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Finished Bethly's route in Gin'Iro, Haruka.

Well, to be honest, with my reading speed and how everyone say the VN is freaking long, I thought I'd need at least a week to finish one route, but it "only" took me 4 days (would say around 25-30h).

The art is really beautiful, and I liked the BGMs. It was interesting to follow the life of the characters from middle school to marriage (the University arc was really nice, and I was suprised by the young adult work arc, I thought they would marry directly, but no. It was interesting to know all these things about international marriage)

Like usual, I want to say many things, but I'm not good in sorting them, so I don't write anything in the end...

Well, anyway. At first, I only wanted to read Behtly's route because of how long it is, but now I'm also interested in Hinata, and the others too to some extent.

I don't know if I'll wait a few days/weeks before playing again, as I'm the type to stop totally when I stop for a few days (The most notable one being Ever 17, I've been stalling it for what, 3 years? 4 years? I wonder when I'll finally go back to it...). I just hope I'll be able to not think too much about Bethly. As much as I like her and am attached to her, the end was satifying, so now it's the turn of the other girls to be happy.

Edited by Riku

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I recently finished Kanojyo-tachi no Ryuugi. Going into the VN, I somehow mixed up this title with another VN, Yuri Kago no Naka, and thought it was going to be a hyper-chuuni novel. Well, it definitely wasn't that, but it was pretty good anyways.
 
The VN starts out with the MC returning to old home where he sees his older twin sisters for the first time in five years. He is pretty miffed when his older sister Tobari ignores him completely. Especially since he (MC's name is Kotarou) holds a bit of an inferiority complex towards her. She does recruit him to the theatre club in order to perform at the upcoming school festival.  He's going to be playing the main heroine alongside her as the hero. Yep, it's a VN with crossdressing. The MC is voiced, too (hooray!)
 
I found the BGM well-fitted for each of the scenes. It looks like they paid attention there. Was really impressed by the voice acting for Tobari, Akane, and Suzutsuki. The early dialogue had  a bit of characterization, but the voice acting really gave it life. Though when I saw Seseri's (blue-haired hopelessly genki-naive type) character I cringed at the thought of having to bear with her for the rest of the VN. 
 
I really liked Suzutsuki's (Pink-haired girl) route who I played first. Her route was super short (literally 6-7 scenes!!!), but it had this amazing atmosphere. She ends up being my favourite girl. Next I played Seseri's route, which mostly boring. Then was Akane (the older twin sister). Her route wasn't extensive like I thought it was, but it does provide some important facts about the sisters and their family. After that I skipped the other two minor heriones and went  for the Tobari's route, the true herione's. While doing her route, I still found the events seems pretty underwhelming (just seemed like Kotarou arguing a lot with Tobari). But then the latter part of her route comes, and it's pretty good. At the end of the route there's this big perspective change which pretty much is the culmination of the entire route. It was amazing the first time, but it took me a second read to connect the pieces. Now I finally get why everyone on erogegamescape keeps saying the game exists for the sake of Tobari. Basically the whole game is revolving about Kotarou's (the MC) and Tobari's relationship (or apparent lack of one), and her mental state.
 
It's kind of an unexpected work (old, heavy character-focus, and yet not being about the normal romance progressions), but the cg, music, voice acting, and characters are all quite good. Would recommend to someone who wants to read a character-focused story and doesn't mind the crossdressing, the unusual combination of elements, or the short length.
 
As a side note, I think the crossdressing was more to allow Akari and Tobari to exhibit some S-traits during the sex scenes. The sex scenes are generally pretty mild, but the thing is, Kotarou is actually in the M position a lot of the time, which makes it feel more 'out there' than most crossdressing vns. I dunno. Kotarou's not bad relatively speaking, but some of the stuff made me groan a bit inside.
 

 

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So, I finally finished Lovely & Cation 2. Like the first one, this was a pure dating sim where you choose locations and buy items or do stuff to raise your stats. High stats or specific items can then unlock hidden events, CG's, other items and additional H-scenes. I guess having certain stats too low can also give you a bad end. I personally just played easy mode, and so it was more about getting all goodies a route has to offer.

What probably stands out the most about the game is its pretty art that made Iizuki Tasuku one of the most popular artists. Due to its dating sim nature the VN puts an unusual strong emphasis on the dating aspect, putting the interaction with the chosen character first and almost neglecting story aspects. Naturally, that's a double edged sword since for someone who expects an interesting story this is certainly the wrong title. On the other hand it shines in the romance and character interaction departments. It neither waters down the tension of the romances with unnecessary comedy nor does it get too serious like a nakige.

It's also a very ero heavy title, which is considering the good art a big plus and certainly one of its strongest attraction points. The original already has about 10 H-scenes per heroine, but since I played the Zutto Hatsukoi no Hibi Edition with all after stories, there were an additional 7 - 8 scenes per heroine. That's not to say it's a nukige, it actually takes quite a while of relationship building until the characters get intimate.

Art quality is mostly comparable to the the predecessor which was already top-notch, although they added animated walking scenes like in ef where the characters talk while walking somewhere. On the other hand there's one point that didn't improve at all: Iizuki Tasuku's obscure denial to draw any side characters. It's almost baffling, that this artist has no problems drawing tons of gorgeous art for the main heroines but refuses to draw even the most essential side characters. And this stood even more out here than in L&C1 since there are two rather prominent side characters with lots of screen time. L&C1 also used a rather elegant trick and made two heroines friends of each other, one acting as prominent side character in the route of the other. The heroines in L&C2 felt a bit more isolated because of this.

The heroine routes itself were enjoyable and I think longer than in its predecessor, but they also felt a bit more generic in comparison which might be partly due to the two teacher routes in the first part that added some nice extra tension. The heroines were all likable, although I didn't play Hinata's route. While she's certainly cute and I liked her, she was simply a bit too loli for my taste, especially considering the ero heavy nature of the game. Hime was the lively beauty next door, very similar to Yuuki in the first part. Wakote the adored school pincess and elite student similar to Sera in the first part. And finally Seine, the silent and introverted beauty with empathy problems with some similarities to Aya in the first part. Overall I liked Seine a tiny bit more than the others, followed by Wakoto and Hime.

So Seine > Wakoto >= Hime > Hinata

Overall rating: 7,5/10 (Almost as good as the first part, but not quite)

 

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I somehow wasn't motivated enough to continue with Ikusa Megami Verita, but somehow got interested in Dungeon of Regalias instead and played that almost half through, just to completely loose motivation and stalling it again. The gameplay was petty addictive though - fast-paced and fun. I just wish Astronauts writing would be just half as good as their sense for fun and addictive game mechanics. Art wise it's IMHO a bit weaker than the previous titles.

Besides that I played Itsu made mo Boku dake no Mama no Mama de ite!, a nukige with animated scenes which was unfortunately not as good as I hoped it would be due to the annoying mother festish obsession of Japanese eroge writers with all female characters that 'might' be older than 20. Overall rating: 5,5/10

 

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Next Japanese VN on my list is Shin Koihime † Eiyuutan to celebrate the upcoming release of Kakumei. :rolleyes:

I also have my eyes on the upcoming Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata from Astronauts: Sirius, the long awaited unofficial successor to Kiriya Hakushakuke no Roku Shimai from Atelier Kaguya which is still one of my all time favorites. I've mixed feelings about it though. This is not a gameplay title and Astronauts didn't exactly impress me with their writing in recent years, and their last try with Saint Estella was quite disappointing. I'm still slightly optimistic, Saint Estella just got 11 months of development time while Hyakki Ryouran is getting almost 1,5 years. So they are taking their time for this one. They better don't mess that up again, or I'd be pretty pissed. <_<

Edited by ChaosRaven

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14 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

somehow got interested in Dungeon of Regalias instead and played that almost half through, just to completely loose motivation and stalling it again. The gameplay was petty addictive though - fast-paced and fun. I just wish Astronauts writing would be just half as good as their sense for fun and addictive game mechanics. Art wise it's IMHO a bit weaker than the previous titles

Dungeon of Regalias was imho the best RPG of 2016 and I'm so disappointed there was nothing this year. I'm really surprised how good Astronauts Sirius is with making RPGs when they aren't even a dedicated RPG company like for example Eushully.
I played the game on hard and I was surprised how well-balanced and engaging the gameplay is. It felt like every skill was meticulously designed to offer a variety of valid strategies and tactics the player can choose from to overcome the quite difficult challenges (on hard). It's something you can usually only find in hardcore nerdy dungeon crawlers.

Of course, the writing is awful, same as literally every other Astronauts Sirius game. I probably won't even bother to look at the new one since it does not have any gameplay which is the only redeeming quality of the company. :amane:

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Read 炎の孕ませ転校生 and こんな娘達におもいっきり射精したい -ある美少女戦士達の変態願望- while the forum was down.

Synopsis for

Spoiler

In 炎の孕ませ転校生 you are a boy with big ambitions. World conquest. The world is rotten, politicians are corrupt etc.
But how does one achieve world conquest. Looking at rulers and influential people they all have one thing in common.
They are surrounded by women who carry their offspling. Conclusion --> impregnate everyone.
You have to begin somewhere, namely your school. But there aren't any girls there.
So you transfer to a school which recently went co-ed. You become the TENKOUSEI.

You have 40 days to impregnate your 22 classmates.

 

The game is quite simple you have 40 days, everyday you can go to 2 places during lunch and 2 after-school.
Meet enough times with every girl until you can sex her. Some girls have to be sexed before others etc.

Looking at the play time on vndb this seems like a short Nukige. Ensnaring 22 girls takes quite some time, this is definitely of medium length.
Most of the 22 girls were quite likeable and give you some nice slice-of-life, some sex scenes were animated,  fully voiced by like 5 VAs(for 22 People)...

I'm giving this game a perfect 5/7

 

Synopsis for こんな娘達におもいっきり射精したい -ある美少女戦士達の変態願望

Spoiler

You like the four Sailor Senshi of the outer planets. (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn)

You even have a blog about them. Some day you receive a mail from the girls asking for you to listen to their troubles.

You choose one of them and more or less consensually teach her about the men and the women.

Pretty straight-forward Nukige. 5 sex scenes and 2 Endings for every girl. 2 extra scenes with several of the girls. Total of 400+ CGs

CGs are typical Saberfish work, the looping moans aren't even that bad(except for some Haruka ones...), nice bodebaras, only two locations(bedroom and bathroom), Hotaru is best girl.

A perfect 5/7 Saberfish Nukige.

 

...

If you want to see something scary look at this HCG from 炎の孕ませ転校生

Spoiler

Link

(the other CGs were alright)

 

Edited by Ningen

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Time for some status update for my JP VN's I guess.

Well, I already finished Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata some weeks ago. This was actually one of the titles I was mostly looking forward to this year, because it's the quasi successor to Kiriya Hakushakuke no Roku Shimai which is still one my all time favorites. What made it special is that it was a very ero heavy title that also offered an intriguing, mysterious plot that resembles Innocent Grey's semi-realistic style very closely. But in contrast to Innocent Grey's titles, it was much less gory and more focused on heroines and fan service. But the combination of an ero heavy VN with a strong supporting plot is still extremely rare. Especially since the production values were very high with art from M&M and a great soundtrack. The title was still released under the label of Atelier Kaguya when M&M was still the artist of Team Heartbeat before they 'rebelled' and created studio Astronauts Sirius which is mostly known for their H-heavy gameplay titles now.

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Astronauts Sirius usually has a good sense for game mechanics and their titles are usually less grindy than Eushully & Co who managed to take grinding on a whole new level. For that reason it's usually possible to finish one of their titles in reasonable time. Their biggest weakness is that their stories unfortunatley tend to suck. So you play an Astronauts VN because of the gameplay and M&M's sexy art, but hardly because of the story.

For that reason I was hesitant what to expect from the new Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata, especially since their last try in 'story' Saint Estella was quite disappointing. I was still slightly optimistic though, since they broke their fixed annual release cycle for it and gave it about half a year more development time. And to give a short preemptive consclusion, I was both positively surprised and relieved that they succeeded with it for the most part.

In Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata you play a student from the University of Tokyo who comes to Yugoshi mountain in search for his professor. During his search he stumbles upon an old, mysterious mansion and is invited to join a certain marriage ritual of the Mikado family along with several other candidates. The story is set up in a similar way like an old Hitchcock movie, where several people meet in a house where one or more of the participants are murdered and you have to figure out the culprit. It's therefore a very traditonal murder mystery at heart - just with way more sex in it. ^_^

The VN also takes a different approach to many other story VN's, that make POV switching almost a new sport, in that it keeps its protagonist POV almost for the whole time. This makes the VN very immersive - you only know what the protagonist knows and sees and nothing more except for the knowledge you gain from previous routes. There's a lot of intrigue and hidden secrets to discover and one play through will only reveal parts of the story. I was honestly impressed how much effort they took to give every character a unique identity and reasons why they are part of the story. Everyone has its place is part of a big mystery. One my favorite characters was actually Iwaki Akio, a detective who also tries to solve the mystery for his own reasons. He's more or less your ally for a good part of the story. The characters are also for the most part more 'grey' instead of just black and white, with both character strengths and flaws.

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The routes of the VN are roughly separated in three parts - the introduction route, the main routes and the true route. The introduction route was a bit of a suprise since all heroine routes are locked and the VN is pretty much kinetic. H scenes there are actually plot relevant except some 'preview semi H-scenes' for the main heroines which were probably only included to keep readers who are only there for 'one reason' at least mildly entertained. But I found the plot surprisingly engaging and dig through it in pretty much one sitting. The VN pretty much forces you into a bad end here which is already spoiled at the start.

After that the main routes are unlocked and you can pick heroines and events via map movement. Now you'll have to change the events of the introduction route. To succeed with a heroine route you also have to find certain items along the way, the protagonist will usually use to free himself from unpleasant situations or get important information. If you missed a required item you'll run in a bad end, where you'll usually get killed and you might also see (a rather tame) rape scene. The routes itself vary in quality. Since the introduction route already tells a lot of the story, the heroine arcs were a bit too much uneven on the fan service side.

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Aya's route felt almost redundant with the introduction route and Yuri's felt more like a side route. Considering Yuri was the heroine I was mostly looking toward too, that was a bit disappointing. She didn't even get an appropriate ending. And that's almost a shame since she was a quite interesting character. She wasn't just a tsundere, she was borderline cruel and your job was more or less to save her from herself. Fumika had surprisingly the strongest route besides the main heroine Ririka. The other side routes were pretty much just fan service.

After that the true route around Ririka unlocks and the final secrets about the hidden shrine and the dark god of the Mikado family gets revealed. Although it felt a bit rushed and lacked some information about the previous miko, it was still good enough to leave me satisfied. In comparison to its predecessor Kiriya Shimai, I'd say it has probably a better written main plot, but the heroine routes besides the main heroine Riririka felt a bit more lacking. Kiriya Shimai had more fleshed out heroine routes but the main plot was probably a bit weaker. Though it's quite some time that I read it. Other weaknesses are shared by both and are also known from Innocent Grey VN's. Picking another route can result in lots of text skipping with frequent interruptions sinec you have to pick the right location. Since the VN is also very ero heavy, the heroines tend to be rather 'willing' even if the H-scenes itself are probably at least less random than in Kara no Shoujo. The VN also has a very tight time frame that makes relationship developments a bit unrealistic.

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But overall, I was pretty satisfied with the VN despite some flaws. Production values were top notch with great art and soundtrack that helped greatly to create a thriliing, mysterious atmosphere. The story might not be as refined as in a true Innocent Grey VN, but it's still very solid and easily wipes the floor with what most other VN releases dare to offer. I also appreciate the fact that the VN isn't overambitious and tries to create an epic conflict with hardly any substance to back it. The VN focuses on the mansion and its involved characters, locations and events, and that part is rather well done.

Character ranking: Yuri > Aya > Ririka > Fumika

Overall rating: 8/10

Besides my reread of Kara no Shoujo 2, this was probably the best VN I've read this year. I finished it well under a week, which is extremely fast for my standards.

 

Besides that, I finished two routes in Shin Koihime Eiyuutan, one good and one bad. But I stalled it for a while when Hyakki came up. The VN just offers short fan service routes anyway and I still dislike the mass over class with far too many heroines you're apparently involved with and you often don't even get the choice with whom you want to get involved with.

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I also don't think I'll continue with Ikusa Megami Verita. Having two hero parties in a grinding game is just too much and I was neither impressed by the story nor the characters so far. I rather start a newer Eushully VN instead when I get motivated again.

I also had a look on what Atelier Kaguya's non-rebel studios had to offer for some 'light entertainment'. I tried out Love Tore form Team HonkyTonk Pumpkin first which turned out to be probably the best 'pure nukige' I've played so far. I played it's successor JD Onsen last year which impressed me with its outstanding animation quality but disappointed with its silly plot. Love Tore was more of a traditional dating sim and I liked the character designs a bit more, but the animation quality was just as good. Overall rating: 7.5/10

I then also I tried Niizuma Fuwa Toro from Team CheshireCat but it turned out as a quite disappointing 5/10. Though I'll also have a look on some of Team Bare & Bunny's newer releases, even if I still feel burned by the buggy crash festival that Baku Ane was.

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I also started with Caucasus since MangaGamer doesn't seem to care about story VN's anymore. It was quite troublesome since it's the first VN I couldn't hook in Windows 10 and had to create a Win7 virtual machine just for it.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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So, I finally finished Caucasus:rolleyes: This was the one VN from Innocent Grey I still wanted to read, even if it's in Japanese. Since it had a considerably lower rating than the Kara no Shojo series I did expect some weaknesses, although I wasn't really sure what they might be. Well, I was about to find out soon enough when I started reading.

Caucasus has a lot in common with the last Japanese VN I read, Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata. So much in fact, that I'd say the latter was at least inspired by the former. In both VN's the protagonist is a university student in folklore that stumbles into a mysterious mansion by accident where strange things are happening. Though here you're accompanied by a girl instead of being alone. But there's also a wedding ceremony going on, in this case between the youngest daughter of the Nanatsuki family - Shion - and her fiance Rokuyou.

An interesting thing about Caucasus was that some tags indicated that it might have some supernatural elements. Though, having read it now, this assumption was wrong. That's not saying that the tags were wrong, I just interpreted them in a different way. Without spoiling too much, the story is inspired a bit by a certain historic person with the name Elisabeth Báthory.

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Caucasus is a typical case of making one step forward but two steps backwards. While IG's previous VN Kara no Shoujo had some detective gameplay elements, it was still mostly a VN with some investigation scenes at certain points. In Caucasus they decided to go full out with the detective gameplay and combine it with the map location choices. That means there are now frequent map movement sections where you can freely decide where to go, and every location can investigated and every person questioned. For each of this sections this can be done multiple times until a timer runs out. While this system might be great for detective enthusiasts, there are unfortunately so many possible things to do and consider now that it made the VN literally incomprehensible without using a guide. Actually, it made me think countless time about the recent thread about VN's with too many choices, since this was certainly a prime example for such a case.

They also had the glorious idea to give almost every girl a happy ending. While the idea sounds great in theory, the execution was 'questionable' to say the least. The usual strategy to win a girl in a VN is to try to spend as much as possible with her. Technically that's also the case here, just not really the way you'd think how. So in order to win a girl in Caucasus you have to... question her:objection:. No kidding, during the investigation sequences you not only have to investigate locations, you also have to pay your chosen one a visit, usually about ~2 times and just do nothing or question her about the murder case. Usually there's at least a slice of life sequence to get to know the girl even in other VN's from Innocent Grey, but not here. That was really, really lazy from IG. :wacko:

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Furthermore, although you can get most girls there are technically still just two endings, not counting the bad ones. The normal one and the true one. The normal one can be gotten for Akane, Narumi, Ai, Venio and Shion while the true one can be Venio, Shion and another one I don't want to spoil here. Though Shion is not really winnable, at least in the true ending. So if you want to really get all the endings for each girl you have to replay an insane amount of investigation sequences since you can't just skip them. Overall, the best is to decide for one girl for each ending and just get a 100% save to get the rest of the CG's.

That's not to say it would be all bad. The plot is interesting, and the characters look and act authentic and the story sections are well told even if they are far too often interrupted by investigation sequences. There's also a large story block told towards the end through a book which should have better been revealed bit by bit during the story instead. The story also isn't as grim as Kara no Shoujo and you can save pretty much every girl which was nice. On the other hand, the infamous perpetrator scenes were missing and just replaced by a few H-scenes which dragged the thrill and suspense a bit down. The art also has IG's great trademark art style.

Overall, I think it's still a good story VN even if it's clearly weaker than Kara no Shoujo. I'd say it's roughly on par with Cartagra even if both have different strengths and weaknesses. In case of Caucasus the main weakness is without question the detective gameplay. They should have skipped or at least reduced it a bit and flesh out the story further instead.

Heroine rankings: Narumi > Souko = Shion > Venio = Ai > Akane

Overall rating: 7.5/10

I also tried two more nukige from Atelier Kaguya. The first one being Konomama dato Otouto from Honkytonk Pumpkin which was far too fetishy and overall the weakest title from this particular team so far (5.5/10). And the second one was Baku Ane 2 from Bare & Bunny which was kind of okayish even if I expected more (6.5/10). I hope the new Shigokare will be better.

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On the story front the next two VN's I will try are Reminiscence from Tigre Soft and Haruru Minamo ni! from Clochette. I hope the former will be better than its predecessor Akatsuki no Goei while the second one will be my first VN from Clochette, so I'm eager to see how it turns out.

And yeah, I'm still trying to finish Shin Koihime † Eiyuutan anytime soon. I really hate that you're supposed to be in a relationship with literally everyone. It's almost as bad as in Moeshuden. Maybe not just as bad, since some routes actually focus on a certain girl, but others are just a huge clusterfuck. <_<

Edited by ChaosRaven

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12 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

And yeah, I'm still trying to finish Shin Koihime † Eiyuutan anytime soon. I really hate that you're supposed to be in a relationship with literally everyone. It's almost as bad as in Moeshuden. Maybe not just as bad, since some routes actually focus on a certain girl, but others are just a huge clusterfuck. <_<

The game is a huge clusterfuck?  Why would you say that like it's a bad thing? :huh:

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1 hour ago, Nandemonai said:

The game is a huge clusterfuck?  Why would you say that like it's a bad thing? :huh:

There are routes where every H-scene is with a different girl and half of them ones I don't even like. The individual faction discs don't even restrict themselves to their faction. The original Koihime at least gave you a choice with whom you want to get involved with, and it was still focused on a few selected main heroines. It made you feel like a lord with a harem, but here you're treated more like a male faction whore every member or guest can get if she wants to. :unsure:

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I still don't see why that's a bad thing, at least for a fandisk.  The original game, and SKM, are actually fairly limited in that they don't mix things up well.  There are very few three-way scenes.  In SKM, for instance, there's a bit where Tanpopo and Sei both fool around with Kazuto, but nothing actually happens.  And because of the way the game's designed, it can't.

Or is Eiyuutan not a relatively short fandisk?

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Eiyuutan is a collection of three short fandiscs, each dedicated to one faction. And that's precisely the reason why they should have sticked to the main heroines and not add even more girls to the ridiculous amount SKM already had.

Adding a few threesome scenes for the main heroines is another thing. I'm not really opposed to that, but they should have made them at least optional. I really dislike H-scenes involving loli's and here I can't really avoid that. And that doesn't mean I would dislike loli characters. Rinrin for example was always one of my favorite characters because she's such a lively and cheerful character. And although she had a route in the original Koihime, the main route clearly represented her more as a loyal friend and comrade and not as a lover. And it's a similar thing with Tanpopo who has hilarious interactions with Sui, but that doesn't mean I want an H-scene with her.

Although the Koihime series was always quite H-heavy, they are not mindless nukiges. And not all their characters define themselves through H-scenes. And I'd prefer it if the writers would have considered that a bit more. Even if it's just a simple fan disc collection where such things might be more common, that doesn't mean I have to like it.

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Omokage Railback

Few words about it.
I don't like Juri tbh. Also Masashi is bland. As for plot it was nothing awesome but was quite interesting.

Things I like about it
1. Strong side characters.
2. Art. It's a pretty game. Just look at the interface. The character art is great and the cgs
3. Nanoha. Kawaii desu.

Favorite heroine is Lemon. 😁
7.7/10

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Ojou-sama Kumikyoku - a small hidden gem with each route featuring rather serious romance between a really sweet protagonist and a great cast of heroines. Those of you who love romance can't afford to miss Hinako route - not only is she absolute waifu material (subjective), but her route is really good. Don't want to spoil anything, but don't expect generic fluff. The other routes are very nice too, but Hinako route is a must read.

Spoiler

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started reading this. https://vndb.org/v10479

 

found out theres two versions of this vn which was confusing and annoying. the first version i read had just the imoutos route and she seemed more sinister in that version. very manipulative in that one. although she could be in the second version as well but i havent seen it all that much. more cgs, new sex scenes, animated sex scenes and the mother has a route. not usually a mother route fan but shes not overly motherly. she comes off more as friendly neighbor.

 

at least, thats what i keep telling myself. :meguface:

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Finished Baldr Bringer... in short, it's wasted potential due to bad execution, the player is rewarded with some plot too late.

The game is very different to sky/heart where you don't actually follow a flowchart story of events happening to the Protag. Firstly a bit of a rant on the game mechanics. There will be some very minor spoilers here on how the game is structured but shouldn't ruin your experience should you end up playing this game.

Spoiler

 

Game mechanics wise instead of having the story flow onto the next event, in this game you pick from the main menu which event you want to see next. Events can be a mission battle to get closer to the heroine, move on in the main story, or just talking to the heroine.
In each mission battle, you get dropped into an open area and you get to go roam around the area freely and kill enemies which pops up and attacks you. From there you move onto different mission objectives which can be going to this area and kill this boss/trigger the next event. After a few of those the mission is completed and you're bounced back onto the main menu to select the next mission.
The game's also level based, each battle event has a level recommendation - you can pick from the menu selection what level the enemies will be at relative to the difficulty (+0,+2,+4 etc). Enemies drop restorative items along with weapons at the enemies level and you get more rarer items by playing a higher difficulty. As far as I can tell there's no death penalty aside from restarting the battle (not the entire mission), there are cases where the mobs will just be way too tough for your level so don't push too hard on that difficulty.
From a weapon perspective, you basically equip a gun, a sub-weapon and a close range weapon. Just hold and fire, no more infinite comboing the mobs with different moves - though that won't do you any good in this game as you get swarmed with mobs most of the time.
Main event progression is also quite predictable for the most part, once you've done a few missions you'll get the flow of what it's doing. The difficulty noticeably steps up around/after the 6th area and spikes a bit out of control (even on the easiest mode) after that, which means the player has to go back and replay some of the easier missions at higher difficulty just to level up and get better weapons, that or get better at the controls. Heroine progression is based on how often the heroine's weapon is used, while it sounds annoying I can assure you this is not the biggest issue at all later on.
In addition to the above, with the open map - there's also hidden upgrades and secrets scattered around the different areas, some are upgrades and some are information capsules where you can read them from the main menu after picking them up.

Now all that above doesn't sound too bad, but the mechanics themselves creates a few problems. First because you get to pick the next mission, there's really no way to flow the story fluently onto the next event, so with this mechanism instead you either get the story in pieces or none at all (hint: it's mostly the latter). Secondly, leveling. Leveling up sounds like a chore, though in reality its not too bad at all as you can just sit in a nice cosy spot in a high level mission and continue firing till you level up (takes minutes), what annoyed me the most around the leveling bit is the fact that you won't come out in one piece in the latter missions with recommended level weapons, I didn't feel comfortable with the mobs unless I had super-duper-rare-red weapons +2/+3 levels higher, but that poses another problem. To get those weapons you need to play a mission of a higher difficulty to begin with. Lastly, because the weapons you get early are so crap, you'll feel the need to mob but be very frustrated not being able to do it effectively, when the hoards of mobs fill the screen... you guessed it, lag! (I've found one of the cheap ways to get less lag is to turn the corpse count to the lowest possible in the settings, it's a lag-saver)

 

That's all the game mechanics (rant) out of the way, here comes the more spoilerish area, plot, the problem with talking about the plot in this game is that it's quite spoilerish so I'll keep this as minor as possible.

Spoiler

From the beginning of the game, you can tell after meeting a few heroines that they're just managing their own areas in the Vertex as "disposers". Each of the 10 heroine is modeled off a person who existed in one of the past Baldr Games setting and is packed full of references to those games (I didn't play Sky Zero and Force so I missed lot of those references). You'll find that for each of the 10 heroine, there's 7 hearts and it fills up one for each event, with the first event normally describing which era/game she's from. Great it sounds like lots of story to go through here.... so I thought.

Unfortunately the first event is as much backstory as you're going to get out of each heroine until the 6th event, where the story infodumps you with the heroine's events leading up to them somehow became a disposer in the Vertex, then followed by the Protag helping the heroine. Then followed by a H-scene for those who needed to know when the 18+ content starts. For those wondering, the 7th event is just a H-scene unlocking at level 20.

Some of these events are actually quite emotionally touching and I feel for (most of) them. The downside is that you'll have to tough out the majority of the gameplay first as you need level 16 for each heroine before the 6th event unlocks.

Following the main plot, eventually you'll read a point where the Protag meets with the antagonist in the Vertex and have a showdown with him. This is where the heroine routes split assuming you've seen the heroines 6th event. The heroine routes ends here with credit roll (PS you'll be presented with a list of which heroine you want to talk to at the beginning of this mission so it's pretty obvious)

The 10 heroine endings themselves are quite separate from each other and also very very short (15mins max), as they serve as a supplement to their 6th event story and gives them a happy end. You can do them in any order or none at all.

Now to the true ending for Eris (girl on the cover), to get this ending you have to have uncovered every dirty bit of secret around the areas and seen all the "other" information on the Vertex. This added like hours of pain to me as some of the hints available in game was way too vague and I succumbed to the need to look up a walkthrough online for a few of the secrets.

Once you have done it all, I was in for a few hours of history and explanations (no battles yay!) with lots of infodumping about the Vertex, Baldr, disposers etc - most of it if you pay attention to the Vertex notes and the heroine routes you would have noticed what they're trying to do there - it's surprisingly dark, but it's missing all the highlights of the previous games with the world setting, the politics, the big wtf mystery reveals, the chunni moments, the dramas, the end of the world if we don't stop this thing etc.

The game here expects you to know the history of the past Baldr games which I struggled with a bit but generally grasped most of the important points - this part is probably the most interesting plot-wise out of the entire game as it finally (sort of) explains the reasoning behind "the final chapter" sales pitch without going into spoiler territory. Can't say I've understood 100% of it as it seriously infodumps you assuming you're well versed in the Baldr games.

After that part it's followed by the story closing and final boss which is more of a pushover (IMO) than Heart/Sky. The ending itself is not as satisfying as previous games.

 

I rated this game 6/10 on VNDB (the true route was a little redeeming and some of the heroine routes aren't bad). Overall this game is really only for the die-hard Baldr fans to know why it's the final chapter having played all the previous games, but if you are a die-hard fan planning to play this, be prepared to be frustrated by the difference in gameplay and lack of plot for the first 10-20 hours, only to be rewarded with a few hours of real plot. Though the lack-of-high-school theme is definitely a break from the VN norm.

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Finished Hatsuyuki Sakura (30 hrs). Overall it's a nice VN with stellar cast though I have to say that I don't care about Shirokuma, I hate her and her VA. It's very fun to read for me with all those comedy and character interactions right from the start, like the manly conversations with Nozomu. There's also the Valentine's day scenes for example.. The ousama game, the basketball... lol Even the mob characters are great in terms of comedy.

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Favorite heroine route would be Aya's (well Sakura has the best but...). I love the way it was delivered. Felt completely new. Plus factor would be the voice acting... Shounen-kuchou. Ahhh~ reminds me of Touko of KnS. It just feels good in the ears you know...

For the dramatic part of things... I wasn't immersed and am not much into it. I don't like the whole ghost affair to be honest. Though I have to say that I got the longest goosebumps I ever had from reading a VN. 

Spoiler

That was when Hatsuyuki looked at their graduation album in the ending. Sakura's words were great.

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It's a good read, and I can understand why a lot of people love this VN though personally, it was nothing awesome ('cause I didn't cry). Best things I like about this would be Hatsuyuki for being a tsundere yankee and the comedy.

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So, I just finished Mahou Shoujo no Ani, and have one thing to say:

タイトル詐欺! 騙された!!
 

The title and the content have nothing at all to do with each other.

Good points - The game was solidly written, with a surprising number of male characters playing a significant role.

Bad points - Too many choices, LOTS of bad ends, some pacing issues (lots of flashbacks), fairly depressing story.

 

It's a one-route game with lots of branching bad ends, but the many choices result in a confusing mess trying to reach the end - use of a walkthrough is almost required.  In fact, it's so bad that the first time you reach the 'end', it cuts short.  You need to replay the end scene to get another choice which will only then actually resolve the story and get the player to the REAL ending.

The bad ends are fairly depressing.  No gore, but a fair amount of violence and misfortune.  One of the "better" bad endings is when a heroine chooses to become a crack-whore.

Surprisingly, there was a lot of H-content in the game (20-25 scenes), given that the true route had almost zero - just one scene with two random nameless mob characters.  All the rest of the H content is in the bad ends or the post-game omake scenes.  Even the true end had no romantic scenes.

And finally, a minor rant about choices and agency.  Early on in the game, one character is trying to follow a suspicious person, but loses sight of them.  At this point, the character remembers seeing a different suspicious clue earlier, and the player is given the choice between giving up or going back to look at the other suspicious clue.

  • If the player chooses to give up, the scene ends and the story proceeds.
  • If the player chooses to go back and look at the other clue, the character carelessly steps into the street, gets hit by a car, and dies.  Game over.

WHY is there even a choice there?  There's no scene, no CGs, no dialogue, NOTHING.  Just a few lines of text.  It just gives the player the fleeting impression of choice, but in reality you're being railroaded just as much as if there was never a choice in the first place.  It's more insulting than immersing, and it certainly isn't entertaining.  Why would anyone ever do this?

 

I'm not sure how I would rate this game.  The content ended up being a type of story I strongly dislike, but it was well written with solid production values.  For people that like that type of story, it's probably decent.  For me, though, I did not enjoy it.

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Christmas/New Year holidays gave me extra time to read, recently finished Yurameku Kokoro ni Michita Sekai de, Kimi no Yume to Yokubou wa Kanau ka - longest non nukige name VN I've read so far.

To those who wants to read this VN, be careful of spoilers - once you've been spoiled, a few routes are literally unplayable as it hinges on the fact that you have yet to work out what's going on. I also recommend the following route order for optimal enjoyment if you plan to play all the routes.

Tomoe -> Tsukino -> Sumire/Konoha (just make sure these are read after the other two)

From reading the blurb on vndb it sounds like a mystery-ge, and in a way it is during the common route, however once you get into the routes it feels more of a romance charage than a mystery-ge as it starts to explore their motivations in being there during the summer break with the protag, some with excessive slice of life aka SOL. Every mystery being revealed during the routes are well hinted during the common route, so for experienced mystery VN readers, you could work out the entire mystery before the first choice even pops up.

The protagonist (Aoi) is as dull as any VN Protags goes, for those who hate a generic dull protagonist stay well away from this VN. He is emotionless throughout the entire game, the reasoning does get explained in one of the routes, but still... it's terrible.

The common route is extremely well done in setting up the mystery and getting you all hyped up about the mystery and things going on. This bit also does a good job conveying each of the heroines' characteristics with a bit of SOL along the way (not too excessive here at all in my opinion). However the routes themselves don't really live up to the hype built up in the common route so if you're going into the routes expecting this quality, you will be disappointed.

Tomoe path is a good starter route to the VN as it doesn't dive into the mystery too much. Tomoe herself in short is an excessive brocon borderlining yandere, gets jealous real quickly and jumps in between the protag and other heroines during their routes lol. Her route has a lot of SOL with the mystery elements of the island are shown in glimpses, so you never have a full picture of what's happening (which is why I recommend reading this first). By the end of her route I was a bit sick of her exccessive jealousy (it gets annoying) so I was happy to have that over and done with. For those who are reading and trying to solve the mystery, you can use this route to test your theory.

Tsukino route is the one which dives into the main mystery behind the island and slowly slips you info about it as part of the SOL, eventually ending with the whole thing told to you flat out. Basically aside from revealing the mystery her route is empty of other drama so if you are like me and "accidentally" read one of the two latter routes, her route becomes extremely boring and dull to read. Her ending is just what you would expect once you know the truth.

From here onward the next two routes becomes more of a charage than a mystery-ge, as in both routes the island's mystery is literally handed to you on a silver platter near the beginning and instead explore the so-what-now side. Konoha route is the one which goes into to this and has a very sweet ending (Catharsis is the word I think), her route resembles a moege route the most if you ignore the island mystery reveal part.

Finally Sumire route is a bit different to Konoha. Bit spoilery to get into details but in short it goes through her background story, personally I was surprised by some of the plot reveals in this route. My complaint here is the fact that the latter part of her route including the ending feels a bit lackluster in that all the other heroines seems to have vanished in thin air (not literally, just the lack of interactions with them)

Overall the game had interesting mystery set up from the common route with very minimal SOL, but the actual routes themselves suffer from not living up to the expectation built up in the common and instead is full of SOL and drama. I'm a bit of a sucker for sweet endings which melts your heart so I enjoyed Konoha route the most.

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Reading Reminiscence.

For those who have finished Akagoei but still hesitates on doing this one... hesitate no more.

The protag is as awesome as Kaito, in a different way. The comedic level of akagoei is still there and darn. It's battle of wits! Good stuff. I want Aki's route nao

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So I thought it was finally time to read VNs in Japanese again (only read a few VNs in English recently).

But I decided to do that slowly so I'm starting with the Uso series. That way I can do one, then read a LN, then VN, then LN, etc...

Anyway, started with Haru Uso (because, well, it's the first one) and I'll say my biggest complaint that will most likely be true for the rest of the series too: we have gorgeous 1080p art, but there is only 4 FREAKING EVENT CGs FOR 20 HCGs counting 13 H-scenes, and it's a <10 hours VN. (my inner pervert is still happy about the 5 BJ scenes because Shimizu Ai did a perfect job :yumiko:)

Anyway, as for the story itself is pretty nice. It's a short VN so you don't have the time to find it boring, and the principle of seeing lies is pretty cool.

Characters are nice too, protagonist, Souichirou, is cool and straightforward (but with the usual denseness). Satsuki (Haru's Heroine) is nice and the twist of being a big liar gives her a certain charm. Eris, is well, let's be honest, she's a complete strike for me (Vampire + (future) neet + ponkotsu + best pal) and I'm hyped as hell to do her route. Aoi is intriguing with her past with Souichirou and you can't help wanting to know more. Then Setsuka is intriguing, but you still basically know nothing about her for now. Based on what @Clephas said I'm really hyped to play her route too.

So yeah, I think I'm going to greatly enjoy this series.

As a side note, while I think the VN was a pretty easy read objectively, subjectively I found it easier than usual. Being accustomed to read LN narration for the past few months, a VN made mostly of dialogues is a walk in the park. I'm pretty sure I upped my reading speed by at least 0.5. o/

Anyway, back to LN/WN before Natsu Uso.

 

EDIT: Going to do Satsuki's After After Story first, I think it'll be better than wait to have done everthing first. Will do each of after each route/VN.

Edited by Riku

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So, I did read something before Natsu Uso, but couldn't wait for Eris and did Aki Uso just after.

So, for Natsu, to be honest I wasn't really in all the Student Council thing, but other than that it was twisted like in Haru, if not more. Aoi was cute, but that's it. Liked the the memories of the past. Also, same problem as Haru with same number of event CGs and HCGs/H-scenes. :/

Then comes Aki. I'll be honest, I was disappointed, it could have been SO MUCH more, it had so much plot potential. Oh well, was still plenty nice because I just love Eris, and she has the best after story and after after story so far. Same as Natsu, I liked past memories here too. We need to talk about the new character, Shizuku, who was pretty fun too. Loved how she would add things the the end of her sentences desushi osushi. Also this time we actually get 7 event CGs, yeah. o/ (so "only" 17 HCGs and 10 H-scenes)

So, Fuyu, after after Fuyu, Shizuku SS and Harem Route to go. I know the Harem Route will probably just be a joke route (though considering it's 1gb I still hope for at least a few hours reading), but still happy there is one to see all the girls happy, mainly Eris after knowing more about her. (and I guess Setsuka got it worse if the thing I got unintentionally spoiled about is true...

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And done. Man, was a pain to create a page and all for the bonus harem story on VNDB.

Anyway, Fuyu was nice, but like Aki, it could be so much more. And everything ended way too easily (same as Aki). But hey, I thought a little, and considering they're under 10 hours and low costs VNs, that what's would be expected of them. In fact, it's actually rather impressive they're that good compared to longer VNs with far more budget.
Anyway, story aside Dere Setsuka was amazing because of the gap with her previous self. And this time we get even more event CGs too. o/

As for the harem story, was the same length as the after after stories. The girls accepting the harem really easily aside, the way everything is presented is rather nice for a change as it shows the things Souichirou has to do to maintain the harmony of the situation.

Anyway, never have been good to give my opinion, so I'll just say that it was a very nice series you can read easily and quickly, and while it could have been much more it's still better than most of the moege out there (perhaps, not like I played them all :p)

While I'm at it, heroine ranking: Eris > Setsuka = Satsuki > Aoi.  
Route ranking: Eris = Setsuka > Satsuki > Aoi.

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There's doesn't seem to have much posting here... Well, i'll add my impression on the last thing i played ^^.

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I started to read Minikui Mojika no Ko from NitroPlus.

What i expected : From the description off the game on vndb i thought it could be a nice and pretty different vengeance story from the usual. The fact that it was done by NitroPlus made me think that it would be good.

What i had : I played the game until the end of one "route/end" and... it wasn't at all what i expected. Let me say this first, this game is fucked up ! I have to mention that characters in this game are indeed "醜い", i mean they are all horrible persons really be it heroines or the MC himself.

Story wise, there isn't much to be had (at least from what i played), it's just about a guy who is bullied in reason of his face being ugly that will take revenge in a sexual way while i actually expected others means for his revenge. The settings is also not very believable, in that it's just TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE that peoples get away with what's happening in the school.

The game had a pretty creepy, stange atmosphere which is great, but then it just goes h-scene after h-scene and never really stop. Those h-scenes are pretty unique in the sense that they tend to focus on the contrast between what the heroines say and what they think. The MC being able to read peoples mind, you, as a player see what's happening in the head of the heroines. Also, said h-scenes are well "animated", there are nice transitions of pictures and screen effects (no real animation but still) and are as expected, not vanilla.

In the end, the main selling point of the game would be the MC's power to see what people think in the form of kanjis, and how they used that in the hscenes/situations. In short a nukige. Sadly, this isn't what i expected from NitroPlus, i wanted a story more than fap material so i'll just drop it. On the other hand i can see people that enjoy dark nukige (more of the mental kind if you get what i mean) like the game, it seemed to me pretty original in what it does.

 

I think that's about it, it's now 7:40 AM so it's time for me to go to sleep ^^.

Edited by Tweek91330

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