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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Mon May 25, 2020 9:02 am

Okay, I feel like all posts in this thread belong so me now...... but I'm dumping some unstructured thoughts, as I don't want to forget things before I write the inevitable review.

I'm playing Chaos;Child, which was made by the folks behind Steins;Gate.

This one's more of a horror mystery, as the protagonist and his buds are investigating a series of murders.

Apparently the game's a sequel to something unlocalized called Chaos;Head. By sequel I mean "same universe" and not a continuation of a previous narrative. So it seems like Chaos;Child is fine as a standalone. I haven't had too many issues.

The characters are okay..... The protagonist lives in an RV, which may be a first for a visual novel hero. He's got the stereotypical "Japanese teenager with occasional perverted thoughts" thing going on. There's a wisecracking sidekick and of course tons and tons of cute girls. The game takes the "wise beyond their years" trope a bit too far. There's one female character who's some kind of scientist, newscaster, investigator, perfectly bilingual.... all while being a Japanese high school student. Okay.

The game seems to be pushing the idea of an unreliable narrator pretty hard. His "delusions" are a focal point to the story thus far. Surprisingly, there's also some "third-person" type narration where the protagonist isn't even present, which is unusual for this type of game.

Production value is high. Good art, though a bit standard, decent creepy music, fantastic voice acting.

So far, so good, but not super good. I can't help but compare this to Steins;Gate which came out swinging and was downright phenomenal from hour one.

(this game was originally released on the Xbox One...??? That just seems so odd.)
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Re: Visual Novels

by marurun Mon May 25, 2020 10:01 am

That VN developer loves semicolons.
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Mon May 25, 2020 10:12 am

Yeah, this is the "Science Adventure" series, but colloquially known as the "semicolon series."

Visual Novels are notorious for their shitty titles. Just looking at the "top-rated" list on VNDB I see all sorts of random hyphens, tildes, semicolons, quotation marks, and exclamation points.
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Re: Visual Novels

by chupon Mon May 25, 2020 8:05 pm

Have you played Robotics; Notes yet?
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Tue May 26, 2020 7:58 am

Nope. There's no English version yet, right?
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Fri May 29, 2020 12:32 pm

Okay, here's another disorganized dump of Chaos;Child thoughts I'll eventually fashion into a review.

I finished the game last night. Stayed up late, binged, saw the credits in the early AM. This is just the main quest common route ending. I can keep going for additional endings and the "true" ending, but I dunno know if I want to. This isn't like Steins;Gate where I needed that resolution and tearjerker conclusion. Also, Chaos;Child is some heavy shit, in both tone and total gameplay hours (it be long).

This one's sitting at a comfortable 7/10 for me. I do like how scary it is. It's gross and grimy and tense. The big issue is that the writing doesn't keep pace with the atmosphere. There's just way too much corny shit. A big issue is that the game tries to throw multiple twists at the player, but they just don't work at all. Compare this to (here we go again) Steins;Gate. That game was full of twists, but each one could be contextualized and integrated into the overall narrative cleanly. For instance,
At the very beginning of Steins;Gate a girl gets stabbed but you hear a man scream. Seems weird, but whatever. You start to forget about it... and then thirty hours later things become clarified and it's like OH SHIT MAN because it explains so much of what was happening behind the scenes.

The Chaos;Child twists are just lazy. In that "what you thought was X is actually Y" sort of way. Then there's all the "betrayal" bullshit -- this guy you thought was your buddy is - dun dun dun - actually a bad guy! Okay. The "final battle" is contrived and utterly insane and uncomfortable, though I admire the writer's dedication to the overall weirdness.

This one is reminding me a lot of a completely unrelated game I played earlier this year called Tokyo Dark. I love the Japanese horror motifs, but so much of the writing is questionable. And this is coming from someone who's generally forgiving when it comes to VNs.
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:29 pm

The "ending" structure in this game is absolutely nonsensical. So, the common route must be completed before the "heroine" routes can be played.... and all of those must be completed before the "true" ending can be played.

There's no "mystery" to be had during the heroine routes, as all the major plot points have been revealed during the common route... but the game is written as if the player wasn't aware of this. It's so bizarre. The heroine routes just provide additional backstory for the female characters, and to that I say, who cares! -- they aren't compelling enough to warrant all this attention.

It's weird because Steins;Gate had the perfect VN ending structure. The "true" ending could theoretically be completed on the initial run, assuming all the right choices were made. All other attainable endings occur prematurely, but are well-written and worth seeing. It's like the developers threw out a tried-and-true successful narrative structure in favor of..... whatever this is.
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Re: Visual Novels

by marurun Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:32 pm

Koto Dama was on sale for Switch so I bought it. I have never actually played a proper VN. I hope it doesn’t suck and that this wasn’t a bad decision.
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Re: Visual Novels

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:36 pm

Steins;Gate Elite and YU-NO are on the Switch and you go for anime schoolgirls. I see how it is.
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Re: Visual Novels

by marurun Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:12 pm

I didn’t read any reviews. It was dirt cheap. I crossed my fingers. Was this not the right way to dip my toes in the water?
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