Hello there people and welcome to some more Visual Novel talk!
So since the last article seemed to be pretty well received I figured I’d go ahead with the whole Visual Novel review idea! The not so small problem with that idea is I’m not really a “standard” reviewer at heart so instead of full fledged by the books reviews I’m simply going to do some short write ups on each game mostly focusing on the good and the bad, then at the end give my final verdict of whether I think its worth playing.
Most likely I’ll wait until I have at least 2 games played and probably no more then 5 before randomly slapping one of these together, as it takes quite some time to get through a game in its entirety!
So the first game up is the oddly titled “My Girlfriend is the President”.
First off the title is a bit of a misnomer, as 2 of the 4 romance-able girls in the game aren’t actually presidents, so those of you that would rather have a non-political option can rejoice! Now, when it says “president” , it’s not student council we’re talking about, but rather the president of a country.
If that sounds odd to you, that would be perfectly reasonable, as this game is very much an absurdest parody complete with talking pandas, crazy popes, moe spaceships and more then a few other oddities. With that said, a lot of the underlying story telling is very much standard Eroge comedy stuff, so its not quite as wacky and unconventional as it sometimes (most especially at the start) would have you believe.
And honestly, it’s that underlying conventional Eroge feeling that makes this a fairly forgettable little title. It elicits some laughs and I quite enjoyed Ell-chans route as well as her character in general, but when it comes down to it the game really never does anything special. The sex scenes are merely all right…the art design is typical Eroge fair…the voice acting is fine…the story is ok. There really is nothing here that I would say is either bad or good. Its almost like they went to great pains to make the game as accommodating and unoffensive as possible, but considering the game includes parodies of Presidents Obama and Putin as romance-able Eroge girls that seems like a wasted opportunity.
I’d say the only genuine problem I have with the game beyond its blandness is the fact that there is no route for the first girl you meet thats at the heart of all of this madness. It just seems like a rather large over sight that they didn’t bother allowing you to romance the (in my opinion) most interesting and story centric character in the game? Damn shame that…
Final Verdict: Pass unless you really love generic Eroge. Honestly, there’s nothing much here to make you feel like playing the game was time well-spent.
For a second opinion and a far more comprehensive review check out Otaku Study’s review (NSFW)
Putting the absurdity and Pseudo Sci-Fi behind us, our next Eroge is quite a bit more grounded. Deardrops was done by the same people who did Kira Kira and carries the same theme of being in a band (As well as having a few Cameos from that game.)
Sadly the game is nowhere near the level of what Kira Kira was and ended up being one of the biggest disappointments to me in quite some time.
But then I’m getting ahead of myself so lets start from the beginning, shall we? The game uses the standard Eroge gameplay of making choices with the usual static sprites and what have you. While playing I noticed a very strong push towards two of the girls in the game to the point I actually looked up a walk-through just to make sure you could even romance the other two girls in the game. It turns out you can, but you’ll soon find out why the game pushed those two…
Simply put the writers don’t give a fuck about the other two girls. My problem with Kira Kira is it front loaded most of the good story and left the romances short quickly wrapping them up at the end, but Deardrops has a much different and far worse problem… Basically, instead of having a long common route before you choose a romance they decided to instead completely isolate the romance for two of the characters away from the main plot and shunt them off to the sides while cramming in the “real” story in the other two girls routes.
So what this means is if you want to continue the main story that you were playing for hours up until that branch point you absolutely must pick Riho or Kanade. If you pick either of the other two girls you get some half-ass short little side story romance (Well barely a romance in Yayoi’s case) and then the game ends abruptly completely ignoring all other characters, main plot or side plots that had existed before going on to their route. You want to know what happened to the band? What was up with that mysterious guy? The protagonists back story? The guitar picks? Anything else of consequence? Well I hope you like Riho or Kanada cause you sure as hell aren’t going to learn ANY of that in Yayoi or Rimu’s “routes”.
It all just begs the question why they even bothered making the other girls routes. Because they felt they had to? Because two girls wasn’t enough? Whatever choice it was, it was dumb as bricks because it means if you like say, Yayoi like me and pick her first well you get to be utterly perplexed and then frustrated to hell when you learn the game just gave you a giant middle finger and told you ya have to romance the other girls in order to actually have a full-fledged story.
Now I’ve played games where there is only one route but the difference is generally the main character either doesn’t outright choose a specific girl like in Deardrops, or he at least gets to sleep with the others plus you also know what you are getting into at the start. This game however gives you hope that you actually will get a fulfilling route with the other girls.
A good example of this would be in the expansion for Kira Kira — the game had only one route and I didn’t much like the girl so that was it for me. I never played very far into it because I knew if I could only pick her I could just save my time instead of wasting it…But with what they did here I had already become invested in Yayoi and I wanted to know what happened to her and the band so I forced myself to play through other girls routes that I didn’t even like to find out.
But the sad truth here is to get the continuation of the actual story the game started your forced to slog through having to watch the protagonist romancing some girl you may not even like! There honestly was no reason why they couldn’t have told similar main stories and branched them to adapt to each girl instead of pushing them aside entirely in the way they did…It leaves a very bitter taste in your mouth to put it mildly.
I wish I could tell you much about that main story but frankly I was so put off by the game screwing me over I just couldn’t get very excited while playing either Kanade or Riho’s route. I find Kanade to be a terrible character (Yea, a girl who practically runs and was raised around Live Houses would of course become a generic moe blob shy girl…Whut?) and while Riho isn’t quite as terrible she simply isn’t my type.
There are some other niggling issues I had like too few songs and the ones they did use mostly played at a muffled BGM like level that made it hard to get excited about the concerts but honestly that pales in comparison to the above fundamental flaw…
Final Verdict: Play the game if you think you’d like Kanade or Riho, but avoid like the plague if you like Rimu or especially Yayoi.
Well so far we’ve had one mediocre game and one possibly rage-inducing one! Not off to a good start here with this new article series…Thankfully Kamidori is here to save the day!
Kamidori is a Tactical RPG Eroge by Eushully, although unlikeTears to Tiara, the combat is handled via small scenes of pre-rendered sprites wailing on each other as opposed to right there on the map. The combat system uses the familiar elemental rock-paper-sissors system, but this elemental concept also extends to the maps themselves where units can power up on certain types of tiles and different types of terrain may be completely impassable if you don’t have the correct elemental movement skills. Thankfully the game allows for easy swapping of skills and equipment mid-game so you can quickly adapt to each map.
The rather impressively large amount of skills on characters makes for a fairly deep and interesting combat system that I’d rank as one of my favorites for an Eroge. Beyond simply beating up things there are also other gameplay mechanics like needing to manage your store and craft items to sell as you are no mere warrior, but instead an alchemist. While none of this is too terribly deep I found it an enjoyable distraction and added a nice bit of flavor to the usual dungeon crawling antics of similar games.
Moving past the combat though the game boasts a very large and diverse cast of characters that is typical of most games of this type, almost all of whom are recruitable. Each of these characters has very distinct character designs and personalities that play to the strengths of their archetypes…the stoic angel, the mischievous fox, the mysterious devil and many others can be found in the game. While these types of characters are nothing original in and of themselves the way in which thier character designs, voices, and general demeanor are handled elevates them above the norm for me helping to draw you into the wonderful world of Kamidori.
Even better then this is the fact that many of them form bonds and relationships with one another that have nothing to do with the main protagonist. These are not simply cardboard cutout characters lazing around waiting to be knocked up by the main character (although he does do that) but instead fully fleshed out characters with their own desires and views on life. Its this varied amount of point of views on life that forms the core message of Kamidori where it explores the different ways in which non-humans go about their lives in a human dominated world.
Many of these characters start out as antagonists but eventually through one turn of events or another the protagonist befriends them. Make no mistake though this is not Nanoha…The protagonist does not simply go in swinging his hammer as his main tool of diplomacy. In this world there are a great many equally terrible and wonderful creatures that go far beyond a lone human’s strength and it’s your constant attempts to understand these living gods that makes Kamidori’s story so compelling. You want to know what such a being with so much power could possibly think…You find yourself wanting to explore and to understand the many wonders to be found among the ruins and various locations doting the map. In that way the game does an excellent job of making you care about what happens to this fictitious world.
One thing that helps is this is not the first game to use this setting and indeed there are several cameos from other games in this world that gives you the sense that you’re only seeing just a slice of what there is out there to see. Kamidori doesn’t really have a central conflict so much as its a game about discovery. There are final bosses but honestly they feel rather inconsequential in the end because by the end its more about the companions you’ve gathered and come to know over the course of the game.
Lastly unlike many other SRPG Eroge this one has actual heroine routes. Sadly there’s only 3 (several of the girls I think would have made great main heroines.), but unlike Deardrops each one is afforded their own fully fleshed-out story. While the side quests remain the same, the main quest changes greatly and allows you to get to know each heroine-specific people far better (the elves, the neighboring empire, and your own city respectively). Of the three I enjoyed Serawi’s the most by far, as I found the loli character a bit too childish and stoic swords-women have never been my forte, whereas Serawi’s constant endearing understanding and loving support made her stand out from most Eroge girls as being an actual woman that I genuinely enjoyed the company of. The fact that these relationships continue well beyond the confession and all have satisfying endings is a welcome change as well.
Final Verdict: This is one SRPG Eroge journey worth taking! Wholeheartedly recommended.
And there you have it the first article of what will hopefully be a new series!
I have to say playing these games with a critical eye instead of purely for fun can be quite exhausting, but enjoyable nonetheless! Hopefully next time the bad to good ratio of games will be a bit kinder on me as plowing my way through an uninteresting game is akin to pulling teeth…