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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. 

Spoiler
Spoiler

I gotta say tho, the family thingy did hit home. Not because of Minobe's financial problems, but the feeling of wanting to leave the house and cut your ties to that toxic environment. The way this Tanaka guy said that family is everything really pissed me off. As someone who learned from very early on not to expect love from "family", that's totally bullshitery, but oh well, it's just fiction lol

Riria's Route: In a nutshell, can Lily just fuck off?

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Spoiler

Nah, but really, other than that, it followed the same formula as always... problem is presented > tragedy > protagonist saves the day.

Oh yeah, that metaphor for sex was really something, huh.... cute moans, Suzumu. Heh. :ren:

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! :ganbarimess: Hahaha... haha... ha...

-----

As soon as I finish this one, I'll start the zero escape games aaa I can't wait!

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THAT IS THE CHOICE OF STEINS;GATE!


I think what holds R;N back is that it's the entry where the writers start trying to tie the whole SciADV series together, so R;N doesn't have as much standalone oomph like C;C or S;G did. Kept having to refer to the good ol' times and how badass prior protagonists are. But I get what they're trying to do. It'll be interesting to see what future titles have in store in the ongoing battle against the C of 3 times 10^2. I would've preferred that they did new scientific standalone titles with occasional references to the past like they've been doing, but it looks like they're gonna all in go for a mega ongoing saga that adds to the cast. Guess we'll see what happens in Anonymous;Code one day.

R;N was decent overall. But again, lack of standalone oomph. There were a lot of interesting story/character concepts presented in both entries that went absolutely no where, writers couldn't commit what the hell they wanted to do. AIri felt criminally underused despite playing such a key role during the Kimijima Ko report hunt saga then she just becomes a demoted-to-onii-chan-spamming-extra, though her DaSH route was rather enjoyable with the 'what if she was in her 20s' scenario. Jun's karate thing never develops despite it being 90% of her screentime and instead they just settle for her finally gaining some self confidence. I don't think Frau ever even got closure regarding the reason she came to Tanegashima, and her DaSH route offered nothing to her character and was mostly just for BL service. Idk, majority of the characters just feel like "why are they even here"? but the VN still tries to paint everyone as having this unbreakable bond with each other. Slomo and Fastforward were cool character concepts but nope didn't do jack with them either.

Akiho x Kaito was done well at least. It was pretty much the only thing that I was interested in reading about for DaSH. I loved the whole "we were inseparable childhood friends all the way through high school, then in the 6months between R;N and R;NDaSH, somehow everything's awkward now between us, wtf happened?!" plot point. Sometimes that's just how life works. 

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just wanted to be in the page 666

I've been playing Adabana Odd Tales for a very long time - unfortunately, my job is cosuming my free time - and I must say that the game is AMAZING, and it shocks me that no one seems to be/have been talking about it. It was released alongside ATRI, and it has Liar-soft all over it [obviously].

I've also decided to finally go back to playing Corpse Party after leaving it some years ago unfinished.

Aaaand although not a VN, I've been playing Yuppie Psycho on switch [which is also available for pc]. Seriously, you guys should try it!

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7 hours ago, Silvz said:

I've been playing Adabana Odd Tales for a very long time - unfortunately, my job is cosuming my free time - and I must say that the game is AMAZING, and it shocks me that no one seems to be/have been talking about it. It was released alongside ATRI, and it has Liar-soft all over it [obviously].

I was going to write about Adabana after I finish it, which is going to take some time since I was going through it very slowly and currently I completely switched to Iwaihime. But, yeah, it's pretty good. Especially the art and the music. As for the story, it's interesting, but I'll judge it after I complete the whole game, I guess.

As for Iwaihime, I'm currently at chapter 3, (yeah, I'm still slow) and it seems to be slowly getting better, even though the horror parts are still pretty disappointing. On the other hand, Ryukishi was always pretty good at writing character drama, so it could work in the end after the meaning of the horror parts becomes more clear.

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What a nice page number that we have lol. That aside, since I'm not particularly playing anything yet I'll just comment about Robotic Notes here. I know that DaSH here did offer some nice plot, although to me it's just undermined by the presence of Daru as the MC. I mean sure Daru here is a good character in Steins Gate, but as far as he become the MC let's just say that I prefer them to have Kaito as the only MC. I mean sure the people may like his presence so I can't exactly says it's a bad thing, although if a series or VN decided to make a crossover it could be signify that the company here is pretty much quite desperate and it shows with Robotic Notes seeing that they need to ask Daru to become the MC, and after I scanned some of DaSH playthrough I think they don't really need Daru to be the MC at all seeing that Kaito can still fulfill his role to be the MC because Daru didn't really interact much with Robotic Notes casts from what I see. Yes I know that DaSH here is meant for 'Daru Super Hacker', although once again it's pretty much a desperate attempt to grab some attention from the fans by blatantly slap the unrelated characters nickname in the sequel.

I guess in the end I can only say that my reaction with crossover would be quite complicated, because I always think that it should be okay as long as it's not in canon series and yet I didn't find it okay if the company decided to do it. I know that the staffs here want to make the heroes prepared themselves for their eventual confrontation with a mysterious and ambiguous group (C of 3 times 10 squared) so that the crossover would obviously inevitable, but I felt that rather than set them as threatening currently I can only see them as the plot device to keep the player to pay attention to the series with the promise that the staffs will eventually have them defeated along with give the excuse for the need of crossover (Especially in DaSH). If the staffs just want to make it as ambiguous threat and not to be defeated, I prefer them to not refer it at all although then again it would allow the staffs to easily explain on why some villain need to be evil (Because they can just use the excuse of them being the member of committee), so I sort of understand on why the staffs keep the ambiguous villain group there (Even though I didn't quite like it).

Anyway my rambling aside, I think Robotic Notes here should be good enough to be standalone. Granted that there's Nae who is basically Steins Gate character, but at least she's just a side character in there as well (She's very good looking if I may honest). Also I know that Steiner did say that the final arc for DaSH is a good one, although I can also said that it's similar to Chu Chu series (Pseudo sequel for both of Chaos series) in that it's a series that have fanservice filled and then ended with a serious plot, and it shouldn't be a coincidence that the main writer for DaSH here is also the one who write Chu Chu series.

Edited by littleshogun

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21 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

I was going to write about Adabana after I finish it, which is going to take some time since I was going through it very slowly and currently I completely switched to Iwaihime. But, yeah, it's pretty good. Especially the art and the music. As for the story, it's interesting, but I'll judge it after I complete the whole game, I guess.

As for Iwaihime, I'm currently at chapter 3, (yeah, I'm still slow) and it seems to be slowly getting better, even though the horror parts are still pretty disappointing. On the other hand, Ryukishi was always pretty good at writing character drama, so it could work in the end after the meaning of the horror parts becomes more clear.

Took one look at that. Romancing a loli? Hard pass indeed.

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Okay, Iwaihime is FINISHED! :haha: Finally... It's been 84 years-- erm, anyways!

Kiko's Route: erm... it was different, for sure. I felt grossed out by that scene, but it was on the same level as the other routes. I'm glad it wasn't too heavy on the "perfect wife" thing and that it had an actual explanation as to why she went through those phases of hers. 

Spoilers for the true ending and the extra chapter:

Spoiler

The true ending was... meh. I expected it, I just didn't expect Suzumu to die lol Seeing his funeral was interesting until he "woke up", sigh, why can't protagonists stay dead? I want them to suffer nyehehehe :ganbarimess: Anyways, I really hated the SoL part at the end, it was really boring; the dying (again) scene was unexpected for me because I didn't think they'd do the same thing twice but then again, the whole game was kinda like this. I gotta say tho, the extra chapter was the most interesting one in the entire game. I'm still a little confused by the whole mess of a story, but man, Hinagata's haunting and delusions were really good, I liked my inital shock when I discovered it was reality. I hate people already, if I realized it wasn't a haunting I'd give them a few punches lmao

I'd still give it a 6/10... maybe a 7/10 for the extra chapter alone. Tfw a dlc is more interesting than the main work itself... tsk, tsk

P.S.: A friend of mine says Toé is best girl but I still can't understand how, she's so meh :footsip: To be fair, so are the other characters but-

Edited by Leonor

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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

It's made by Vanillaware, who were the makers of the 2(.5)D side scrolling action RPGs like Odinsphere, Dragon's Crown on the PSVITA. Which, sue me, have been on my Vita backlog for years now. Unfortunately there's only a PS4 version out atm for Aegis, yay exclusives, would've liked a Switch version plx.

And holy crap, this is one of them hidden gems. This thing was released in Sep 22 this year, and already has an average 4.9 stars with over 400 ratings on Amazon (and Amazon reviews are notorious for slamming VNs for "not being a real game" etc. smh). Even VNDB averages a whopping 8.95 with only 126 votes. It's on sale on Amazon physical NA for 30 bucks.

13 protagonists whose stories all intertwine in an epic Sci-Fi mecha time traveling world ending saga. It's not a traditional VN with static sprites and backgrounds; I'd say it's more of an interactive adventure visual novel. IADVN or something. Dialogue will be displayed over the character rather than a dedicated textbox at the bottom middle, though thankfully there is still a backlog you can refer to anytime. Presentation is supreme, you can control your current protagonist in a vivid 2.5D environment: there will be cars driving and pedestrians walking in the background when you're in the city, trees/branches will be swaying from the wind, characters all have fluid, expressive animations even when idle. The world feels alive. Then you think about the most recent VN where you have static sprites and empty backgrounds and it's like man, this is the future!

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Yes, the world is threatened by Mass Effect 3 Reaper wannabes and it's up to the 13 protagonists who are able to control their own personal mecha robot "Sentinels" to defend the universe across multiple time periods and yes I made it sound cheesy, but seriously the presentation of this game is top notch and gets you hooked right away. The story plays episodic, there will be 13 protagonists with their own shenanigans and the story progresses by shifting protagonists and perspectives until all of their paths eventually overlap. Every character has their own goals and motivations, relations and revelations, and every time you think you answer some questions, you get a new bundle of them in your face!

There's a real time SRPG gameplay element that's thrown in to compliment the adventure novel aspect. It's almost universally agreed upon that it's definitely on the weaker end of the enjoyment spectrum, but it'd be pretty hard for the 2.5D to show epic battles between the 13 Sentinels and the Reapers, and we need some gameplay to appeal to the masses so I guess that's that.

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This weekend I returned to Sakura Strasse. I finally finished common route, and started Marie's. Now I'm past the first h-scene and I was pleasantly surprised. It had proper build up and didn't jump out of nowhere like they often tend to do. It also was nicely written, with more emphasis on feelings than on moves ;)

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I started reading Akatsuki no Goei ~Tsumibukaki Shuumatsuron~ back in August, got to the beach vacation where I realized that the fan disk revealed Kaito's backstory 🙃 so I went back to read that before continuing to finish all the other routes.

My impression that Kinugasa's works are all about the journey and not the ending have strengthened significantly. His stories are very thriller-esque and he builds them up quite well but his final plot twist doesn't always live up to what he built up. Not that it's terrible since I definitely enjoyed reading it all.

Spoiler

 

Though I will say, Kaito's backstory was quite surprising to me - I didn't think Kinugasa would shove his MC into such a traumatic upbringing; despite the constant allusions to how bad it was throughout the first game. Perhaps I was adjusting my expectations after reading how mild Ichinose's backstory was in the Youjitsu light novel series. Similarly, the torture scene with Mai was brutal - to the point that Kaito surviving and being able to walk a few days later made no sense. Also, given Japan's avoidance of drugs, it was rather surprising to see them overdose Kaito with cocaine.

The Restricted Zone endings didn't bring any world changing results as one might have hoped and indeed Kinugasa even makes fun of that, depicting a post incident TV scene showing that the civilians are moving on with their lives, barely remembering what just happened. Not only that, the underlying motivations behind the rebellion were extremely weak. Igarashi gave some comments about politicians becoming weak and pandering to social justice but it was only mentioned once and never explored in depth.

But as I mentioned, it's mainly the journey that counts and it was an enjoyable read regardless. This comes as a surprise since I only tend to read plot driven stories and pass on works that rely heavily on slice of life. I suppose what distinguishes Kinugasa's works (Akatsuki, Reminiscence and Youjitsu) from the typical slice of life is the dashes of mystery and action he adds into works as well as the entertaining character interactions he portrays.

I'm currently near the end of Rin's arc in Reminiscence and I've been enjoying the journey so far there as well. I'm intrigued by "Kyouichi", Hidetaka's backstory with his sister and Dream Town's apparent plans with androids but I'm certainly not expecting any mind-blowing revelations.

 

 

Edited by starcraft2

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Yesterday I finished Marie's route in Sakura Strasse.

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So far it's been pretty lighthearted and funny moege. Could perhaps call it romcom. (Without the school setting!) Characters are very likeable and the humor worked for me - I've been laughing out loud every few lines. OTOH the attempts at drama were literally hit and miss - meaning, some did hit me, while others flew completely over my head ;) The story was a bit all over the place, but perhaps that impression is because I had quite long breaks between my reading sessions (up to three weeks!) - this game, while very enjoyable, didn't manage to exactly engage me. Feels weird, but it is what it is.

Highlights of this route would be definitely Marie herself, who is cute and shy (and a bit of tsundere), but sometimes - perhaps half unconsciously - drops some serious bombshells :D And then we have her childhood friend Claudia, who reminds me a bit of Urd from "Oh! My Goddess!" franchise :D Coupled with her little brother Cris, most of the time she's just comic relief, but they also have important role near the end of the route.

Like I said in the previous post, H-scenes (at least in this route) are handled quite nicely. They don't jump out of nowhere, and have strong focus on feelings and love. There are also some sweet dialogues in there. As the MC-kun said (or rather thought) during the final H-scene (please forgive my sloppy translation) :

"Putting sexual pleasure itself aside, the greatest thing was that feeling of comfort and peace (楽) inside my heart" or something along those lines :P That's the way I like my H-scenes, if they have to be there, so big thumbs up :yes:.

I am still mildly interested in remaining three routes, and hope to finish it before the New Year ;) For now it is heading for 7.5 rating, which in my scoring system is "good, but not outstanding" - it's kind of a base score which then can increase or decrease.

And after finishing this I plan to read latest Konno Asta's game - Ano Hi no Tabibito, Fureau Mirai which I bought recently and it arrived yesterday. It's set on the same island that previous Pulltop's short VN - Sora to Umi ga, Fureau Kanata (Adventure of a Lifetime), but features new set of characters. The formula is similar - protagonist, two heroines, and single choice at the end of common route. Pulltop doesn't seem too eager to translate it, so I got tired of waiting, and bought JP version instead. (Especially since Pulltop's translation quality is hit and miss anyway :P)

Edited by adamstan

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You know you got addicted to a story when you finish it within a week clocking in 30-35 hours, I don't think I've read any VN this year got me hooked this much. Robotics;Notes also clocked me about 30-35 hours, but took me a solid MONTH each entry to finish because I just read for a couple hours a day etc. And with 13 Sentinels I would boot it up and then BAM 8 hours passed already it's like huh where'd the time go.

As is with tradition, starting off with favorite BGM, this time it's definitely gonna go to the main menu music, lol. You know how sometimes a VN has a great title theme so you could spend some time just chilling while listening to it? Throughout 13 Sentinels you can switch between 3 main menu/modes: the story mode, the codex with all the key terminologies and lore, and battle mode with the real time strategy tower defense gameplay. Each menu will come with its own rendition of the main theme and when you swap between them the music also changes seamlessly. It's some great stuff. More modern games need to have seamless changing multiple versions of themes tbh.

0:00 Codex version. 1:12 main menu version. 2:19 battle version. Battle is my fav, it always feels good hearing this track as you prepare your teams for combat.


Story: 9/10. Celebration of Sci-Fi. You want giant robots? Alien invasions? Futuristic technology? Artificial Intelligence? Time travel? You name it. This game's got it all. The plot can get OVERWHELMINGLY CONFUSING to follow at times, since the story is told through the eyes of 13 protagonists, in anachronic order, in multiple time periods, with plenty of flashback/dream sequences and scientific jargon littered throughout, but somehow the writers were able to structure it in a way that keeps you thirsting for more as every scene always reveals something new about the characters and the world and as soon as you think you have a good understanding of the overall picture, BAM you get hit with another plot twist/revelation. The basic premise of 13 high school students and their giant robot Sentinels vs the Reapers to save the world is still there, but it's honestly only 10% of the story and the other 90% is understanding every protagonist's situation and figuring out what the hell is going on. There are so many revelations for the characters and the plot that I don't think there was ever a single grand HOLY SHIT moment akin to Ever17's True End, ultimately there's just a bunch of hory-shis that make you go "Ooo that was a nice reveal" and they all add up to make an overall fascinating story. 

And thankfully, there is an (actually helpful!) ingame codex that lists character information (and updates as you learn more information), important terminologies and lore, and even has an event viewer for every protagonist that organizes the scenes in chronological order should you want to review the story.

Presentation: 9/10.  Presentation for me includes art and music/sound, and everything Vanillaware did for this title was superb. The watercolor 2.5D artstyle was always gorgeous and captivating to look at, the sound design was fantastic making the world feel vibrant, music was surreal when it needed to be and epic when duty called, and the VAs did a splendid job portraying their characters. 

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Best girl is (first) Iori Fuyusaka (last), why do you think my first post was littered with her. Side note: every protagonist has a certain area on their body that is the "activation switch" to call upon their Sentinel, and of course Vanillaware made Iori's switch on her thigh so that's why she's posed like that in the screenie above. Not that I'm complaining.

Random character pulling a gun on another character montage, this cast is quite trigger happy and it's hilarious how often they will whip out a gun on each other:

Spoiler

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Yup, even kids be pullin' out  guns if you look at them the wrong way. The future is a scary place >.>

 

I hope they're able to port this to Switch+PC one day. I used to care about console exclusivity (lol) but 13 Sentinels is legit a story where I just want to tell everybody I see to go read it

E: Also realized I didn't mention the word mystery at all in this post lel. Mystery is a HUGE part of this story.

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Fuyusaka Is a bit of a slut though (not really a spoiler) I didn't dislike her though.

Just started reading summer pockets. I will just say that key might have failed to disguise their biggest plot elements here. 

Spoiler

A looong time ago i was told there was time travel in this and tbh, this isn't my first rodeo with Key. It was going fine until this little red haired girl called the protagonist "Dad" during the prologue. Thanks Key, now i won't be able to dismiss her actually being his kid through some time travel device nonsense. And I also have a feeling that at least a lot of people know the protagonist, and these wings references are not just metaphors. I get a Little Busters feeling here if i'm honest.

 

Edited by Stormwolf

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