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Fatal Twelve Review Discussion

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Actually, this looks vastly more interesting than those Sono Hanabira yuri shovelware titles. The art is really stylish and somehow reminds me a bit of Liar-soft's Steampunk titles. The story sounds interesting and with mystery and suspense 3.0 tags on VNDB it seems to be right up my alley.

Somehow completely missed its release though - the title wasn't really on my radar for some reason.

I might even pick that up as one of my next story titles. There aren't a lot of other story titles I'm interested in left anyway, and Aoshiro already proved to me that yuri stitles can be pretty decent story titles too. Such a shame that Flowers was so disappointing (at least the first part).

Edited by ChaosRaven

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Nice review and indeed needed as I completely missed this release. However there is one thing, which puzzles me. It's an all age title and nothing in the review indicates it to be a romantic title, yet you mention it as yuri. Are you sure you don't mean otome (female protagonist) and not yuri? (romantic and/or sexual relationship between females)

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13 minutes ago, tymmur said:

Nice review and indeed needed as I completely missed this release. However there is one thing, which puzzles me. It's an all age title and nothing in the review indicates it to be a romantic title, yet you mention it as yuri. Are you sure you don't mean otome (female protagonist) and not yuri? (romantic and/or sexual relationship between females)

That will depend on your definitions. 'otome' implies to me a female protagonist with a number of male love interests (or majorly male cast) while 'yuri' implies a female protagonist with female love interests (or a majorly female cast).

There are a lot of 'yuri' or 'shoujo ai' stories which are so called simply because the cast is mostly girls interacting with each other.
If indeed this VN has no romance at all, there is no explicit need to call it yuri, it is simply a VN, but it doesn't look inaccurate either, going by the characters.

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Quote

Shoujo Ai

This game contains romance between girls.
Please note that this does not necessarily mean that there are any sexual scenes, for that use the Yuri tag.

Quote

Otome Game

A game with a female protagonist, with the central focus on developing a relationship with one or more male characters. These games are usually aimed at a female audience, such as Tokimeki Memorial Girls' Side.

Quote

Yuri

There are sex scenes involving two (or possibly more) females.

Looks to me like the VNDB definitions will call it Shoujo Ai, not Otome or Yuri. In other words I was right to get puzzled by yuri, but pointing to otome was a mistake as well. I thought otome just mean female protagonist, meaning a yuri title with no males at all would also be an otome game, but apparently that is not the case.

Edited by tymmur

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1 hour ago, tymmur said:

Looks to me like the VNDB definitions will call it Shoujo Ai, not Otome or Yuri. In other words I was right to get puzzled by yuri, but pointing to otome was a mistake as well. I thought otome just mean female protagonist, meaning a yuri title with no males at all would also be an otome game, but apparently that is not the case.

The distinction between shoujo-ai and yuri as it's used on VNDB is a very technical/artificial one, at least nowadays. Most people will consider any VN with primarily GxG romance or even romantic subtext between female cast a "yuri", while many western otome will have some female/female romance routes. Outside of database environment where such clear distintions are necessary, actual boundaries are much less clear. 

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32 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

The distinction between shoujo-ai and yuri as it's used on VNDB is a very technical/artificial one, at least nowadays. Most people will consider any VN with primarily GxG romance or even romantic subtext between female cast a "yuri", while many western otome will have some female/female romance routes. Outside of database environment where such clear distintions are necessary, actual boundaries are much less clear. 

I basically went with this distinction here. I believe it would be common to consider this "yuri". As this is an all-ages title and there is no explicit sexual content, shoujo-ai may be more appropriate. (At least by VNDB standards.) However, I assure you there is romance involved.

23 minutes ago, solidbatman said:

any pancakes?

4J7VO43.jpg

You tell me bats, you tell me.

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2 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Yeah... *Plk_Lesiak's backlog, already on the brink of imploding under its own weight, screams in agony at the addition of another title*

Just call me. I have plenty of space to rent, even for heavy items. Hey we all have to make a living somehow.

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9 minutes ago, shcboomer said:

However, I assure you there is romance involved.

That actually sounds interesting. Romance and at the same time they all fight each other for the one spot of regaining life. Sounds like that could end up with some conflicts of interest within the protagonist.

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I had zero expectations in this one, but you literally made me put Higurashi on hold so I can read Fatal Twelve!

Just a question: the problem with the voiced lines is that the wrong audio plays in some lines, or is that there are voiced lines without text?

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19 hours ago, Silvz said:

I had zero expectations in this one, but you literally made me put Higurashi on hold so I can read Fatal Twelve!

Just a question: the problem with the voiced lines is that the wrong audio plays in some lines, or is that there are voiced lines without text?

Usually, it's the line playing out of sync with the text. Either ahead or behind. Reloading a save fixes it the majority of the time.

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18 minutes ago, shcboomer said:

Usually, it's the line playing out of sync with the text. Either ahead or behind. Reloading a save fixes it the majority of the time.

That's weird. Usually when there are voice problems, it's a script problem where the line points to the wrong audio file. If it goes out of sync and you can save, play a bit with it out of sync, then reload and the same lines are now in sync, it points towards an engine problem. I can't remember ever hearing about an issue on the engine level before. It's usually a fairly simple process to link which text and voice file to play at the same time. Sounds to me like the engine is doing this overly complex where it loads a queue and then the control code is buggy. Usually it's a good idea to keep everything as simple as possible as it leaves less stuff to break and do weird stuff like this.

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3 hours ago, tymmur said:

That's weird. Usually when there are voice problems, it's a script problem where the line points to the wrong audio file. If it goes out of sync and you can save, play a bit with it out of sync, then reload and the same lines are now in sync, it points towards an engine problem. I can't remember ever hearing about an issue on the engine level before. It's usually a fairly simple process to link which text and voice file to play at the same time. Sounds to me like the engine is doing this overly complex where it loads a queue and then the control code is buggy. Usually it's a good idea to keep everything as simple as possible as it leaves less stuff to break and do weird stuff like this.

It was something along the lines of https://steamcommunity.com/games/620210/announcements/detail/1648755467424909863

Not sure if it was mismatched lines or a deeper engine problem. I think it only happened to me twice. Both times I just either went back lines as suggested or reloaded an older save.

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So, I've finished Fatal Twelve now, and what a pleasant surprise that was. It's probably the best story VN I've read in years. I'm particular impressed by the overall high quality in all areas - writing, graphics and music. It's also remarkable that the VN has a writing format I usually don't like that much - (mostly)kinetic with frequent POV switches - but I still liked it a lot.

The story of the VN is about twelve people having died by different causes and appearing now in a divine selection, hold by Parca, a mischievous goddess of fate, who gives every candidate the chance for a second life. However, the selection will be a battle royale where only the last remaining candidate will have the privilege of a second life. The elimination process happens in a weekly selection round, where a candidate has to show three divine cards about another candidate, containing his name, cause of death and biggest regret in life. The candidates then have to try to get this data about the other candidates between those selection rounds. The VN roughly consist of two major parts: the elimination process and finding out what's behind the whole divine selection and Parca. The latter being the most interesting and tricky part.

One of the first things that get clear when the first rounds of elimination start is that the candidates were apparently selected completely arbitrary since the preconditions for all candidates are not fair at all. Some wouldn't have any gain by winning, because they are either so old they'd die anyway soon after, or have a terminal illness which would lead to the same result. Pretty much only candidates that died by an unnatural cause like an accident... or murder, would really profit from a second life, since only the direct cause of death would be negated. This already gives a lot of stuff to think that there's something horribly wrong with the whole divine selection.

y8c28jho.jpg

Now, where the VN really shines in how it plays out the involved characters against each other. Unlike most other VN's that just consist of a hetare protagonist, a few infantile heroines, an idiot friend and maybe a few rapists, this VN has real multi-layered characters with different ethical values and personalities that react differently to pressure and extreme situations. The writer is also one of the rare ones with common sense and an understanding how certain situations could turn out and what consequences they could have. For example, at the start some of the more ruthless characters try to get info through pure violence and black mail, but then have to face the consequences of being investigated by the police. Since being arrested and imprisoned just for a few weeks is almost a death sentence, those characters are then forced to act with much more caution. Another interesting thing is that being just an innocent girl like Rinka or Miharu can also be an advantage, because sympathy also matters. Obviously dangerous participants like Alan or Odette trigger counter-alliances and characters who got their info revealed can get revenge by revealing their info to other participants they'd prefer to win. Besides that, several characters reflect on their actions and change during the elimination process - not always for the better though.

7n75meb2.jpg

During the last third of the VN the focus slowly shifts to the second major story arc - finding out the truth about the divine selection and Parca. That's one the most interesting parts of the VN, since the remaining participants slowly get aware that winning the contest isn't just a generous gift - there's a catch. Parca isn't neutral about the whole outcome and she has her own motives. It also goes full Stein's Gate when explaining the (pseudo-)scientific background of how the divine selection works - hope you didn't forget time lines and reality branches in Stein's Gate. ^_^

oyf3yq7r.jpg

Although the writing is almost consistently on a high standard and the plot well though-out, there are still some weaknesses. While the frequent POV changes show you the personality and development of the other characters, it also drags the pacing down a bit too much from time to time and can also spoil some otherwise surprising situations. The normal (Miharu) end seems a bit too undeservedly happy, especially in comparison to the true (Parca) end. The romance part is also a bit underdeveloped, I'd say the VN is more about friendship between Rinka, Miharu and Naomi and how they and the other participants overcome the trials of the divine selection. And while Rinka is a good-natured girl, she can also be a bit too hesitant at times. Miharu was certainly the more 'heroic' character. There were also some translation inconsitencies from time to time, expecially when Yu was referenced in plural - I didn't get why.

The art of the VN is surprisingly good. While the character sprites might not quite reach the top standard of the industry, they are still well drawn, with a more unique - and less moe - western touch. There are also about 60 event CG's purely for the story, about 15 drawn characters and a good amount of background locations as well. And the background locations in particular are top notch quality.

And last but least the audio, and this is probably one of the strongest points of the VN. There's a good amount of excellent and diverse music tracks that capture the mood of many situations perfectly. No ultra boring slice of life tracks that make you fall asleep in no time. There's real tense and thrilling music that keeps you on your toes. All characters are voiced and the voice acting is overall pretty good - no idiot friend voice abominations.

bfvoxead.jpg

Heroine ranking: Miharu > Parca > (Odette) > Rinka > Naomi

Final Rating: 8.5/10

That's probably the highest rating I've given in years. Admittedly, I was also close to give it just a (still high) 8 at first, because it doesn't offer all too much in the waifu (though Miharu and Parca were cute) and romance department. But since it's so absolutely rare that a well developed plot comes along with good writing, decent art and great music, I've decided to give it a higher rating.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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