Jump to content

Clephas' VN of the month


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

I got around to trying Hakoniwa logic and quickly dropped it (played through about 5% of the game, then skipped through about a third of it)

 

well first of all I never thought they'll literally "you shall not pass" you got to a route without a key

The "boku" heroine doesn't do much for me. Kirika was it? I pretty much had the same dead pan reaction to her as the boku herione (was that also the loli?) from irotoridori. The character type literally feels like a youngish (though a bit assertive) young lad, which I don't hate, but is simply disconcerting. Ironically one of my top favourite characters, Kuchiki Touko, from Kara no Shoujo also uses boyish speaking patterns, although the impression is completely different.

 

Moving along, there was just too much of just built-with-moe-in-mind characters mingling around. A large part of the novel is just idle conversations, getting to know the heriones, etc. It was different from the slice of life in something like Ashita no sekai yori, which like a meaningful glimpse into the character's world.

 

The girl with fantasies of M-play was pretty funny though.

 

As a side note, Cabbit's works are very accessible, light on the vocab and lots of context.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm starting the new Ensemble game, Otome ga Kanaderu Koi no Aria.  This is by the makers of Koi no Canvas, and I'm getting something of a similar aura from the protagonist (he's more confident though), so it looks like they are trying to milk the Otomekoi name as well as the storytelling, concept, and visual styles.  It'll be interesting if they had the guts to give the writer a free hand like they did with Otomekoi...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly, Overkill is not far wrong on Aria... I just finished my second path - of a girl who is obviously a primary heroine - and I am more than a little exasperated in the drop in quality from their previous games.  Even Damamuko was better than this.  I'd heard Will took a financial hit last year, with the poor sales from some of their flagship subsidiaries' releases... but I hadn't realized it was so bad that this year's stuff would be so half-assed. 

 

I'm going to have to drop this.  That the common route was so short doesn't bother me (you all know how I feel about the common route being the mainstay of the VN), but that the heroine routes were so lacking in anything interesting was... sad to say the least.

 

They cut a lot of corners with this game.  First, only the main characters - including the protagonist (which was nice) - are voiced.  This is usually a sign that someone was running on a limited budget.  Second, it's subtle, but they recycled most of the character models with alterations from previous games... as well as some of the CGs (though that takes a wide knowledge of the company to recognize).  All I can say is that it is really apparent that Will - through Ensemble - was just looking to capitalize on Ensemble's remaining popularity after the failure of Golden Marriage (for those who liked it, yes it was a failure, or at least by Will's standards) in order to make a quick buck. 

 

Is there anything good about this VN...?  No, or rather, the good points are basically buried in disappointment for me.  I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but I was expecting something of at least equal quality with Damamuko or Golden Marriage, as that has proven to be well-within the Ensemble team's capabilities at their worst.  This isn't a kusoge, but it is demoted to the ranks of mediocre moege/charage without a second thought from me.

 

Sorry, no chance I'll list this as VN of the Month.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm... I'm going to be blunt.  I'm both liking and hating Four Rhythm.  I like the heroines, hate the protag, and hate that the focus is a sport (I loathe sports as a focus).  Keep that in mind when you read the comments I'll write once I'm done. 

 

Oh and none of the heroines really interest me as a potential romantic focus, which is also a downer... if Misaki weren't so sulky I might have liked her.  On the other hand, the atmosphere, pacing, and writing quality are all way up there, so there is a lot to recommend to it so far, despite it pressing a lot of my bad buttons.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Asuka

I chose Asuka at random because, as I said, I don't have much interest in the heroines of this game.  Asuka is a sweet, enthusiastic, and optimistic girl who only seems like an airhead.  Thankfully, she isn't... she's just so straightforward that she seems like one.  Her path is probably exciting (this is where my sports hate factors in) and just looking at it, I can tell it is a work of technical genius at the old art of creating an emotional atmosphere for seishun-sports-drama.  You can run across this in anime like Hikaru no Go and Bamboo Blade, which definitely should give you an idea of the ups and downs you can experience in this path.  Thankfully, they keep ichaicha to a minimum (this game is almost entirely focused around the sport and the heroine's involvement in it).  As such, I don't have a reason to complain about that.  I do think I probably would have avoided Asuka like the plague in another VN, because her type tends to make for boring paths, in my experience.  However, I could tell, objectively speaking, that it was a path that would definitely interest the average VN reader that didn't have anti-sports prejudices.

 

Edit: The paths are long enough that I felt I should go ahead and put my review of each one individually as I finished them.  If I reach the limit of my tolerance after Masshiro and Misaki, I'll probably not do Ichinose at all.

 

Edit2: Did I mention I hate the way they use emotional blackmail to force you to play Asuka first, which increased my ambivalence toward her?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Masshiro

Aaah... to be blunt, I liked this path even less than I liked Asuka's, if only because it is so blatantly obvious that they put so much more effort into Asuka's path.  Masshiro's path is far more ichaicha-focused with the usual 'I love him, don't I?' internal conflict going on for about a thousand lines or so.  The central conflict of the story is fairly weak, as it all of the sudden just pops up to prominence in the last part.  As a result, there was absolutely no emotional impact to it, for me.  It made me wonder why they had Masshiro as a heroine at all, if all they were going to do was a normal charage path.

 

Edit: It isn't a small difference.  There is a significant writing quality difference (a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the writer?) in this path, in comparison to Asuka's.  While I just didn't like Asuka as a character, in this case I liked Masshiro's character but hated her path... which is sad.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rika

This is just personally... but this path is my favorite so far (I can guarantee you that nine out of ten will prefer Asuka, though).  Rika's path is more personal than Asuka's, with almost as much focus on training as Asuka's, which gave it a better balance between the two, in my mind.  Rika is a bit too serious and straight-laced (in fact, one of the major themes is her personality).  However, she also manages to be surprisingly interesting, once she and the protagonist are in love.  Better yet, the ichaicha is less annoying than Masshiro's path, because it lacks that 'I love you but I can't bring myself to confess!' atmosphere that ruined that one (seen that one a thousand times before).  If I have a complaint, it is that I wanted a bit more at the end (really, this can be said for Asuka's path as well).  So far, none of the epilogues have been sufficient in my eyes, considering how much more could have been done with a decent after-story (I smell FD in the air).  This path is less dramatic and overwhelming than Asuka's, though... so people who want that intensity would be better off reading Asuka's path.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Misaki

I really recommend that you play Misaki's path before Asuka's.  Why?  Because though this is my out of bounds favorite path and heroine, it becomes so bloody obvious Asuka's path is the main heroine path after playing all of them that you just have to be a bit exasperated.  It would have made a lot more sense to force you to play the other three heroines before Asuka, simply because of the difference in the level of care and detail that went into them.  Nonetheless, Misaki's path is probably - when it comes to the emotional and heroineXprotagonist interactions - the best of the paths.  The protagonist shows off the worst of his personality in this one, and Misaki is equally ugly emotionally at the beginning.  In terms of the actual action, it doesn't quite match the dramatic match at the end of Asuka's path, but it far surpasses anything that existed in the other two.  For someone just looking to enjoy the atmosphere of competition, I'd suggest playing Misaki's path and then Asuka's... then just stopping there. 

 

Finale

There is a short 'what if?' story after you finish all the four heroines that starts immediately after the epilogue whether you want it to or not.  It is basically a short scenario where the protagonist managed to climb back into the saddle without choosing a heroine and has a conversation with Aoi.  To be honest, I thought this was a waste of time, in the end (in fact, I would have preferred for them to have made a path with the heroines as side-characters and the protagonist as the only major competitor, because I'm just like that). 

 

Overall

Overall, this VN is really suited for people who like anime and VNs with intense competition.  It isn't suited for people who don't like seishun drama.  In fact, I can guarantee that for every person who loves this game, there will be at least two who hate it within an hour... amongst the Japanese, since I can't see this getting tled anytime soon.  It is just too large (not as large as Grisaia, but then, it isn't as good as Grisaia, either).  I gave this game a relatively high rating on vndb, but that is because I rated based on my most unbiased possible opinion, rather than giving it the rating I thought would have been proper based on instinct. 

 

PS:  Blane, Overkill... this is a VN that picks those who will like it.  It is definitely not a kamige (Masshiro's path basically destroys any possibility of that), but it is also definitely one of the better VNs this quarter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

completely forgot sports were one of your pet peeves x.x

 

 

personally some of my fav manga and animes are sports centered like kuro basket and bamboo blade so it resonated a lot better with me, it also helped that the sport itself was very well written and it looked like a super power battle at times

 

btw I dont think that last scene was a "what if" scenario? I think thats a scene that supposedly happens after the end of each route at some point, or at least after Asukas(since thats the route where Aoi says she is going overseas to become a player again)

 

 

 

 

btw what did you enjoy more, this or Walkure? I'm asking because they both share the whole premise of a protagonist that was once a very talented player in X retired after a certain event and vowed to never return

but was later pulled in by a certain happy positive girl and ended up becoming a coach of sorts etc...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you Clephas. I'm a fan of sports centered animes too (same as Overkill : Kuroko no basket, baby step...) that's why I enjoy it. There are not many Vn on a sports theme. I mean with a large amount of details and not just a stupid sport setting in the background with a lot of ichacha heroine/protag. 

Personally, I prefer Ao no kanata over Walkure which is not bad. In my opinion, ao no kanata is more intense (emotionally). Anyway that's what i felt :P.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chuusingura Bushi no Kodou

This serves as both a fandisc and an explanation of what happened in the year that passed between the two major events at the end of the last path of the original game.  I won't spoil the story, but let's just say that it is a surprisingly brutal look into a certain era of Japanese history.  Best of all, we don't have to deal with 'hetare Suguha' like we did in the original, lol. 

 

I will say that I was a bit dissatisfied with how they did the epilogues, but the story itself is extremely high quality for a fandisc.  For those who liked the original game, this is a good choice, with a lot more than just ecchi content. 

 

Edit: Oh, and this VN's difficulty is equivalent to the original (meaning very high) and it is fairly long (I'd say about as long or a bit shorter than one of the arcs in the original). 

 

Edit2:  I probably should have mentioned this before, but the visual effects in this VN and its predecessor are amongst the best I've seen in any VN, and they really do manage a degree of historical accuracy with the setting (other than the fact that so many historical figures became women) that is surprising.  If nothing else, both this one and the first one were very educational about the state of things during the Tokugawa era.

 

Edit3:

This VN's content will probably shock those who like the romanticized vision of the Shinsengumi you see in so many anime.

 

Final Edit: I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but there are two extra scenarios, based off the first three arcs of the original story.  One is a real path for Shinpachi, whom those who played the original will recognize as the 'one true yangire' in the story.  This path is very good but ends in a similar manner to that experienced with the heroines at the end of the main part of the FD.  The other path is a short after-story focusing on

an

ashigaru (foot-soldier) who was responsible for Yasubei's kaishaku (the act of ritually beheading a person allowed to formally commit seppuku in order to end their pain as an act of mercy and a measure of the honor paid the person committing seppuku). This is a very touching after-story... one I cried for, as it recalled to me the sorrow of the first three arcs of the original story.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kimi no Tonari de Koishiteru

To be honest, despite the fact that this is by Alcot, a pretty reliable company, I didn't have much in the way of expectations for this VN.  Thankfully, it managed to surprise me by being a fairly high-quality charage.  The protagonist, Akito, is a former runner in his school's track and field team, and now he is the manager for the girls' team.  At the beginning of the story, his grandmother demands he finds a potential wife, or she'll have him marry a girl he's never met.

 

Surprisingly, there is absolutely nothing heavy about this part of the VN.  For the most part, this VN provides the usual light laughs you can always expect from Alcot (refer to Girlfriend is President) along with a strong interrelationship between the protagonist and his two osananajimis.  Now, normally I hate the osananajimi as a convention.  However, in this case it is carried out so well that I felt none of the boredom or disgust that normally consumes me in cases like this.  In addition, the girl he is supposedly going to be arranged to marry is also a well-developed character, making it easy to get into her path. 

 

The main heroine of this story is Nagisa, one of the osananjimis, so I suggest doing her path last.  I won't say she is a 'true' heroine, because that would be inaccurate.  The actual level of detail and quality in the various paths isn't so different between them, so it doesn't feel like they shorted the other heroines, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. 

 

This game is, for the most part, light in nature, only becoming heavy for short periods and in one of the after-story segments.  Don't go in expecting a lot of messy romance-drama, because you won't get it.  However, if you want slice-of-life, light humor, and three heroines with quite varied but pleasant personalities, this is a good choice.  Though, there is a definite sense that they went out of their way to avoid love-triangle drama in the game.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm... I'm going to be blunt.  I'm both liking and hating Four Rhythm.  I like the heroines, hate the protag, and hate that the focus is a sport (I loathe sports as a focus).  Keep that in mind when you read the comments I'll write once I'm done. 

 

Oh and none of the heroines really interest me as a potential romantic focus, which is also a downer... if Misaki weren't so sulky I might have liked her.  On the other hand, the atmosphere, pacing, and writing quality are all way up there, so there is a lot to recommend to it so far, despite it pressing a lot of my bad buttons.

I haven't really played a sports vn (besides some of Walkure), but it occured to me: the drama, ups and downs, and motivations in a sports VN might be more repeatable to real life. Because, there are people who devote themselves (to differing degrees) to their sport, and face the ups and downs as well as the sensation of practice and competition. Which is quite opposite of VN's who literally craft their own theme, and have the drama, plot, and atmosphere be significantly determined by that.

 

Would that be one of the reasons why you hate sports VN's? Or is it just because said "ups and downs" get really stale after a while.

 

In any case, Aokana has piqued my interest because:

1) some of the heroines seem optimistic yet resilient (strong), (though I just got that from the art style, not from the profiles)

2) Flight is an interesting fantasy, the fact that exists without the magic fantasy setting, or evolved-civilization sci-fi setting makes it feel more like the funnest dream ever come true.

3) Lots of special effects and the art rocks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's more like the logic for a person who likes playing something but hates watching it.  With combat sports, I don't mind because I used to compete in archery and marksmanship, so the frustration levels are lower... but when you get to more complex sports, I start falling asleep, because I'm not interested in hearing about how this guy scored a point in a really complex fashion or how awesome this guy's spin or mid-air turn is...  To me, it is all golf, lol.

 

Edit: Also, I'm currently playing Zannen na Oretachi no Seishun Jijou, for those who are wondering why I haven't named a VN of the Month yet.  It is pretty hilarious, so yall have something to look forward to.

 

Edit2:  Also, the frustration that does exist for combat sports is because my distance-eyesight is almost completely gone, so I can't compete anymore, lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Zannen na Oretachi no Seishun Jijou

This is officially going to be the last candidate for November. 

 

This is my comedy recommendation for the month, as the common route is extremely hilarious and deliberately exaggerated.  The protagonist is a genius who basically wants to 'make school life fun for everyone', and he and his friends in the 'unofficial student council' go all out to do so.  Since I didn't have my hopes up for this game, the degree to which it made me laugh left me stunned a bit. 

 

The downside is that the heroine paths are just above-average quality charage paths (good in and of themselves and well-written, but not kamige quality),  Like all charage, the drama is kept to one or two serious elements and resolved quickly, if not necessarily easily.  Most of the game is the common route, and the individual paths can be completed in a relatively short amount of time.  There are also after-story added scenes in the omake section. 

 

This VN is a good choice for people who want some laughs, an interesting set of characters, and a group of friends that will definitely remind you of other VNs that use a similar concept, in a good way. 

 

I did get a bit irritated at the usage of certain tropes such as the 'pretend lovers' one (this is a huge pet-peeve for me), but overall, this VN would be VN of the Month material... in another month. 

 

Unfortunately, I have no choice but to name Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm as VN of the Month for November.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kami no Ue no Mahoutsukai

 

This is a mystery/tragedy VN I began playing a few days ago, that utilizes a story structure almost identical to that used in G-Senjou and Eustia... but with realistic (if horribly tragic) side-endings for the various heroines other than the main.  This is a huge difference... especially since none of the side-endings of the other VNs made any sense, considering the greater context.

 

This VN manages to make that structure make sense.  The writer of this VN, despite how it appears at first, in the actual side-endings, does not leave any serious loose ends in the story.  If anything, those side-paths are really just really long bad endings, lol. 

 

Anyway... this is a mystery and a tragedy focused around the denizens of the 'Phantom Library', a library that exists solely for the sake of Yoruko, an albino girl who loves nothing more than reading.  This VN is not kind in any way, shape, or form to its characters.  Even if it seems like good things are happening, something horrid awaits around the corner (except in the true end).  That isn't to say this is a horror... except in some of the details.  The main characters are Ruri (the protagonist who can get along with anyone and is endlessly ruthless when it comes to the protection of those he cares about), Riou (the ever-smiling maid who serves Yoruko), Yoruko (the tsun - without much dere - albino misanthrope girl), Kisaki (Ruri's beloved imouto, with the flat expression and a somewhat sadistic attitude toward those she likes), Kanata (the wannabe detective girl who doesn't hesitate to take action when it comes to satisfying her curiosity), and Nagisa (the somewhat deviant best friend of the protagonist, Ruri). 

 

There is seriously a lot of despair to this story... and some of the developments that come later on are outright scary in an existential fashion.   I honestly found myself feeling for all the characters, and I admired several of them from the bottom of my heart (Kisaki is perhaps the most admirable of the characters, though she definitely has her flaws). 

 

However, this game can be fairly shocking, and there is a huge atmosphere change about one eighth of the way through the game that is a bit hard on the reader.  This isn't a true utsuge (the existence of a main ending that is bittersweet but not bad makes that impossible), but it comes quite close.  Also, I think most readers will eventually come to hate Yoruko.  She is fragile, weak-willed, and easily misled due to her misanthropy and phobia of people in general. 

 

Overall, this VN is definitely a VN of the Month candidate... but it definitely will pick its readers.  tbh, I think this one is even more niche than chuuni.   It is definitely excellently written, and to a person with certain tastes, I think it will be irresistible.  However, because it doesn't fit into any genre comfortably, and the general atmosphere is so full of sadness and emotional suffering, I doubt it will become hugely popular, unless translated.

 

Edit:

Incidentally, I absolutely hate what this game does to Kisaki. She is the best heroine and character over all, and yet she dies halfway through and can't bring herself to allow her own convenient resurrection later. Worse, she is forced to commit suicide TWICE. I so wanted to kill Chrysoberyl for what she did. Tbh, the fact that the one where Chrysoberyl survives is the true ending still pisses me off a bit, which is why I didn't give this VN a 9 out of ten.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fucking yes, I agree with you. Kisaki was my favourite. She commit suicide twice -_-'... It was depressing. I wanted to smash my screen lol. Chrysoberyl die at the end if we pick Kanata end. Why didn't they kill Yoruko instead of Kisaki :'(. I didn't like the Mc in this game. I found him pretty useless. (+ he commit suicide too hahahaha). They is always someone to rescue him or help him...  Anyway, I admit that the writing was good. But I'm still not fond of Utsuge (Or close one here)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...