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

Because it’s been 10? days since I’ve last posted and I’m here with another. Kinda wanted to post this early and not hold it for another 6 weeks because the games I’ve played within are extremely different along with my opinions for them as great in variance.  Let’s get started.

  • Salete
  • Denshi Otome ga Arawareta!
  • Takogare no Folklore *
  • Boku no Mirai ha Koi to Kakin to
  • Secret Agent

* These reviews may be spoilery

Salete [Finished] 

So as you guys probably know, I enjoy darker titles. But this isn’t because I’m some edgelord–it’s because not only do they have the originality factor, they’re also heavily story oriented which is my main reason for preferring them.

As a super dark game, I’ll start this short (??) review with the statement I really enjoyed this title. The dark theme, the foreshadows, and story execution were excellent and after finishing the game it really does feel like I’ve just watched a live action cinema. As with all titles that maximize immersion for the readers, this gives the game major plus points.

As a story, it revolves around Salete, a princess who lost everything–her lover, her family, her friends, her country, and later even her life. She arrives at a mysterious stage where a strange character named Clune offers her a second life, but only if she manages to find out how she died. Having lost her memories, her only way to remember how she died is through playing out the scenes that lead her slowly to her death. This starts the twisted and comedic tale of Salete, enacted fully via the protagonist herself.

Wow.

I knew it was going to be dark, and the presence of an option called “Bad End Markers” made it pretty obvious that throughout the game there are choices that put you in a bad route. Don’t be a wimp though; turn that shit off like I did, since the game isn’t incredibly difficult with this anyways. The first time Salete dies AFTER meeting Clune (so not the beginning scenes when she dies via the Iron Maiden), you’re forced into a bad end anyways with the words of Clune saying “What a shame. This isn’t a heroic story. This isn’t supposed to be a story of bravery or courage” which sent massive shivers down my spine because this in itself was a big foreshadow.

This meant that whatever happened to this captured princess wasn’t something noble; it’s something much more sinister and darker. This gave me a big hint to the correct answers in each of the choices, though the last choice did throw me a curveball and was definitely an inconsistency. However, the finale answers to this more explicitly.

Said finale does give a lot more answers to everything, especially if the reader failed to catch up on what happened in the story until that point (which is actually quite possible due to how unexpected the events turn out), to the point even just the finale by itself would give away the entire scenario. Reviewing all the wording and and puncuation though, throughout the entire game it hands out foreshadows left and right (even the package cover was a foreshadow!); in retrospect it’s almost infuriating that I didn’t realize the game’s gimmick after the final scenes, because it was almost too obvious. To be fair and in my defense though, I’ve made some predictions throughout the entire process of the game, got some things corrrect while others were not. The mere fact that it challenges the reader to do so is a big plus in my opinion because it allowes that much immersion. The game was also extremely clever with its presentation in that sense and was able to hide its gimmick just well enough to confuse me into believing otherwise which was definitely a good design.

I realize I’m being vague as fuck with this review, but that’s only because I want to encourage readers to play this game if you can tolerate the creepy dark shit–it’s legitimately a highly immersive title and as long as you as the reader can “take on the role of an audience”, you’re 100% going to enjoy this game.

To go through the external portions, the artwork was very well done. There are a lot of H-scenes and all of them involve rape so that did get a bit excessive at times, but all these scenes make sense within context plus the general design corresponds with my preferences (detailed backgrounds, strong features of body lines, realistic body morphing) so if the same artist happened to make a more vanilla nukige, it would sure to be on my radar. Music was a great compliment to all these dark scenes, with tracks like “Forced” really giving the vibe of despair and tragedy.

Misono Mei is the main CV this time around, and I really like her as a CV due to her extensive abilities and experience–she was definitely a good fit for the character Salete and voiced her lines perfectly; even some of the screams which if it was any other CV I would’ve probably bled through my ears. It’s also the first time I’ve heard of a new CV named Sena Yuzuki who’s not really that new either, but she was really good voicing H-scenes so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of her works.

To comment on the characters in this game basically everyone in this game have problems and personality of pure garbage EXCEPT Marie. This includes the protagonist (aka Salete), Jean, and Garnier. Like holy shit you guys need Jesus in your lives because with how fucked up each of you are, no one’s going to heaven. It’s why even while I thought the H-scenes were very well drawn and “usable”, the fact how trashy each of these characters were I couldn’t really bring myself to enjoy them.

Last thing I want to comment is that I actually disagree with the game’s quote of “Life is a tragedy close up, but a comedy when looked at from afar”. It advertises this game as the Comedy of Salete, but in my honest opinion with the dark theme and sense of despair the game hardly felt like a comedy even after the ending scenes and if at all it made my cynical mind a bit more sad because it just displayed how evil the human mind can be. I’m actually curious to if anyone else thought differently though.

Definitely a memorable game, the relatively short but super impactful story + the lack of any past information about the writers and publishers suggests that this was more of an independent work that just turned out great, so I’m really looking forward to what kind of games soiree will produce later down the road.

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

If you’d rather not play this game though and would rather have a spoilery review, Click Here

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Denshi Otome ga Arawareta! Command [Dropped]

When I’ve been slacking with VNs for like a year, it also meant that I was slacking with Akabeisoft titles, which are (quite disappointingly) my biggest hope for good titles at this point, primarily due to games like Inochi no Spare and Haru to Yuki while other companies are slacking in creating good titles

Though on the other hand, both of those games were produced by Akabeisoft 3 and not 2 as this game was.

Drawn in by Fujisaki Usa voiced main heroine, this title takes on the theme of a Virtual Youtuber with the imagination of “What would it be like to date one?”. If you don’t know, a Virtual Youtuber is a terminology used for an original character voiced by a person in real life, who also plays various video games for the entertainment of others. It’s generally similar and potentially more popular than actual gaming Youtube channels because of the visual appeal of an animated character plus how the CV is usually well trained in voice acting, unlike other real-life Youtubers. Though on the other hand some of the downsides of being a Virtual Youtuber means that you never feel any kind of personal relationship with the Youtuber in question, while for others like myself the concept in itself feels like a twisted and forced form of role-play which makes it more repulsive instead.

Anyway, the fact is that these Virtual Youtubers are popular (by a lot of weeaboos lmao), but also take a lot of effort–the general process of making a video of one would be the CV plays the game and reacts accordingly, then later on other team members (What, you thought these videos were created by a single person?) needs to render and modify character modeling to match the audio of the CV/video of the game, not to mention even just the recording process is done with a team so it makes video rendering a lot easier later down the road. This massive amount of effort that goes into making just one video makes it preferable for some groups to utilize multiple characters at once rotating different “characters” within a single channel (Hololive) so there’s some leeway to do other things than record gameplay all the time or working on another video.

The reason why I explain all this is because while the game is generally acceptable in many aspects (such as the dating the Virtual Youtuber aspect), it’s greatly flawed in the representative of these realistic elements–they literally say that Kanata is an alien (and NOT a Virtual Youtuber) who is able to at will digital-ize herself and Keiji. Even if we assume I was given incorrect impressions on Kanata, the other side (aka protagonist) is also greatly flawed from a realistic perspective as well–Professional gamers who receive attention similar to Keiji are often associated with a team and office (contrary to how the protagonist is a loner), practice hours a day perfecting their craft (and not going to school and probably won’t have time to date a Virtual Youtuber), often develop various chronic conditions due to lack of movement (e.g. diabetes, obesity, arthritis), while they don’t have a mentality of an 8 year old peeing in their pants just because of one horror film (since they’re so exposed to media and eventually develop thick skin).

Don’t get me wrong; the interactions between the characters were cute, the background was well set and there wasn’t anything that really annoyed me. It’s just that it’s really hard to become immersed in a game that claims to be set in reality when there are these important traits that are incorrectly represented. If at all the mere fact that Kanata was advertised as a Virtual Youtuber and Keiji as a professional gamer excited me to see how the writers will incorporate the real life elements of each aspect, but as it is now the writers might as well have gone pure fantasy and stated that Kanata was just an alien with mysterious powers while Keiji is just your normal otaku with some dumb-ass parents sending him living expenses every month like some other trash eroge and the game wouldn’t have changed that much, and I would’ve passed this game because at that point I might as well have played a nukige.

If at all the game should’ve used these realistic elements more dramatically–give a reason why the super famous Keiji is a loner (it does display his past of hating real life women) and use Kanata’s overall design to resolve the conflict within Keiji. Use conflicts within beginning scenes because Keiji wouldn’t have time for Kanata while Kanata should be approaching Keiji for a reason–not just because she’s at max affection with him from the getgo.

If you really like Fujisaki Usa as a CV or find the artwork pretty cute (as I have) you might have some good time with the larger number of H-scenes, but otherwise there’s really no reason to play this game at all.

Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Overall Rating: 3/10

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Tasogare no Folklore [Finished]

It’s good to have multiple good titles, though as it stands, there are major faults within this game that I really wish the writers took extra precaution with. The darker atmosphere with the philosophical quotes on “humanity” was definitely a plus, and unlike the previous review Salete, I’ll be a lot more thorough with this title, potentially making this review spoilery.

So basically we have a title where the heroine (Spica) has some mysterious superpowers–though the catch is that said superpowers involve “eating” the life force from living humans. Otherwise Spica is unable to eat human food and is very weak and frail, requiring the full support of the protagonist, who surprisingly doubles as the “meal” for Spica who engages in intercourse with him and nearly draining all of his life away each time.

This was definitely an original concept. While deceptively similar to the lore of a succubus, it’s clearly displayed that this “Iwaigo” or translated as “Celebrated Child” is capable of stealing the life force from victims without even touching them–it’s just more efficient energy (such as how humans cook food to better absorb the nutrients/calories it provides) to perform sexual intercourse, which Spica chooses to do exclusively with Arima.

In order for Spica to live, she must kill other humans and eventually Arima too. In order for Arima to live however, he must kill Spica who is his biggest “threat”. This life and death scenario was definitely a big plus in terms of scenario because each of the narrative scenes were quite descriptive of displaying the dilemma in each characters.

In terms of characters, the game definitely does well selling each of them, but obviously focuses on Spica most exclusively because duh–main and exclusive heroine. The extensive narrative really allows the reader to become invested in the character similar to how Navel did for Luna or Hatsune in the previous titles, while allowing some deviation by showing some other subcharacters like Tsukiko or Mugi who both acts as important supports while their presence also allows readers to not “get sick” of seeing too much Spica (which prevalently happens in many single-heroine titles unless it’s short, like the Loliita series, or really well done, like Tsukiyori).

Protagonist I thought was very well designed purely because of his massive amounts of monologue. He holds his solemn personality and utmost loyalty to Spica who is his master, but manages to convey to the reader most of his thought processes regarding specific situations or towards certain heroines using these monologues which made him highly relatable, yet manages to hide some big secrets (primarily in the way he knows a lot more about this Iwaigo concept) that’s revealed later down the road.

I really thought his “twist” regarding the sheer amount of knowledge he has for the Otobe family and the Iwaigo was poorly foreshadowed however, though the game makes implications of it with how he endured being the “food for Spica” even with imminent death for 5+ years and also after the death of his father. This was utilized to create the one and only real conflict in this game, but felt so artificial and sudden because of that lack of foreshadowing. Admittedly while it was supposed to be climactic I was more annoyed with it instead.

I generally have opinions that the story of Tasogare was good. It had the originality, the impact with earlier/unexpected H-scenes, as well as the design of the above where really only either the heroine or the protagonist can “survive” at the end (theoretically). Though on the other hand, the game has a lot of major flaws trying to incorporate this fantasy aspect into this realistic story such as how the original head of Otobe family somehow captured the original Iwaigo, or some things like how the original Iwaigo was able to control and manipulate her descendants directly, or even how Spica engages in intercourse with Arima for over 5 years but never becomes pregnant until she “wants to” at the epilogue.

These are just some of the most obvious ones while I’m sure I’ve missed a lot more, while some traits which are more unrealistic include “sacrificing” male members of the Otobe family to impregnate the Iwaigo, then inbreeding the descendants together in order to “strengthen the blood” because apparently having more of these dangerous monsters able to kill an entire room with a single breath is a good idea

Admittedly a story like this is much harder to execute properly, primarily due to said Iwaigo aspect being basically pure fantasy while the setting for this game is in the earlier days of Japan (roughly 1900s?) which raises the question why that was designed as such (though the implications was back then inbreeding was more common). Some other questions include how Arima was somehow the only one to resist death 5 years ago, though it’s again strongly implied Spica controlled herself from killing Arima after that by “not eating him fully”.

The conclusion was definitely a bit more convenient with Arima formulating a plan that allows both him and Spica to live, while Tsukiko finds the original Iwaigo who started all this mess and kills her to end the cycle once and for all while obtaining a lot of answers for the readers and herself.

The interaction with Spica and Arima was very well done overall, with the designs that both characters are fully aware of their situation of either of them needing to die for the other and both willing to place their lives in the hand of the other; this displayed the concept of “ultimate trust” which I found to be great even after that conflict arose later in the game and pushes the game into a good route or a bad one depending on the choice of Spica. How the game managed to formulate this little trait despite the fantasy environment just by proper dialogue between the characters is something I really need to praise the game for and wish other games would flat out copy into theirs because it’s the base foundation of creating a good game.

The game is especially descriptive in portraying all these with the point of view of Spica and the original Iwaigo; basically suggesting that the “monsters” who are known for killing humans have various thoughts about it too. It fully displays their unwillingness to do so especially when it comes to loved ones; both of them imply they dislike the murders despite being necessary for their survival, and would rather choose death in some cases (Spica when it comes down to either she or Arima survive, while the original Iwaigo understands how much chaos her existence brought into the world and wishes for it to end)

Haruka Sora is the CV this time, and while I found that she was excellent at voicing the quiet and mysterious Spica, she was definitely not the right choice to be voicing her H-scenes due to her innately lower-tone of voice mismatching with the younger heroine (basically someone with a higher-pitched voice would’ve been more appropriate). Haruka Sora does do a great job voicing basically every other scene so I can’t think of any alternative CVs that would’ve been better for Spica at the moment.

Basically, I enjoyed the character interaction and overall design in this game. The gloomy atmosphere and the fantasy made for some interesting concepts, and found the design of “absolute trust” between the heroine and protagonist that remained consistent throughout the game a big plus. The narrative was superb with descriptive monologue allowing readers to stay caught up all the way through without much difficulty.

The cons are pretty obvious–the fantasy acts as a double-edged sword since the concept of an individual being able to kill literally by breathing the same air as the victim while reasoning for the Otobe family deciding to “create” another Iwaigo despite the taboos or dangers wasn’t ever answered (only implied), plus Arima’s (and later Shino’s) trait of being able to resist death as well. I feel like at least the latter would be easily resolved with Arima having some kind of knowledge about the “eating process” for Iwaigo and finding a way to survive that, though that would then question why this method wasn’t known earlier and shared with others so Iwaigo and humans live mutually (It’s always the darn fantasy that screws things up :/)

Character Design Rating: 9/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

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Boku no Mirai ha Koi to Kakin to [Dropped]

Much of the gaming industry nowadays have switched to more portable devices, and with how prevalent phones are mobile games are basically the #1 “console” nowadays for games. Even for me I play a lot of mobile games, had my highs and my lows, so a title like this that specifically revolve around the aspects of mobile gaming was pretty exciting.

It’s also my first title from Sonora, who is affiliated with CUBE and other companies that I’ve played games from, so that was also going to be interesting (in a bad way actually since their titles have literally been a hit or miss)

First thing’s first; the fact that the game breaks the fourth wall occasionally was nice. The entire scenario revolves around “Cuff’s Story” which is a fictional mobile game that introduces characters from other games by the subsidiaries of the same parent company. In terms of Easter Eggs this game would probably be up there at the top, so this is major plus points for those who enjoyed said previous games. Though on the other hand it’s also bad because not only would it have less of a bonus to players who haven’t played games from CUFF’s subsidiaries, all of these character come from, ya know. EROGE? How the heck do these characters know about it especially if they’re high-school students (not to mention older titles and even go as far back as early 2000s) and they go as far to commenting about character depth of these characters? This frankly ruined a lot of immersion for me especially because the game doesn’t even try to give excuses for this kind of setting; they’re just blatantly promoting their own game like Axanael did probably because they’re old games so they need some kind of income? Make your guesses

They really try

Protagonist was also a stronger trait, with one who has a more mature mindset potentially due to his part time job at a convenience store. While I appreciated how he also has the strong mentality of being self-sufficient, he did admittedly seem extremely dull at times, especially when it comes to realizing that his guild mates were actually people around him or not realizing when heroines were attracted to him. I also would’ve liked it if his interaction with heroines were a bit longer since heroines have near maxed affection for him really early on and obviously I hate baseless harem environments or donkan protagonists.

Unfortunately, story is where they really lose me here. It revolves around exactly the mobile game aspect, and while there are some funny moments here and there due to #relateable, it also stings a bit since as with all players who’ve played mobile games, it’s not all happy hunky dory and the game completely neglects to represent the cons of such (such as bad luck RNG, the competition, grinding, toxic players). Basically, same with with the Denshi Otome game Koikakin fails to properly represent a REAL-LIFE aspect within its story, considering this fictional game somehow has this feature to fully chat with your friends and guildmates without interrupting gameplay when it’s already hard as hell to type on a virtual keyboard that has to fit in a 5 by 2 rectangle

The “coincidental” meeting of all the characters is improbable and convenient at best even though the game does try to give the reasoning that local matching is a thing in this game (rip any foreign players if something like this happens) and somehow no other players were pulled into this group. Honestly with a trait like this it would’ve been better to simply have started by having the characters know each other in real life and eventually playing the game together all at once as it is more realistic. Otherwise as mentioned it’s just way too likely they would’ve had some random stranger in their “guild”.

The route mechanics is something I really don’t like and something that pushed me to drop the game completely; as the Black Bunny explains route opens up not with what happens with the heroine, but what kind of gacha results you obtain throughout the game which is complete bullshit. Like I get you want to stick with this mobile game concept but not only is the reasoning for the pattern for the requirements shit, but the game blatantly sacrifices the story aspect of character interactions (which is EXTREMELY important) completely for this literal RNG bullshit they thought was clever doing.

Like what the fuck. At this point you might as well have made some generic clone of a gacha game that’s so prevalent and overrunning Youtube Ads with their false advertising and copyright infringements. I opened this game in hopes to experience a clever story ABOUT these mobile games as a theme; not try to experience one myself and needing to literally reload previous saves just to make multiple attempts to open a heroine route. The fact that there’s no reasonable pattern for these algorithm is additional salt on the wound (though the game does suggest that having more of the heroines for one specific artist/subsidiary is related to routes opened), and of course; other heroines unnaturally disappearing in routes outside of their own is basically a passive at this point

While none of the heroines are annoying in the sense plus they’re CVs I haven’t really heard much before (thus more refreshing), the blatant lack of character interactions lead to poor romance transitioning which was basically my biggest beef with titles like Atropos and is the same here as well. In fact that’s the exact factor that causes CUFF subsidiary games to be a hit or miss for me–the games from them that I hate usually involve very little character interactions and poor romance transitioning, but often use these traits as an excuse to progress the heroine scenario or introduce additional conflicts.

The problem with that is it really doesn’t do well in terms of story. It CAN work in the perspective of a cheap dating sim where you learn more about the heroine and her problems the more you get closer with her, but at that point it’s more like rescuing a damsel in distress there’s hardly anything exciting about that after you do it for over 200+ titles. It’d be comparable to Disney Princess films and I hope to dear god there’s not some 6-7 year old girls playing these eroge titles.

Not only that it needs to assume the reader is already invested in the character in the first place which doesn’t happen because again; poor romance that storyfags like me would go nuts about. On the other hand, something like this is perfect weeaboos who like shallow scenarios and cute characters so that’s usually who these games attract in the first place (and if this pisses you off you’re kinda proving my point).

The fact that the above “route gimmick” removed the most important pieces to heroine routes along with the hypothesis that I didn’t care too much for the heroines (despite enjoying most of their designs to be honest) pushed me into dropping this game.

Overall I’m pretty disappointed with this title, which had some interesting concepts but failed in its story execution. Quite frankly I didn’t have many great experiences with CUFF subsidiary games in general and generally feel all of them are just charage at best (though I should revisit Natsu no Ame since that was a title I remember being okay with in the past) so I guess I wasn’t too surprised to have similar opinions to this one as well.

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 1/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 4/10

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Secret Agent [Dropped] 

So when I usually give up on a company, it’s done for a pretty good reason. With Lump of Sugar being the primary one, another one that I really hate is ensemble, though my opinion with them is a bit more complex (it’s actually not; I just pretend like it is).

Like Lump of Sugar ensemble has made some pretty decent games previously. Damamuko and Ojounana being the ones that I enjoyed, though both are super old titles. Starting with Golden Marriage their games slowly started to degrade into glorified charage with sparkles everywhere (quite literally) because apparently players like that.

It was Tono Soyogi that brought me here again, but it’s sufficient to say that as a company that made me lose my faith over the years across multiple games this game is definitely far from perfect and manages to piss me off somehow. Stupid tropes and designs bombarded my mind from the beginning scenes and I had to close the game to look away or walk around my room because it was so bad. Let’s get to it (so I can really be done with this blasted company).

Protagonist would’ve given me a good first impression of being this trained and skilled ninja, if he didn’t have the god awful design of being scared of girls for some fucking reason. The excuse that he never was around them makes 0 sense since his entire existence and skillset involves dealing the unknown (you know as a NINJA?), and the game doesn’t even have a trauma to validate that “fear” like Denshi Otome where Keiji had bad experiences with girls; it’s literally as if a child said he didn’t like a food item without having tried it. There’s 0 effort to explain the protagonist’s mindset so the narrative or monologue he has just seems like it’s the writers talking; not him, so all his abilities of being this badass ninja? All went down the drain. Not to mention there was absolutely no reason for him to be a “ninja” either–he could’ve just been an undercover agent for all that matters.

The protagonist’s mom is also annoying seemingly sending her son on this dire and potentially dangerous mission but instead encouraging him to hook up with someone instead which is just plain cringe, while there’s always that question why all of this bullshit needs to be done when the “Bat” only preyed on dishonest people yet this organization for some fucking strange reason wants to confront them and only has this badge from the school. HURR DURR MAYBE THAT’S A SIGN HURR DURR. Like I can tell you want a school setting but couldn’t you give a better fucking excuse to do so instead?

Characters already start with an all-time low with poorly defined traits along with how Kanon has the design that I absolutely hate: heroine with a big ass mouth and no abilities to back up their beliefs. Sure her talk about equality is nice, but when all she does is run her mouth and need someone to cover for her it really does NOT give me a good impression on that heroine regardless. I hated this type of heroine even from Tayutama 2 and that was another reason for me to absolutely hate this game. It’s even worse because the game basically tells readers this is intentional; she’ll run her mouth spouting idealism, but when she’s actually invited to join the Knighthood, she refuses so whoop. How she’s designed to be this foreigner was meaningless since it adds literally nothing to the story.

Mai, while voiced by Tono Soyogi, also annoyed the heck out of me by being the leader of this Knighthood who happened to not take her role seriously enough; bringing outsiders like Kanon, Yui, and Jin into important meetings just because they were involved in it REMOTELY. The game tries to make pathetic excuses to tie them in somehow which is where I saw the forced scenario and it just made everything worse. The fact that she’s indecisive with an ambiguous standard contrasted the expectations of a strong leader while her trying to recruit these characters endlessly all for shit reasons was just plain cringe.

Kagura (having another side of liking cute things while being serious as fuck) or Yui (having an energetic twin sister) didn’t annoy me as much as the aforementioned two characters, but that’s mostly because the game didn’t unravel many things about them yet and I’d rather keep it that way in case (God forbid) they’re even worse than the above.

Story it just loses me everywhere. Starting with the school setting when there’s no reason for it, the AR and futuristic bullshit is plain unnecessary and do not make much difference throughout the game while it also keeps everything excessively vague and doesn’t provide any form of foreshadows (at least upon my analysis) to the identity of this “Bat”man figure. While generally the events/scenario involving this mystery is good, literally anything outside of that involving heroines are basically fillers and worthless garbage.

The real kicker after all this (you heard me right; all of these were at least TOLERABLE and subjective compared to this ridiculous thing this game does) is that the game seems extremely feminist. I generally don’t look for this kind of trait and even if it exists would put it off thinking I’m just being overly analytical, but the game is too excessive with it–the people who are cunts and abuse power in the Knighthood? All males. The seemingly penultimate antagonist who also has a lot of power? Male character. The people with evil mindsets that “Bat” ends up exploiting? All males. Kidnapped student by a Knight? Male who got upset because a female student rejected him.

It’s so disgusting at this point; the game makes all these efforts to glorify female heroines while putting all the blame or negativity on male characters and while I would understand if this happened a couple of times due to pure coincidence, the fact that literally all the conflicts happen are by males while often sexually victimizing the females was just blatant efforts to make a feminist game, ironically while it’s a genre designed for males. Even the fight scenes where it’s obvious that males have a natural advantage (in terms of physical strength), lookie lookie a girl wins because fucking eroge logic.

Like why. I can get that some of the bad game traits are natural due to incompetence, but there’s no excuse to including this controversial topic (because Navel tried to do the same with racism and transgender issue) that aren’t properly defined. These will only degrade the game and frankly the only people who would really like this kind of design are feminists (who’ll never play an eroge) or feminist males which is basically an oxymoron at this point because they’re, again, playing an eroge.

I literally had to backtrack and play this garbage game again just to confirm that these impressions I got were actually valid and not just my imagination (since I’ve played over hundreds of games by now so I would’ve known if I saw a feminist game if I ever did). I generally have thick skin too and can be pretty tolerating towards a lot of things (including rape/torture as you saw with Salete), but this (along with some other things like Kanon’s design) really pissed me off.

Other problems such as how important conflicts with these mob characters aren’t even voiced when they only have a few lines suggest laziness/incompetence from the company, though it’s definitely not as worse as some of the problems above.

Another bad part of all this is that all these critique is from just within about the first few hours so only God knows what kind of bullshit this game will spit out regarding this “Bat” gimmick and how heroines play along with it. It’s the first time in months I got a headache from playing a game and I thought I developed some good ass tolerance but I guess that was wrong. At this point even just the fact that the writers/director thinking these were good designs is proof enough that ensemble is absolute garbage when making creating games, not to mention even just the pointless fillers by the “AI” characters during these “intermissions” disruptive and annoying at best because all they’re doing is repeating the same story elements that everyone and their grandmothers would know just by reading the damn game.

At this point I was basically done with the game and even just the Opening Movie is so vague and boring that I thought there was going to be some kind of hidden route (simialr to Sorceress Alive)… but there was nothing. Nope. All this design and all this game is according to available CGs is just some shitty shallow charage. F A C E P A L M.

Companies like this truly amaze me to how low they can go with writing their games. I even had a bit of hope in this one since one of the writers also wrote Inochi no Spare, Toshinosa, and Haru to Yuki, but I suppose it’s not a good idea to trust that since the exact same author also wrote Lump of Sugar’s most recent title, which I’m stayin FAR FAR AWAY FROM. Don’t even get within a 22 mile radius of me you cursed Lump of Shit game. I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it.

Character Design Rating: 0/10
Story Rating: 0/10 (Legit wanted to give minus points due to the feminist bullshit this game had)
Protagonist Rating: 1/10
Overall Rating: 0/10

===

At this point I’ll just take any good game. Heck even nukige sometimes has more character depth so there’s that. I can see this genre going even further downhill though, and I’ll sink with the ship I suppose.

 

Comments on: "I guess I’m picking up the Pace" (7)

  1. I’m sorry to say this, but not all virtual youtubers are using their own voice talent, instead, they use “voice changer” lol xD so if there’s a cute vtuber girl she’s probably an ojisan behind the scene… haha but not all vtuber are like this. are you into vtuber, by the way?

    ah, ensemble. I avoid their games, knowing a koi canvas writer had a serious problem with the crappy director… I think it’s still by the same director up until now, so… no, thanks hahaha ^^”

    • Oh yeah, I have no doubts some have sketchy practices just like any career field. Voice Changers are probably a thing even for actual girls since it’s generally a controversy among singers too.

      As I stated in my review, I don’t like them because they feel like a forced form of role-play.

      Yeahhhh ensemble’s really in the danger zone now. Definitely surprised me with this game which seems counterintuitive, but let’s see what they have up their sleeves next

    • Ah, I see. I’m not really into vtuber myself. One of my reason is their designs are too colorful… too colorful that they’re considered as “too standart”, as standart as nowadays’ single-heroine eroges. (I subscribed some tho lol)

      Ensemble’s selling point is only the CVs… I’m sure most of the player only interested to CVs, like you lol. Art is too shiny for my taste (that’s not the proper way to use saturation wth). AND THEY OVERUSED DUCA FOR THEIR OPENING DUCA ISN’T REALLY THAT GOOD SINCE 2015

  2. So you’re perfectly okay with (female) torture and rape, but can’t stand alleged feminism? Interesting. I liked some of Saleté’s writer other works but it was clear that he had some pretty pronounced sadistic tendencies in his moege efforts already, I shudder at the idea of a game in which he can let loose and be as much as a creepy fuck as he wants to. No thanks, I’ve had enough exposure to cruelty and violence for this year (maybe more?) with Last of Us Part 2.

    I don’t remember much of Tasogare no Folklore except that I dropped it halfway and didn’t like it. Since I’m lazy I’ll just copy-paste my comments on it. Quote from June 30th, 2109 : “I should have been more wary of this, being from a Navel sister brand. It had a very decent start for a mystery, but suffers from quite a few problems that I already had encountered in Otome no Sahou. First is that it’s just so damn slow and monotone, especially in the voice acting. I know Haruka Sora and Kotorii Yuuka can do great acting, so it was probably asked of them to speak so slowly and softly, but that makes it hard not to fall asleep during long extended explanations, where little is revealed anyway. Adding to that, I found the text relatively uncomfortable to read, too verbose, making the tempo even worse. Second, and the reason why I stopped the game halfway through and started skipping, is just that I couldn’t stand the protagonist any more. I hate indecisive characters, and never did I feel he had any love for the main heroine, even after they got into a relationship. I don’t play VN for stories about demons and whatnot, I play for the romance, and this was just rock bottom unbearable. Was he just acting like a dumbass hiding his feelings behind a twisted vision of manliness (hurting the feelings of everyone around in the process), or was he really just using them all along like the ending I (very quickly) skimmed through suggested? I’ll never know, and I don’t really care. I will stay away from anything even remotely related to Navel from now on. ”

    I don’t really follow your anti-SJW sentiment with Secret Agent, I mean as you wrote it IS an eroge so pushing this kind of agenda seems at the least dumb and counter-productive, considering the industry standard of female objectification and blatant male gratification (especially in nukige but not only, see many moege with harem themes, all heroines being okay with polygamy, all females being sexy young girls in love and devoted to a random protagonist dude with no talent, etc…). I could understand such an agenda from a new company trying to “wake-up” eroge players to the severe twisted sides of their entertainment, but from an established company that produces mostly harmless titles like ensemble I really don’t see it as likely. Anyway, bad guys being mostly male is actually not that uncommon in eroge, just for the simple reason that it’s then “okay” to resort to violence and beat them up (a real man can’t hit a girl!), and girls fighting men in anything but dark titles is very unlikely to see them defeated for the same reason regardless of strength (real men don’t hit girls -> men hitting girls aren’t real men -> they’re destined to lose). You mention that these characters and fights are short and not even voiced, that leads me to think that it’s maybe not trying to push an agenda and you’re probably just reading too much into it as a backlash to the current social climate. I haven’t played the game myself yet so I can’t really tell either way.

    Latest Lump of Sugar ねこツク、さくら wasn’t that terrible actually, although it’s not amazing either and in typical LoS fashion the fantasy elements just fuck up everything in the ending sequence. I still enjoyed it until 2/3 of the route I played through (Yayoi).

    • Looks like we’re much more divided this time around and it’s reasonable since while we both are trying to find some good games, we obviously have different points at which we define “good and bad”.

      When it comes down to it, it’s all about context. I never said rape and torture is “okay”–I even specify that it’s distasteful and inappropriate in my review. The comments I make (should have) implied I was more impressed with how the game tricked me into thinking fake rape/torture was more okay than real ones using its clever presentation.

      On the contrary there was no reason for Secret Agent to exclusively focus on antagonizing males. As I said I’d brush off traits like feminism with the thought that it’s just my overanalysis, but I would encourage you to actually play through even just the beginning scenes of Secret Agent just to get a feel for what I noticed (quite frankly I don’t think your words hold up if you haven’t played it yourself)–The fact that there are literally 5-6 examples of these “men are evil, women are victims/justice” scenes within the first few hours can point to either just flat out ignorance or purposeful design, both which are target of my critique aside from various other weak story elements.

      Just like how I couldn’t handle Irotoridori Sekai from Favorite (as well as other games), you couldn’t handle Tasogare and that’s fine. Ironically though the problem I had with said former games was specifically your complaint with Tasogare (vague, boring, and monotone), so if you somehow happened to enjoy titles from Favorite for any reason, one of us would literally be contradicting himself.

      Even our difference in tastes for protagonists I have a good explanation for–I’m pretty open about my distaste for protagonist design in Alicesoft titles (Rance, Evenicle) but some players like them despite how they’re probably the least ideal for proper romance/story. I also say openly that despite being my top favorite titles Haruki from White Album 2 annoyed the fuck out of me with his indecisiveness and cowardice with romance topics despite proficiency in literally everything else.

      But where I’m different is that I at least make attempts to place myself in the protagonist’s shoes–if you were rejected by your first love in your teens and it caused quite literally everything around you to crumble would you want to go through that entire process again? (WA2) In the case of Tasogare would you, probably a decent human being, kill someone who is your master and spent time with for 5+ years and thus know very well she’s a good-natured person at heart, just because she has this fantasy trait of needing to kill to stay alive?

      The cowardice and indecisiveness makes sense. It’s why despite being considered powerless and a coward I consider protagonists like Osamu in Damekoi to be perfect since he is realistic. It’s also the reason why I can’t get into “perfect” protagonists (i.e. games like the most recent game from Princess Sugar; Yakimochi Love) because not only are they not actually perfect, it makes them artificial and fake (and the writer’s dubious efforts to make it so pathetic at best).

      In the end we have different standards–mine happens to be focused on story while you claim yours is on romance. When I critique romance in these short reviews it’s usually because that element becomes centerfield for the progressive scenario and does it poorly while games like Tasogare and Salete (especially) it wasn’t the main focus.

      Who were you referring to the writers of Salete having “sadistic tendencies”? I couldn’t find much information on Nanaminana while Orgel has a more various background including Miu/Sana routes in Mashiroiro Symphony which is quite far from such a description.

      I still don’t want to try that LoS title. Considering we’re already pretty different in our standards I’d probably consider my extensive history with their previous titles more trustworthy than someone else’s.

    • Fair enough about Secret Agent, I do intend to play the game eventually but even apart from the feminist agenda I have a hard time with them already (I had a lot of complaints about ensemble’s previous 恋はそっと咲く花のように) so I haven’t started it yet. I was just pointing out how unlikely deliberately pushing such an agenda would be for a studio like ensemble.

      The only Favorite game I’ve “played” is the latest さくら、もゆ。-as the Night’s, Reincarnation-, and I quit it halfway through (or more likely 15%? at first route selection) because of the infantile text (not plot) repeating itself two to three times in the same sentence, the overall slow pace with tons of time spent on describing an imagined fantasy world, and heavy dissonance between player and protagonist knowledge (the protagonist knows a lot more and deliberately leaves stuff obscure in his monologue). It did feature from what I’ve seen some pretty dark themes in the opening sequences already (suicide, self sacrifice), maybe you’d like it?

      I also don’t like Alicesoft protagonists in general, and I think protagonists in any love triangle game (two girls one boy) need to have some degree of indecisiveness and cowardice for the story to work. If he was actually able to make a choice and stick to it then there wouldn’t be room for a love triangle drama at all anyway. While I understand the necessity that doesn’t mean I enjoy it, and rather explains why I tend to stay away from anything involving love triangles because their protagonists need to display those qualities I really dislike.

      I don’t remember much of Tasogare but isn’t the protagonist immune to her death touch or something? He just passes out and has a terrible time but otherwise survives just fine. Maybe as the story progresses he shows signs of gradual weakening after years but I don’t see how he couldn’t stay with her till she’s old and dies of natural cause. As I said I only made it halfway before skipping heavily so maybe there was some more plot with that. The one thing I do remember is his general attitude though, in that he would rather die than reciprocate even a tiny bit of the affection the heroine throws at him, making her very insecure along the way. Hence my comment on ‘hiding his feelings behind a twisted vision of manliness’ and doubting he actually had any feelings to reciprocate at all, something that one ending seemed to hint at.

      I’ve grown tired of ‘story’ VNs, if I want a good story there are lots of better sources that 18+ visual novels (all-ages VN tend to overall better). The exception is simple, non over-dramatic romance in which the VN format does make for a better medium than say a book, and of course the straight up porn in nukiges. I’ll admit the former’s genre is not for everyone and can seem pretty boring for someone used to the constant stimuli of typical anime/manga (see toneworks’). Seeing as you tend to complain a lot about rushed romance elements I thought it was something you were looking for too. Maybe I misunderstood.

      I was referring to Orgel when talking about sadistic tendencies. I adored Sana’s route in Mashiro Iro Symphony but because of that I also looked into his other works and some stuff is pretty rough. Even the very tame moeges (Purely Cation) can have some questionable H content for a vanilla game, a trait that only shows more prominently in nukiges (妹がエロゲー声優だったんだが) or story games (死神の接吻は別離の味). This usually stays contained in sex scenes, but given the opportunity I’m not surprised he wrote something like Saleté. I’ll stick to his moeges though.

      I have only played a single route of Lump of Sugar’s ねこツク、さくら so I’m not in position to recommend it, just saying I didn’t find it terrible that’s all.

    • I completely agree the aspect in Secret Agent is unlikely to be deliberate considering the genre, and that’s why I’m even more annoyed since it means the writers, director, and all quality check that was performed completely missed the heavy impressions of feminism in multiple scenarios. As with games like Navel’s SPIRAL (which conveyed racism and gender issues), the problem with this is that the narrative is so poor I can’t immerse myself or relate to the controversial topic at all; if the narrative was good for this trait of feminism I would’ve instead praised the game for its presentation and given bonus points for doing so in a genre where feminism doesn’t even belong (eroge), since I’ve done exactly the former for much more distasteful things like rape/torture (Salete).

      Tasogare definitely does seem like a miss for you so it’s fair you’ve skipped a majority of the game. The game explains that Spica is originally divided into two personalities (“Day” and “Night”) where the Night personality is actually just Spica being controlled by the original Iwaigo (this is revealed at the very end), and the Day personality doesn’t even know about her powers nor how she almost kills Arima each time for the entire 5 years. This original Iwaigo kills an entire room including Arima’s father and proceeds to assault Arima too, but doesn’t kill him off fully. The game never clarifies why (and this is one of the big cons I’ve mentioned in the review, since the same happens for Shino) but it’s implied that the original Iwaigo knew how to control her powers and never kills off Arima completely on her own accord–again the reason is not explained, only implied.

      Arima’s excuse for not replying to Spica’s affection is moreorless guilt along with cowardice. His little “twist” also included being tasked to knowingly nurture and protect the new Iwaigo by his father, so even if he did have any kind of romantic affection for Spica, it would’ve basically been a form of Stockholm syndrome which he didn’t want to “lie about” as he says in game. The game basically tells the reader in a certain scene that up until a certain point Arima’s viewpoint on Spica was quite literally “a test subject” and nothing more.

      “Story-focused” VNs are rare I’ll admit, and you’re definitely correct in the sense it’s also not a good idea to expect it in the current market. It’s just that as someone who’s been with this genre… 10+ years now?, the CVs and artists along with the game producers (some who’ve screwed me over so I’ve abandoned as you know) it all feels more familiar than trying to pursue my wants for a “good story” somewhere else. It’s why I stay with this niche genre even though it’s degraded to nothing more than eyecandy in some fields.

      Having only played Salete and Mashiroiro Symphony, I don’t feel I have sufficient authority to speak for Orgel, and your analysis does make me want to try some of his other works.

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