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Clephas' random VN thread


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Mmm... I finished the common route and all four heroine routes in just under nine hours.

Oh, I see. Thanks~

 

I may or may not be repeating myself here, but it'd be pretty nice to hear your thoughts on this one. It had it's fair share of cliches, but it was one of the cases where I think the later seasons managed to be better than the first ones. The pacing was pretty weird at the beginning, after all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished both Reminiscence games. 

 

First...  The original was a pretty high-quality work based 150 years (minimum) after the events of Akatsuki no Goei Tsumibukaki Shuumatsuron (though it isn't clear what the canon ending or story was).  The characters that return are

Kaito (though he is called something else), Kizuna, and Yuuki.  Apparently, at some point he had sex with Tae, as Kurayashiki Kazuha is his descendant (I rofled at that).

 

The protagonist starts as a washout who is working as a teacher at a girls' high school in the underground city of Hope Town, one of two such cities in the first game, the other being Dream Town.  The first game centers around the events surrounding and after the protagonist becoming a tokumukan, a type of negotiator that has a very high level of respect in the community. 

 

Overall, there are two things that you should grasp.  Shimazu Hidetaka (the protagonist), is not a superman like Kaito was, though he is incredibly intelligent.  He is also perverted and fairly open about it.  On the other side, he is very serious about his work. 

 

In the first game, there are five heroines: Nozomi, Rin (both secondary but not sub heroines), Aki, Accela (both primary but not true heroines), and Kizuna (the true heroine of the first game).  Nozomi's and Rin's paths are fairly straightforward, based on their positions in life (a statesman's daughter and an idol), but Aki's and Accela's are much more serious and twisted (Aki's in particular is extremely twisted, because of the screwed up relationship with her big brother, the protagonist).  Kizuna's route is basically centered around her position, and the resulting pressures that come with being who she is. 

 

The story overall is as high quality as the Akatsuki no Goei games, being frequently amusing and having surprisingly high quality narration. 

 

The second game both serves as a continuance from the main route's final split-off and a fandisc (it has after-stories for all the heroines).  The after-stories are generally good, though I found Aki's a bit annoying, considering it ignored the ending of her path in the original, choosing to just do something before the critical last events of that story.  The new story is somewhat short, with two new heroines: Kazuha (Tae from Akatsuki no Goei's descendant) and Suzuka (a heroine I can't reveal without spoilers).  In both cases, it is more about the central story and differing out comes, rather than just the heroines.  Suzuka would be considered the true heroine in this case, as her story is much longer and reveals a lot more about the central conflict of the second game.  However, I found the endings for this game somewhat less satisfying than those in the first one, especially Aki's and Accela's.  This is the writer's bad habit, apparently, but I still can't help but wish for a third game in the series, to bring something of a conclusion to the main character's story. 

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I'm actually reading Reminiscence at the moment as well. Finished Rin's and Nozomi's routes and I'm not really impressed at all so far. So far I've enjoyed Akatsuki no Goei much more, but I'm hoping it gets better in the other routes/second game. Does it?

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I'm actually reading Reminiscence at the moment as well. Finished Rin's and Nozomi's routes and I'm not really impressed at all so far. So far I've enjoyed Akatsuki no Goei much more, but I'm hoping it gets better in the other routes/second game. Does it?

Not really. There's Kaito x Ren side story in both Remi and Remi 2, which was quite good compared to main story, but Hidetaka routes are all awful. Aki and Accela were both utterly retarded. Kizuna could be good if Hidetaka wouldn't be Hidetaka and if it would have some kind of conclusion and ending.
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Not really. There's Kaito x Ren side story in both Remi and Remi 2, which was quite good compared to main story, but Hidetaka routes are all awful. Aki and Accela were both utterly retarded. Kizuna could be good if Hidetaka wouldn't be Hidetaka and if it would have some kind of conclusion and ending.

Ugh. :/ Well, I'm planning on finishing it up either way, but I might stay away from the sequel. It's a shame, I enjoyed AkaGoei a lot, but Remi has almost none of its charm.

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It's a shame, I enjoyed AkaGoei a lot, but Remi has almost none of its charm.

Same here.

I've kept reading up to Yamato route of Remi 2 hoping that it eventually gets better, but it didn't, so if you didn't enjoy Food Plant, Stalker and Auction cases, I advice to drop it.

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Same here.

I've kept reading up to Yamato route of Remi 2 hoping that it eventually gets better, but it didn't, so if you didn't enjoy Food Plant, Stalker and Auction cases, I advice to drop it.

I honestly only enjoyed the parts that didn't rely on politics too much in those cases, the circumstances surrounding the actual people and such - so yeah, it was only interesting at times. I keep waiting for some crazy battle of wits but save for some good moments in the last two cases of the common route, there weren't any.

 

Well, as I said, I will somehow finish the first game, since at least that whole past trauma deal the MC has going on keeps my interest, but it might be a bit hard.

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Finished Signal Heart by Purple Soft a few days ago and here are some thoughts.

 

Signal Hearts is a straight charage (almost a pure moege) where the protagonist ends up living in a girls' dorm after his house gets burned down.  The protagonist, of necessity, is of the 'donkan' archetype.  Overall... this game reminds me of why Purple Soft was so infamous for its tendency to 'fall just short' of making great games for the most part.  The individual heroine paths are long, with a single choice that splits them near the beginning of the game, with almost all unique text for their paths.  This is actually my favorite structure type... for games with great story.  For a game that is mostly relationship-forming, it can be a bit much though. 

 

The heroines are likeable and manage to fall just outside of modern archetypes (except for kokone, who is your average big-eating hanayoridango girl).  My favorite was Chisa, the seemingly mischievous manipulator of a senpai...

 

Who is this game suited for?  Since it is a charage with long routes, it is suited for people who like games mostly focused on the characters and heroines, rather than overt cuteness or story-telling.  It is not quite what I would call 'high' quality, but it is better than mediocre.  Unfortunately, it also fails to stand out in qualitative terms in my experience.  I give it about a ninety percent probability that I'll forget the entire game's story within two months, lol. 

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http://vndb.org/v423

 

I just finished this, another game by Purple Soft.  This one is a bit of a famous name amongst 'old hand' VN-readers.  It is literally the only truly great work Purple Soft made prior to Mirai Nostalgia, and it was responsible for people buying their games so much in the years that followed, in hopes of them producing another miracle.

 

I'm happy to say this game actually managed to fulfill the expectations I had for it.  As a non-Key nakige, it manages to press all the big buttons.  It has a protagonist with a tragic past, a dramatic reunion, and paths that run you through a meat-grinder of tear-jerker scenes and fear of loss before you get to a happy ending.  Since this is one of the famous 2004-2007 VNs that shaped the standards for the modern genre, I think those who are used to playing nakige will find it somewhat... familiar.  However, in this case, it actually works in its favor. 

 

I can honestly recommend this to anyone who wants a good nakige to play, that doesn't waste a lot of time on meaningless ichaicha before getting down to the meat of the heroine paths' plot (in other words, you don't have to endure a half dozen date scenes where the heroine and protagonist stick together before the story gets back on track). 

 

PS: This game is surprisingly long in terms of text... but I was on a roll after the first part of the game, so I was able to devour it in about two thirds of the time I normally would have.  This game doesn't have a true path (though Asuka is quite obviously the main heroine), despite there being a specific route order.  You have to play all the other paths first, before you can get Rika's path (which happens to be pretty good, for a path which was probably added on only when they realized they wanted a real onee-san heroine to liven up the mix). 

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Well, I just finished Atled (http://vndb.org/v1359) by Flat.  tbh, because this game has multiple protagonists, I automatically shoved it into my backlog after it came out, because I prefer a single protagonist in the story.  I picked this game out at random from my backlog yesterday and installed it... only to be surprised by how much I was engrossed by the story.

 

This is a story-focused (a title I use for VNs that are focused on the plot and don't fall into any of the usual VN archetypes) VN.  It is also a kinetic novel, made when Flat was still a doujin circle.  It was remade a while back, with new art and rewritten as well.  In this game, I was particularly impressed with the way they consistently drew my emotions out and made me empathize with the characters.  Normally, I only completely 'synchronize' with the characters three or four times during a given VN, but occasionally I run into VNs where I get pulled in completely, empathizing for their suffering and laughing with them.  This is one of those rare games.

 

To be honest, considering some of the things that happen to characters in this game, people who like moege and perfect happy ends might have trouble with this one.  They did a really good job with the cathartic scenes in this game, and they made you like the characters enough that their personal tragedies and little bits of happiness could touch your heart, without feeling surreal.  I do think they kind of forced the ending (I was totally cheering for an utsuge ending, but meh) but nonetheless, I felt more or less satisfied with it afterwards. 

 

I can recommend this game to someone who wants an interesting and emotional story and doesn't mind some mild tragedies being a part of the mix. 

 

The main reason I still burrow through my backlogs is because I run into games like this one, on occasion.

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http://vndb.org/v9790 Eigou Kaiki.

 

To be honest, I picked this from amongst a dozen choices by throwing darts at a dartboard with my eyes closed.  Needless to say, blind luck doesn't really provide much in the way of quality.  This game was made in 2004, when standards for basic VN plots were somewhat... lower than they are now.  This is definitely an early attempt at a chuuni VN (Tsukihime basically defined the genre, and there are a lot of half-assed attempts at imitating its atmosphere floating out there between 2001-2006).  The sad part is that the actual violence part of the game is pretty nice... but because the story is so truncated, it feels surreal and the characters' deaths don't really touch the heart.  One of the big differences between ten years ago and now is that now is that back then VN quality varied a lot more (tons of shitty games, plus occasional masterpieces like YU-NO and Tsukihime) and today's games tend to stay within a certain more narrow sphere of quality. 

 

Games like this, where there is an attempt at chuuni that falls short due to a lack of storywriting capability, were pretty common ten years ago.  In fact, most of the action VNs I've played from that area have been like that, hahaha.

 

Anyway, I honestly can't recommend this, sadly.  Hope my next random VN is one I can recommend to others.

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http://vndb.org/v9913

 

Izayoi Fortuna is the latest entry from my backlog.  Despite the tags, I don't really think this game could be called a nakige, though it does have its cathartic moments.  The protagonist is a homeless traveler who arrives in Gojou, only to collapse and wake up to find his head resting on the lap of a young girl in a nun's habit.

 

First... this game is really, really long.  The common route alone lasts about seventeen hours and the heroine routes add another seven to eight hours each.  Considering that there are four heroine routes... that's almost fifty hours right there.  I really recommend playing this game in installments, because playing it like I did left me feeling a bit tired.  While Shigure and Kona, the two heroines initially available, are fairly normal types (Kona being the rare intelligent genkikko and Shigure being your standard tsundere), Otome is a bit over the top, even for a deredere heroine, and Lucia is pretty much a saint. 

 

They did a really good job with the character dynamics, though the game probably would have been better off if they'd cut out about a third of the common route and another third of each of the heroine routes (there are a ton of daily life scenes in there, though there are almost no ichaicha scenes).  The game is unusual in that the actual lovey-dovey stuff generally doesn't come up until the main conflict of each route is resolved, which struck me as an interesting way of doing things, since it keeps the romance from taking over the story.  In exchange, the actual romantic episodes will seem truncated by moege-fan standards, and I think a lot of people who want pure-happy endings will object to the way they conclude Kona's story. 

 

Generally speaking, the story of each heroine route gets pretty shadowed (I won't go so far as to say dark, but it edges around it, especially in Lucia's route).  Lucia's route is especially dramatic toward the end, and she fights for the throne of the game's cutest heroine with Shigure, when it comes to the falling in love part  (I say cute, but in this case, the Japanese word hohoemashii seems like the most appropriate one). 

 

Now, what is my final impression of this game?  Very high quality writing, an excellent scenario, with perhaps too much everyday life padding inserted throughout the game.  The game's length and large amount of dialog-free narration will make it a bit too much of a hurdle for beginners, though someone used to cutting their teeth on games like Grisaia in Japanese shouldn't have much problem.  I can recommend this for people who want a story outside the usual bounds of mostly non-violent VNs (not set in a school, lol) and for those who like stories about ghosts and demons. 

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http://vndb.org/v9913

 

Izayoi Fortuna is the latest entry from my backlog.  Despite the tags, I don't really think this game could be called a nakige, though it does have its cathartic moments.  The protagonist is a homeless traveler who arrives in Gojou, only to collapse and wake up to find his head resting on the lap of a young girl in a nun's habit.

This is actually looks like something I want to try. Being looking for a something lighter-hearted but with substance, and Grisia isn't meshing well with me at the moment.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just finished Baldr SKY Dive1 (http://vndb.org/v1306) as part of my 'latter Baldr Series marathon'.  Two things... I have played Baldr Force, and I did enjoy it, to an extent.  The other thing is that the general outline of the series is really hard to grasp if you haven't at least played Baldr Force.  Baldr Force is set before this game in the timeline, and events in the game are referenced in this one.

 

Another issue is the battle system... this game's battle system is a bit too fast-paced for your average rpg-player or VN-reader.  Why?  because trying to play it with a keyboard is hell on the fingers, even if you reconfigure the buttons.  Use a controller or you'll have serious pain later on.  Tons of button-mashing, and the combos are all about timing, so you are screwed if you don't have an easy way to press the various buttons during battle without missing.

 

The story of this game is actually pretty good... and it is definitely emotional.  However, I'll also say the world it is based on is really callous toward the loss of life, and your average VN reader who goes in expecting things to turn out perfectly happy is going to get a shock to their system.  Before playing this game, ask yourself 'can I see the worst in humankind and not get so down in the dumps that I fail to enjoy the game as a whole?'. 

 

The protagonist, Kadokura Kou, is a freelance mercenary who gets amnesia from a logic bomb while attempting to hack a secret facility from the net.  Depending on your outlook, the Baldr world in this era is either a net utopia or a dystopia.  Sensation, not just sight and hearing, is perfectly imitated in the virtual realm, and people escape from their daily problems by spending all their time on the net.  Mercenaries specializing in net security and its opposite, such as Kou, use virtual mechs to fight one another and viruses throughout the world. 

 

Since the background story of Kou and his friends and how it is revealed is a good chunk of this game, I'll refrain from going into any details.  However, I will say that it is a classic 'happy past>horrible past event>dark present' progression that will be pretty familiar to those used to this kind of thing.  The story is frequently gut-wrenching, and you'll find it easy to empathize with the characters if you aren't put off by what they do for a living.  The protagonist... is a bit over-sentimental for a mercenary, which is something of a downer, at least for me.  Worse, the amnesiac thing gets old pretty fast, especially when it makes him act like a totally out of touch idiot, especially when it comes to knowledge of recent history.  Nonetheless, the story is compelling enough that you should find plenty to enjoy.  The downside?  There really is plenty to enjoy.  This game is pretty long (it took me about thirty-two hours to complete all three heroines' good endings), so those without patience are probably doomed... lol

 

Overall, this is a good choice for people who want a fast-paced action-gameplay/VN.  It comes from a famous, long-standing series from an established company... though its games are definitely an acquired taste at times.

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Great review. I had Baldr Sky on my list for a long time already. I also played very first two games in the series, Baldrhead and Baldr Fist none of the impressed me. Baldr Fist is more of a tournament fighter with a story, you select of the characters in the beginning and play their story as they fight in the arena Badrhead is much more story focused about some guy collecting junk and robot parts and sells them, or something like thatI don't remember exactly.

 

Baldr Bullet is probably the first really good Baldr game with a good story.

 

Anyway, are we going to get Baldr Sky 2 review soon too? You better hurry, I hear a certain propeller game is coming soon ;)

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The historical events in Force get referenced in Skydive on numerous occasions... and if nothing else, it is much easier to understand what people are talking about (in the cases where they don't infodump on you) in the VNs if you have the knowledge from Force.

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