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2017 in review - best and worst VN's read


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I didn't see a review thread about 2017 VN's yet, so I'm creating a new one because I usually review my VN's every year. I forgot to do that last year, so I really want to do it for 2017 now. Everyone is welcome to add their own review too of course.

Best story VN:

Spoiler

Kara no Shoujo 2 by Innocent Grey

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I re-read KnS2 at the beginning of last year since I somehow couldn't appreciate the village episodes that much on my first read-through. The second time I had more patience and I enjoyed them overall much more. It's very high production values and well thought out story and make it a deserved winner, even if the writing sometimes dragged a bit and the 'new game' play-through offers little new things. Honorable mentions go to Caucasus ~Nanatsuki no Nie~ which is also from Innocent Grey and which I read in Japanese. It had an overall interesting story, but the over-emphasis on the investigation scenes and the shortcomings in the narration dragged it down. Another honorable mention goes to Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata from Astronauts: Sirius, that managed to combine an interesting story with a more erotic experience. Another honorable mention goes to Ourai no Gahkthun ~What a Shining Braves~ for its stellar world building and atmosphere and finally ChuSinGura 46+1 for some great story arcs, fights and atmoshere.

Best moege:

Spoiler

Lovely x Cation 2 by Hibiki Works

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I played this in Japanese, and like it's predecessor it was a stellar dating sim, even if I liked the first one a little bit more. Overall likable and beautiful characters, tons of high quality fan service and an emphasis on romance instead of just flat comedy made this a deserved winner for that category. If I would have to select a winner for an English VN I read, then it would be probably Chrono Clock which had great characters, a good common route but with the exception of Makotos', very lackluster heroine routes. In general it was also not a good year for moege's for me. There were some real disappointments and I also had (and still have) a bit of a moege slump, to a point that I currently avoid them until I get into the right mood again.

Best slice of life & drama VN:

Spoiler

Ourai no Gahkthun ~What a Shining Braves~ by Liar-Soft

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This might be a bit of an odd choice for that category, but Gahkthun wasn't really story driven and it's episodes stood more on its own even if they were part of the big picture. For that reason the VN felt more like a slice of life VN with stuff happen around Neon and Tesla. In that regard it also brought something which is sorely missing in slice of life VN's those days: actual interesting slice of life. I think Overdrive was one of the companies with actual fun slice of life, with people going on tour as a band and stuff. But these days slice of life seems to mean: Go to school, sweet talk a bit and mention that the sky is blue now, then go back home, sweet talk a bit and mention that the sky is orange now. And this is repeated x1000 - it's absolutely dreadful.

Best comedy VN:

Spoiler

Dracu-Riot by Yuzusoft

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I'm usually not a big fan of comedy VN's but Yuzusoft's are one of the rare ones I actually enjoy - at least in small doses. Dracu-Riot had probably one of the most stellar common routes I know of. It had a unique and interesting story, action, quirky characters and well written comedy. It's a petty that the heroine routes itself were somewhat lackluster. Partly because they shifted from story and comedy to romance and Yuzusoft's romances don't really click with me - they are better with comedy and friendship themes. But it was still the best VN in that category.

Best ero VN: (NSFW)

Spoiler

Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata by Astronauts: Sirius

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The quasi successor of one of my all time favorites Kiriya Hakushakuke no Roku Shimai. It's rather unique because it mixes a serious Innocent Grey inspired story with lots of ero. It therefore manages to create the right setting and character development to give H-scenes the right atmospere to make them very immersive and special. It even went so far to lock most of the H content in the first play-through, just to be able to focus more on the actual story. And while it can't compete with Innocent Grey's well refined and highly rated KnS series, it's certainly match for the likes of Cartagra or Caucasus, but with the extra benefit of having much more and higher quality ero content. Honorable mention goes to Love Tore from Atelier Kaguya, which was probably the best pure nukige I've read so far, thanks to its stellar animation and likable characters. If it wouldn't be for Hyakki, it would have been the clear winner. Another honorable mention goes to Lovely & Cation 2 since it also had lots of high quality fan service.

Biggest disappointment:

Spoiler

Tie between Da Capo 3 by Circus and Dies Irae by Light

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Since I really liked Da Capo 2 I had high expectation for the third one, but it was an overall massive disappointment. I could have forgiven the weak story, but not the extremely dull characters. Furthermore, while Da Capo 2 was still a nakige, taking its characters more serious, Da Capo 3 was just a moege and a very dull one at that. Considering Dies Irae, I hoped it could be the next Fate/Stay Night, but it overall came down to an endless chain of boring written fighting scenes with a bare bones story, underdeveloped characters and plot holes galore.

I probably read worse things that years with 11eyes to mention one, but those two disappointed the most since I had high expectations in them.

Now, let's go to some side categories...

Best art: Love Tore ~Ecchi na Ren'ai Training~ by Atelier Kaguya

This was pretty hard since I played several VN's with great art. But I picked this one since it simply stands out because of it stellar animation. But honorable mentions go to Kara no Shojo 2, Lovely & Cation 2, Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata, Dies Irae and Ourai no Gahkthun.

Best sound: Ourai no Gahkthun ~What a Shining Braves~ by Liar-Soft

I initially was tempted to pick Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata because of it's stellar atmospheric soundtrack, but since some of the voice actors weren't that good, Gahkthun was overall better. Kara no Shoujo 2 was also pretty good but some soundtracks got pretty dull after a while. Other honorable mentions go to The Shadows of Pygmalion and Dies Irae for some pretty good soundtracks.

Best male character: Tokisaka Reiji from Kara no Shojo 2

Closely followed by Masaki Tomoyuki, the other protagnist from KnS2. Honorable mentions go to Jay from The Shadows of Pygmalion, Iwaki Akio from Hyakki Ryouran no Yakata and Valeria Trifa from Dies Irae.

Best female character: Shimzu Ichigaku from ChuSingGura46+1

For being a great villainous heroine. Honourable mentions goes to Hazuki Kyouko and Aoki Touji from Kara no Shojo 2, although I consider the latter more as a loyal friend and comrade than waifu material. And another honorable mention goes to the Lovely & Cation 2 girls.

Guess that got longer than expected, but that's it for me... :rolleyes:

Edited by ChaosRaven
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Best story VN:

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Best moege:

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Best slice of life & drama VN:

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Best comedy VN:

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Best ero VN: (NSFW)

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Biggest disappointment:

Spoiler

Myself not reading enough eroge

Best art:

Spoiler

Kin'iro Loveriche

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Best female characters:

Spoiler

Souma Ria

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Kisaki Reina

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Edited by Kiriririri
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didnt get to read much this year so i cant really specify everything like you did but i would say my favorite vn this year was Bishoujo Mangekyou -Tsumi to Batsu no Shoujo-

 

im a fan of the series. like 5/4 of these vns have been really good and this was no exception. out of hte series it takes second place behind Bishoujo Mangekyou -Wasurenagusa to Eien no Shoujo-

 

the story was engaging, unpredictable and had a twist in the end. it ended in a way thats different from others but that made it refreshing.

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1 hour ago, Kiriririri said:

* Blatant Kin'iro Loveriche fanboyism *

Saga Planets new VN was quite well received - not only on VNDB but also on EGS. Must admit that the whole knight girl & princess stuff looks quite tempting. It'll be interesting to see how it'll perform in the upcoming Getchu Bishoujo Game awards.

1 hour ago, mitchhamilton said:

didnt get to read much this year so i cant really specify everything like you did

The structure doesn't really matter. Even a one-liner would have been okay. :)

My year reviews always tend to end up a bit over the top... :vinty:

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16 minutes ago, ChaosRaven said:

Saga Planets new VN was quite well received - not only on VNDB but also on EGS. Must admit that the whole knight girl & princess stuff looks quite tempting. It'll be interesting to see how it'll perform in the upcoming Getchu Bishoujo Game awards.

smh

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I probably won't name my VN of the Year until sometime in mid-february... I'm still analyzing the year using my own reviews and memories. 

As long as no one uses the EGS ratings for a VN of the Year announcement, I won't get pissed off... I don't like repeating myself, but the ratings on EGS are heavily skewed by bots and troll voters, to an even greater extent than translated VNs on vndb.

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43 minutes ago, Clephas said:

I don't like repeating myself, but the ratings on EGS are heavily skewed by bots and troll voters, to an even greater extent than translated VNs on vndb.

That might be, but not all of them are. Usually the more votes the more reliable the result gets. Comparing EGS and VNDB is also a good way for safer results. You can also use 'trusted votes' to check how certain people rated a particular VN and check if it fits to the average rating. I actually did that with your ratings on VNDB a few times since you've played so much VN's. :P

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Well I couldn't say much in regard of this seeing that I didn't read much at last year, and the best VN was Deardrops. Anyway as for LxC 2 seeing that you give a praise for that, I'll gonna look forward to when Quof would be finished his work with that. Good review by the way.

PS - By the way in regard of Kin'iro Loveriche what I could say that it did have too many blond hair, compared to Kinmosa in which only two out of five main casts were blonde. Other than too much blond, looks like it's one interesting nakige so hopefully this VN will be translated in the future.

 

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Best VN read: Konosora full QC (if that doesn't count then I guess MajiKoi A-2)

Worst VN read: Neko Para Vol 3 i guess? I still thought it was alright. I only read it for Cinnamon anyway. Not really into catgirls

 

Best New Male Character: Kaito Momota from DanganRonpa V3 I guess

Best New Female Character:  Kaede Akamatsu from DanganRonpa V3

 

Best H-Scene: Ritsuko's 1st H-scene from Princess Evangile W Happiness Holy fuckin shit...

Worst H-Scene: I dunno most of them were just generic stuff I guess?

 

 

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2 hours ago, NowItsAngeTime said:

Worst VN read: Neko Para Vol 3 i guess? I still thought it was alright. I only read it for Cinnamon anyway. Not really into catgirls

Uhh... What?  If you don't like catgirls, why did you pick up anything past Nekopara 1?  As someone with a weakness for monster girls myself, Nekopara 1 was still just barely good enough to hold my interest.  I can't imagine playing Nekopara 1 if I wasn't into catgirls, and then saying 'you know what?  I want to play Nekopara 2'.

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Best VN Read :

Spoiler

Chaos;Child

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Main strength : True route :wub:

   

Worst VN read (Disappointment Award) :

Spoiler

Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~

( School Idol ♂ Itoshi no Qtie Cool is my true number zero...However It's a special case/pure nukige so it does not count : I knew what I was dealing with)

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Main weakness : Ridiculous Length

Best Ero VN :

Spoiler

Quartett!

(I can't choose Air ...Key's H-scenes are so...crappy and/or creepy)

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Main strength : Ooyari Ashito ; Lots of CGs

Best H-Scene:

Worst H-scene :

Spoiler

Best Art :

Spoiler

Worst Art :

Spoiler

Best OST :

Spoiler

Dra†KoI or Quartett! (AGAIN...No seriously, It' a VN about classical music).

Best male character :

Spoiler

Chester in Enigma:

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Main strenght : Smart and mysterious.

Best female character :

Spoiler

Uraha in Air

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Main strength : Funny, mischievous and loyal.

...OR Caster in Fate/Hollow Ataraxia

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Main strength : Cute sorceress :Chocola:

Otome Award :

Spoiler
  Enigma:

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Main strength : Strong characters.

Comedy Award :

Spoiler

Bocchi Musume x Produce Keikaku.

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Main strength : Silly characters and " shape-shifting " humour.

Slice of Life Award :

Spoiler

Again :ph34r:

.

..

...

....

Quartett!

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Main strength: Cute girls (Juni/Mai and Li) & music :sacchan:

 

Edited by Canicheslayer
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8 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

That might be, but not all of them are. Usually the more votes the more reliable the result gets. Comparing EGS and VNDB is also a good way for safer results. You can also use 'trusted votes' to check how certain people rated a particular VN and check if it fits to the average rating. I actually did that with your ratings on VNDB a few times since you've played so much VN's. :P

EGS has reliably picked at least 40% kusoge for its top twenty each year every year since I started paying attention (2009).  I should know... I played them, after all.  High vote numbers only make things more accurate when a majority of the voters are actual people rather than bots, after all.

Edited by Clephas
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2 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

Uhh... What?  If you don't like catgirls, why did you pick up anything past Nekopara 1?  As someone with a weakness for monster girls myself, Nekopara 1 was still just barely good enough to hold my interest.  I can't imagine playing Nekopara 1 if I wasn't into catgirls, and then saying 'you know what?  I want to play Nekopara 2'.

I just treated it like a SOL VN and ignired the catgirl part since I like SoL

I still kinda enjoy it but I pretty much stayed for Cinnamon and Shigure since they wrer fun characters

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Looking back, I didn't read all that many VNs in 2017. But I had fun with the few that I did read. Enjoy some arbitrarily made up categories.

Best Journey/Story

Spoiler

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception & Mask of Truth by Aquaplus

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I grouped the whole duology to one entry, because they are pretty much two halves of a one big story. And what a story it was. There's real scale in the progression, and by the time it was finally over, I was looking back in awe, remembering all the great moments. While Mask of Truth didn't quite manage to reach the absolute heights I initially expected, together they still delivered the grandest journey I read in a while. They offered one the most consistently good VN experiences I've had, and with good production values. The art, music, and general presentation is beautifully done, and just about everything else too is polished for maximum enjoyment.   

Huge part of the enjoyment comes from the creators deep understanding of how VN presentation works and how to utilise it to fullest extent. Despite being quite long the pacing is generally good, and especially each of the individual scenes are snappy and engrossing. Characters are myriad and varied, by the end everyone feels really special. One reasons being the god-like Slice-of-Life scenes these games use to flesh-out every member of cast. Not only are these scenes really entertaining and heartwarming, but also offer much needed respite from the heavier themes, especially in the latter half.

Best "My kind of Story"

Spoiler

SeaBed by Paleontology

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SeaBed is curious. It's very different. It evades any proper classification or explanation. 
SeaBed is also just the kind of story that speaks to me on a personal level. A story that is only possible in this kind of niche media. A story that works because it embraces its own unusual ideas, not afraid, and doing just what it wants. A product of heartfelt passion.

And I really like it.

Best Music: 

Spoiler

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception & Mask of Truth by Aquaplus

The soundtrack is packed with quality and content, reaching to almost 100 tracks in MoT. There's cheery everyday tunes, epic battle music, and a whole bunch touching vocal insert songs. Utaware 2&3 don't pull any punches in their presentation, and music is no exception. 

Honorable mentions: Little Busters! and SeaBed

Favorite Characters: 

Spoiler

Minakami Yuki from Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~

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Rurutieh from Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception
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Best Localization:

Spoiler

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception & Mask of Truth by Aquaplus

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Low-key the best localization of the year, at the very least. It's not often I get to read translated script so vivid and engaging.

Best Food for thought:

Spoiler

Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~ by KeroQ

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With its ideas about philosophy and the ways of exploring its themes through literature, poetry, mathematics, and much more, SubaHibi was the work that made me stop and wonder. Think about what was going on and what it meant to me.  
And most importantly, for encouraging the reader to read more and think.

Honorable Mention: Chaos;Child and the role of internet in our lives

 

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Okay so here are mine since 2017 was the year I got back into Visual Novels

Best story VN:

Spoiler

Enigma:

http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/494100/header.jpg?t=1500351384

I really loved this Visual Novel the story was incredibly unique, the characters were exciting and memorable and it was just a wonderful experience. The only thing that kept it from being truly perfect in my eyes was that it wasn't voiced. Enigma by itself, dragged me back into the world of Visual Novels.

 

Best Yuri VN

Spoiler

Kindred Spirits on the Roof

Okujou no Yurirei-san

From the get go this story grabbed me even though the plot of it might sound ridiculous on paper. The idea of a young girl helping a pair of lesbian ghosts figure out how to have sex by watching other couples fuck could have easily led to a terrible visual novel. To it's infinite credit it managed instead to be a very warm, sweet, and wonderful experience. The ending also brought tears to my manly and rugged face so there's a recommendation for you.

Best Art Direction

Spoiler

Flowers -Le Volume sur Printemps

Flowers -Le Volume sur Printemps-

I fucking love how Innocent Grey games look and this visual novel is no exception. Miki Sugina continues to give these VN's a unique style that makes them easily stand out from the crowd.

Every CG is just incredibly lovely and the sprites are vibrant.

 

   

Worst Trash

Spoiler

Princess X: My Fiancee is a Monster Girl?!

Princess X ~Boku no Iinazuke wa Monsterkko!?~

I gave this one a shot I really did. I knew it was probably going to be not good I thought it might, well, be entertaining. It wasn't, in fact it turned out to be a pile of shit. I got about two hours in before I decided that enough was enough. It was the German speaking robot people from Antarctica that really clued me in that I wasn't going to enjoy this. Which was a shame because I'm not against monster girls and I thought the gorgon lady wasn't half bad. If it had just been about her I might have kinda enjoyed it. Oh I also fucking hated those sisters they had the most annoying voices!

 

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