, they are a staple and if you read charage you will know what you're getting into, so that's not what I mean with the flawed premise. Much rather it's due to him coming to the school, posing as someone else. The resulting conflict in the routes feels samey, because it's repeatedly about his identity. Sometimes less is more, this VN would have been better with less heroines, even though they are generally likeable and for the most part different from each other. (Again, can't really complain about ojou-samas, if that archetype isn't for you, don't play this game) 

Still, I had a good time with it. 6/10

 

Easily the best out of the three VNs I've read, Chrono Clock:

I'll start with pretty much my only gripe, the mainstay of this VN, the time rewinding clock is severely underused. This VN has a clever, pragmatic protagonist, something I generally like, but the routes fail to give him opportunity to use the clock in a meaningful way most of the time. They are still good though. The heroines are genuine, distinct and fun to be around. The scenarios are either relatable or understandable and also have unique plot lines or at least unique resolutions. Everything is concise when it needs to be and funny when it can be. I usually don't comment much on technicals, like engine, sound and visuals, because I'm not very demanding in that regard, but I really liked the CG's in this one, they are very vibrant and detailed.

So, all in all, this one was pretty good. 8.5/10

 

Now I really need something with more gameplay, just started playing Yumina the Ethereal and Demon World Country Flore Hades (That one is more of a puzzle dungeon crawler though, with some rance vibes). Liking both of them so far.

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I started reading MuvLuv Unlimited today.  It's really bothering me that

Spoiler

Kasumi is an anagram of Sumika.

I assume that that's probably some sort of foreshadowing, but either way it's really annoying any time her name comes up.

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You're not alone; I was overanalyzing the sh*t out of that in my mind while I was playing it.
I'm obviously not going to give you any details that would spoil anything, but I'd love to hear some more of your thoughts later on! Muv-Luv isn't discussed that often nowadays from what I've seen.

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9 hours ago, GXOALMD said:

I started reading MuvLuv Unlimited today.  It's really bothering me that

  Reveal hidden contents

Kasumi is an anagram of Sumika.

I assume that that's probably some sort of foreshadowing, but either way it's really annoying any time her name comes up.

Yeah they did the whole "Alucard" thing there. Said foreshadowing isn't going to be what you expect (or, at least it wasn't what I expected). 

Even if you wind up thinking the original Muv-Luv is just so-so, make sure you play Alternative. Absolutely mind-meltingly good. 

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Recently I finished reading Cruise Sign which at the same time means completing Flight Diary.

The last two routes I've read (and didn't write about here yet) were Kotori's and Amane's after stories, and they were great, especially Amane's (titled "Soaring Club's Prologue"). Very emotional, made me shed a tear here and there (and there were good laughs as well).

In addition to being continuation of Amane's route, it also - as the name would suggest - has flashbacks from the time when Amane, Isuka and Tatsuya were in the Soaring Club, and

Spoiler

tells the story of Tatsuya and Isuka's love and them getting finally together after all those years. Tatsuya, being completely clueless like a teenager when it comes to love, and coming to Aoi for advice is hilarious :D As well as self proclaimed love-expert Amane giving advice to Isuka :D

After reading all routes (and comparing them with translated Steam version) I'd like to reiterate once more - ["If My Heart Had Wings" + "IMHHW:Flight Diary" + Akari's DLC] is the equivalent of translated "Cruise Sign" - there is exactly same content, both text and images. The only problem is bad translation of main game (Flight Diary is okay). But, contrary to popular belief, there is no additional censorship in translated version when compared to Japanese console version.

Overally, I'd give Flight Diary the same score I gave to the main game - 8/10. It was very enjoyable.

Translation of the Flight Diary available on the Steam is quite okay (if a bit stiff at places), but I spotted a few errors in each route. They aren't story-breaking, but they might be confusing at times, messing up some background details or not fitting into the context. I plan to fix those, and if everything goes well, make small text-fix patch.

Also, after completing all-ages version, I skipped through +18 version of FD. While when it comes to the main game I'm fine with either version, for Flight Diary I prefer all-ages. Especially in Kotori's and Amane's after stories, the placement of H-scenes is (IMO) quite awkward, and ruins the flow and the mood for me. I much prefer replacement scenes from Cruise Sign - they fit in better. I guess that Kanako's route is almost okay in +18 version, but the second scene uses one of the worst high-school moege H cliches:

Spoiler

Fucking in the classroom, with girl pressed against the window... I cringed hard on this...

Also, after thinking about it a bit more, replacement scenes from Cruise Sign still are cuter ;)

So, all in all, Cruise Sign FTW :D - especially since we get Akari's route, which is much better than pretty generic threesome scene with Ageha and Hotaru from +18 version. 

I'm not sure what to read next. Maybe something translated and light for a breather? Lamunation perhaps? Or go with a flow, stay in Konosora world, and read Snow Presents, which I recently got on DLSite's sale? Don't know yet. Actually, it turns out that reading untranslated, while slow, is kind of addicting for me - now sometimes I feel slightly weird when reading translated VNs... weird.

Edited by adamstan

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So, I decided to continue with Konosora, and now I'm reading Snow Presents.

Also, let me return for a moment to the Kanako's route.

10 hours ago, adamstan said:

Also, after thinking about it a bit more, replacement scenes from Cruise Sign still are cuter

What I meant by this is that in adult version we lose some really sweet moments (spoilers, and all-ages version exclusive CGs incoming).

This is replacement for first h-scene:

Spoiler

 

Kanako-CS01.jpgKanako-CS02.jpg

Hizamakura? Count me in! I'm sucker for those :D And then falling asleep together.

 

The next one is just kissing replacement for the second h-scene, but I still like it more:

Spoiler

Kanako-CS03.jpg

In +18 version this is the classroom sex scene that I ranted about in previous post.

And, finally, completely new, and sweet scene, which is totally absent from +18 version:

Spoiler

 

Kanako-CS04.jpgKanako-CS05.jpg

There's a power outage while Kanako is in bath. Aoi comes to the bathroom and keeps her company. Afterwards, after the power returns, she faints from being too long in the hot bath, and Aoi nurses her in her room. Sweet :)

Actually, after seeing this I thought that there was bath h-scene in +18 version, but it turns out that there wasn't :P

 

 

Edited by adamstan

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14 hours ago, ImperialScrolls said:

Even if you wind up thinking the original Muv-Luv is just so-so, make sure you play Alternative. Absolutely mind-meltingly good. 

I like how people keep saying things like this as if there was any chance I'd have bothered finishing Extra were it not for Alternative's popularity.

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1 hour ago, GXOALMD said:

I like how people keep saying things like this as if there was any chance I'd have bothered finishing Extra were it not for Alternative's popularity.

You know, I was very close to dropping the whole series altogether when I was struggling with Extra. To be honest, with my current reading style I'm pretty sure that I would never even get to Unlimited if I started reading it now. And that would really be a shame since Alternative is now one of my favorite VNs.

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I've read Package Chat. It was... strong. The main character had a strong personality, certainly clashes with mine, and their emotions were powerful. The situation thought-provoking and the world beyond curious, and we know precious little about it because the story is one of those that takes the attitude of "You're seeing a snapshot of somebody's life. Obviously no one is going to specifically talk about everything that happened so far, at least in most circumstances.".

It invoked feelings, and, at the start, I really thought maybe it wouldn't be my thing but as soon as characters showed up all was well. I really am a character-driven reader. And their interactions were sweet, and at the end I felt almost as liberated as the main character despite that making no sense. Regardless, overall enjoyable. There are few things I love more than wholesomeness and people trying to respect others' feelings.

It feels like a short story someone might drop on some site that I'd never have found were it not a VN submission to a game jam. But I'll say this particular story had no need to be a VN and works almost the exact same way as if it were a short story.
Also thanks to @Plk_Lesiak because I certainly wouldn't have found it or tried it otherwise.

EDIT:

1 hour ago, GXOALMD said:

I like how people keep saying things like this as if there was any chance I'd have bothered finishing Extra were it not for Alternative's popularity.

2 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

You know, I was very close to dropping the whole series altogether when I was struggling with Extra. To be honest, with my current reading style I'm pretty sure that I would never even get to Unlimited if I started reading it now. And that would really be a shame since Alternative is now one of my favorite VNs.

You people have terrible taste, talking badly of the best part of the Muv-Luv story.

 

Edited by Mr Poltroon

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36 minutes ago, Seraphim88 said:

I was kinda surprised when I finished Muv-Luv Extra and found out so many people seemed to hate it. I actually thought it was a pretty enjoyable experience, although not as much as Unlimited and Alternative.

Well, to be fair, I played the inferior fan-translated version and started with Ayamine's route (which I hate with passion) which spoiled my experience with the other routes, so if I played it nowadays and only focused on the main routes, there's a possibility that I would enjoy it a lot more. Actually, as the official version came out, I watched a let's play of Sumika's route and ended up enjoying it a lot more than when I played it myself.

Also, most readers come to the series because of Alternative, and there's a good chance that they may simply not enjoy the type of game Extra is. They usually don't play games like that, so you don't hear them talking about other similar games.

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1 minute ago, Dreamysyu said:

Well, to be fair, I played the inferior fan-translated version and started with Ayamine's route (which I hate with passion) which spoiled my experience with the other routes, so if I played it nowadays and only focused on the main routes, there's a possibility that I would enjoy it a lot more. Actually, as the official version came out, I watched a let's play of Sumika's route and ended up enjoying it a lot more than when I played it myself.

Also, most readers come to the series because of Alternative, and there's a good chance that they may simply not enjoy the type of game Extra is. They usually don't play games like that, so you don't hear them talking about other similar games.

Huh. Good points were made. I'm completely satisfied. How odd, on the internet.

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8 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Also, most readers come to the series because of Alternative, and there's a good chance that they may simply not enjoy the type of game Extra is. They usually don't play games like that, so you don't hear them talking about other similar games.

I have a lot of issues with most of what Extra does and unfortunately so far Unlimited has the same problems just to a lesser extent.

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22 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Also, most readers come to the series because of Alternative

Yeah, I think one of the biggest issues is that a lot of people just see Extra and Unlimited as stepping stones on their journey towards Alternative, so they want to be done with them as soon as possible. Back when I started reading Muv-Luv Extra I didn't really know much more than that "Muv-Luv's supposed to be good", and it's probably much easier to enjoy it under those circumstances than if I was pushing myself to read Extra/Unlimited just for the sake of reading Alternative.

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So anyways I finished Unlimited.  While I enjoyed it more than Extra, overall it still had basically all of the same issues Extra had.  Additionally, at first I liked how it ended but then

Spoiler

no matter how many endings I completed the cutscene that plays before the credits roll never became skippable.  Also, the endings were enjoyable about twice each, but from the third character onward I was kinda sick of them.

I've largely lost interest in most of the mysteries it feels like I'm supposed to care about, so I guess at this point what I really want out of Alternative is

Spoiler

a meaningful in universe explanation for why Takeru is occasionally voice acted, but usually not.

That would make all of my suffering completely worth it.

Spoiler

inb4 that's just how voice acting in VNs be like

 

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2 hours ago, GXOALMD said:

So anyways I finished Unlimited.  While I enjoyed it more than Extra, overall it still had basically all of the same issues Extra had.  Additionally, at first I liked how it ended but then

  Hide contents

no matter how many endings I completed the cutscene that plays before the credits roll never became skippable.  Also, the endings were enjoyable about twice each, but from the third character onward I was kinda sick of them.

 

All endings are pretty much the same in Unlimited, with the exception of maybe Yuuko (with only a slight difference). That's why I only played Meiya's route.

2 hours ago, GXOALMD said:

I've largely lost interest in most of the mysteries it feels like I'm supposed to care about, so I guess at this point what I really want out of Alternative is

  Hide contents

a meaningful in universe explanation for why Takeru is occasionally voice acted, but usually not.

That's just how it is in some VNs.

Spoiler

That is, they are voiced in some segments of the game. Like,  Tennouji Kotarou from Rewrite, for instance. In the case of Takeru, he's only voiced in the

Spoiler

flashback segments of the game.

 

 

Edited by wei123

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Trying Venus Blood Frontier a lot, and let's just said that it's been interesting to me (And thus my target to finish Maitetsu before 2020 failed). For my short comment here, I like that there's an option to skip the battle and the scenes which surely would improve if the VN such as Baldr Sky would apply the former (Of course it mean that I was wrong when I said that you can skip the battle in Baldr Sky).

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Wow, Snow Presents is really short FD - I just finished it :)

It wasn't outstanding, but nonetheless nice. I'd say it's your typical Fan Disc. There were some truly sweet moments, and while h-scenes weren't exactly to my taste (too long! I'd cut the moaning and onomatopeia in half :P ), I enjoyed whole package. 7/10 , and definitely recommended for all Kotori's fans. Animated sprites were nice touch.

So that concludes my adventures with Konosora :)

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I wanted something lighthearted and translated, so I started Lamunation. But I'm not sure if I'll stick with it. So far I completed prologue, but it feels totally flat, didn't grab me. I snicker at some of the jokes or references, but that's all. I don't feel anything for characters so far. Maybe parody games are not for me? I mean, I don't mind 4th wall breaking or some references, or even memes, if it happens from time to time, but it seems that in case of Lamunation there's nothing more.

Also, engine feels really clunky, response to clicks is rather sluggish.

Well, I guess I'll try one route, and then see if I want to continue or drop it.

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12 hours ago, wei123 said:

That's just how it is in some VNs.

I should have made a bet with someone. (RIP the era of inb4)

But the thing is that

Spoiler

while he's only ever voiced in flashbacks in Extra, in Unlimited there are multiple scenes where he is voiced that aren't flashbacks.  Also the scenes where he is voiced in Unlimited feel so arbitrarily chosen that they either were chosen arbitrarily or there's some plot twist about it later on.

 

5 hours ago, Seraphim88 said:

Would be nice to see a fully voiced Takeru, but it's probably too late to hope for that at this point. Being fully voiced would suit him very well, since he's pretty far from your average self-insertion protagonist.

If it's too late for Yuuji, then it's too late for Takeru.  Well, maybe he'll be fully voiced in Integrate... actually changing my hope, maybe she'll be fully voiced in Integrate!

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21 minutes ago, GXOALMD said:

I should have made a bet with someone. (RIP the era of inb4)

But the thing is that

  Hide contents

while he's only ever voiced in flashbacks in Extra, in Unlimited there are multiple scenes where he is voiced that aren't flashbacks.  Also the scenes where he is voiced in Unlimited feel so arbitrarily chosen that they either were chosen arbitrarily or there's some plot twist about it later on.

 

Takeru was actually voiced in Unlimited? Lol I couldn't remember that.

 

21 minutes ago, GXOALMD said:

Well, maybe he'll be fully voiced in Integrate... actually changing my hope, maybe she'll be fully voiced in Integrate!

Well....

Spoiler

Open this spoiler only after you finish Alternative.

Spoiler

Takeru isn't going to appear in Integrate for obvious reasons, so I guess we won't be hearing him yelling as he goes around butchering the BETA any time soon (at least until the MLA anime comes out).

 

 

Edited by wei123

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