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Thread: Visual Novel Cafe

  1. #3741
    Senior Member kzel's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    New page, new post, new impressions. I've been going back and forth between games playing one route of each trying to decide on one to settle with, but so far (for different reasons) I can't seem to find one that I want to play to completion. Anyway, here goes :

    さくらいろ、舞うころに (give up after a few hours) : This was not what I was expecting from a Pulltop game, in every single department. Everything, from the art to the writing, the story, the camera work, the music, characters and more reminded me of a low quality ensemble game. I knew the main writer was from ensemble but still... I haven't played any Pulltop games but 見上げてごらん、夜空の星を, which was really good (apart from the awkward love triangle), but maybe that one was just the exception and looking at their other games, it does seem to be the case. Anyway, usually I don't hate ensemble games (not playing the cross-dressing ones for taste reasons), but this one is just unbearably boring AND manages to also be irritating. Most of this irritation centered on the little sister Yuki, who is featured a lot in the early days and just needs to shut up. The setting of a sister spending 5 years in school in the US and... not being able to speak english at all apart from throwing oddly constructed insults is already bad enough, but she also gets extremely aggressive at the slightest little thing, in a bad way. It's hard to believe she's just one year apart from the protagonist. Anyway, after meeting each of the template main heroines I had no interest in any of them, and the art is really not to my liking, so that's that. Next!

    アオナツライン (played Miki route) : I really liked this one, up to the confession in Miki route. After that, it kinda loses speed while focusing on other matters, but it remains a enjoyable read. It really feels the game was constructed to tell her story and it was a very good childhood friend romance, probably one of the best I've read in a long time. There's tears, doubts, anger and regrets but nothing too unbearable, lots of character growth, and Kotorii Yuuka is such a good CV that she can easily cover the little flaws and make some scenes really impactful. That angry scene in the past left me stunned, and the confession was really good too, to the point that I wouldn't have minded the ending right here and there. In contrast, there were some concerning parts with the other heroines, forcefully making them fall in love with the protagonist by questionable means (especially in Kotone's case, that was just dumb, extremely risky and out of place), that make me hesitate to go for the other two, and also because I don't want to see Miki betrayed after all that happened between her and the protagonist in the past. If anyone's playing this, I recommend playing the other two first before Miki if you have any interest in them, because I find it hard to go back.

    らぶこみゅ (played Shouko & Naru route) : I wasn't expecting much from this, and I was not surprised. The art is okay, the CVs are okay, the setting is stupid but that's par for the course, and the humor isn't funny at all but what can you do. I was looking for a light stupid game and I got it, except the later parts of Shouko's route were a little too serious compared to the rest of the game. I would have preferred the game to maintain its lighthearted approach rather than try to tackle the overused ojousama drama angle. Not really interested in any of the other heroines, maybe Rin for Yahiro Mami.

    リアライブ (played Kaya route) : I'm not usually a fan of Purple due to their recent ventures in the mind control territory, and when the protagonist's special ability popped up I was really worried, but for what I've read so far it wasn't a concern. There was a lot of time spent growing up to friends and little transitioning to lovers, but that's okay given Kaya's personality. I liked the protagonist's patience and thought-out approach, loved the way he teased her (that actually make me chuckle a few times) and his donkan phase ended easily enough. The game aspect was really secondary to the plot and didn't actually feature as much of an impact as I would have thought, apart from pushing the characters to action by handing out its missions. There are a few battles but they're really quick and most of the problems are solved through dialogue. There's a large amount of drama by the end, with familiar themes but a slightly different approach to keep things fresh, and I just liked Kaya's character enough to really want to push to the end. I can't say the same for any of the other characters, and the 'truth' is already relatively obvious enough given the hints and reveals in Kaya's route (especially epilogue), so curiosity isn't really driving me to play through the other heroines either. I'm not a big fan of the CG art but it was okay, the ecchi scenes are few (only 3 per heroine plus one 'IF' unlocked after finishing the whole game) but tend to take a long time. Overall pretty good, and I'm likely to continue at some point.

    pieces/渡り鳥のソムニウム : (played Alice route) : Last but not least, I was hesitant to try this one out due to the whole dream privacy invasion thing but it turned out to be alright, thanks in large part to a relatively serious protagonist who isn't rushing to exploit his advantage to further his position. The common route felt a little long and stretched out, especially in the investigation phase when obvious hints keep raining down on the characters and they just chose to ignore them. I'm also not a fan of obviously fake choices. Once in Alice route, there's a rather fun and light part but it quickly shows a lot of hesitation despite seeing something was wrong, and a lot of the drama could have been lightened by a more early talk. Still, the subject matter was sensible enough that I can understand the reservations of both characters. The standard nakige formulae is at work here, but it didn't really work due to a questionable choice of where to use CGs (one scene really needed one and another didn't really...), and because the early "fun" part drops too many hints at the forthcoming drama to really enjoy the status-quo. Seeing the protagonist not doing anything while the heroine in pain makes it hard to appreciate the icha-icha moments that come afterwards. Still, a pretty good story overall, good CGs, good voice acting, so I'll probably continue this one as well but I'm not really feeling a huge drive either.

    That's it! I may or may not continue any of them, or play something entirely different, so many games in parallel lately...

  2. #3742
    Senior Member Mahou's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    A slightly different question: Can anyone access the mirror site holyseal.net? I haven't been able to access the site for quite a few weeks and am not sure if it's down/closed, or if they now also require a JP proxy to visit (like some other eroge maker sites).

  3. #3743
    Senior Member kzel's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    I read on omochikaeri a while back that the site was down with no plans to go back up. Proxy or not I can't access it anymore, but I can't say since when as I've never been a frequent visiter anyway.

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  5. #3744
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    Funny how even official sites of more than a few companies host their patches on Holyseal...other mirrors be like pray that it works......
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    So... I've played through a few true routes with savegames: リアライブ and whirlpool's new one. I'm of course not spoiling anything, but *phew* was Realive's heavy with its topics, even though the players will likely know most stuff from the end of the individual routes. Kinda reminds of a certain Key VN. Otherwise, I also played Nemuru's route normally and thought it was quite nice. My main head-scratching point with the VN is its usage of the VR-ish/skill setup. I know it's true purpose, but still the way it is handled feels lacking.
    As for whirlpool's. I see where they went with it, but honestly overall not my cup of tea.

    Furthermore, after a long time I finally played into Sengoku x Koihime X: Ignoring that I really don't understand this kind of historic Japanese, I think the overall setting is fine. My main complains are first - which may be a bit strange given the setting of the orignal Koihime - the harem antics. Mainly as in hearing each chapter over and over and over how much of a "ladykiller" our dear MC is and how utterly oblivious he's at picking up the hints. Otherwise the character interaction is quite good imho. I faintly remember that Koihime's Kazuto wasn't much better in this aspect, though. And secondly the quite exaggerated power difference between Kensuke and the girls like the gap between him being quite skilled (thanks to being trained by Kazuto's wife army) and the "monster-level" strenght of the others (aka Mitsuki, Ayana and co). I don't mind them being stronger itself as they live afterall in such a war-plunged world and have thus more experience and whatnot whereas Kensuku - despite the training - comes from the peaceful Japan.

  7. #3746
    Senior Member kzel's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    More sluggish progress in a variety of games :

    らぶこみゅ (Rin) : It was alright, but I don't get why eroge like to "fix" the flaws of characters and try so damn hard to turn them into normal persons. In this case, Rin's behavior is part of her charming points and having her lose that was quite the disappointment. In fact as her route progresses she loses more and more of her identity to eventually become your-generic-loli-housewife. Also, that spanking scene was just no.

    リアライブ (Minato) : I was wary of this route given Minato's character displayed in the common route, and oh boy is it rough. She pushes the tsun in tsundere to some rather high levels, but that's far from the worst of it. The most disturbing thing about her is that she feels no qualms hurting others to progress her own purposes, and that is just a little hard to accept. The only time she hesitates into action is when it will actual hurt her in return. The writer insists on defending her often by having characters describe her behavior as "stimulating" or say she tells "gentle lies", but many times I felt she was just selfish and mean, and at no point did she show any regrets towards her actions. I guess in that sense that makes her more human than many a eroge character... The length she goes to try and hurt the main character is off the charts (especially that "first time" bullshit), and that makes the protagonist's unwavering love for her seem that much stranger in contrast. "Love is blind" is a line repeated ad nauseam in this route, and I guess it has to be to stick up with her antics. The drama by the end felt a little underwhelming to explain all of this, and the protagonist's sudden burst of anger was totally out of place, adding to the oddness of the situation. In a completely different area, I was not a fan of the CG art especially in H-scenes, I understand the intent to display motion but having a half-transparent double fuse with the heroine was not super great. I'm not sure about Nemuru and even less so for Satsuki, so I'm undecided on whether I will continue or not. Maybe I'll just do like Mahou, download a save and skip straight to the sister(s).

    pieces/渡り鳥のソムニウム (Tsumugi & Miori) : I haven't quite enjoyed these routes as much as I have Alice's, and the more they seem tied to the main plot the more disconnect I felt. I'm not even sure what exactly happened at the end of Miori's route. Again, this whole idea of fixing characters resurfaced here, even though Miori's unusual sleeping habits was what was so attractive to the protagonist in the first place! What I mentioned earlier about the characters seeing something was wrong and not acting up on it reached new heights there, with an entire sex scene during which the protagonist is like "she seems odd, completely not like her usual self" and still does the deed to the end... Tsumugi also has a scene in which the situation is a little questionable. I've come this far now so I'll probably play Yua and True as well but I'm not holding up too many expectations.

    スズノネセブン!(Sumire) : So much drama in last month's games, sometimes all I want is a nice chara/moege and this ancient (11 years!) Clochette release fit the bill perfectly. It's not too serious, the writing isn't losing my interest by going into too many details about its setting, it's focused on the characters with a rather short common route and not too long actual routes, and said characters are all very appealing, including a nice protagonist (a little too S in ecchi scenes though). I also played Sumire's route extension in -Sweet Lovers’Concerto- and it was all pretty good. Perfect to relax after a long day.

  8. #3747
    Senior Member kzel's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    Here are a few comments on the VN I spent time with recently, if anyone's interested :

      Spoiler: pieces/渡り鳥のソムニウム :  
    Finished it a while ago. As expected Yua's route ends abruptly and continue in the true route so she's best played last. Said route doesn't do much apart from setting up the finale anyway. The true route was okay, after playing all four other routes it's all fairly obvious but it was pretty nice and allowed some time for the sub characters to shine too. What I didn't like, was the (in my opinion unneeded) last bit of drama surrounding the protagonist and the forced reset that comes with it. It's already pretty sad that all that happens basically didn't, but it's even more so when nobody even remembers any of it. In the end, the route I enjoyed the most was Alice that I played first, and it all went downhill from there. I'm starting to resent True Routes.

      Spoiler: スズノネセブン!: (Nino)  
    Played partially through Nino's route, and I didn't continue. I didn't like how superior the protagonist kept acting about everything they do, so I stopped. Also, unlike Sumire's route, the characters are involved in some major development that really don't fit high school students (more fitted to master-level university and then again...), and honestly I don't care that much about all that magic engine stuff anyway and I am tired of the child-genius trope that anime loves so much, to the point of hating it.

      Spoiler: アイカギ2:  
    A rather decent surprise from Azarashi Soft, this low-price title wasn't too bad! The heroine is cute, Haruka Sora does a great job even though her acting isn't really pushed too much (she shines most in drama/screaming scenes in my opinion), the art is decent. There are a LOT of references to games, and not only the usual Japanese fighting/social games, but quite a few references to some western productions as well (puBG, Civilization, etc...). As sort of a gamer myself - or at least I used to, no so much anymore - I enjoyed understanding the references. That said, the story remains pretty shallow, and not much happens along the course of the game. The usual "fixing" of the heroine bad habits is here as expected, but it's a bit more nuanced that usual, that's something I can appreciate.

      Spoiler: 恋音セ・ピアーチェ 
    One more Campus low price game that I liked quite a bit. As with the one before, it's clearly separated into two parts, the first one (available for free) being the meat of the game and describing the events that lead to the couple forming, while the latter after story is mostly some icha-icha and sex scenes without much further development. The story is a pretty typical romance involving music, but while it's very cliche it's also nicely constructed, with some (moderate) high and lows. The heroine Hana is cute enough to not make it feel boring, and her CV Nekota Kana does a pretty good job for a first role (unless it's an alias, but I didn't recognize the voice).

      Spoiler: 援女交際~亜梨紗の情事~ 
    Don't be fooled by the title, the prostitution aspects only last for two to three scenes and then it's just a romance story with a large age gap. The game starts with a seemingly realistic posture but that fades rather quickly as the heroine Arisa becomes more and more addicted to sex. One thing that bothered me was that the game "true" end, the only one with credits, felt to me like a bad end for Arisa, while the other at least leaves the door open.

      Spoiler: カケオチ 
    Lass Pixy's previous Pure Marriage wasn't very good, and this one didn't betray my expectations. Hanasawa Sakura's presence saves the game but that's pretty much the only good thing about it. It's short, shallow (the confession happens 2 minutes into the game, in a flashback!), and it doesn't even end with a proper resolution.

      Spoiler: Missing-X-Link ~天のゆりかご、伽の花~(Played up to Hina's route, skipped Akira's, probably won't go any further) 
    I'm not a fan of android stories, so it probably was a mistake to start this one. The first part of the common route, showing our young protagonist getting saved by his relationship with his android (she is more a mother than anything), was not super great. Seeing him kissing her all the time to share feelings felt gross, all the more so when he does so in public, in front of other potential (as in not yet discarded) heroines... Once he is saved, it's time to broaden his horizons and that involves... helping a teacher/mercenary bust a drug dealing problem in the school? By doing chess battle in virtual reality? Oookay. Once that's done it's time for some crazy god worshiping hospital androids. Mmmkay. At each end of chapter it's possible to drop the main scenario and go into a rather shortish heroine route, and I did so for Hina. It was... not very good. The drama is superficial and not very well introduced, there are not enough "happy" moments to set up any kind of emotional impact, and there's a large amount of time spent in something that is obviously not what it seems. I'm tired of dream sequences after last month's games, even more so when the protagonists don't realize it when it is so painfully obvious. The E-mote is not very good either, sprites don't move that much and the ecchi animations are a little awkward.


    缶詰少女ノ終末世界 : I actually haven't played this one but glancing at a walkthrough, it seems that's it's a one way road, forcing the protagonist into one heroine after the other, with no proper character end but for the main heroine. If anyone played this, could you confirm is there is any good romance in there anyway?

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  10. #3748
    Senior Member kzel's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    Partial comments on the latest games!

    恋嵐スピリッチュ : It's Parasol and I have a bad history with their games, especially the latest one, but it features Kotorii Yuuka so I at least had to give a shot. It's some sort of spiritual battle story complete with protagonist chuuni powers, but I don't hate the over-the-top jokingly approach to the whole thing. What I do hate, is mandatory sex (all the way) with multiple heroines in the common routes before even the first choice pops up. That just kills it as a moege for me, and the jokes and battles are not interesting enough to keep me going, so give up it is!

    Eスクールライフ (Misato) : I had been looking forward to this one, so many obvious moege try to up the ante with overcomplicated settings that they just end up tripping over (looking at you Clochette!). For once a normal school life with no magic, no super powers, no over the top drama is something I have been craving, even though many will probably just find it boring. I'm not sure what the E in the title stands for, but it's not SF or anything. The result is... okay. This game is very close to what I'd call a short, light, joke-stripped version of what SMEE did with Fureraba and Kanojo Step. This can be a good thing, especially as SMEE jokes can get increasingly tiring, or a bad thing as there are very few really memorable moments and touching scenes. It's fun and relaxing, but that's about it.

    Same as SMEE and other Hooksoft games, this one has a number of gimmicks that honestly still feel like little more than just that : gimmicks. I haven't played around too much with the rumor system but so far I see no reason not to listen to everything, especially as it adds information to the heroine's profile page. Choosing at which time to go to school is basically a hidden heroine selection, with little to no ability to tell which leads to who (apart from trying and reloading). Skipping classes even once leads to quick game over scenes. The game spans a whole year which is good in that eroge tend to make things progress too fast, but also bad because there are huge blanks between scenes, skipping some major events. It's not helped by some discrepancies between them, like being all nervous for holding hands when the couple did so a few scenes back already. At the very least there's no drama or unresolved problem left hanging around for a long time, since it's for the most part very smooth and uneventful. You can also choose between clothed ecchi scenes or not, a nice touch at least, even though I wouldn't have minded a bit longer scenes instead.

    All in all, a very standard charage that focuses on just that, the characters, sacrificing everything else. In that sense, the game is made or unmade by how much one can get to like the heroines it features, and there's quite a lot to choose from. Apart from the mob girl Yoshimura, they're all fairly stereotypical but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You have the childhood friend, honor student, teasing senpai, young teacher, lonely ojou-sama, awkward athelete, and said mob girl. I liked the senpai Misato's lively and positive attitude, and it was good to follow along for the couple of hours her route lasted. Unless there's a route drastically different for one of other six, it's not a game that will live on in my memory for too long but it's still a pleasant way to pass the time.

  11. #3749
    Senior Member Veshurik's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    It become a kzel's blog, but I don't mind, I like it. Thanks for your opinions!

    Lol, I just want to hear your opinion about Tomefure with their oversized boobs... That game doesn't even have heroine routes, what the...

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    Senior Member Mahou's Avatar
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    Re: Visual Novel Cafe

    I will probably only bother with Eスクールライフ: While hooksoft had "problems" with rather generic or boring MCs, I've still enjoyed their characters and routes to get my "worth" out of it. From what I've read so far, the common route segments seem quite a bit shorter than their former titles.

    I've skimmed through the CGs of タマユラミライ. Shiro's CGs, who is also the only unlockable route after you are done with the other heroines, imply a rather somber ending for the MC and her. Being still the happy-go-lucky lover this makes me rather hesistant, but maybe I give the other routes a a try. I don't know about, however, abouz Azurite's "track record" in this regard, so maybe that's to be expected.

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