A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Foreword: And quite a while since another post from me. I’m pretty sure I said this hundreds of times already, but not many games are really in deserving of a review recently… which is my pitiful excuse for not having more posts as I should be making like a good reviewer. I’m mostly interested in nukige, finished games, and MMOs on top of my already busy schedule of work and college, so we’ll see how this blog fares for the next couple of months, yes? (I also have another review coming up; just wanted to give some time between that one and this one right now.)

Right on to this title, Sorcery Jokers. Originally interested due to someone talking about how good it was, I was also intrigued by how it was also from 3rdEye, the company I had a horrible first-impression from this game. Despite this, I was pleased to see that Aoba Ringo does have a part in this game as well (although it’s not so major), and let’s just say that I have mixed feelings for how this game turned out.

Let’s go ahead and get started then!

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING REVIEW WILL CONTAIN INTENTIONAL MAJOR SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

Title: ソーサリージョーカーズ (Sorcery Jokers)
Producers: 3rdEye
Release Date: July 24th, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16337
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=836703
Game Type: Fantasy Sci-Fi Novel with themes of “Magic” with philosophy of “human differences”.

Summary: Magic suddenly appeared one day, and it was startling for everyone in the world, who now had to become adapted to this new environment of magic. With groups creating utilities and tools powered by magic and schools training new, young “Casters”, it seems that magic was widely accepted… Or so everyone may think.

In reality, there are “Outcasts”, or people who possess magic power, but not authorized to use this power. These outcasts hide low from the government and other authorities as they are wanted people, and it’s never really known why these people are so oppressed compared to people like Haruto, who live his daily life fulfilled and happy when he is really nothing different than these “Outcasts”.

Of course, there are people who utilize their magic power inappropriately; some will try to oppress others using this power for their own good, and not surprising to Senri, they are often the ones who are smiling harmlessly or the most generous.

Magic… What really is it? How did it appear? Is it really the wonderful thing that everyone imagines about? Perhaps this story may change some of your viewpoints…

Story Length: Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: N/A
Comments: No choices within the game; there’s just one flow-chart divided into various section depending on the time-frame of the story, and like all games with a flow-chart incorporated into them, going through one path opens up the story to another. Other than this, there is no choices to be made. Don’t worry if you occasionally come across portions where you “choose a protagonist” because you’ll eventually have to come back to the other one you didn’t choose to continue with the story.

I have the power to control the protagonist in mah hands!

Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Protagonist(s) Rating: 8/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments:

Quite the disappointing game, this is actually because the beginning parts of the game is unbelievably amazing. Characters are very well defined, enough action and conflict to excite any reader, and a good flow to present each scene without choppiness of the story. HOWEVER, the game does neutralize almost all of this amazing plot they’ve created with cheap and low-quality elements involving the introduction of a completely different theme not related to magic and shift the focus of the story from a normal-and-happy-life to “Who am I, and what am I living for?” as the game progresses.

Imagine what you’d do if you were Haruto in this scene. For me, I’d probably freak out like he did.

In a sense, the protagonists were better designed than the heroines because in retrospect, they were the ones fighting the battles, the ones struggling the most, and the heroines were pretty much just eyecandy (and for H-scenes). This correlates to a higher protagonist score and generally low character design/story ratings. There are a bit of animations within the game, but wasn’t too significant.

Character Summary: Alright, I’m going to introduce all the main characters, which happens to be 2 protagonists and 4 heroines (2 heroine for each protagonist).

Haruto is first, and with his great sense of justice and morals is actually quite a well-known guy in school. His magic grades are relatively high, and he is the type of person who would rush to someone’s assistance without concern for his own well-being.

Haruto lives everyday with his younger sister he loves dearly and his father who he greatly admires. He genuinely finds that he is blessed with his current condition…

Until he realizes that everything around him is fake.

Starting with him realizing what forms of discrimination and injustice exists in real life, and his best friend turning into an Outcast, Haruto starts to question the very things that made his life possible, and finally snaps when he learns that he is not Haruto; he is actually a clone made by Magic Association and guarded by those who he thought was his father and younger sister. This revelation of Truth delivers him into the deepest outrage as he throws away his life to live as an Outcast himself.

In general, Haruto was the lesser of the two protagonists even though his paradigm was greatly shifted and he was the one who really experienced existential crisis. The reader soon sees that he is pretty worthless aside from his empty words of justice which was a big turn-off. Considering that only his thoughts of revenge fueling him after his realization, it’s pitiful to see this boy requiring help of an underclassman each step of the way. His design would have been MUCH stronger if he was even 1/2 as capable as Senri was, although that would then contradict with his “happy” lifestyle that he’s had in the past.

Haruto’s arc also involved a fair amount of deus-ex-machina as well which worsened his design as a character.

Like this. Apparently, this is his “Dunamis”, and not Magic.

And accompanying him quite a fair amount of the story is this girl named Asahi, who is known to be pretty, but a bit cuckoo in the head since she goes around saying weird things to everyone. This is including her first quote to Haruto as “May you receive divine punishment!” for which Haruto goes “WTF” because he has no idea what he did to this girl.

Going through the route a bit, the reader can see that Asahi has a special ability… rather a special item which is a diary that occasionally records events that happen in the future. Asahi thinks that this power is her destiny, and utilizes this to the fullest extent to save the lives of people multiple times. She believes that these actions will ultimately lead her to “Paradise”.

Asahi was pretty insignificant as a character most of the time until she receives her deus-ex-machina power in the later portions of the story. While this out-of-the-blue power is quite uncalled for, and even if it includes the fact that her “power” had nothing to do with her theme, it does give this girl at least a bit of spotlight in the story which was desperately needed…

Kinda sad, really

The other heroine paired with Haruto is Riku. While seemingly mature and calm, she is actually younger than Haruto and Asahi, and more of a lone-wolf character than anything else.

The readers first see this character as someone titled the “Collector”. This “collector” is apparently a fearful existence to the Outcasts because the powerful caster is known to “steal” the rings that allow the use of magic. This event is revealed much later in the game, how Riku’s work as a “collector” eventually leads up to Haruto.

Nonetheless, during one of her normal collection sessions (lol), Riku coincidentally happens upon an accident where Haruto is killed. However, seeing him alive and kicking the next day startles her extremely, as she becomes very cautious of this character from that point on.

In the later arcs of the story, she also finds out about Haruto’s Identity and while not explicitly stated, stays and supports him likely out of guilt; her father is the head of the “Magic Association” that schemed Haruto’s very existence, and was one of the masterminds of manipulating the boy’s fate.

In Riku’s arc, her own past is revealed, as a frail child who received some form of magic treatment to become the powerful Caster she is today. However, once she figured out that this life was from the sacrifice of another, she falls into the same despair as Haruto, considering she has also seen the ugly sides of what magic can do.

Senri is the other protagonist, and is actually MUCH more favorable than Haruto due to his seemingly apathetic personality in addition to his experience in fighting. A mysterious character indeed, as he is completely stoic when Ageha tries to seduce him in the beginning parts of the story or experiences a brutal scene. It’s also shown that he is a powerful magician who fights opponents with the same spells that’s thrown at him, which further adds to the enigma of his identity.

Senri’s route starts with the introduction of “Hood”, and how some people were mysteriously turning into gelatinous substances. It ties into other characters like the “Collector” and finally a strange girl named “Ru” who seems to have some connection with the masterminds of the Magic Association.

Extremely contrary to Haruto, Senri’s route was very well designed. While there were some hiccups in the story due to the introduction of Noah and various contradictions regarding her, his battles with Fiona as well as with antagonists like Ru were extremely intriguing and highly climactic. His general personality of not showing his hand until the last moment lead to descriptive and satisfying conclusions, and as the reader comes to understand his true identity, everything clicks into place for a grand finale.

And accompanying the calm protagonist is a clumsy nun named Fiona. Despite seemingly contrary to the protagonist, Fiona is shown to love her position as a nun in the small church where only gang members would show up and trouble her, while respecting the priest who she greatly admired.

However, with the awakening of Noah, Fiona’s true identity is shown; she is a spy for the Magic Association and an extremely powerful Caster to boot, and if that wasn’t enough, she claims that her past as a “clumsy nun” was actually an act, which fooled everyone around her.

Senri’s arc in the 2nd half of the game delves into detail of this character, of how she almost died but was saved by who is now the School Headmaster, and became a “fighting robot” doing anything and everything commanded by him. Her role was to secure Noah, who is the “Angel from the Heavens” that the Magic Association was attempting to capture. However, as the character becomes attached to Senri instead, Fiona follows the two around for a chance to eliminate Senri and take Noah.

At first, Noah does not have a name. Instead, she is referred to as the “Prophet” by the Outcasts, who receive “blessings”from this prophet. In reality, she is considered an “Angel from the Heavens” by others, and as for Senri… He gives her the name “Noah”.

Noah has a very childish mindset (although not so childish in other areas *cough*) of always being curious about anything, including Senri after she finds him very comforting. Like a stray animal following someone who feeds it, Noah becomes attached to Senri after he gives her a name and what she considers as “freedom”.

Noah is arguably considered one of the more important heroines of this title, but unfortunately did not have that much. In fact, a lot of people may agree that Senri had more interaction with Fiona instead, and Noah was just… there.

In reality, Noah’s arc is extremely convenient, with her design as an “Angel” seemingly having no relationship with magic or later on, Dunamis. Well, I guess she does have some relationship with the latter, but even that’s hidden until the very end of the game anyways…

Other than her ridiculous body proportions that rivals Fiona’s, Noah never really plays a significant role in the entire story.

But she’s like the central character, which is weird.

Sexual Content: Very Low (Most H-scenes are contained in the “Epilogue” section available when one clears the game)

Comments: Alright, this may be the portion where the majority of the spoilers would be, so prepare yourself.

In a sense, I actually kinda appreciated how the game turned away from the happy-school life bullshit and actually pursued a more darker, philosophical theme. Despite me not liking Haruto in general, he seemed exactly the same as me; someone who was happy, but as soon as he saw the “truth”, became an outcast and his heart filled with hatred and revenge. In fact, Haruto has a really great design; it’s just that as himself, he’s pretty worthless and pretty much all-talk-no-bite. His design to be the clone of who is actually Senri’s father was something that came out of nowhere, but was hinted in the beginning of the scenes, and even after Haruto finds out about this, he still interacts with the calm Senri, who brushes it off with a smile.

It’s really weird how the game uses Haruto’s clones as antagonists at times, but nothing is mentioned about how these clones were controlled.

On the other hand, the game brings an additional factor, called “Dunamis” to the play. In very simple terms, this word refers to “Potential”, and as the game explains, is actually an innate power that SURPASSES magic and is given only to a very few number of individuals by pure chance. Of course, it turns out that the characters in the game that has this power are Asahi, Senri, Haruto, and of course, Noah herself.

The thing about this is that the game shifts from magic battles to the “Origin of Magic”. It’s kinda like how you’re watching an action movie about martial arts, then suddenly learning about the history of martial arts: it just doesn’t blend nor flow well, and that caused a lot of awkward choppiness within the story. The game does resolve a bit of this choppiness with the incorporation of the Flowchart, but that wasn’t especially effective either.

From my perspective, 3rdEye had a similar pattern here compared to the 1st game; they like to utilize some “out of the blue” elements such as Dunamis on this game to bring about a conclusion, which really isn’t the best method in my opinion. While it’s true that I did appreciate that the “enemies” this time around weren’t a complete retard as they were in the first title. Then again, this title is only their 4th project, so I have no idea how they are for the 2nd and 3rd titles.

Affection for the Characters: Low

CG Score: 5/10.
My biggest complaint about the CG score is that you see a lot of special effects involving gore and spilling of blood, yet very little of the CG sets have this “change” incorporated. As an example, when a character fights with an antagonist and gets pushed around and bleeds, the CG presented do not show turn clothes or bleeding limbs; it’s just the same graphics as before the battle. Considering how roughly half the entire game revolves around such fighting, that was a huge negative. Other than that, I feel like there should have been more CGs; they’re pretty amazing.

When it’s time to go to school and you don’t want to get out of bed.

Music Score: 8/10. Very mysterious and fast paced music to spice up the entire game, I sincerely appreciated the game’s Sci-Fi-yet-Futuristic theme which was a good representation of a “what-if” when such an event happened to the real world. The music is also distorted to a certain extent to represent the “dystopia” created, and the battle music is something that I’ll save for my MMO use.

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion: A decent game from 3rdEye, which does relieve a bit of my saltiness towards them for the first title which was just crap. While it’s not that great, it’s still a decent title that I recommend others to try. I’m actually pretty disappointed that Aoba Ringo didn’t have too much of a role though.

Advertisements

Comments on: "Magic is Never Perfect: Review of [150724] Sorcery Jokers" (15)

  1. […] by a CV named Anzu Hana (I thought it was read as Anka, to be honest), this CV voiced Noah from Sorcery Jokers, and is actually quite a minor […]

  2. […] I was mostly intrigued by how this game had two protagonists. If you remember my review from Sorcery Jokers and Ikusa Megami Verita, I did mention that I greatly enjoy games that feature two protagonists […]

  3. have you try koikake joyjason?

    • Unless there’s a really strong review suggesting it, I don’t think I will. It just seems like your normal galge with no quality plot and nothing especially exciting.

    • hmm I see Someone recommended so I give it a try. Any eroge joyjason playing atm? cant really find a good and exciting to play

    • Well, there’s the Koihime 3 title I’m going through right now, although that’s more of a nukige than anything. I’m actually also playing Witch’s Garden as per recommendation from another Japanese player. Not sure about its story so far because it’s been really slow, but the E-mote is nice; it’s just that the ending seems so obvious…

    • I actually finished it the other day but I can’t fully recommend it. It depends on what you expect and want to read. In my case, I was rather satisfied because it delivered exactly what I wanted it to.

      I read some SERIOUSLY bad shit recently… for instance ensemble’s last two titles, only god knows why I did that… do yourself a favor and don’t even think of touching those titles.

      compared to that, koikake is like a shining gem. apart from the true route (sena) you don’t really get much drama, but the pacing is actually great. You have two heroines that have a pretty adorable backstories with the mc and it’s very clear why they happen to fall in love. surprisingly, the other two heroines have somewhat differently structured routes so that there’s enough time to develop the protagonist’s feelings. in ensemble’s games it pretty much went like this:

      random confession and BOOM, random h-scene without a moment’s delay (and to make it worse at a place no normal human being would do it, especially not if it’s their first time…). In koikake, they actually took the time to properly develop it which gave it a rather heartwarming, innocent touch.

      most Japanese readers who put the game down do it solely because of the main heroine, Sena. In my eyes, that’s not warranted and it’s purely because she doesn’t exactly match the average readers “ideal” how I heroine should act. on top of that, a certain degree of “reading between the lines” is required to comprehend her feelings and actions. there’s a lot of stuff that is only said implicitly, not directly. I for one liked that.

      In short, it’s a well-paced, high quality charage that depicts a “pure love story”. You might want to give it a shot should you happen to want to read that kind of heartwarming story with just a slight touch of drama and a bit of a “finding your place in life” type of thing. A harmless title that may be rather forgettable because it’s by no means special, but leaves you mostly satisfied, which is something extremely rare in itself nowadays…..

    • I appreciate this. I know well enough after Golden Marriage to not touch any other ensemble titles, and your small review is just enough to pique my interest. Believe it or not, I would consider your review “strong” despite how short it is because it goes into deep detail about what both you and me consider the biggest priorities in an eroge. Koikake will be added onto my list to play after a couple more titles I’m going through right now. Thanks!

    • Believe it or not Otome ga Kanaderu Koi no Aria is even worse than Golden Marriage….. at this point I’m inclined to believe Ojounana was some kind of fluke. It’s rare to get a heroine so unique and great that she remains vivid in memory for years (Nanami) and judging by what followed it, anything but luck seems hard to believe…..

      By the way, since that is also a title I read a couple months back (although on my psv), I’d also recommend Ima Sugu Onii-chan ni Imouto da tte Iitai if you can go without h-content. It was actually refreshing to get a plot that was designed without any h-scenes from the beginning for once since that opened up enough room to focus on more important things. Admittedly, it’s a title you may love or hate depending on whether you like the main heroine because of her overall importance and presence. I can’t see how anyone could dislike her though.

  4. Maybe it’s just me but I kinda feel like 3rdeye is more and more forcing themselves to go through with this 2 protagonist stuff because it sort of turned into “their thing”. Unfortunately, the more you engross in a certain paradigm and direction, the more people will expect you to deliver the same kind of content. That equally entails two things. For one, as long as you don’t awfully botcher things up, you have a certain amount of guaranteed sales you can calculate with, but on the other hand, should you decide to do something different, you potentially risk estranging the current audience while other people who would maybe even like that new direction wouldn’t bother to even take look simply because they outright discard the title due to their biased opinion of the company. Consequently developers tend to play it safe, which in turn renders them more and more unable to leave that one-way track.

    Ensemble is quite a good example for that. By now, they do nothing but recycle already used patterns over and over again and it works – they have a loyal fanbase that gets what it expects.

    Back to the topic. I honestly felt that Haruto was an inherently pointless character. Just by cutting him out and rewriting parts of the plot to focus on Senri, you’d have achieved a vastly more intriguing and in itself more consistent story. Characters like Asahi would also have a lot more potential to shine and to develop since confrontation with someone like Senri, who is basically the polar opposite, would naturally give birth to friction and conflict, which in turn would’ve sparked new possibilities. The way it is, it kind of felt like they deliberately cut short on Senri’s parts because else, he’d have overshadowed Haruto even more than he already does. They gave up on trying to making him a comparably intriguing character and compensated with quantity, but it didn’t work. Hence, the “loss of focus” – in my eyes – stems from the attempt of forcefully shoving something into an already working machinery with no fitting place to contain it, making the whole thing loudly clatter. The reader then experiences that in the form of awkwardness and oddity.

    While GnI had its own set of problems (let’s not even talk about the other two games…), I didn’t get this strong sense of dissonance like I did with SJ. Makes me want to believe that GnI was actually more a fluke than anything else in terms of character harmony…

    • Damn, it’s been WAAAAY too long since I saw you!

      I’m laughing at how you mentioned the above theory of producers being forced into creating bad titles, because that’s absolutely correct. This is again my cynical mindset working here, but when it comes to eroge in general, there is an overwhelming fraction who just wants a charage + H-scenes compared to people like us who want a serious story, and in order to maximize profits, companies end up favoring the former whether they want to or not.

      While I can stomach this, the real thing that pisses me off is anyone who genuinely thinks these games are actually good (Fuck you, you retarded Twitter playerbase) or the comapanies being salty about everyone-and-their-mothers priating their games. Like, this wouldn’t happen if you created quality-games, you idiots.

      I’m derailing myself.
      The 2-protagonist thing was indeed unnecessary, and as you’ve suggested, Haruto could have been lopped out, although I did appreciate him as a character similar to myself in real life.

      In terms of 3rdEye’s pattern, (I’ve only played two of their games, so I might be wrong, mind you) I think there’s this introduction of a random and unrelated “theme” at the 2nd half or at the end of the story, and the writers try to connect this one with the one that already exists (Dunamis and Magic), and this causes choppiness in the story.

      As stated in the review, this is REALLY unfortunate since the beginning of the game was splendid in my eyes.

  5. In comparison with Gensou no Idea, I think that Sorcery Joker’s most exciting or distinguishing feature was the fact that it aimed for higher horizons (which is saying quite a bit, as the world’s at peril in both works). In contrast to Gensou, I felt that Sorcery Jokers developed a complex, and meaningful cast, but that there wasn’t really a sense of close-knit camaraderie or friendship, as found within the previous two works. The characters, while they ‘evolved,’ oddly enough, didn’t feel ‘vivid’ or like they had any sort of meaningful depth (it felt as if they were being moved solely by the storyline, rather than as active agents in it).

    As you mentioned, the characters were oddly focused on. Haruto’s the focus for the majority of the storyline, but he’s the less significant protagonist. Senri, while being much more capable than Haruto and ‘important’ to the storyline, virtually experiences little characterization. The most important (to the storyline) heroine, was the least developed, whereas the less important heroines (Riku namely), had a much larger focus. In structure and focus, the work doesn’t make much sense.

    On a tangent, the existence of a certain magical girl look-alike was annoying (primarily because I dislike that type of ‘hopeless’ archetype). And because her voice was deafening. The romances within SJ, while initially interesting, eventually ended up as being rather meaningless or basic.

    All in all, it wasn’t a bad read, but not nearly as good as it could have been.

    • In reality, “linear” stories such as this really requires one heroine and one protagonist with a lot of other subheroines/subcharacters supporting the two main characters.

      I think it’s possible that the writers simply got confused midway, often failing to really hint who the main focus is while they struggled to balance the show-time of each heroine. This almost makes it seem the heroine was put out in the spotlight forcefully, adding to the choppiness.

      Strangely enough, a game called “Axanael” by Nitroplus has a similar design (2 male protagonists and 4 female protagonists, plus being a relatively-linear story), which turned out fine. However, both games share a common flaw that character design was relatively poor or, to put it crudely, not well done.

      Perhaps it’s because we are taught to read a story with a single protagonist with a single heroine and get confused ourselves when multiple characters of equal importance interact throughout the story. I guess it’s a theory…

    • I wouldn’t say that the writers got confused, but I would say that they certainly did lose focus. It was the same with GnI, SJ had a really engaging and interesting start (although GnI was engaging because of its affable characters, SJ, just in its enigmatic plot), but it gradually got odder and odder.

      I do agree that we’re certainly basically used to a single protagonist and a single story, and some type of ‘officialness’ stemming from that type of pairing. I’d say that there are examples in which the ensemble make the work far more than any specific character (Eustia and ChuuShinGura are two immediate works that come to mind), but even with those works, you had a very solid lead (so perhaps they’re just solid, but still traditionally-minded game with an outstanding cast).

    • I’m not sure if you already know about my preferences, but I’ve mentioned frequently that I prefer kinetic novels (one with no choices to be made and only with a single route) over other novels with choices.

      While I can definitely see how some players want the choice selections and how they can choose the heroines, that’s not the case for me; if these kinds of alternates appear, that in itself contradicts the other at times (aka, one route may involve heroine A dying while in the route for heroine B involves no heroine A’s death).

      This applies for protagonists as well; I’d much rather have a single protagonist, but this is an exception if the company presents multiple protagonists very proficiency (see Oretsuba) and even manages to present exciting and comical scenes with it. The mere fact that multiple protagonists exist suggest that the game will have the two (or three or four…) interacting with each other in the game, but in reality, the only time Senri and Haruto really talk to each other is at the end of the game.

      This makes it seem like there are two different stories, but you’re pretty much forced to go back and forth between them throughout the entire game.

Speak your Mind...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: