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What's the general opinion on English made/OEL VN's?

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>EVN's are meh

>KS is an exception because it was first

This can't sound any more biased :makina:

Instead making another pointless topic, where people will repeat the same things over and over again, why not use search and add something meaningful to one of the already existing topics? Like this one or this one, for example?

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I got "The way we all go", but I don't know when I'll play it... when I do, I'll certainly write off my impressions. But I guess it's a regular novel. It can be decent, still.

Another good one that comes up always is Sepia Tears.

About the ripoff thing... I think that, as with RPGs, Western VNs shouldn't always try to imitate Japanese ones... especially if the makers don't have a strong grasp of Japanese culture. The medium is still good for telling stories, like, say, Black Sands...

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There are actually a lot of good Western/non-Japanese VNs out there.

Generally speaking, they aren't nearly as concise in terms of style as Japanese ones. Art ranges from the minimalistic style of We Are Müesli (Cave! Cave! Deus Videt. and Venti Mesi, from which I got my avatar and header) to the extremely detailed and full of complex color design style in Moacube titles (Cinders and Solstice); music from Garoad (VA-11 HALL-A) is completely different from the stuff NicolArmarfi (Katawa Shoujo) does - as is different the choice system/gameplay style. In the end, they all want to tell a story, but non-text mechanics are far more prevalent in the West than in Japan - relative to the number of titles launched, at least. So while Emily is Away "behaves" like an IM conversation, Digital: A Love Story features a full-fledged Windows 1.0 (or something) interface. Please note I'm only talking VNs that happen in a virtual space and how they are different from one another.

You can surely find an English language VN that suits your tastes - or maybe one that surprises you. Every single title I mentioned here is recommended, especially VA-11 HALL-A. It's that good.

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Rip-Off?

Okay, certain Western VNs absolutely do seem like a western versions of Japanese VNs, with a lesser budget, like Sunrider (which I liked). It might just be a bit expensive, though, being freeware and all.

Others copy Japanese VNs in style, certainly, but I think they're original enough when they try: Lucid9, which I thought was brilliant, comes in looking like your typical every day VN, but quickly goes on to justify its Mystery tag. It's long, it's great, it's free.

 

Others still have little else in common with most VNs I've played other than artstyle, and these ones are really good:

-Christine Love's games are really good, particular stand-outs are Analogue and its sequel, as well as Digital: A Love Story. Not a single one of these is traditional in any sense (which is where the paradoxical conundrum of "it's not VN-Like, won't play it" vs. "It's just a Japanese Rip-off, won't play it" comes in).

-One Thousand Lies may seem seem like your everyday VN, but it's certainly terribly original in its story. Barrel of laughs, with some philosophy mixed in, I think. Never been much of a philosophy reader. But I do read free things, like this title.

-Highway Blossoms is set in America and consistently references American Culture. Despite the Japanese tropes and art yet present, it could hardly be less similar to its Japanese counterparts. It's also Yuri, in case you were wondering.

 

Of course, if you guys play VNs for budget size alone, I suppose you wouldn't pay heed to VNs like these.
Sunrider's latest title is also the one with the biggest budget, including H-Scenes and Japanese voice acting for the "whole" game. This is as close as it gets to a Rip-Off, and I still thought it was great.

 

My favourite Western VN of all time is also by Christine Love, but I'm assuming most wouldn't like it much. The guy's a terrible teacher anyway. Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just ain't Your Story.
You might even want to keep an eye out on the recently released Ladykiller in a Bind, though this one I haven't played yet.

One I've played and enjoyed just recently is The Royal Trap. Pretty good otome, all things considered.

 

Every single VN herein mentioned and played are ones I consider great. If you think they all suck, I can only guess these "Western VNs" aren't for you.
There's loads more than that which I've mentioned, by the way. This is an old list, and even then it's got plenty:

 

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3 hours ago, Narcosis said:

>EVN's are meh

>KS is an exception because it was first

This can't sound any more biased :makina:

Instead making another pointless topic, where people will repeat the same things over and over again, why not use search and add something meaningful to one of the already existing topics? Like this one or this one, for example?

pretty much this.
& regarding the search-function for existing threads, guess lazyness once again took priority over spending like 2-3minutes on such feature.
as for i, think i´ve already had my fair share of ranting in the ones you´ve linked above, but in essence i do consider the western community mostly doomed for reasons i´m non willing to repeat once more.

edit: there´re ideed some which did pleasantly surprise me whilst reading through, but 1)the literary bullshit - good works ratio is undeniable in favor of the former 2)them struggling hard to stand up against those/proving their worth 3)many of the more blessed (indie)develovers/studios having started being contraproductive coming to their overall attitude/community-wise is what greatly pisses me off, seriously so.

edit: no need to remind me of being a condescending piece of trash, as i´m already fully aware.

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While they do tend to be inferior when put up against their Japanese counterparts and not good in general, there's still some really good OELVNS out there (kind of like finding a gem buried among the trash).

2 hours ago, Narcosis said:

>EVN's are meh

>KS is an exception because it was first

This can't sound any more biased :makina:

Instead making another pointless topic, where people will repeat the same things over and over again, why not use search and add something meaningful to one of the already existing topics? Like this one or this one, for example?

Also this.

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3 hours ago, Narcosis said:

Instead making another pointless topic, where people will repeat the same things over and over again, why not use search and add something meaningful to one of the already existing topics? Like this one or this one, for example?

Why the heck should someone who wants to discuss OELVN's post in a thread called "Popular VNs on Steam"?! The topics are not even remotely related. G-Senjou is on Steam, Eden is on Steam, Princess Evangile is on Steam, and none of those are OELVN's! And being on Steam isn't a requirement for OELVN's either, especially if adult content comes into play, despite Steam's lax adult patch control.

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I have nothing against OELVNs in general at all. If a VN is good, then that's all I need, and I don't care if it's Japanese, English or something else entierly. But, the fact of the matter is that a lot of the time, OELVNs tend to be low budget indie games that just don't live up to the quality of many JP VNs. This can be reflected in low quality art, voice acting (or simply a lack of it altogether), writing, length, character design and a whole lot more. Because of that, I would just much rather play a higher quality game. That might make me sound a bit shallow, but it really just comes down to the fact that I want to enjoy the games I play. A well written story with literal paint art will just be off-putting to me.

Among the OELVNs I have played, One Thousand Lies and Sunrider are the ones that interested me the most. Sunrider actually managed to somewhat keep up with JP VNs overall quality wise, and One Thousand Lies is just quite simply brilliantly written. (And free!)

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3 hours ago, trickzzter said:

Have you tried Sunrider

4 minutes ago, Dergonu said:

Among the OELVNs I have played, One Thousand Lies and Sunrider are the ones that interested me the most. Sunrider actually managed to somewhat keep up with JP VNs overall quality wise

Sunrider Liberation Day has nice art as far as an OELVN goes, but is it even much good? From the looks of it Sunrider is what Mass Effect would be if all the action took place inside the Normandy.

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7 minutes ago, Nier said:

Sunrider Liberation Day has nice art as far as an OELVN goes, but is it even much good? From the looks of it Sunrider is what Mass Effect would be if all the action took place inside the Normandy.

I haven't played Liberation Day, so I have no idea how that one is. I only played Sunrider Academy, which was pretty good in my opinion. It was funny, had some interesting characters, some actual length to it, good art and just overall felt like something you could compare to medium level JP VN. 

I also found the dating sim part of the game very entertaining, and actually challenging at higher difficulties, (though it did get very repetitive after a little bit of play time.)

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3 minutes ago, Dergonu said:

I haven't played Liberation Day, so I have no idea how that one is. I only played Sunrider Academy, which was pretty good in my opinion. It was funny, had some interesting characters, some actual length to it, good art and just overall felt like something you could compare to medium level JP VN. 

I also found the dating sim part of the game very entertaining, and actually challenging at higher difficulties, (though it did get very repetitive after a little bit of play time.)

Sunrider Academy has the same art level quality as Liberation Day, but Academy is a spin-off, I was exclusively asking about the main Sunrider Titles, which would be Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius and Sunrider: Liberation Day.

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Just now, Nier said:

Sunrider Academy has the same art level quality as Liberation Day, but Academy is a spin-off, I was exclusively talking about the main Sunrider Titles, which would be Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius and Sunrider: Liberation Day.

Don't really know why you are asking me how those games are. Fairly certain I put Academy as the link in my original post. But yeah, I have not played the other two, so I have no idea how they are.

I really did enjoy Academy though, so if they are somewhat similar in quality, I'd say they are pretty decent. But, if they are different and more serious, idk how they'll end up. The humor and goofy comedy was my primary attraction to Academy.

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Well, there's a cliff between the reputation of OELVNs and Japanese VNs in the VN community, and for good reason- most if not all OELVN producers are very small-scale startups that find their employees in the English VN development industry, which is in its infancy if you ask me (an example: the sheer amount of the "I found out about VNs, I liked them, now I want to create one!" threads and the number of OELVNs created with this mentality is insane). As a result, cyclically, there's less budget and less talent to go around; which makes relatively less money, which lends a comparatively less budget for future works, and so on.

Furthermore, the developers being Western (assuming) while imitating a Japanese style of storytelling and art means that they will likely have some trouble with it as opposed to somebody who has grown up/been intimately familiar with Japanese culture and content from the outset (race isn't the defining factor, but upbringing/history of developers is- it determines the amount of exposure they have received of Japanese culture). It's just due to this disproportionate amount of exposure: It's only logical to expect that somebody who grew up within a culture and specialized in something related to that to be more proficient to some extent compared to somebody who decided to immerse themselves in that culture afterwards. I'm also talking about general trends, not individuals. It goes without saying that very few Japanese work on a VN being developed primarily by non-Japanese. The industry is divided in that regard.

The VN community, logically, is (overwhelmingly) comprised of people who enjoy Japanese media- in its current state, you cannot sustain a hobby of VNs without having some level of interest for Japanese culture; there are way too few VNs out there not shaped to some extent by Japanese culture for that. So, it's natural in a sense that OELVNs are trying to replicate Japanese VNs- that's what the VN fanbase has congregated for. It is also worth noting here the true roles of Westerners (hereafter I'll use "Westerners" as simply a substitute for "non-Japanese") in the VN industry. The Japanese make VNs the Japanese want, and the interests and tastes of some people outside Japan align with these creations. These people whose tastes align with the Japanese are the Western VN community: We are (mostly, though there are exceptions like 999 receiving a sequel thanks to Western acclaim) outliers, and the Japanese VN industry just interacts with us for more resources and a bigger audience/customer base. Western thinking and culture has very little bearing on the Japanese VN industry's development process. Japanese VNs do not try to adapt themselves to include more foreigners, the foreign fanbase that exists has aligned itself to the Japanese part of the industry. 

As said before, the existing VN fans like the output of the Japanese. Due to the nature and structure of the industry, Japanese VN developers are far more successful at delivering this output. This puts OELVN developers between a rock and a hard place: If they try to "be Japanese", they are outclassed on every count. If they try to be wholly original, then they will be unable to attract the majority of the community. As such, OELVNs -and their developers- are rendered unable to influence the industry by themselves.

The Western fandom, as said before, is founded on feeding from the Japanese VN industry- it adds practically no original thing of value or influence to the VN sphere. As such, unless it restructures itself to be less about Japanese stuff in VNs (all your -deres and classic slice of life novels and your moege) and more about the merit of the format and the stories the medium can tell, it can change nothing on a wide scale. However, this is also unlikely to be realized: It is very difficult to shift a community to principles and perspectives so wildly different from the ones that brought about the community in the first place (e.g. it's very difficult for anyone to cause the current VN community, based around Japanese culture, to shift towards appreciation of "telling a story via text, art and music all at once"). The amount of VNs with literary merit (independent of major influence of Japanese culture) is not sufficient to uphold and sustain the interest of the current VN community. 

This only leaves Japan itself as the possible catalyst of change toward a more global VN medium. However, why would Japan be compelled to do so? After all, the industry sustains itself on the Japanese works, the developers are most proficient in those sorts of works, those sorts of works are the ones that sell, that form the backbone of the VN customer base, that give the VN industry its reputation and determine the first impression it creates. Thus, Japan has no compelling reason to globalize the VN industry.

Outside interference cannot be considered possibly influential on its own, for the current state of VNs is the thing that determines who joins the VN community, and why: Any influence on the community from the outside will be one that supports the current state of the industry and drives it in that direction. People won't become interested in VNs because they want to globalize and popularize the medium, they will do so because they like the Japanese (anime) culture, and as such, they won't be compelled to bring about a fundamental change into the industry.

Therefore, there has to be vast cooperation within the whole VN industry if we want to see VNs as a global medium. Japanese developers and fans have to want it, the Western fandom ought to be especially supportive of it, and OELVN writers, instead of trying to snag themselves a spot in the Japanese status quo, need to create original works in this industry that take it beyond what we've come to think of about VNs if they want to ever be considered a serious part of the VN industry.

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24 minutes ago, Nier said:

Sunrider Academy has the same art level quality as Liberation Day, but Academy is a spin-off, I was exclusively asking about the main Sunrider Titles, which would be Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius and Sunrider: Liberation Day.

I agree with your initial comparison. When I played Mass Effect, it highly reminded me of Sunrider with all the important decisions I was to make as a ship captain.

I'd say Sunrider is really good, but one of its big draws is the gameplay. See if you like that by trying out the free, initial game. Sunrider: Liberation Day is much more epic in scale and, indeed, quality (if made quite clearly for fans of Japanese media, attempting to replicate it in everything but language). However, with its scale, Liberation Day also brings less choice to the table, if quite sufficient nevertheless.
Highly recommended, though beware it is pending a sequel (which I'll presume is also its conclusion).

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1 minute ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I agree with your initial comparison. When I played Mass Effect, it highly reminded me of Sunrider with all the important decisions I was to make as a ship captain.

I'd say Sunrider is really good, but one of its big draws is the gameplay. See if you like that by trying out the free, initial game. Sunrider: Liberation Day is much more epic in scale and, indeed, quality (if made quite clearly for fans of Japanese media, attempting to replicate it in everything but language). However, with its scale, Liberation Day also brings less choice to the table, if quite sufficient nevertheless.
Highly recommended, though beware it is pending a sequel (which I'll presume is also its conclusion).

From what I have seen and the little I have played, you basically never exit the ship. Wouldn't you say that it is kind of restrictive and monotonous? I mean there are multiple characters and multiple CGs, but yeah the scenery is 100% inside Sunrider's hull.

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12 minutes ago, Nier said:

From what I have seen and the little I have played, you basically never exit the ship. Wouldn't you say that it is kind of restrictive and monotonous? I mean there are multiple characters and multiple CGs, but yeah the scenery is 100% inside Sunrider's hull.

Let's see... Your statement is incorrect. Yes, without doubt.
About a fifth or fourth does take place outside the ship in some manner (as in, Captain Kayto is outside the ship), and this is discounting all the gameplay.

Aside from that fifth or fourth, there's also plenty of CGs outside the ship, even if the captain remains there. For instance, Liberation Day includes a multitude of CGs for space battle, and in that manner, it could be said you are not "inside the ship". There's also plenty of times where you are following other characters' perspective, and they are more often outside the ship.

Regardless, I will freely admit the majority of the experience takes place within the ship, though it has various locations and various events that occur within.

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1 minute ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Let's see... Your statement is incorrect. Yes, without doubt.
About a fifth or fourth does take place outside the ship in some manner (as in, Captain Kayto is outside the ship), and this is discounting all the gameplay.

Aside from those 30%, there's also plenty of CGs outside the ship, even if the captain remains there. For instance, Liberation Day includes a multitude of CGs for space battle, and in that manner, it could be said you are not "inside the ship". There's also plenty of times where you are following other characters' perspective, and they are more often outside the ship.

Regardless, I will freely admit the majority of the experience takes place within the ship, though it has various locations and various events that occur within.

I was talking about VN segments, unlike for example Mass Effect you never exit the ship and go on some planet and stay there for awhile.

Check these videos:

Or the 2 VN sections screenshots from vndb:

85265.jpg

85266.jpg

 

Doesn't seem like there is much variety in the scenery or settings...

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6 minutes ago, Nier said:

I was talking about VN segments, unlike for example Mass Effect you never exit the ship and go on some planet and stay there for awhile.

I maintain my statements.

Some of the VN segments (especially in Liberation day) take place in space battles with no gameplay ("outside the ship"). Additionally, there's also VN segments truly outside the ship, both with the protagonist and other characters. About a fifth or a fourth of the VN segments do not take place with the Sunrider as background.

However, and this I will admit, unlike Mass Effect, the occasions where you visit a planet are few and far between. When it's not "your ship", it's some space station or some enclosed, mechanical building.
Off the top of my mind, you visit a wasteland planet, a desert planet, and a couple of futuristic city planets.

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