Foreword: So I’ve actually gotten into replaying games that I’ve finished already and found to be enjoyable. One of them was this title, called “SINCLIENT”, published by Boost5 way back in 2012.
To make things short, this was a great game. From climactic scenes to character designs with impact and a resourceful protagonist, this game had quite a bit of the elements I would prefer in a “good game”, and especially after charage like Kodomo no Asobi, I found this to be quite a good change in pace and atmosphere.
Yet I’m here to talk about things I didn’t really appreciate. While much less prevalent than the good portions, it’s something that needs to be pointed out in a good review, no?
While I do have another review for this title on this blog, I’m probably going to be much more detailed with this more recent review.
In addition to this, due to how old this title is, this review will contain INTENTIONAL AND MAJOR spoilers! Please refrain from reading this review if you don’t want the title to be spoiled!
Title: シンクライアント (SINCLIENT)
Release Date: September 28, 2012
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v10605
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=744542
Game Type: Suspense Kinetic Novel with themes of Social Philosophy and Religion
…Who am I? I wake up in an ambulance where the worker tries his best to calm me down in my confusion. Whatever happened, I don’t know who I am, nor why I am in an ambulance. Suddenly, a car crashes into the ambulance!! Out pops several men in black suits and sunglasses, and they kill everyone in the ambulance within a matter of seconds.
… How does my body react so quickly? I quickly steal a gun from one of them and eliminate them all… How was I able to do that? What the hell am I?
I look around the environment I’m in, but nothing comes to mind. I don’t know who I am, I don’t know where I live, and I realize that now that I’ve killed people, I can’t stroll out in the daylight freely.
In my wallet, I have many fake IDs, and a hotel key. Maybe I’ll learn something when I get there! In great hopes, I open the door…
… A woman lies face up, her throat cut open, with “pigrizia” (laziness in Italian) written on the wall with her blood.
WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO ME?!
(Copy-pasted from my previous review)
ALL ABOARD THE NOPE-TRAIN TO FUCKTHATVILLE
Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: N/A
Comments: Kinetic Novel. Any questions? Oh right. There’s three parts to the game, two main parts that make up the game, and a third part which is pretty much your extra scenario with H-scenes for Mai and Charlotte that’s more like a spin-off (not actually part of the main storyline)
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 8/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Slightly more critical in the “Character” Department this time around, both the story and protagonist ratings stay around their scores. Both do have some flaws that prevented scores of 9 or 10, so I’ll be getting into that.
Character design actually does lose some points due to them being easily influenced. Let’s say there’s two sides of the argument, side A and side B. You have side A who’s prepared all their life (or most of it) to argue for their side and here comes side B with some shitty argument and whoop, side A is convinced. The worst part? That side “B” were the good guys. Basically, the entire game really involves how the bad guys are fighting against something they believe strongly against, and the main characters come out and solve it without too much conflict. Along the way, subcharacters are pretty much killed off one-by-one, and while that in itself had a positive effect on the overall story of making it have a serious atmosphere, the game also had some main characters who had some poor designs (which I’ll definitely get to in the respective sections).
Story is splendid, with a great flow, pacing, as well as multiple views which included the protagonist, subcharacters, and antagonists (This is an absolute must in a good game). It utilized various scenes to “trick” the reader into believing explicit things then revealing the truth afterwards, which was another plus. It’s just that sometimes, this story-pattern progressed a bit suddenly, and even a subtle hint to said “truth” would have increased this score to a 9. Despite this, much more of keywords used are relevant in the end, and some scenes even had some poetic ring to it, adding to this score.
If it wasn’t so obvious, the game does do a great job increasing the affection felt for not only the heroines, but even towards other subcharacters.
A minus however, was how the game felt a bit “forced”. Basically, the beliefs presented in the game lacked a proper logic (I do A because B and B is C) and skipped this portion almost completely. While there was that implication that each character had a mindset of their own and their own logic, it made each character corresponding to this “lack of logic” (or at least ethics) a bit psychotic. An example is the following sentence hidden in white as it is a major spoiler: Sono decides to destroy the entire world and rid of human hierarchy when her father “kills” her to become a Free Mason; her goal of “eliminating human hierarchy” has little connection to world annihilation
Protagonist is not ideal, but still better than most charage protagonists out there. Highly resourceful and full of justice, he directly contrasts with the people related to him who move on their own instincts. He seems to at least have a bit of ethics unlike his clone, foster-father, or older brother.
It’s just unfortunate that he lacked voice acting completely while his clone (same in appearance AND in genetics) was one of the main antagonists. In addition to this, his affection for Shizuku appears out of nowhere even during his “depression state” of being betrayed by his lover. One last flaw I found for Tooru was how his memory also returns at a random time.
Otherwise, his skills and insights provided a significant difference in the story, allowing him to shine as “someone important”. Though I’d like to mention how Tooru’s design was only acceptable if the game is a kinetic novel. Otherwise, there would be inconsistencies everywhere.
Character Summary: Alright, I’m actually not exactly sure how to write this section well without screwing something up, so here goes a full-blown character panel
It’s quite ironic to have both the protagonist and antagonist to be technically the same individual. Tooru, the CI-XX agent and the original brother of Reiichi, and Yurians, who actually gave himself this name and is a clone of our protagonist. Exactly the same in appearance, but the two are considerably different in personality, atmosphere, and mindset.
Tooru has amnesia from the beginning of the game about only his identity and relationships, meaning that he knows where he is and basic knowledge about many things, but lost all knowledge about who he is and what relationships he held. This is why he acts irrationally when he finds the dead woman in the hotel room, in addition to questioning his identity when his physical abilities are through the roof.
In general, Tooru can be considered a good protagonist, except for the fact that the complete lack of his background story even after he regains his memories wasn’t exactly a good trait. He does receive affection from the four heroines, and only one heroine is given a vague implication of why instead of an explicit scene. It was nice to see him having a lot of action, though, and pretty much the center of attention.
Yurians on the other hand, as a helper for the Babel group, seeks to become a god. He seems to have a special skill that allows him to have the power of the “Word” (although it’s extremely limited as according to Reiichi), and also quite skilled with the sword. He is also not a human, but a clone of Tooru, and claims to not have any human emotions or “sin” (and he’s the one killing people as “judgment”. Go figure). Despite this, Yurians has some scenes where he has human-like emotions most explicitly with a subcharacter named Mirai. Aside from his superpower, however, Yurians seems to be extremely weak considering he is defeated in seconds by Tooru while surviving minutes with 21 Gram. Personally, I thought Yurian’s design was one of the more retarded traits of this game that brought down the score.
I personally think Mina had a splendid design of being an antagonist, but someone who has a “realization” of the pinnacle of human life, unfortunately as she was close to death. As the girlfriend of Tooru, Mina is highly supportive of Tooru even during his memory loss, and Tooru even becomes dependent on this girl at times as he is finding clues that he is the serial killer of the 7 Deadly Sins. He even admits to genuinely falling in love with her because of this, and even second-guesses himself when he realizes that Mina betrays him.
Mina loses the spotlight after she is captured, but returns in the last scenes where she saves Tooru’s life in exchange for hers. Within the last moments of her time on the world, she reminiscences that her true happiness was with the group spending carefree days attending school and she herself actually did love Tooru. Even after her betrayal, the readers may have a tingling feeling of sympathy/affection for this character, who dies regretting her life.
A girl who appears quite randomly in the beginning, this frail girl named Shizuku is seen to be dependent on Tooru and completely infatuated. It is shown that she is also Tooru’s lover, and while Tooru questions his own sincerity towards his relationships (since he thought he was dating Mina), is soon revealed by Shizuku’s father that Tooru was dating this girl that he was only looking to “use” her for something that Tooru forgot. In the beginning, Tooru only plays along with Shizuku’s affection as he genuinely loves Mina.
However, with Mina’s betrayal, Tooru fears that Shizuku will do the same. The problem is that this “fear” is rapidly overturned with her kidnapping and perhaps even before this event, which spans less than a week.
However, as a character, Shizuku is well worth the spotlight, growing slowly but definitely into a strong girl who stands in front of a gun to protect Tooru or talks back to Mina with a knife pointed at her throat. I personally found this dynamic change to be a very positive trait especially for the main heroine, but somewhat wish the game displayed more of Shizuku’s “frail moments” outside of being dependent on Tooru.
Shizuku definitely is a dynamic character worthy of being the main heroine
The game actually goes onto explain that there are three major powers in the world that fight for the position of Free Mason; England, America, and Japan. (Note: Free Mason is a term used to describe an omnipotent “ruler” of all countries, having absolute power and influence. It’s not a fictional term and its theories actually exist even in real life)
Mai is an agent from one of those countries, namely America. She is also one of the residents that live with Tooru and the one who first attacks him when the remaining people are eliminated for the 7 Deadly Sins, completely sure that he is the killer.
Arguably less important, Mai however does have her own story where her superior commands her to assassinate Ryuusaburou, who is Japan’s head and also Shizuku’s father. Mai is forced to decide whether or not her allegiance is with America or Japan at this point.
Seemingly completely different in appearance from Tooru, Charlotte calls him “Nii-san”. As you’ve expected, Charlotte is Tooru’s foster younger sister. She herself is also an agent from CI-XX, an organization from England. Obviously in love with her brother, this affection is not explained (which is unfortunate), and Charlotte only seems to play minor subcharacter roles, although she is the one who kills Shinnosuke during Alexes’s arc.
Personally, I think Mai and Charlotte fulfilled their roles as subcharacters and it was appropriate for them to exit the scene in the final showdown, but I think the H-scenes for them were completely unnecessary, considering it was simply their “own imaginations”.
The last major member who plays a role in the story, Souichi is the upperclassman who seems to be carefree, but Tooru notices that Souichi becomes suspicious of him at certain points, which suggests that Souichi’s background as one of the 7 Apostles isn’t just a name.
In reality, Souichi is shown to free Omega, or also known as Alexes, from his prison so they can complete the mass bioterrorism. However, Souichi is later shown to be a double spy along with Fuyuka who are actually on Tooru’s side.
Seemingly not-so-important to the main story, Fuyuka plays a couple of roles. First, she is Souichi’s lover and attracted to him similar to how Shizuku is attracted to Tooru. Apparently, an append disc includes an H-scene for her as well, if Kawashimarino’s voice is something that you like.
Her second role is as Shizuku’s friend who assists Tooru in saving her when she’s kidnapped… though this is quite obvious if you can tell through the “voice changer” that it’s still the same CV. Third is how Fuyuka warns Tooru from the beginning to “be careful with Mina”.
She also seems to be a more peaceful one, who rejects the idea of bioterrorism along with Alexes, since it would eliminate thousands of lives
Other than these features though, Fuyuka didn’t really have too much of a role.
The subcharacter who literally screams danger from the beginning scenes, Satoshi is an upperclassman shown to operate a behind-the-scenes group called “Adam”, where its members are occasionally chosen to ask a question to a mysterious being called “Mother”, who is said to know everything.
Quite the cunning and sneaky character, it’s easy to see that Satoshi has a lot of influence himself while being almost insane as he follows the orders from “Mother”. In reality, Satoshi is one of the antagonists that block Tooru’s way before the final showdown.
This character actually appears quite often. The girly boy named Nagi you see in the beginning scenes who take a liking to Tooru is actually the infamous 21 Gram who is even more skilled in close-combat than Tooru or Yurians himself, and possesses a heightened senses to evade bullets by reading the opponent’s moves. His assassination abilities are second to none, but his prideful attitude and hate is pointed towards Yurians, who seems to be “stronger” than him. Because of this, while being Tooru’s enemy in general, 21 Gram saves him several times throughout the game. 21 Gram himself was formerly one of the 7-Apostles, and considered “neutral” throughout the entire story.
The ultimate genius of IQ 250 (Holy shit), Alexes has been shown to be able to have stunning memorization and knowledge capabilities to be called the “Omega” and even creates viruses called “Freezing White” and “Stigma”, an air-transmitted extremely fatal virus with a 100% mortality rate that makes its victims suffer before killing them. As one of the Apostles, he holds hatred towards humans in general, but his paradigms are overturned as a subcharacter appears before him and changes his views. Unlike other antagonists that “turns righteous” rather suddenly, I actually enjoyed Alexes’s self-existence struggles as it really shows even this “evil genius” had something he truly loved.
Quite the creepy bastard, his identity is exactly as his name: Unknown. According to the story, this individual is a supreme master of disguise, able to replicate both the looks, personality, and voice of anyone he wants flawlessly. He is one of the 7-Apostles defeated by Mai, but kills himself before being captured. Bonus points if you can notice who he disguises into!
The mastermind behind Yurians, the biological older brother of Tooru and the human who tried to create god. This mad scientist is shown to be even more insane than any other character, who actually laughs as he is killed. In reality, it seems that his real body is the one in bandages that Tooru meets in one of the beginning scenes where Reiichi tells him to “return to England and do not return”.
Reiichi is the one who creates the clone, Yurians, after placing Tooru’s DNA with 63 others and finding that his was the most powerful. He strives to make a “god” that would obey to his will, but failed when Yurians rebelled against him and committed the 7-Deadly Sins incident in Italy.
The ultimate mastermind behind the organization called “Babel” and the one who caused the threats of genocide and chaos, this character is none other than Shizuku’s older sister who was killed when Queen Gracia offered Ryuusaburou the position as the 33rd Free Mason if he would kill his own daughter. Ryuusaburou obliged and chose Sono to kill, barely manages to escape death using an antidote she prepared.
In utmost rage, Sono decided to take revenge by collecting the most intelligent individuals and gathering them in a group called “Babel”. She uses other organizations such as the IRA and even CI-XX to hijack the weapon that’s capable of destroying the world, the Nocta Vex (Amplifying Night?), a device launched in space to gather sunlight and fire it in a focused beam capable of liquidizing human body in an instant.
She seems to hold a special ability similar to semi-omniscience, which is how she was able to conduct all her plans, organize both Babel and Adam, and even defeat Tooru in a simple card game.
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: So for comments. Generally, the game had a darker atmosphere (which I enjoy). The main problem I had with it was that it brought in elements such as religion or fantasy (special abilities by say, Yurians). Because of how the game’s setting was within a modern-day setting with elements such as “Free Mason”, I really think they should have kept all of this to gunfights… although admittedly, that would make the entire game more boring
I’m pretty sure I share this view with others, but the “War of Trickery” wasn’t really too favorable, or how each major character acts as a “double spy” in some way or another throughout the entire game. I mean, it’s nice to have maybe a few characters doing this (Souichi and Mina, maybe for the story’s sake), but how even Tooru and Mai becomes one to a certain extent wasn’t exactly original or desirable. I get how this entire game was about who to trust and stuff, but I feel like there would have been a better way to represent that.
Well aren’t you Mr. Trustworthy
On the other hand, I generally love Kinetic stories for a reason; no inconsistencies across routes. The game’s pacing is nice and how there were “arcs” depending on the antagonist gave the entire game an episodic feeling. In fact, I actually thought this would be a great SRPG-style game because of how it was set up, with timed missions that would appear suddenly and challenge the players with a rushed situation. I say this because Tooru, while he was relatively resourceful and powerful throughout the game, didn’t really seem to be that powerful at least during the fight-scenes where he would often “lose”. I get that he’s a person and all that, but since we have Yurians as well being this “almighty god”, I thought it would be nice if even the individual fight-scenes involved Tooru winning somehow (by himself, too)
The conclusion of the game was awkward though. It was almost as if the writer was doing well with the entire story, realized that he pretty much killed off every character except the main ones, and was pretty much lost at what to do and hurriedly wrapped up the game in a couple of sentences; AKA, rushed. Only the ending of the game has this rushed atmosphere that left a bitter taste in the mouth even though the epilogue describes the future of each of the surviving characters.
The epilogue says that both Shizuku and Tooru disappeared after the “Babel Incident”, but this CG (with the conspicuous shadow) suggests that the two left the country and their past and married.
Last is actually how the two episodes, BegininG and BABYLON (no, they’re not typos) have significantly different themes. The first involves Tooru’s existential crisis where he has so many clues pointing towards him to be the serial killer, yet the second episode brings in the existence of Babel and “almost” unrelated to the first. I say almost because the only seeming connection between the two episodes is ironically Mina. I’m not sure if this “lack of transition of theme” was intentional, but I didn’t really think it was a bad trait since it’s hardly noticeable.
Affection for the Characters: High
CG Score: 3/10. Someone named “Laser” (in hiragana) is the artist… But I feel that the faces are a bit too elongated vertically. In addition to how there’s inconsistencies in the actual CGs and sprites, and how some characters have awkward or excessively evil expressions were all where this score was dropped. The background was pretty much the best trait for this section
50 points if you can replicate Tooru’s left-hand in this CG. It’s not my fault if you break your thumb though
Music Score: 7/10. I actually liked the music somewhat, having that darker atmosphere with string music comprising of the most serious or tragic moments.
Addictiveness: Low. Although a good game, it’s not a game you’d play twice. I only did it because there wasn’t many game I actually did play more than once and enjoyed
Conclusion: Generally a good game that I recommend readers to try if they enjoy Kinetic novels full of thrill or suspense. As a darker novel I can definitely say that it might not be right for some of you out there, but the affection created for some characters might offset the creepiness of others. There are flaws but nothing too significant to interrupt your gameplay
SINCLIENT is highly story-oriented as well, so it’s sure to offer you the same pleasures of reading a good book.