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EroHataVNI

Fatal Twelve - Review + Rant

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Lets get this straight: This review will talk about a certain, common mechanic and criticize and it will not be a buying instruction full of euphemisms. If you are look for this, you are at the wrong place. I'll also spoiler some story, but it won't be too bad. Well, let's go!

Hello everyone, my name is Hata and I'm bringing you my review of a game which lurked around in my steam library for a while. The game I'm talking about is Fatal Twelve by aiueoKompany. It has been start-upped by the usual kickstarter like we know and expect it from Sekai Project and brought to the west. It's a rather obscure title, as not many people I talk to know it. It found its way on our home computers on the 30th march via Steam. To be honest, I bought the game because of its visual and the clock-time-aesthetics without really looking into the characters or the story. I didn't play the demo either. If someones hoping for a complex time-mechanic like Chrono CLock and magic.battles like in Tokeijikake no Ley-Line you might be fairly disappointed. The game is a Battle-Royale (I can hear you yawning), but with a twist. The participants are already dead and they have to kill themselves completely?

Story: 

We slip into the role of Shishimai Rinka who leads a small cafe called lion house while her grandma is absent in the Inaka. One day shes on the way home with the train and gets involved in an explosion that would've killed naomi if rinka didn't sacrifice herself by jumping in front of the shock blast. She loses her life but because of mysterious reasons shes back alive in her Café talking happily to her friends. Those know nothing about the explosion and what Rinka thought she remembers.

Gokigen yo, unmei no dorei no minnasama (Nice to meet you, all you slaves of fate)

Rinka finds a peculiar cardbook and experiences weird dreams. Dreams in which she is thrown together with 11 other people in some surreal, cosmic hall. She is there acquaintanced with Destiny Goddess Parca who informs all participants that they died all at the same instance and thus became part of the Divine Selection. This disguises itself as a game to halt Parcas Boredom and its structured like a battle royale - One will survive. The rules are fairly easy: All participants have secret cards (Name, cause of death and regret). Whoever can elect someone and recite these three cards correctly removes the other from the divine selection process and dies irrefutably. The others then have to endure the last moments of that person before they die. Every week the participants try to invade others privacy and lives to find out these cards contents. The ritual is held over 12 weeks.

Rinka notices that her school friend Mishima Miharu is one of the participants. In the course of the story Rinka gets to know about the origins of her death and how far the other players would go to be the final victor.

Characters: 

Shishimai Rinka: (VA Matsui Eriko)
Federico Carminati
Destiny Goddess Parca (VA: Nomura Kanako)
Mishima Miharu (VA: Komagata Yuri)

Mechanics: 

Next to the previously mentioned rules of the Divine selection we receive a book which we can access from the menu. We don't see tips or trivia in there, rather simply an overview about the characters and which cards they own and which are still hidden. Sadly theres no detective mechanic or gameplay. It could have been useful here. The choices are also very superficial, but I'll rant about that later.

Unlockable things: Extramode where you can relive all the divine selections and see the CGs of the game. Standard stuff.

Perception:

When I began playing fatal twelve I was overwhelmed by a rare event. Not every day the protagonist dies tragically and I thought this could make for an interesting setting, but if I am honest, it might have the potential to be refreshing and even to be innovative but it often drags and feels lame. Why?`I want to explain this now: When theres a battle royale setting then you know beforehand that shits going to happen and people are going to die - all of them mostly and this inhibits character development. This is exactly how it happened in the game, at the start.

To fulfill the previously mentioned condition the game progresses like a staircase. The first deaths are cannonfodder, some chinese dude dies and the characters are badly characterized. This is desired, but it lets the beginning feel like chores. You just want to click and click until you reach an exciting point but you get disappointed quickly and quit. During the course of the story the character development increases and there are 2 or 3 you can sympathize with. Sadly the akame ga kill syndrome also appears here...maybe you can cry for one of them? I couldn't.

Visually Fatal Twelve looks great. Theres lots of nicely designed CG and a lot of places. None of it is animated though which is another issue that leads me to the conclusion the developers hobby is wasting potential. Especially during fighting sequences this mightve been nice. The character designs are ..fine (the jacked woman and Parca are nice) Especially the characters who die early suck. The game is fully voiceacted and the voices and performance is believable. I like that. Parcas voice is the cleanest and most annoying at the same time, i really wanted to twist her neck during some scenes. The sound effects are nice but the soundtrack sucks. I listned to spotify meanwhile.

Other reviews stated that the game is around 10-15 hours long and I can't really resonate with that. I need 36hours to reach the true end and theres still a bunch of routes to clear. It could be because I played the game on japanese? (Screenshots are english for convenience). Another positive point i can mention is that the game has Dual-language setting which is good for learners like me. I'm probably what you derogatively call a JoP so i like this. Games should do that more often, thankfully the trend is increasing.

During the first hours Fatal Twelve can't manage it to flash me except in the scenes in parcas hall which is nicely designed. It just doesn't flash me as much. I caught myself in flagranti scrolling the text because I just don#t care for scenes like "Naomi learns how to pour coffee Part-VI" or "Mao and Rinkas relaxing walk in the park" if there is no character developement. This is what you call "padding" artificial elongation of your game by putting redundant scenes. That happens a lot during the 12 weeks the game lasts. You will have 12 election scenes too, which makes the games length and ending predictable (Achievements spoil you too) 
The game also switches between screentransitions often and in the same moment it changes the narration style which is very confusing. You either play as Rinka or Federico. But sometimes it switches to an omniscient narrator.

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TAfter 4 characters are eliminated the game becomes interesting and manages it to actually make you care a little for the characters by creating some substory to keep attention. The substories require the characters to crossovers in their private worlds and form alliances and fight against one another. Mostly real fistfights. You also realize that Fear, Grief and Fault are elemental points of the story. (Regrets) Another thing i like are the rules of the divine selection. If you dont pay attention (or play in japanese) you get confused by the rules because players can exchange, block, skip turns or refuse election. This brings some tactic into the game (another lovely way to implement gameplay...but I digress)
Well lets say you need to know the rules so stay focused when reading.

This is everything thats positive because now the game starts to stagger and disappoint. The story progression becomes very predictable and the plottwists are sometimes pulled out of your ass (literally Miharu says: "I just so happen to be ______" which shows how much bullshit this plottwist is.
Shizuku no oto had the same issue sadly. The pacing also sucks near the end and the try to fix plotholes with bandage aid without explaining things correctly. People who are villains suddenly turn good because (the look in your eyes) or other bullshit reasons. Also people build up groups which is nonsense in a battle royale where everyone should go solo. Near the end (if you play in english probably around 20h there are additional endings and ypu can reach the true end aftert 25.

Now I progress to the most atrocious point of the game to my opinion. The choice system is ABYSMAL. There are games where you have pseudo-choices like (beyond two souls) or (dunno dude...eeeeh Nekopara?) The game has 19 choices are ALL of the choices over the course of the first hours are mandatory to solve. you mess up once it goes to BAD END 1. Nice system right? People consider this "difficulty" nowadays. I consider it Bullshit.
Also the choices are not so much like "kiss that person, don't kiss her" or "visit Miharu/visit Naomi" that can fuck you up, no. Even something like "See you later/Goodbye" can fuck you up hours later. I had to play with a guide because thats just simply TRIAL AND ERROR which is terrible game design. Also it tries to bait you into routes with "go to miharu, go to naomi, go to mao" and the ones that ar not miharu are wrong. This is terrible, the game pretends to have choices and pushes you towards the relationship the developers want? Why then make choices at all?

I need haerts route guide to clear the game...

Shizuku no Oto also fucked up the choices, because in this game there were just a bunch of random death traps and now this game messed it up too. aiueoKompany are just terrible at choice design.

Conclusion:

All in all Fatal Twelve is the incarnation of wasted potential because it does have interesting concepts but completely wraps things up badly which lowers my overall enjoyment with the game. It starts with underdeveloped characters and then slowly increases pace and developement. Then it hits a wall then wants to board a rocket and fly to mars with a sudden bs about determinism, philosophy, existentialism and such things. Also it forces you to date the probably most unlikable female heroine in this game which is bad game design and completely devalues having "choices"
After the true end you unlock two routes too but i only got one of them i refuse to play the Miharu ending.

Not everything that shines is gold.

I would not recommend it because it has too many weakpoints that drag it down, theres far better games I assume.
Too ambitious of a project, too many characters not enough love in each of them.

Bad game 5/10

If you enjoyed reading my long af review check out our discord where we talk about games, vns, novels and just become friends!
https://discord.gg/gtNRnbe

Also the same review will be published tomorrow In german. I extra translated it for you. Its more formal than this mess though.
https://visual-novel.info/

Thanks for reading. Ramaladni is cool (´・ω・`)

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1 minute ago, Ranzo said:

You should have made this into a blog post instead

Comes out tomorrow but in german. I just translated it for my friend Ramaladni and put it here for others to "read" xd
First time I use this site too :(

Edited by EroHataVNI

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Yeah, this should really be a blog post. I can't even see it as anything else as a blog post. This has to be the bloggiest blog post I've ever seen...

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Hata, thank you for writing this for me since I can't read german. I already shared most of my thoughts with you and I believe you managed to get your points across. You can become a great reviewer if you improve on your structure and focus more on being concise and precise. Nonetheless, I hope you keep on writing and see it as a challenge you wish to surpass.

Let's both give it our best.

 

As for the game, it features themes that I personally find interesting but if you couldn't stand flat characters and slice-of-life nonsense, I doubt I could either. Thanks!

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The "this should be a blog post" feedback is an allusion to the blog feature of Fuwanovel.  It's a nice way to collect together your high-content posts in one place.  If you feel the topic is of general interest and want to encourage ongoing discussion, you can then create a discussion thread and link to the blog post.  It helps to have a summary line to grab readers' interest so they'll read the full article.

Edited by sanahtlig

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