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Posts tagged ‘ghost’

Meaning of Life and Death: Review of NOeSIS Series

Foreword: WOW. just WOW.

Holy smokes this game was awesome. Yes, this isn’t the typical “charage” you might be looking for, but this game is literally where I hit the jackpot as I search for a game “with a meaning”.
Dark themes encompass this title, but there is definitely some high-quality humor within the entire title; it’s even better than many of the commercial games out there (like the ones I’ve been playing recently), so this entitles this game to have a far higher score than other games.

Fair warning, however, that this game’s theme IS horror and suspense. Completely unfit for the weak of heart, I would rate this game 17+ despite not containing any form of sexual content because of its traumatic elements and psychological factors. In addition to this, that age range is probably necessary to even understand the storyline anyways…

According to Wikipedia, “Noesis” means “perception of the mind” in Greek. How fitting for this game!

First Title– NOeSIS~嘘を吐いた記憶の物語~ (Usowo tsuita kioku no monogatari) [Lit. Trans: The story of lie-filled memories)
Second Title– NOeSIS02 ~羽化~ (Uka, translated into “Emergence”)
(Planned Release: Fall 2013) Third Title– NOeSIS03 -歌う影の戯曲- (Utau kage no gikyoku) [Lit. Trans: Requiem of the Singing Shadow]
Producers: cutlass
Release Date: October 30, 2011
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v11029 / http://vndb.org/v11858
Getchu Link: N/A
Game Type: Suspense Mystery Novel with dark themes of psychology and philosophy

NOeSIS Summary: Shigure is a student at an academy where a person commits suicide once a week. This rumor spreads so much that everyone just… accepts it for how it is.
However, he meets someone who doesn’t think it’s just a suicide; she has enough evidence to believe that this is murder, and is determined to find out the end of it.

With this student council president who can read people’s hearts just by looking at their eyes…
With a childhood friend whose family problems may be more serious than a normal person’s…
With an extremely intelligent younger sister who seems to be hiding something…

Shigure will delve into this mystery to its roots, and stop this chain of suicide in any way possible.

He doesn’t even know himself…

NOeSIS02 Summary: Shigure suddenly wakes up to find his annoying classmate Nayuta poking him in the back and trying to get closer to him as always. This damn girl has been annoying me fo… … …


Who is this…? Why do I have memories of her?

Damnit! Who’s been playing with my memory?!
Shigure shouts this as he runs to the student council office to find the person who can explain this madness.

But he will soon realize that he’s not the mad one, it’s someone else… and she might be closer to him than he thinks…

But is she, really, crazy?


Fantasy Amusement Park? Review of [130726]Koisoku

Foreword: Second game  (I think) from Hearts, this title attracted my attention with a scenario writer named “北川晴” who wrote many titles who received the “best game” label on getchu, which includes Mashiroiro Symphony itself. While expecting a pure-love story due to this (and game description on the homepage), this game was actually pretty different, in the sense it seemed to emphasize and contain comedy a bit more than “romance”. This is why I label this game simply “romance” and try to not tag it with “pure love” like I’d do for similar ones.

Aside from that, this game was also very predictable. Much of the elements were pretty much spread out for you, but this strangely didn’t make the game boring as it normally would have. Finding this strange, I hesitate to claim that it was the comedy that spiced up the story, but I see no other element that played a big factor otherwise.

Finally, this game DOES make several references to the first game from Hearts: Mercuria. While I haven’t played it before, Kazumi’s route dives deep into the topic of Mercuria, which makes me want to find out if these two games share characters or settings. I guess I’ll get to that later on.

Title: 恋咲く都に愛の約束を ~Annaffiare~ (Koisaku miyakoni ai no yakusoku wo) [Lit. Trans: Promise of Love on a Romance-blossoming capital]
Producers: Hearts
Release Date: July 26, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v12309
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=770174
Game Type: Romance Comedy Novel

Summary: Kazuomi enjoys his daily life fooling around with his friends and the company of his younger sister Kazumi and childhood friend Wakako. Grown up in the island of Annaffiare, it is his dream and life-goal for visitors to this amusement park on an island to enjoy their stay and hope to come back for more. His desires are reflected in his daily actions and efforts (except for being unable to wake up early), and five people around him will notice it–Kazumi, Wakako, a transfer student named Kokoro, the director of the management department Konomi, and a strange ghost named Winifred.

Story Length: Moderate (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Easy
Comments:  One choice after the opening. Have fun xP

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: A mediocre game which had a good story, but completely predictable plotline. Characters are well designed, but some of their relationships seemed rather “forced”, and each heroine lacked impact in their routes.

There was drama as I wanted, but they seemed so trivial to what was really important, and I spent a quite a bit of my time facepalming at the cowardice of some of the characters, since each character was hesitating to act at the most critical points in the story.

Character Summary:

Kazumi’s first! Probably my favorite character within the entire game, this deredere character has a severe brother-complex which incites her to approach Kazuomi rather aggressively. With a child-like personality complementary to her appearance, many scenes involve her wild imagination of Kazuomi asking her out or sexually assaulting her.

One of Kazumi’s lovable traits is that she uses various methods to wake her older brother up, who seems to have low-blood pressure in the mornings. From creepy stares to tying Kazuomi to his bed, Kazuomi will often complain about these methods that rudely disturb his beauty sleep, but always have nothing to say in return if Kazumi argues “But you won’t wake up with normal methods”.

Yes Kazumi, that’s creepy.

The game’s rather quick to describe the sibling’s situation; Kazumi is NOT Kazuomi’s biological sister, and suggests that Kazumi holds a trauma that she somehow forgot. This trauma was somehow re-triggered with an life-threatening accident at the Grand Ferris Wheel, which puts the person in duty at great responsibility; Kazumi.

Kazumi’s route involves Kazuomi working hard to prove Kazumi’s innocence with this accident, while trying to cover up what actually happened in the past–he does not want Kazumi to suffer from the trauma…

Next we have Wakako. A character who blanks out frequently, it is shown in the beginning scenes that unless Kazuomi approaches her in the mornings, Wakako will be engaged in her book so much that she will completely miss class that day. Despite this kind of personality, this character who speaks slowly and does not understand jokes is extremely proficient with acting; she is known to be the number one actress in all of Annaffiare, and receives the greatest role possible; the acting of the princess in the famous play.

Wakako’s route involves an event when her acting inspired a man named “Yurian”, who is a world-famous actor who wants to scout this talented girl for education in America. Many people, including teachers and even their friend Madoka suggests that Wakako take this opportunity and travel abroad, but Wakako declines this valuable opportunity the very day she was invited; her reasoning? “Because I want to stay with Kazuomi”.

However, Wakako will realize that even as Kazuomi hears about this, he is not happy. For Kazuomi himself, he keeps wondering “was this the right choice…?” as he consults various people he knows about this dilemma; he wants Wakako to improve as much as she can, but also doesn’t want to separate with her.

The route wanders back and forth as Kazuomi finds more evidence that he should suggest his childhood friend to leave for America. Kazuomi will then make a series of promises to the frail and uncertain girl, who goes on to pursue her dream goal.

Definitely a character who I think is “unnecessary”, Kokoro was a character who I found favorable (due to CV: Aoba Ringo), but ultimately found to have little or no role outside of her route. For all the other characters, they’re connected to another heroine with some relationship, but this character is from outside of the island and only has very weak elements, which also stack with her “confusing” personality.

Labeled a “tsundere” character, it is possible to see some “tsun” to a certain extent, but this character turns “dere” too quickly. Her route involves her fear of water despite being a dolphin trainer. Kokoro loves dolphins and wants to become a professional dolphin trainer, but her fear of water constantly interferes her passions until she panics in the middle of a show. This encourages Kazuomi to give her “special training” to get used to the water, of which she accepts, albeit with a bit of hesitation.

As it turns out, Kokoro is actually the daughter of a very rich man who is the main sponsor for this island, and this person now wants to destroy the aquarium where Kokoro works hard to become a dolphin trainer. Finding this unacceptable, Kazuomi decides to directly confront this person who he won’t be able to win against by normal means.

Another character with a strange, contradicting personality, Konomi is a young staff member who is very skilled, and is the head of the management department. The very beginning scenes involve her hugging Kazuomi and seducing him with her breasts, so the reader gets an impression that this character is very straightforward and playful.

Konomi’s route involves the past of Kazumi, when Kazuomi realizes that Konomi knows “too much” about Kazumi. She knows that Kazumi and he are not blood-related, which causes the protagonist to raise the red-flag and keep close guard towards this character. He even warns Kazumi to “not get close to her”, because he does not want Kazumi to learn of their true relatonship.

However, the majority of Kazuomi’s assumptions are incorrect, as he is slapped with a shocking truth (of which he learns from Winnie); Konomi is actually the younger sister of Kazumi’s biological mother, so this makes her Kazumi’s aunt. This relationship explains why Konomi knew so much about Kazumi, which includes the accident that happened many years ago that caused the disappearance of Kazumi’s parents.

It was this event that incited Konomi to work hard and gain a position of management department, where she will be able to access all the data she wanted; Konomi wanted to find the whereabouts of Kazumi and her parents. As she saw Kazumi smiling beside Kazuomi, Konomi found herself relieved to some extent.

Finally we have Winnie. Originally named Winifred D. Land (Disneyland….???), she also accepts a shorter version of her name since her actual name is far too difficult to pronounce (at least for a Japanese person).

Kazuomi originally finds this character floating in the air when he visits the Castle in the Princess Area, and first thinks Winnie is actually a hologram. As he then finds out that this hologram speaks to him and can hold a conversation with him, he screams in fear that what he’s seeing is a ghost, which ultimately makes the ghost herself panic as well.

After the chaos, it is shown that Winnie is indeed a ghost who has some sort of “regret” that kept her in this world. In addition, it seems that she can only be seen or heard by Kazuomi, and this causes a lot of misunderstanding on his part to his friends, who often think Kazuomi is insane as he talks to himself. Despite this impression, Kazuomi frequently consults Winnie with his problems.

It is shown that Winnie is actually a princess, and the famous play (of which Wakako plays the Princess) is a story based on Winnie. This coincidence doubles up with Winnie’s relationship to Wakako, but it’s also possible to see a comical scene when Winnie reacts in a rather exaggerated manner to the play itself, when Kazuomi points out that all this events were actually what happened to Winnie herself.

Similar to many of the “ghost-heroine” type stories out there, Winnie’s route involves mostly around Kazuomi trying to help Winnie become “satisfied”. However, even the ghost doesn’t know what regret she has, and simply enjoys her daily strolls around the island and speaking to people in hopes she’ll be seen again by someone.

Overall, if you remember Akiho from Moshimo Ashita ga hare naraba, this route followed a very similar pattern. Nonetheless, there are also some shocking relationships revealed; it seems that Wakako is a direct descendent of Winnie, which makes Wakako of royal heritage. However, Kazuomi does not tell Wakako of this fact, and this relationship remains largely insignificant.

I also found it strange how this character could “control” herself, so she can make herself physically tangible and intangible whenever she wants, but this trait could not let her “contact” other people as she wants to do. It is also unexplained why she is visible to Kazuomi but not anyone else. Nonetheless, I found Winnie’s story to be the most detailed and had the most amount of effort into creating.

【Win】恋咲く都に愛の約束を ~Annaffiare~

But Kazumi remains my favorite character; deredere imouto is always nice

Sexual Content: Low

Comments: As explained in the Foreword, this story didn’t have “pure-love” elements as I expected. Filled more with comedic love triangles or jokes (which usually involve Kazuomi’s friend Fujimiya being jealous of Kazuomi’s “harem”), I found myself rather frustrated that the game had lots of unexplained elements such as “the accident” (although that’s probably because I haven’t played the first game from Hearts) or the origin of Annaffiare.

The greatest detail about the “background story” is found in Kazumi’s route, but even then it doesn’t explain everything; it almost seems as if Hearts expects their audience to know the entire story of Mercuria before playing this game. Ugh. Such confusion…

Incidentally, did anyone notice that it’s really easy to get Kazumi’s and KazuOmi’s name confused? I didn’t really realize this until a long time later (since I “see” the kanji), but their names are so similar to the point it’s not surprising if someone made a mistake between the two (Make sure you let me know if I DID switch the two names in this review, too)

Finally, this game also had rather famous CVs, all five whom I’m very familiar with. Refer to Getchu for more information on this.

So THIS is what’s called “Flower on both hands”…

Affection for the Characters: Moderate

CG Quality: Moderate. (Oh my gosh, so much sparkles)
Music Quality: High. I especially loved the Opening Song. Here’s the video!

Addictiveness: Low.

Conclusion: Second game by Hearts which ended up slightly (?) decent. Not the best game, however, since Amairo completely overwhelms it in terms of quality. However, this game DOES make me want to play Heart’s first game, Mercuria.

I’ll get to it soon >.>;

But yeah. Lots of sparkles in the CG +w+