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Clephas' VN of the month


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Just finished Love Revenge (http://vndb.org/v14763), my second VN from July's releases. 

 

Now, this game is by the new developer De@r, which apparently doesn't have any obvious connections with the other companies in the business... so naturally, I didn't have any expectations one way or the other when I went in. 

 

I wasn't blown away by the results... but I was pleasantly surprised.  Love Revenge is a surprisingly high-quality charage, which uses a storytelling structure where four of the five heroines are paired up in a single path (Honoka/Rin and Senri/Renka).  This makes a good deal of sense within the context of the story, so I can honestly say the idea paid off.  The great weakness of this is that the actual split for those individual heroines (with the exception of Leal, who has her own, individual path) is very very late in the game and there is almost no time between the romantic link and the ending events of the game.  However, this can also be taken as a positive, as I didn't have time to get bored or exhausted, and the endgame drama was interesting enough that I managed to enjoy myself right up until the end.  The downside is that that this game is, when it comes down to it, really just a charage.  Don't expect an overwhelmingly awesome story.  Expect simple difficulties with happy results (except Senri's ending, which is technically a normal ending, rather than a good one) that are resolved in record time, with people coming to a conclusion rather more quickly than rl people would. 

 

Another thing about this game is its large cast... there are five heroines, with another twelve characters in addition to them.  Considering the cast of most VNs is about eight or nine characters in total, this is actually very high, and they managed to develop a pretty good character dynamic between the characters.

 

This is a great game to play if you want something light and easy between heavier VNs, or if you just have no taste for something with a darker atmosphere.  I don't recommend this for someone who wants a ton of ichaicha or dating (the speed with which the story concludes after romantic linkage sort of precludes that), but for someone who wants a charage where you don't have to endure an interminable 'dating' period... it is an excellent choice.

 

PS:  In answer to the question above, I temporarily delayed playing Hoshi Ori because it allows you to name the protagonist, which was the cause of my starting that thread on nameable protagonists.  It is one of my pet peeves, and I needed time to calm down, lol.  There was no way I could have done a proper review of it if I had continued to play right then and there.

 

edit:  A few extra comments...  A big issue with this is that the way they structured the story is just so different.  In most charage, you have 'common route>individual heroines>fall in love/date (this going on for some time)>drama>epilogue' as the basic storytelling structure.  This one has 'common route>paired heroines>mild drama>fall in love>individual split>mild drama>epilogue' as its basic structure.  Because of this, it is a significantly different ride in some ways than what your average moe-gamer is going to be used to.  Not only that, but it definitely makes the endgame feel somewhat truncated, because you are accustomed to a long dating period between the fall in love and end drama. 

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Just finished Love Revenge (http://vndb.org/v14763), my second VN from July's releases. 

 

Now, this game is by the new developer De@r, which apparently doesn't have any obvious connections with the other companies in the business... so naturally, I didn't have any expectations one way or the other when I went in. 

 

I wasn't blown away by the results... but I was pleasantly surprised.  Love Revenge is a surprisingly high-quality charage, which uses a storytelling structure where four of the five heroines are paired up in a single path (Honoka/Rin and Senri/Renka).  This makes a good deal of sense within the context of the story, so I can honestly say the idea paid off.  The great weakness of this is that the actual split for those individual heroines (with the exception of Leal, who has her own, individual path) is very very late in the game and there is almost no time between the romantic link and the ending events of the game.  However, this can also be taken as a positive, as I didn't have time to get bored or exhausted, and the endgame drama was interesting enough that I managed to enjoy myself right up until the end.  The downside is that that this game is, when it comes down to it, really just a charage.  Don't expect an overwhelmingly awesome story.  Expect simple difficulties with happy results (except Senri's ending, which is technically a normal ending, rather than a good one) that are resolved in record time, with people coming to a conclusion rather more quickly than rl people would. 

 

Another thing about this game is its large cast... there are five heroines, with another twelve characters in addition to them.  Considering the cast of most VNs is about eight or nine characters in total, this is actually very high, and they managed to develop a pretty good character dynamic between the characters.

 

This is a great game to play if you want something light and easy between heavier VNs, or if you just have no taste for something with a darker atmosphere.  I don't recommend this for someone who wants a ton of ichaicha or dating (the speed with which the story concludes after romantic linkage sort of precludes that), but for someone who wants a charage where you don't have to endure an interminable 'dating' period... it is an excellent choice.

 

PS:  In answer to the question above, I temporarily delayed playing Hoshi Ori because it allows you to name the protagonist, which was the cause of my starting that thread on nameable protagonists.  It is one of my pet peeves, and I needed time to calm down, lol.  There was no way I could have done a proper review of it if I had continued to play right then and there.

 

edit:  A few extra comments...  A big issue with this is that the way they structured the story is just so different.  In most charage, you have 'common route>individual heroines>fall in love/date (this going on for some time)>drama>epilogue' as the basic storytelling structure.  This one has 'common route>paired heroines>mild drama>fall in love>individual split>mild drama>epilogue' as its basic structure.  Because of this, it is a significantly different ride in some ways than what your average moe-gamer is going to be used to.  Not only that, but it definitely makes the endgame feel somewhat truncated, because you are accustomed to a long dating period between the fall in love and end drama. 

 

 

 

Love Revenge kinda got my attention when I read in the description about the protag's trauma with dating and girls(I have a weakspot for protags with traumas and bad pasts), but  is this setting  used well in the story or is it thrown out the window pretty quick?

 

 

 

edit: about Hoshi ori protag, I even forgot he was nameable because the characters say his name just fine (I left the default name) xd

although theres also alot of "anata"

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I figured I'd write out an apology to those who are interested in Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai... to be blunt, I couldn't engross myself in it.

 

To be clear, this game is relatively high quality... but I can't get into it for the same reason I didn't enjoy many other seishun-romance... it relies too much on the old romantic tropes, I've yet to come upon a scene that I didn't predict in advance, and it plays to me like one long deja-vu moment. 

 

Understand, tropes themselves aren't a problem... I just don't enjoy seishun romance in the first place.  It reminds me of the reasons why I didn't enjoy Konosora, despite the game itself being relatively high quality.  The fact that Hoshi Ori is also a pretty long game makes it unbearable for me (if this were a shorter game, I'd just have played it through and moved on).  So, I'll be dropping this game and shoving it into my backlog, along with a lot of similar games, lol. 

 

For those who wanted my thoughts on it, I'll say that the characters aren't the problem, nor are the visual aspects.  I simply can't take the excessive focus on the romantic aspects.  If this game were humorous or seriously emotionally moving (aside from romance) I would have continued... but it isn't. 

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For those who want to know my thoughts on those paths of Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai that I did complete... I'll just give you my assessment.

 

First, the game itself uses high-quality visuals, albeit in a slightly more 'mature' style than is the norm, which distinguishes it from moege.  The eye style is identical to that used in Lovesick Puppies and an evolution of the one used in Yurikago yori Tenshi Made (a slightly more metallic look to the iris and more distinct pupils).  The music is good... albeit lacking in any stand-out tracks. 

 

First, understand that if it weren't for the fact that my tolerance for romance is about 20% of the average moege (in other words, if more than 20% of an average-length moege is romance, I start getting bored), which means that Hoshi Ori was way above my tolerance, with more than 60% of the game being romance.  Nonetheless, I played through Yukimura's and Rikka's paths.  I was impressed with the length and detail of the after stories, though they were as packed with romantic episodes as the main game, which made them stressful for me.  If you were to ask me whether I liked the characters... the only heroines I liked in the game were the two I picked out and maybe Sora, the others being slightly outside of my psychological strike zone.  If I had to use a word for the heroine paths... it would be 微笑ましい.  The heroines are good girls, for the most part, and if it weren't for how boring I find drawn-out (normal) romantic developments, I could have enjoyed it more. 

 

Now for a slighly less subjective outlook... do I think other people would like this game?  The answer is yes.  For those who enjoy romance stories with young people making up the cast, this is a great choice.  The fact that I despise this kind of thing doesn't make it drivel... in fact, it is just the reverse.  This isn't puerile, ridiculous, or idiotic like a lot of American romance stories are (having helped write several during my early career, I should know), but it is most definitely 'young' romance.  The characters are mostly struggling with problems unique to youths and the entire story is definitely most relevant to a young person, at least for the main route (the after-story being a different bag of tricks altogether).  For those who use Konosora as a reference point for seishun romance, you should know that this is several levels of quality higher, but far more focused on the romantic aspects.  The fact that what makes this game a possible kamige are the reasons why I can't stand it is just an overwhelming irony, lol.

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Well... I finished GIB... and the only thing I can say is that, for better or for worse, this is a moege.  I don't mean a charage and I don't mean a nakige... I mean a moege.  While some of Whirlpool's relatively recent VNs have made attempts at having a real story (Suzukaze/Maikaze and Lunaris Filia had pretty high-quality stories), this game reminds me more of their earlier works, like Sevens.  It is extremely moe-friendly and lacking any significant character depth or a strong story to serve as a backbone.  The spoofs on various Western sci-fi movies and series (a 'Gray' alien with a lightsaber calling itself a Juddi made me rofl) were pretty funny, but I honestly thought 'three in a row, just when is Whirlpool going to go back to what it started with Suzukaze?' by the end of this VN.  The last few games by this company were increasingly... light.  So, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when a VN that is pretty much just a spoof on Men in Black would be full of weird jokes and silly characters... but I really had hoped there would be something interesting underneath, silly me.

 

Still, if you want a plain apple pie moege... nobody does it better than Whirlpool.  The reason?  Whirlpool knows better than to fix what isn't broken when it comes to the moe aspects of their art style and characters.  Their fans want cute girls, cheap romance, and slightly out-there settings, so that is what they get.  The fact that two of their games strayed from the path and actually had strong plots only serves to highlight what they specialize in, looking at it from an objective point of view.

 

Did I like this game?  Hard to say... it was a bit of fun.  However, I didn't feel like I'd gained anything by playing it.  If I knew then what I knew now, would I have played this for VN of the Month?  Probably not.  I probably would have held off to when I needed some cheap laughter or uncomplicated moege romance I could be sure wouldn't make me want to puke sand. 

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Almost forgot.

 

VN of the Month for July 2014:  AstralAir no Shiroki Towa

 

Romantic Recommendation: Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai (just because I don't want it doesn't mean other people won't)

 

August's releases include Sougeki no Jaeger, which is Propeller's (my second favorite company) newest game... I can't wait to play it.  Too bad I have to wait fifteen days for it, lol.

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Thanks for posting your thoughts on Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai, Clephas.. Here's my two cents on the game..

I am a SUCKER for these realistic youth romance, slice of life, dramatic type of stories.

Its a chara-ge so not all heroines are to your liking but i have to agree with you Rikka, Yukimura and Sora routes were the best...

 

The protagonist is not a hetare too so that is a major plus. Unique thing about this game is the "After" story so that was interesting.

The music, graphics, romance, characters, voice acting lol just everything was high quality. Read it if you like a feel-good VN.

 

I am not surprised Astral Air is your VN on the month. I'm playing it currently (finished Ochiba and Ichika's routes)

and i am VERY impressed with it.. Can't wait to read your complete review on it.

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Thanks for posting your thoughts on Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai, Clephas.. Here's my two cents on the game..

I am a SUCKER for these realistic youth romance, slice of life, dramatic type of stories.

Its a chara-ge so not all heroines are to your liking but i have to agree with you Rikka, Yukimura and Sora routes were the best...

 

The protagonist is not a hetare too so that is a major plus. Unique thing about this game is the "After" story so that was interesting.

The music, graphics, romance, characters, voice acting lol just everything was high quality. Read it if you like a feel-good VN.

 

I am not surprised Astral Air is your VN on the month. I'm playing it currently (finished Ochiba and Ichika's routes)

and i am VERY impressed with it.. Can't wait to read your complete review on it.

 

 

Just finished Astral Air and I must say it is the best game I played this year. However, this game should be played without comparing too much to Favorite's previous games (Hoshimemo and Iroseka) and you will enjoy it. The only regret I had is that a certain character doesn't have a route, but since this is Favorite, there is a good chance that there may be an FD for it. Rui is the most interesting sub-character ever.

 

P.S. You should consider changing the image of the signature of yours, or you may end up spoiling people who haven't played the game yet.

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Just finished Astral Air and I must say it is the best game I played this year. However, this game should be played without comparing too much to Favorite's previous games (Hoshimemo and Iroseka) and you will enjoy it. The only regret I had is that a certain character doesn't have a route, but since this is Favorite, there is a good chance that there may be an FD for it. Rui is the most interesting sub-character ever.

 

P.S. You should consider changing the image of the signature of yours, or you may end up spoiling people who haven't played the game yet.

 

 

oh yeah sorry lol i haven't even reached her route yet too xD

If there's an FD i hope they give Hinata a route too.. She's hilarious.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dekinai Watashi ga Kurikaesu http://vndb.org/v15166 wasn't my first choice for a VN to play for this month.  Unfortunately, the mess with Nyaa means I probably won't be able to review the one I most want to for a while.

 

The first three routes of this VN are high-quality drama/charage.  This game uses the structure where there is only minimal contact with the other heroines during a heroine's path, and the path tends to be mostly self-contained.  Yume's path is pretty good, with a lot of drama toward the end and a rather hilarious ending.  Miki's path... feels like a pure love-comedy at times.  Airi's path is a straightforward 'do your best so you don't have any regrets' path.  I'll be blunt, though... except for Shino, these heroines' paths are short.  I was a bit startled at how short, in fact.  The fact that they manage to get a decent amount of content into that short path says a lot of good things about the writer and a lot of bad things about the company's willingness to spend for quality. 

 

Shino's route is a classic konakana style utsuge route.  It is meant to make you cry, and there is no absolute happy ending to make it a nakige.  It did make me cry... but if you were to ask me whether I was satisfied, you'd probably get a big no out of me.  This path is an obvious reverse of konakana in some senses, with lower-quality writing and a plot that is sped up a little too much.  While the Japanese say imitation is the highest form of flattery, I honestly think that reusing so much of konakana's central conflict as the basis for Shino is a bit too... obvious.  There is a reason why no one has managed to match konakana using the same themes, after all...

 

So what are my overall thoughts?  If it had just been four charage routes, I probably would have given it guarded praise, for the quality of the heroine stories despite the short length.  However, Shino's path was ruined for me by the failure of the writer to give proper impact to the story he was using.  I will say that you will cry for Shino... but my standards for utsuge are pretty high.  Unfortunately, her path didn't quite achieve a high enough level of quality to match those standards.

 

That said, if you are able to come into the VN without expectations, Shino's path will have significant impact, with Riku's actions during the first half being enormously frustrating and the second half being one long cryfest.  The score I gave it on vndb reflects my objective assessment of the VN (my personal assessment would have had it around a 6.9), 

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One last comment on Dekinai Watashi... what I specifically didn't like is that the theme of Shino's route is so similar to the theme of konakana, yet carried out in a more careless manner.  One of the great things about a good utsuge is enjoying the levels of suffering the characters go through vicariously, and while Shino's route had a lot of that near the end of both the first and second halves of the story, it nonetheless seemed watered down, because I couldn't help but compare it to Konakana. 

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I just finished Primal Hearts, by Marmalade.  One thing you should know about Marmalade is that previous to Hoshi no ne Sanctuary, they were primarily a nukige and borderline nukige company.  As a result, you shouldn't expect anything spectacular out of them in terms of plot.

 

An example of this problem is the protagonist who, like all Marmalade protags, is fairly capable but somehow only shows that capability in relatively minor ways during the story (probably because they don't want him to outshine the heroines).  Considering that Marmalade usually chooses to escape that stupid stereotype about the 'normal guy' protagonist on a regular basis, it startled me that they failed utterly to make him shine as a round, individual character.  Yes, he's capable.  In a pinch, he'll save the day, thus giving general plausibility to the fact that the heroines fall in love with him.  He's also kind-hearted and giving... and donkan as hell.

 

The heroines are pretty good, with two ojousama-heroines, an iyashikei tactician, and futsuukko that doesn't really seem normal because of all the expressions they give her. 

 

Generally speaking, this is a feel-good charage, with what little drama there is solved with relatively little trouble (I was a bit flummoxed by how little trouble there turned out to be in the ojousama paths).  It is also fairly hilarious, with a strong common route and no real excess of icharabu outside of Yuzuki's route.  I will say that the girls all dere to a ridiculous extent, so be prepared for lots of adorable heroines in love on the individual routes. 

 

One complaint I have, other than the protagonist's somewhat under-performing role in the VN, is the lack of a strong afterstory for the heroines.  There are h-scenes (the art in this VN is ridiculously good, especially the h-art), there is ichaicha, but there is no solid 'what did they do after the story was over' falling action in the epilogue.  Since this is the biggest pet peeve I have about moege and the subgenres of moege that I have (it leaves me feeling cheated every time), it really put me off. 

 

Overall, this is a great choice if you just want something light, with a decent cast of characters and plenty of laughs and smiles.  Don't go in expecting anything really serious though, lest you be disappointed. 

 

Edit:  What I mean by under-performing is that one moment there is a crisis, the next moment it is solved, with most of the process just cut out with no effort to write about it from the protagonist's point of view beyond a few short lines.

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I just finished Sougeki no Jaeger.

 

To be honest, I can't fully express my disappointment with Propeller right now... they reused the music from previous games (something they've never done before); reused the buggy version of their game engine from Hakugin, despite wide-spread fan-hate; and they failed to make any of the characters attractive enough to really engross oneself in the game.  The only really impressive aspects were the ones copy-pasted from previous VNs (Kajimae's tachie is drawn from one of the BB sub-characters, all of the four girls are based visually off of Suzu or Tanya, Misato's tachie is based off of a sub-character from Evolimit, the sound effects are copied straight from their previous games, and the music is a weird mix drawn from all four of their classic-kamige). 

 

What makes it worse is that there is no substance to this VN... it is shorter than a moege.  It is literally over - all four paths and the common route - in under thirteen hours.  What makes it more painful is that every one of those heroines held enormous potential... if they'd just been placed in a less lackluster setting, story, and with a more impressive protagonist (protagonist is a flat character, for the most part, as he doesn't really change significantly during the story).

 

I honestly don't know what the people at Propeller were thinking with this VN... this is two complete failures in a row, a depressing reality for a fan of the company. 

 

I refuse to recommend this VN to anyone, unfortunately.

 

Edit:  For those of you who might be surprised at my reaction... I did say I am far more unforgiving with kusoge from my favorite genres than I am with kusoge amongst moege, lol

 

Edit2:  A few more details... the antagonist is... flatter than the protag, which is hard to do, since the protagonist is basically the archetypical 'student turns warrior in three days' protagonist (a trope that is really hard to use properly in the first place and only rarely works well).  I don't think I've ever seen an antagonist with so little depth in a chuuni vn...  The basic plot also suffers from excessive simplicity, and the routes suffer from significant inconsistency, covered with half-hearted efforts at presenting the antagonist as a whimsical evil monster. 

 

Edit3:  It is rare for me to agree with the Japanese reviewers so completely... lol

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I was pretty disappointed too....

 

I had a bad feeling it was gonna turn out like this when I saw the scenario writer they used..

 

 

like clephas says many character designs are rips from previous vns

 

especially Kaho from this one is a clear rip from  Tonya from ayakashibito

not only in design but the whole route is a slightly altered copy paste from  Tonya's route

 

I did like the battle music though

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I just finished Satsukoi, the last VN I plan on playing for this month (at least for now). 

 

I'll be blunt... this one blew everything else from this month out of the water, even if I were to cut out my love for this kind of plot and setting.  Like it says on the vndb page, this VN is a tragic love story, mixed with Alcot's usual flair for comedic character interactions. 

 

This is one of the few VNs that can't be put completely into a 'ge' category, though I was tempted to call it an utsuge.  At times it feels like chuuni, at others like a simple love story, and at others it feels like an utsuge or a nakige.   I was amazed at the level of quality they put into such a relatively short VN (it took me roughly twelve hours to finish it, though that was mostly because of the degree to which I was engrossed in the story).  Don't expect any truly 'good' endings in this VN... they are all bittersweet and painful for those who love the characters. 

 

The setting will probably disgust a lot of people, for reasons that become obvious right before the end of the common route.  Yes,

there is 'cannibalism' in this VN (though it is questionable whether you could call a non-human humanoid killing and eating humans to be cannibalism), and it is the most obvious of the central themes of the story, though it is also about tragic love, the harshness of the world, and a number of other things. 

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