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solidbatman

Highway Blossoms FuwaReview Discussion

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What I like the most about Highway Blossoms, even before I have read it, is how it sets out to do something and it... does it. Like, you know what it's about, you know the ride, and that's what you seem to get. No bloating, no excuses, no nonsense. I appreciate that.

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Just now, Palas said:

What I like the most about Highway Blossoms, even before I have read it, is how it sets out to do something and it... does it. Like, you know what it's about, you know the ride, and that's what you seem to get. No bloating, no excuses, no nonsense. I appreciate that.

No one hour scene involving the cooking of pancakes that adds absolutely nothing to the story. 

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7 hours ago, solidbatman said:

No one hour scene involving the cooking of pancakes that adds absolutely nothing to the story. 

I've been avoiding commenting on this to be polite, but I can't let that one go: what is accomplished by the (rather long, relative to the length of the VN) scene with Jumbo? Frankly, for me, it actually subverted the characterization of the main characters (for Amber to commit petty vandalism against a harmless redneck and then for Marina to laugh prettily about it didn't fit either of them at all), introduced a completely pointless flanderized side character who then disappeared, and failed at providing comic relief.

7 hours ago, Palas said:

What I like the most about Highway Blossoms, even before I have read it, is how it sets out to do something and it... does it. Like, you know what it's about, you know the ride, and that's what you seem to get. No bloating, no excuses, no nonsense. I appreciate that.

There is bloat on both a macro scale, like the scene I mentioned above, and a micro scale, where a vast number of the lines exhibit a complete disregard for writerly economy (and please feel free to call me on this: I have a dozen or two screenshots which I am happy to start throwing out here).

I'm sorry to come off as harsh, but I have read through about a half dozen reviews of this game, almost all of them praising the writing, hoping for just one person to represent the problems I have with it. I waited for this review to see if it would be what I was hoping for, since I've seen bats go after games for bad writing before. But it didn't happen, for a game that I feel deserves that criticism, so I'll come out and say it myself: this game is not well-written.

Edit: since I had a lot to say about this, I dusted off the partially-written mostly-writing-oriented review I prepped for this a long while back and just posted it to my Fuwa blog. I'm not trying to start any drama, I promise. I just feel like Fuwa, and the VN community in general, is often an echo chamber, so when I see something that deserves constructive criticism and it's not getting it, I feel a need to put it out there.

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6 hours ago, Fred the Barber said:

I've been avoiding commenting on this to be polite, but I can't let that one go: what is accomplished by the (rather long, relative to the length of the VN) scene with Jumbo? Frankly, for me, it actually subverted the characterization of the main characters (for Amber to commit petty vandalism against a harmless redneck and then for Marina to laugh prettily about it didn't fit either of them at all), introduced a completely pointless flanderized side character who then disappeared, and failed at providing comic relief.

There is bloat on both a macro scale, like the scene I mentioned above, and a micro scale, where a vast number of the lines exhibit a complete disregard for writerly economy (and please feel free to call me on this: I have a dozen or two screenshots which I am happy to start throwing out here).

I'm sorry to come off as harsh, but I have read through about a half dozen reviews of this game, almost all of them praising the writing, hoping for just one person to represent the problems I have with it. I waited for this review to see if it would be what I was hoping for, since I've seen bats go after games for bad writing before. But it didn't happen, for a game that I feel deserves that criticism, so I'll come out and say it myself: this game is not well-written.

Edit: since I had a lot to say about this, I dusted off the partially-written mostly-writing-oriented review I prepped for this a long while back and just posted it to my Fuwa blog. I'm not trying to start any drama, I promise. I just feel like Fuwa, and the VN community in general, is often an echo chamber, so when I see something that deserves constructive criticism and it's not getting it, I feel a need to put it out there.

Jumbo lasted 5 minutes as opposed to an hour. Served little purpose correct, but because it didn't happen often, it didnt bug me. If the VN was another 2-3 hours long, I likely would have begun to criticize its length in terms of its actual story content. I mean, I did mention that when the relationship started, everything did start dragging along.  

 

Edit: Read your take on it, and I don't necessarily disagree with you. I just have a different way of looking at the VNs, and try to look at the picture as a whole. I'm sure I could find things to criticize in this one for days, but first and foremost, I want to describe why I found something enjoyable, or why I found something boring. Looking at the actual writing on a line for line basis is something that does not help me describe my enjoyment of a VN, unless things are so bad it detracts from said enjoyment. I enjoyed Highway Blossoms, so I am far more willing to forgive some flaws, and just flat out miss others.  

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Sorry it took so long to address this stuff - been busy at Animefest.

Anyway, ultimately we (myself and Syon, the other writer) pretty much agree on the Jumbo scene in that it didn't add a whole lot, and that it could've been scrapped without losing anything. To be perfectly honest, I was in favor of scrapping the scene before the game was even out, but it was kept in because some others wanted it.That said, from my obviously biased standpoint, I don't think that it went on so long as to be a major detraction. While it's not crucial to the story, it's ultimately a tiny part of the overall game. When I think of a part of the story overstaying its welcome, my first thought is of Muv Luv and its lacrosse arc.

Now, that's not to say that we're definitely in the right or whatever, but that's kinda my take on it.

That part aside, overall I agree with most of the rest of Fred's comments on his blog. I'd contest the "weeabooisms" part, but that aside, it's pretty fair. Ultimately, HB was a learning experience for us and I'm glad that most people enjoyed it for the most part. And for those who didn't, thanks for givings us some advice on where we can improve. 

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On 13/08/2016 at 3:35 PM, Fred the Barber said:

I've been avoiding commenting on this to be polite, but I can't let that one go: what is accomplished by the (rather long, relative to the length of the VN) scene with Jumbo? Frankly, for me, it actually subverted the characterization of the main characters (for Amber to commit petty vandalism against a harmless redneck and then for Marina to laugh prettily about it didn't fit either of them at all), introduced a completely pointless flanderized side character who then disappeared, and failed at providing comic relief.

There is bloat on both a macro scale, like the scene I mentioned above, and a micro scale, where a vast number of the lines exhibit a complete disregard for writerly economy (and please feel free to call me on this: I have a dozen or two screenshots which I am happy to start throwing out here).

I'm sorry to come off as harsh, but I have read through about a half dozen reviews of this game, almost all of them praising the writing, hoping for just one person to represent the problems I have with it. I waited for this review to see if it would be what I was hoping for, since I've seen bats go after games for bad writing before. But it didn't happen, for a game that I feel deserves that criticism, so I'll come out and say it myself: this game is not well-written.

Edit: since I had a lot to say about this, I dusted off the partially-written mostly-writing-oriented review I prepped for this a long while back and just posted it to my Fuwa blog. I'm not trying to start any drama, I promise. I just feel like Fuwa, and the VN community in general, is often an echo chamber, so when I see something that deserves constructive criticism and it's not getting it, I feel a need to put it out there.

Although all the points you mentioned were solid and I can only ever assume they're 100% fair, I have this feeling that you didn't quite play Highway Blossoms - you were editing it while reading it. I mean, it's not as if it's a fault, but it's an experience that should happen to a real small percentile of the players, mind you. Reminded me of @john 'mr. customer' smith's piece on why he doesn't really care about writing - that's some in-depth criticism you've made there, but it might as well fly over the head of someone who sees writing as yet another piece in a bigger picture.

 

So, and you can completely disregard everything I said here since I have yet to play HB, I don't think you are wrong by no means. But I think what it's there for, its logline (lesbian romance in the middle of an American nowhere) calls for a deeper analysis not only of writing but of its art (for example) as an atmospheric and narrative element.

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16 minutes ago, Palas said:

Although all the points you mentioned were solid and I can only ever assume they're 100% fair, I have this feeling that you didn't quite play Highway Blossoms - you were editing it while reading it. I mean, it's not as if it's a fault, but it's an experience that should happen to a real small percentile of the players, mind you. Reminded me of @john 'mr. customer' smith's piece on why he doesn't really care about writing - that's some in-depth criticism you've made there, but it might as well fly over the head of someone who sees writing as yet another piece in a bigger picture.

 

So, and you can completely disregard everything I said here since I have yet to play HB, I don't think you are wrong by no means. But I think what it's there for, its logline (lesbian romance in the middle of an American nowhere) calls for a deeper analysis not only of writing but of its art (for example) as an atmospheric and narrative element.

That is a sound point, absolutely. It's certainly true that the problems I observed hit me much harder than they would most people. That kind of sucks for me, since I used to just enjoy reading pretty much anything, and it's harder for me to do so now... But at any rate, I do believe that the experience for everyone, not just critical readers like I apparently have turned into recently, would benefit from resolving those problems.

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Another thing that affected my score, was what I felt the purpose was. From the start, I really was not expecting some deep character examinations, or some sort of character deconstruction. I expected a fun, cute, to the point yuri EVN. Pretty much what the game delivers on. If the game was going to try to get into heavy character examinations, just about everything I'd be looking for would be different. I'd care less about the overall VN, and look more into the gritty details. 

I mean, we all know that I could care less about giving things bad scores, and I've zero qualms calling out the writing as you stated. But this game didn't hinder my enjoyment because of its writing. Its purpose did not place heavy emphasis on the writing. 

Now you could point to Sakura Santa, and how I eviscerated that dung pile of a VN and say, "But what about its purpose?" Or an even better example, The Meanagerie, another EVN I gave a low score to. In Sakura Santa's case, it just sucked all the way around. Nothing was fun or enjoyable, and the entire VN felt like there was no effort put in behind it. The Meangerie on the other hand, attempted to be more than just a futa nukige. It had routes of deep character exploration, and thats what killed its score, because all of that exploration, on the surface, looks super deep and detailed, but really meant nothing. It was all so poorly written, and I judged it accordingly.

Highway Blossoms never really attempted such a thing, and I never found myself wishing to see more detailed characters in it, so it never hindered my enjoyment and was not worth bringing up in my opinion anyway. I've also been awake for god knows how long and have no clue if anything I just said makes sense but its all good.  

Obviously, there are limits to this, and if piss poor writing ever stood out and made reading the VN less enjoyable, I'd call it out. So hopefully you dont think I'll automatically give things I high score just because I had a ton of fun. Hell, Fata Morgana is my all time favorite VN, and its not even my highest scored VN when it comes to reviews. 

 

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