Archive for the ‘Visual Novels’ Category

h1

World of Flesh

May 20, 2010

Each night, I would go to sleep wishing that this was just a nightmare
I no longer recognize the world
There was no place to run
No place for me to call home
It was impossible to come to terms with this new world
Until I met Saya
The sole thing of beauty
Amidst this rotten, putrid world of flesh

Medical student Sasaki Fuminori is involved in a near-fatal traffic accident. Both of his parents are killed, and he survives only thanks to a fictitious neurosurgical procedure. Unfortunately, it is still in its experimental stages, and later proves to have some extremely unsightly side effects, which include temporary blindness. Upon regaining his sense of sight, Fuminori is able to see that the world he now lives in is not the world he once knew. Surrounded by walls of pulsating flesh, being fed bowls of festering innards and bile, and tended to by walking piles of rotting meat quickly leave Fuminori on wits’ end. As he lies in his grotesque little world, contemplating suicide, he is shocked to see a face looking at him from the side of his bed. The face of a cute, pre-adolescent human girl. Overcome with emotion, Fuminori begs her to stay and converse with him, which she does.

Introducing herself as Saya, the girl continues by saying that she lives in the hospital, and only roams around at night to search for her father. Fuminori practically forgets about his cognitive disorder until the time comes for her to leave. He implores her to come visit him again, and she does not object. Weeks go by, and the date of Fuminori’s discharge draws closer. He sees no joy in it, as he knows he will be living alone in a world that is terrifying to him only. When Saya visits that night, he asks her if she would leave the hospital and live with him, when the time came. Uncertain, Saya leaves. He does not see her again, even on the day of his release. Distraught at the bleak future he sees in his life, Fuminori returns to his house to find Saya already there waiting for him.

Created in 2003 by Nitroplus, Saya no Uta does well to follow their trend of dark and depressing stories. It is labeled as an utsuge: a story that is aimed at depressing the reader as there is no happy end, no help for the characters, and no hope. This is debatable, because I didn’t really feel all that depressed after reading it. I think I was too busy being surprised at how short it was, and at how lame one of the endings turned out to be. There were a couple simple questions that, had they been answered, would have rounded things out a little better, but it was still a very satisfying read.

In case you haven’t gotten the picture yet, Saya no Uta is not a your typical go-fornicate-with-women visual novel (nor will you find any of those reviewed or mentioned on LoL). It’s still 18+, however, so be wary of the lolitastic loliness. Or don’t.

There is practically no use of sprites in Saya no Uta, which is a shame because I really love the rough look they have. It gives them more of a hand drawn feel, as opposed to many of these other digitally rendered ones I see nowadays. The above screen cap kind of obscures them, but it would defy its purpose if I hid the text box. Instead of using sprites, Nitroplus was content with making an obscene amount of event CG, and using them instead. This is nicer in a way, because there are no recycled sprites you’ve already seen 20 times before popping up in every scene. Another nice thing I see as being fairly common in CG laden VNs is how the protagonist usually has a face, whereas in sprite-filled VNs he or she commonly does not.

Some of the backgrounds actually seem to be done in 3D CG, not solely by hand. They were glaringly out of place at first, but when they’re used with people in them, it fits quite well.

Now the voices themselves fit the characters rather well, but more than once I found myself thinking it would have been better without voice acting at all. These thoughts usually surfaced in fight scenes, or when people were supposed to be yelling and screaming. It was far too relaxed and indifferent, didn’t sound right at all.

The music is nothing special. I’m sure ZIZZ STUDIO did their best, but honestly what kind of music can you use to make justice to the situation(s) presented? You’ve got your creepy guitar solos and haunting lullabies, but in my opinion none of the tracks actually capture the spirit of Saya no Uta. The song below got stuck in my head for a couple of days, and since it was the only one I guess it just deserves the spot.

Sorry, they were out of Corn Flakes. I bought a Soul Caliber instead.

I gave Saya no Uta an 8/10. Although the idea and plot line were good, it almost seemed like they would forget they were writing a story every now and then. There were an unnecessary amount of sex scenes for my taste, and some of them were crammed into the most awkward and unpredictable spots. As long as you know how to use the skip key (or you’re into that kind of thing), gung ho.

Advertisements
h1

The Clown Dances

May 13, 2010

At the edge of my vision
Since the time the city crumbled
Since the time this city of Inganock broke
In this Fantastic City that none speak of
The Clown dances.

10 years ago the city of Inganock started to change. Ever since, things began to distort and mutate, until scarcely anything was left as it once was. Few people still look human, and those that do have mutated internally to compensate. Gii is an ex-medical student who, after severe mental mutations, can see people’s health as a string of code. Injuries, illnesses and diseases are represented by faults or errors in said code, which Gii can correct without too much effort. Every day he goes out and searches for patients, commonly forsaking payment and treating people in the poorer districts of Inganock.

Walking home one day, Gii sees a Behemoth making off with a young girl. Noticing that the Fantastic Mutant is under the influence of a new drug, Gii decides to step in. Knowing fully well that Behemoths are known for their ferocity and strength, Gii tries to reason with the man, but only succeeds in having most of his torso crushed before being rescued by a friend. The young girl refuses to disclose any information of herself, aside from her name, so Gii invites her to stay with him until he can find out where in Inganock it is she came from.

Sekien no Inganock -What a Beautiful People- (what a beautiful grammar) is a magnificent steampunk/fantasy tale. The company that produced it, Liar-Soft, also seems to have made other novels in the same kind of setting, but sadly it doesn’t seem like any of them are translated into English. Now I cannot emphasis this enough, but Sekien no Inganock has been one of the best reads of my life, paper and visual novels alike. It would have easily swept up first place, but there was one thing that, in my eyes, bogged it down. The story makes frequent use of certain phrases and scenes, and even though it has relevance to the plot, the consistent repetition is not something I approve of. This is just me being picky, though, and I’m sure there are plenty of people that wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

Be warned that this visual novel IS rated 18+, so all you kiddies who can’t handle the occasional sex scene should go watch a Disney movie or something.

The art is quite beautiful, and although I don’t really like the look of a couple of the sprites, there’s no denying that they’re wonderfully drawn and colored. The backgrounds are dark and fantastical, and normally give off a steampunk vibe that makes them fit perfectly. As you may be able to see in the above screenshot, there are two different types of sprites. There are the bigger mug shots, which are usually used by principle character, and then there are the smaller full body shots. The smaller sprites are normally used for reoccurring minor characters, but are also used when representing major characters that are, say, walking. There are plenty of event CG this time around, and unlike the sprites, there is not a single one I can complain about.

Now here is a unique little addition to visual novels as I know them. The Inner Voices system is a mini game of sorts, which allow you to hear the inner thoughts of many of the presently known characters, as well as sometimes those you haven’t met yet. It isn’t limited to characters alone, however, as the arm and the mask actually tell you things about the city itself. It was really kind of neat to learn random details about Inganock that, although they didn’t always directly apply to the core of the plot, just seemed to make the place more round and dynamic. More than anything, the IV scenes prevent any characters within them from being static or flat, which doesn’t matter too much because I didn’t consider any of them flat or static in the first place.

The voice acting in Sekien no Inganock is rather strange. It’s not that it is bad, far from it, but they only added voice acting to certain dialogue. After having voices for half a chapter, it feels odd when all of a sudden the characters just stop. Kind of leaves you hanging. Whenever there is voice acting, though, it’s pretty decent. In retrospect, they should have pulled the voices from the sexual intercourse and added them elsewhere. Not like they’re saying an awful lot.

The soundtrack is pretty sweet, though with only 13 tracks (excluding the OP and ED) you’re obviously going to hear the same song a couple times over. Below is my (and apparently most people’s) favorite tune. The first scene in which this song plays had me basking in the epic.

I’m now almost positive that learning Japanese would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, because if I knew it I would NOT. STOP. READING. There are too many awesome-looking books out there that require moon rune knowledge to read, so I think I’ll pass on studying Nihongo for now. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve successfully failed at studying it for the last year, ensures my safety.

I gave this a 9/10 because there’s no option for 9.999 on VNDB. Such a shame. Good read, decent length, and definitely a favorite. Make sure to rest your eyes every once in a while, as reading on a monitor for long amounts of time kind of kills them.

This novel is not free to download. Do what you gotta do.

h1

What Do You Think About The Planetarium?

April 6, 2010

That beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter when.
All the stars in the all sky are waiting for you.
What do you think about the planetarium?

Humanity has (as usual) left the world demolished after a third world war. The protagonist is what is known as a Junker, a scavenger who travels from ruin to ruin in hopes of finding pre-war goods. Making his way to a city that has been abandoned almost 30 years, he is surprised to find a robot on the top floor of what he originally thinks is a camouflaged military facility.

The robot believes him to be a customer, and treats him as such. Though he quickly gets annoyed at her constant chattering, he soon learns that the building is but a simple department store, the top floor being a planetarium. After witnessing a failed attempt at an astronomical presentation, the protagonist decides to stay and attempt to repair the projector, a machine that hasn’t been touched in 30 years.

Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Little Planet~ (unofficial English translation title) is the 4th release of Key, commonly known as “that-Japanese-company-that-produces-visual-novels-that-are-supposed-to-make-you-cry.” It differs slightly from their other titles, as there are no choices for the reader to make as they go through the story, nor is it 18+. It’s also significantly shorter, which is really a shame because it is quite good. I hate to admit it, but this is also the first time I’ve been all “SO MOE~!!!”, though only slightly.

Click to enlarge.

There aren’t many event CG, but seeing as the game is fairly short it doesn’t matter. The sprites are wonderful, by the way, and more than make up for the lack of CG. This is one of the first times I’ve taken a huge notice to the sprites while I read, perhaps because of how well it matches the text.

The music in Planetarian is just as excellent as the story, and fits it perfectly. There are a total of 8 songs, but I think a couple of them were based off the same thing as I can hear similar melodies. Great scenes are turned even better by the matching music, and the later mentioned manly tears could very well have been caused by said deadly duo. Below is my personal favorite, which evoked the same feeling of awe in me as that of the protagonist in the scene it was played.

I have not yet cried after reading something, but by the end of Planetarian I was pretty close. I would describe it as more of a ‘manly eye watering/tears’ sort of thing, though. Please refer to Figure A. if you are confused.

Figure A.

I gave this a 9/10 simply because it was too short. It’s the most horrible reason I can think of, but I was just left so IMPACTED I really would have liked it to be longer.

Sadly it is not free, so I am unable/unwilling to post a download link. You know what to do.

h1

Jouka no Monshou

April 3, 2010

Jouka no Monshou is a short “fanfiction” Visual Novel written by Gen Urobuchi, whom some of you may recognize as the author of Saya no Uta. It takes place in the world of Equilibrium, a science fiction film made in 2002 by Kurt Wimmer.

Starts off with a pretty standard “humans fucked over everything” post-apocalyptic World War 3 setting, where the survivors decide they’ve gone through enough shit and create a society where emotions are sent off to the Gulag camps via drugs. The icing(s) on the cake are the dual wielding Gun Fu Clerics that totally kick ass. Why are ALL clerics not this bad ass, you ask? Because most of them live in DnD, not The Matrix.

So you have a society dominated by emotion oppressing drugs, what kind of things could POSSIBLY happen to the protagonist which would jeopardize his normal way of life? Bingo: lack of said drugs. Do to certain circumstances the protagonist is left without his fix, and has to cope with the situation.

It was a fairly good read for something so short; I’ll check out the movie later tonight.

Download here

h1

OMGWTFOTL

March 17, 2009

For those interested in beginning their Visual Novel experience, I introduce OMGWTFOTL: a short, and free, Visual Novel made by Hanpamania-soft.

ogfl

It ends rather quickly, but is extremely random and bound to get a laugh or two out of you. The game could perhaps just barely achieve a “mature” rating, and that alone from extreme entropy.

ogfl21

With the right mindset, though, you shouldn’t have much difficulty. Be scarred…in a good way.
Download here