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I finished MLA.  While it was good, it's in this sort of awkward position where it needs the context from Extra and Unlimited in order to be good but at the same time it's not good enough to justify drudging through those.  From here I'm just going to keep my hopes up for Integrate, though I'll probably tackle some of the side stories at some point.

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Play Rhapsody, and let me try to summarize the gameplay that people think as controversial.

1. I did find that the rune level up system is like anti-grinding trope in order to prevent overpowered parties just like level caps at Kamidori, although they also add lock in the rune slot that have similar function though in which it's pretty much almost useless considering that rune is very scarce (Only available from certain monsters and maps first clear reward). I only play up to Chapter 4 beginning though and I'd hear that it'll be even harder, so perhaps I should be prepared for that.

2. While the magic and skill did use the same mana meter that was used to summoning allies, I think it's not much trouble if we equip '-1 mana cost to cast' medal to caster (ie Patra). So far I never have any mana shortage, seeing that you can just collect the crystal that the enemies drop and you'll always gain 1 mana/blue Sacred Camp (So you should control as much as Sacred Camp if you want to collect mana to cast the spell, which honestly easier said than done), and more importantly using cheap spell (ie less than 4 mana cost). Of course there's stronger spell that consume more mana, but for easier map you should just equip cheap spell. Speaking about mana meter, I did find that the characters limit break is quite inefficient considering that it need 30 mana to cast (Granted the power is very big, but still).

3. For medals barter, yeah it's not so good change here seeing that we don't know which medals that we wouldn't use anymore, and that the barter price is twice the cost (For the info, you need to give your spare medals in order to get the new medal). I think I only have complain on this one for now.

I guess that's all for what I can write about Rhapsody here, and to conclude I would say that the translation is acceptable to me while for the gameplay is mostly fine to me except for the medals barter (Oh and no healing through potion like Kamidori, although in exchange it'll force you to play smart). I'll try to write more about Rhapsody later.

Edited by littleshogun

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I finished Funbag Fantasy 2 and it was mostly what I thought it'd be, maybe a bit better than expected. I allready liked the first instalment and though the differences are very minor they affected what bothered me about the previous game, so I can't help but like it a little more.

Spoiler

For one thing the characters have better, or at least more reasonable, body proportions. Don't get me wrong, their tits are still oversized, but not to an utterly ridiculous amount.

Besides that, the main heroine was not as overpowered this time and basically single handedly solving all his problems for him and as an extension of this, the protagonist wasn't behaving as stupid all the time. Again, don't get me wrong there are stupid situations and solutions/resolutions aplenty in this, but they don't take overhand to the same extent, making an overall more pleasant and varied reading experience.

I would have to read Funbag Fantasy 1 again, but I could swear that there were much longer story segments in this and huge portions of the h-scenes were pretty late into the game, almost bannished, to make way for a well executed plot about intrigue for the throne. (I mean for the true route, the other routes end pretty quickly, some of them strangely without adding new H-scenes.)

Overall I'd say it had everything there was to like about the first one and refined some of the rough spots, at least for me. Also, Zebia is adorkable.

Unbenannt.png

Is it worth making a sequel when you roughly want to do the same thing again? Hard question, but I can at least admit that I had fun reading this anyway. 8/10

 

Next I read Sankaku Renai, another work that mostly tries to entertain, the comedy was hit and miss for me, in part because the translator seemed to like his memes a bit too much. There was enough parody, memeing and references to go around before the translator threw in his hat to get a point across that had allready been made. Every character is a nerd, the fourth wall is broken every other minute and comedy takes precedence over story. And, all of that is fine, it's not like the VN is trying to hide its hand. The tone is set early enough to not get any false expectations, many jokes actually did hit home as well, especially with a lot of weebs in my inner circle of friends and drawing some loose comparisons.

Spoiler

The romance falls pretty flat though, the "love triangle trouble" is pretty much inaccurate, since every chosen heroine pretty much makes way for her competitor, going as far as even helping the rivals relationship along the way. I expected some over the top actions/reactions, like trying to obstruct the opposing romance in creative ways, a little disappointing.

Depending on your mood and what your into this might be worthwhile. 6.5/10

 

With these comedy VNs read I was in the right mood for something completely different and decided to finally read something I've wanted to read in forever, but never felt my mood to be in the right place. Saya no Uta - This one was pretty damn good, it deserves it's high ratings as far as I'm concerned. The content is thought provoking, deep without being condescending about it or completely inapproachable. It's pretty short and I finished it in a single sitting. I found it to be a good example of less being more. Concise writing, quickly to the point, never running out of meaningful plot development or character angles, overall a very enriching experience. 9/10

Spoiler

The H-scenes didn't feel completely out of place, but they partly went in an unnecesary direction. For example the rape scene of saya was a quick way to antagonise a character that had to go, which was a somewhat lackluster conclusion to that subplot.

 

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4 hours ago, Ruberick said:

comedy takes precedence over story.

That was my main gripe with Lamunation. To the point that whatever was left of the story, seemed totally random. It was all memes, but it wasn't because of translator - it was written this way originally. How is this one? Is there some story at all? After meh experience with Lamunation I'm inclined to think that bakage, or memege, or however they call it, are not for me. I'm fine with jokes, memes, references, fourth wall breaking etc, but when they are used as spice, not the main dish so to speak.

Edited by adamstan

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Imagine four of the most basic heroine routes possible (story-wise) and the conflict inside them reduced to barely existing. It takes more of a diversion of expectations approach, setting up some amounts of drama and resolving them cheaply for laughs, almost poking fun at other charage for actually going through with their drama. For what it's worth that actually worked for me, the tone in this VN is set accordingly to take this approach, but the meta insights into the medium weren't profound enough to actually make it meaningful, (Especially not when being powercreeped by the translators meme-knowledge) so it's pretty much just a "thrillride of jokes". The heroines pretty much represent different angles of obsessive otakus.

Was it worth my time? Just barely. I like a good number of works that go meta on their medium, this was just not written well enough to please me in that regard. Gonna read Lamunation at some point to make the comparison.

Edited by Ruberick

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2 hours ago, adamstan said:

That was my main gripe with Lamunation. To the point that whatever was left of the story, seemed totally random. It was all memes, but it wasn't because of translator - it was written this way originally. How is this one? Is there some story at all? After meh experience with Lamunation I'm inclined to think that bakage, or memege, or however they call it, are not for me. I'm fine with jokes, memes, references, fourth wall breaking etc, but when they are used as spice, not the main dish so to speak.

Love Triangle Trouble is most certainly not a set of random skits with no connection to each other, if that's what you fear. It's the daily life of a club, some things happen with a character moving into the protagonist's home, once that's settled with them all feeling like family again the the protagonist gets into a love triangle (in that two people are interested in him and aware of one another) and finally he makes his choice, resolving the drama by subverting expectations. Finally there's a couple of hours of them as a couple but it's basically just an excuse for h-scenes.
Still, romance!

Spoiler

y29BJLY.png

It is no more random than something like Fureraba in its plot, but it has decidedly less romance, I think.

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31 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Love Triangle Trouble is most certainly not a set of random skits with no connection to each other, if that's what you fear.

(...)

It is no more random than something like Fureraba in its plot

Thanks. That was exactly my fear. If it's like you say, then I think I should be able to enjoy it ;) Fureraba was pretty good for me.

 

Going back to current reads, I feel like Amber Quartz is really underrated (unless they fuck up things in a big way later ;)). Like, from what I see so far, it deserves more recognition than it gets. Ratings both on VNDB and EGS are decent - most of them in the 7+ range, meaning that people who actually read it tend to enjoy it, but the number of votes itself is abysmal. I wonder if it's because it got overshadowed by some other great titles, that came around the same time? In 2009 there definitely was a couple of big releases.

Edited by adamstan

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Just wanted to stress, that it is a decidedly parodistic comedy VN and if it has the choice between taking an emotional story scene to its conclusion and making a joke out of it, it will opt for the later. I haven't read Lamunation so I can't make the comparison yet on how things are done there, but I have read Fureraba and it felt very different in what the VN set out to do, since Fureraba tries to be fun in a wholesome slice of life kind of way (mostly) and Sankaku Renai (mostly) pokes fun at story/setting/character tropes of charagames, (and otaku fandom in general) while going through the motions of being a super basic charagame itself. The intent (as I perceived it) was pretty different and that was the main point I wanted to make, sorry if I make it more difficult than it needs to be, but for me that's an important distinction.

It correlates to charage like Undertale does to classic RPGs and Bakemonogatari does to harem anime, but without having as much insight and instead having fun with the theme in general.

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I'm about three hours into both Chuusotsu 1st Graduation and Newton and the Apple Tree.  Chuusotsu has unfortunately left very little impression so far other than that it serves as a reminder that your sprites shouldn't stare at the screen when your story isn't in first person.  Newton and the Apple Tree on the other hand has been amazing so far.  The story, the comedy, the music, the characters... all the aspects are good in their own right but just as importantly they intermesh in perfect harmony.  I realize I've only scratched the surface of the novel so far, but I'd be genuinely surprised if it didn't land in my top 5 VNs.

As a bonus point to Newton and the Apple Tree, this cutscene is perfection:

Spoiler

 

 

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I've been on the fence about Newrin for some time. I've seen it praised, but somehow the setting and premise fail to catch my attention. Like, I'd perhaps like to read it some day, but it has pretty low priority.

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11 hours ago, GXOALMD said:

Chuusotsu has unfortunately left very little impression so far other than that it serves as a reminder that your sprites shouldn't stare at the screen when your story isn't in first person. 

How far are you into the story so far? I personally was pretty unimpressed myself before a certain point in the story, but started liking it a lot more after that and ended up giving it an 8. Overall though this VN was very hyped by some prominent community members before its release, but doesn't appear to be that well received tbh.

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5 hours ago, adamstan said:

I've been on the fence about Newrin for some time. I've seen it praised, but somehow the setting and premise fail to catch my attention. Like, I'd perhaps like to read it some day, but it has pretty low priority.

If you're not into time travel shenanigans then you're probably not going to like it, though I could be mistaken as I'm still pretty early in it.

1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

How far are you into the story so far? I personally was pretty unimpressed myself before a certain point in the story, but started liking it a lot more after that and ended up giving it an 8. Overall though this VN was very hyped by some prominent community members before its release, but doesn't appear to be that well received tbh.

Spoiler

I'm at the point where they've failed the test thing on the seventh day and now they're packing up to leave and also flashbacks.  Additionally, I'm reading chuusotsu substantially more slowly than most novels as the visual design (or rather lack thereof) keeps on distracting me.  Everything is happening in super slow motion, it's like reading VLR all over again.

 

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1 hour ago, GXOALMD said:

If you're not into time travel shenanigans then you're probably not going to like it, though I could be mistaken as I'm still pretty early in it.

Time travel is fine, but I guess I'm slightly weirded out by Newton turned into heroine ;)

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On ‎2020‎年‎1‎月‎22‎日 at 4:39 AM, adamstan said:

Going back to current reads, I feel like Amber Quartz is really underrated (unless they fuck up things in a big way later ;)). Like, from what I see so far, it deserves more recognition than it gets. Ratings both on VNDB and EGS are decent - most of them in the 7+ range, meaning that people who actually read it tend to enjoy it, but the number of votes itself is abysmal. I wonder if it's because it got overshadowed by some other great titles, that came around the same time? In 2009 there definitely was a couple of big releases.

I liked Amber Quartz, but while I felt it was pretty good, it didn't go that extra mile into "this is special" territory.

That has been NekoNeko / Cotton Soft's problem.  Giniro was amazing, probably the closest thing to a perfect game I'd ever played... but they just couldn't keep it up.  Some good games that just don't hit top tier, mixed in with mediocre-to-bad games and floods of fandisks/mahjong releases.  Amber Quartz, like Mizuiro or Reconquista, just didn't have enough to make it stand out.

I would be nice if more people would recognize the quality hidden there, but the past 10 years have enough as good or better releases that it seems unlikely.

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Yu-no but its hard as hell to play it. The dialogue feels artificial often because of the gameplay and the gameplay itself is.... its too much. It breaks up the flow of the story and you're cobstantly wondering if you're screwing up events or if you're playing it correctly in the first place.

Think im passing up this for its anime

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Ah, so there's actually someone here, who has read Amber Quartz :D

5 hours ago, Toranth said:

I liked Amber Quartz, but while I felt it was pretty good, it didn't go that extra mile into "this is special" territory.

(...)  Amber Quartz, like Mizuiro or Reconquista, just didn't have enough to make it stand out.

I would be nice if more people would recognize the quality hidden there, but the past 10 years have enough as good or better releases that it seems unlikely.

Yeah, I think I get it. I will write more when I finish it, but it seems to tick the right boxes for me personally, so I'm glad that I found it despite its relatively low popularity. Currently I'm near the end (I think) of Miyako's route, with Nayuta's route left (am I right thinking that it's kind of "true route"?), and so far I'm liking almost everything I've seen, except maybe for not too good H-scenes. They aren't horrible (I've seen much worse), just painfully mediocre. I guess I got spoiled by the few titles I read that actually had decently written sex scenes. Luckily there aren't that many of them in Amber Quartz ;).

Edited by adamstan

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So, I've actually been reading stuff lately... I'm pretty shocked myself, to be honest!

And surprise surprise, Sakura Fox Adventure is short, derivative, unpolished garbage put together from unused assets made years ago! Who would've thought? :marie: Anyway, it seems I've stopped finding these games amusing lately even in an ironic way. They turned mundane from their sheer number, to the point even their failures are exactly the same every time and it's not fun to pick on them.

As a change of pace, I've also read Sweetest Monster and despite the fact I spoiled it to myself a while ago, I'm still sick to my stomach after finishing it. Quite literally. It's not the gore'y kind of horror, but a psychological one and it does A LOT to make the reader uncomfortable. I love how ebi-hime writes this kind of stories and the impact of this one is quite similar to that of Lynne... But this might be even more impactful, thanks to the art and that one demon catgirl who I'm quite likely to see my in nightmares for the next few days.

And staying with ebi-hime's work, her newest VN, Rituals in the Dark is... Not very impactful, to be honest. It's a fine story, but in the end it leaves the romance kind of unresolved and doesn't do anything that would stick with me, like most other ebi's titles did. In its minimalism, in a strange way, it reminds me of Lucky Me, Lucky You, but I didn't feel the similar charisma from the characters or a thought-provoking message. Maybe I was expecting a bit too much, but I think among all of ebi's stories, this is the one I'll remember the least in the long run, despite it theoretically combining things I very much enjoy (creepy climate and yuri).

I've also started reading Katawa Shoujo, now getting to the end of the common route and it's extremely charming. The heroines are immediately likeable and I really enjoy how the story is developing. I'm also really curious how some of the routes will look like, including those less liked (I mean, I have a hard time imagining Shizune romance...). I might be super-late to this party, but I'm definitely going to enjoy it a lot. :3

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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I should praise Winged Cloud though for going with female MC recently, in which I did complain about on how they prefer faceless and featureless male MC back at Sakura Beach instead of just focused on two girls. Although I only praise them for going with female MC, and I think it's the only pro from recent Winged Cloud VNs. For the other aspect? Let's just say that it would hard for them to make another Sakura Dungeon.

Edited by littleshogun

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7 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

I've also started reading Katawa Shoujo, now getting to the end of the common route and it's extremely charming. The heroines are immediately likeable and I really enjoy how the story is developing. I'm also really curious how some of the routes will look like, including those less liked (I mean, I have a hard time imagining Shizune romance...). I might be super-late to this party, but I'm definitely going to enjoy it a lot. :3

Good luck, and have a walkthrough ready ;)

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Started up muv luv extra and wondering what the heck im reading. Everything is over the top silly. If this tone doesnt represent the rest if the series then i cant see this as an essential read besides knowing where everyone met. 

Just a shame as the series can transition from silly to serious, sure, but changing their personalities from complete idiots will take quite some convincing. Should have gone for a more balanced style than non stop goofy comedy which rarely is even funny.

Edited by Stormwolf

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