Yeah! That's right! Carve it into your soul! tsupertsundere’s profile
Update Two Hundred and Seventy-Three: 14 January 2019
Libra of the Vampire Princess: Lycoris & Aoi in "The Promise" PLUS Iris in "Homeworld"
16.5 hours playtime, ~1.5 hrs actual, 8 of 8 achievements
Oh my god I was supposed to have this done on the weekend but I kept doing literally anything else because this game is so bad - I ended up skipping the last quarter of the second episode because I just Couldn’t do it anymore.
I got this game because it was in a bundle with other VNs I wanted, and I thought, ‘it looks bad, but it’s free and is probably an easy 100%!’ and I was right on all three counts.
These are prequel episodes to a dumb standard shounen action VN that I will never read. It’s pretty pointless to read these without having read the main one, as they’re very connected. Things are explained a little bit in these, but not much. It doesn’t matter, though, because everything is absolutely drop-dead stupid.
I could go on and explain how, but I’ll just leave you with this: when the girls are attacking, or being attacked, their sprites gain very prominent hard nipples. I wouldn’t have been able to come up with that shit if I was paid fuckin Jeff Bezos’ salary to come up with an artistic choice in worse taste. This game is bad.
Next up: I won another game off SG, and it’s a playing appreciate one! I’m diving into -
See you soon!
Outerlude 02: Yakuza Kiwami 2
Yakuza Kiwami 2
"This is a life or death situation! Don't you think you should take it a little more seriously?"
The latest chronological release of Kiryu Kazuma’s adventures, Kiwami 2, like its predecessor, is a remake of Yakuza 2. Set a year after the events of Kiwami (or 1), Kiryu finds himself dragged back into the affairs of the Tojo Clan when the clan’s Fifth Chairman is assassinated in front of his eyes, and the stability and the future of the clan is at risk. The clan is in a shambles, with prominent patriarchs either dead from the 10 Billion Yen incident or, like Majima, up and left. The Omi Alliance in Kansai is circling the water, looking to absorb the weakened Tojo Clan. Kiryu’s not about to let that shit happen…
… just as soon as he’s done karaoke/running a cabaret club/getting chased down by an old woman/getting roped into being a voice actor/becoming a model.
There’s a large consensus among fans (as much as there can be) that Kiwami 2 is one of the best Yakuza games (after 0). The storytelling has also taken a HUGE jump from Kiwami, with more complicated and nuanced storylines and characters getting introduced. I think that consensus overhyped me a bit, because I ended up measuring it up to 0 more than I should, and feeling kind of let down as a result. That’s not to say it’s not great! Using the Dragon Engine (shared with 6), Kiwami 2 is gorgeous. Kamurocho and Sotenbori have never looked better, and I’ve seen gifs and screenshots of the game where I had to double-check to make sure they weren’t photographs. The lighting in this game is off the charts, and the models are more detailed and realistic, too. Kiryu moves fluidly and organically through the world, his blazer jacket hem moving in the wind, his pant legs sliding up a bit when he kneels - stunning. He’ll hop over barriers when you’re fucking around, knock into shit and knock it over, and, as I discovered quite without meaning to, he’ll vault over one storey high balconies to land like a ton of bricks in the street.
Those upgrades come at a price, though: more realistic and more fluid means it’s MORE immersion breaking when it doesn’t work quite right, which is at least some of the time. There’s ragdoll physics in fights now, and it’s pretty fuckin goofy. The fighting also feels more real… but then that means I miss dearly the idealized, over the top fighting from the previous games, like it’s harder to do the coolest, sick nastiest shit. And, most damning (for me) … it makes the game take a hit as to how fun it is to watch.
I’m a bitch who loves looking at people’s faces, and where 0 was the absolute SWEET SPOT of realism with a touch of stylization and the facial animations shone like jewels set in velvet, Kiwami 2 nudged them far enough along the realism scale that it is VERY noticable when a scene doesn’t have a Special Touch laid upon it. Listen, I get it - there’s a ton of fuckin scenes in these games, and it’d be nutso to hand-animate them all. When they ARE hand animated, they’re spectacular. Literally amazing. But when they’re not… it’s more readily apparent and looks not as good.
The story as a whole is pretty interesting, and I ESPECIALLY appreciate Dojima Yayoi, the Acting Chairman and Dojima Sohei’s wife, who is rad as mother fuck and she’s respected in the narrative, and Sayama Kaoru, a detective who puts Kiryu under her protective custody, who is who this game is actually about. There’s a wonderful, intimidating antagonist in Goda Ryuji, and he was fun as hell to watch. It gets kiiiiiiind of cheesy and overdone at parts—listen, these genre conventions mean I get to see attractive, cut men whip off their shirts on the regular so I love them, but even they can get pushed too far. I’m up in this bitch and I’m about it, though, so I can’t complain. The nods to the earlier games, as always, melt my heart, and especially the cabaret club side mission is amazing and adorable and I love seeing Yuki again.
AND, last but certainly not least, I want to touch on the bonus, too-short-but-so-good Majima Saga: it’s great and nice and Majima is DROP! DEAD! GORGEOUS! in the Dragon engine. I took a solid five minutes at the beginning to just run around and watch his blazer billow in the wind (different than Kiryu’s!) and admire the shader on his pants (who did that? god did that). It brings closure to his arc from 0, which I can appreciate (even though my girlfriend and I are out here writing fix it fic about it still, for sure). It jut confirms one ask of mine, beyond getting Ishin localized for the west: MAJIMA SOLO SPINOFF GAME WHEN.
Next up: Big Dad Energy unleashed in -
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Seventy-Two: 10 January 2019
Okay okay okay okay I know I know I know I’ve been firebombing the feed recently but I’ve just had a lot of short games on my plate. Think of it like I’m making up for how little I posted in November and December! I picked two shorter games for the theme, but I didn’t really realize how short they were. Not a bug; just a feature.
Unfortunately, I didn’t love Far From Noise as much as I wanted to. There are moments of brilliance, but the glacial pacing and the meandering… events? make it an overall ehhhhh experience. It’s meant to be played multiple times - at least, the achievements encourage you to - but since I could barely make it through one run I’m shelving this for 2020 tsuper to try again with.
As much as I could relate to the unnamed, unseen protagonist and their struggles, the game felt like a bunch of pointless navel gazing, and nothing definite actually happens. It’s a thrilling setup - you’re trapped in a car teetering on the edge of a cliff, and it’s heavily implied you had the intention of driving straight off it but hit the break at the last moment. You can’t get out, you can’t do anything, the car won’t start. And then, somehow, a deer comes up and starts to talk to you.
There’s so much shit you could do with that, but it’s fairly pedestrian ‘young millennial struggles’. This game is a Great Value Night in the Woods, and unfortunately I just don’t really fuck with it. Even so, I want to give a shoutout to my kyoudai Shax for giving me this game as a gift!
Next up: Now you won’t hear from me for a long ass while (about games, anyway, that really bad VN I’m reading is blessedly decently short)
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Seventy-One: 10 January 2019
My first of three games I’m tackling this month for the monthly theme, Gorogoa lives up to the hype. While it’s not precisely my most favorite kind of game—I really wish the game had more of a defined, less vague story—it does exactly what it sets out to do.
The game’s main draw is this: there are four ‘panels’ you work from, and you explore different images and scenes in each panel, moving, breaking, connecting, and merging them to solve puzzles. The first way they show this is the simplest: There’s a panel of an open window looking out into a skyline. You click and drag that panel… and the window layer moves over, and zooms out into a view of a room. The skyline is then able to be moved into, to focus on a rooftop across the way. It’s difficult to describe in text, but it’s immediately intuitive during play.
They really go all out in the different types of shit you have to do to progress. Nothing is left on the table when it comes to the puzzles. This is a hard fuckin’ game, because they keep switching up what you’re expected to do. There’s a few timing related puzzles, but most of them are related to your spatial awareness and willingness to try and explore everything.
That’s not a difficult ask—the game is gorgeous. Every frame is a work of art, with a very distinct Middle Eastern style. From opulent towers and turrets to overgrown ruins, exploring deep into old photographs and paintings, the world is ethereal and dreamlike and a place I’d love to take a nap in (the world’s biggest compliment). Everything fits together so satisfyingly, too.
The story is more difficult to suss out—you play a boy searching for five colored fruits after he sees this strange creature (the eponymous Gorogoa, maybe?) fly through his hometown. As you navigate the boy to the fruits, you get glimpses of other men (implied to be him as a teen/adult/old man?) in the changing environment, from beloved old style to ruins to rebuilding to a proud clean restoration. I just needed one more definite, solid throughline and I’d be in love, but as it stands it’s just fuzzy, dreamlike questions and vague, indefinite answers. Not bad for what it is.
I encourage anybody who likes puzzles to pick it up!
Next up: The theme continues!
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Seventy: 9 January 2019
A short dating sim with a cute art style and a soundtrack made by toby fox, no less, Rose of Winter is a sugar-sweet but ultimately not very filling affair. I like the premise - you play a farmgirl-turned-mercenary who has to escort one of four princes across a dangerous mountain. Rosemary is big n tough n cute as a button, and she’s very charming as a protagonist. Her suitors are more hit and miss - the highlight is Crow, a caretaker for a child prince, and the lowlight is Falkner, a palm-sized fae who’s pretty dismissive and rude.
Unfortunately, as cute as some of the routes are, it’s just not long or deep enough to have any lasting impact - it’s also a little pricey for what it gives. I love love love playing a big girl in a dating sim - all of the princes mention her body as something they find attractive and appealing, which is fucking fantastic. There’s nothing explicit in this VN - whenever steamy shit happens there’s a cutaway - but what romance that’s there is pretty cute.
I had a little bit of reservation… buuuuut…. fuck it. The writing is nice and snappy, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and everything is paced tightly. I would love to have more - but what we have is enough. The List needs new blood, and Rose of Winter is it. I’m adding it to the Visual Novel Masterlist.
… I have noticed these reviews in 2019 have been on the brief side, more often than usual. Unfortunately I just haven’t had a ton to say about these games, good bad or indifferent. I don’t want to belabor points or get to unnecessarily into details that ultimately don’t matter very much. It might just be a low point in the creative cycle - you get those every now and again. I’ve lost touch of my review principles - is it smart? is it stylish? is it a joy to play? - and after I get a good night’s sleep I’m going to bring them back into the forefront of my reviews.
Next up: Oh boy here we go
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Sixty-Nine: 8 January 2019
A big upgrade from Secret Order 3, Secret Order 4 still ends up in the middle of the pack. The slightly-upper-middle, but still the middle. More time shenanigans ensue, mixing Ancient Egypt and some undefined pre-colonial South America with figures from history sprinkled throughout (all named except, funnily enough, an Amelia Earhart expy).
Still goofy, but better! Still nothing crazy to write home about, though. No Artifex Mundi lady, either. I miss her <:c
With that, I am now officially caught up with all of my SG wins! I was luckier in 2018 than I was in 2017 - I hope that trend continues.
Next up: I picked out three games I want to do for this month’s theme - two shorter ones and a longer one. The first one up is:
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight: 7 January 2019
BLAEO user Trent wasn’t kidding - this game is short, but it’s quite good for what it is! It’s a tiny point n click adventure game, and it actually worked at being very unsettling and scary! I was spooked! I’m glad I didn’t play it while I was alone in the house.
You play a young man travelling to visit his father in a nursing home when an accident forces you off the road right before a snowstorm. Your car is totaled and cell phones might not have been invented yet, so you need to find a way to call for help. The little museum you pull up next to seems deserted… or, perhaps, less so than you first thought.
It’s an understated, creeping, slowly building kind of scary, which is the kind I appreciate. A little jumpy-scarey but not aggravatingly so. The puzzles aren’t too difficult, and you can light a cigarette as a ‘hint’ system if you get stuck. If you can pick it up and want to get a little spooked, I’d encourage you to. I’m glad I won this game.
Next up: My last SG win to play!
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven: 7 January 2019
The Deed (or, uh, ‘he Dee’, apparently. The banner art could be improved) is a very very short game meant to be played multiple times. You play a fucked up guy from a fucked up family who wants to kill his sister to secure his inheritance. How do you kill her? Who will you frame? How will it work? And, most importantly - will you get away with it?
It’s… well, it just is! There’s as many detractors - the art is muddy and not to my taste - as there is benefits - the writing has just enough of the write - er, right kind of details to be satisfying. Just, over all, there’s not enough to make it be anything other than… certainly a game that exists. Playing through it over and over again, reading the same (blessedly short) conversations over and over again is a little annoying, since not a ton changes.
An easy 100%, but not much else. At least not necessarily a bad 100%.
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Sixty-Six: 7 January 2019
It’s been a bit since I played a hidden object game, but even after letting my heart grow fond in absence, the Secret Order 3 is still a let down. It’s aged pretty poorly, with not great CG and even worse 2D character sprites. The story is… really weak and the voice acting matches it.
Everything else is standard fare, which is, y’know, fine for hidden object games. It’s definitely on the weaker side, with no special gimmick or stylistic flair to call its own.
You know what I realized hidden object games have a lot of? Smithing. Melting shit down and reforging it into other shit. I don’t have empirical evidence but I definitely get the sense that in at least half of the hidden object games I’ve played, I’ve smithed some shit. That’s a really specific solution to a problem to have come up so many times.
Okay I really don’t have that much to say about this one and it’s late I’m goin to bed.
Next up: Murder time! Murder time! Murder time!
See you soon!
Update Two Hundred and Sixty-Five: 6 January 2019
CrossRoad is a goofy VN with tons of endings (most of them bad) that reminds me of something like sound of drop but fantasy instead of horror. It’s a Russian remix with Japanese aesthetics of the story of Little Red Riding Hood AND EVEN MORE, with a ton of wildly branching routes and like five guys to get close to. There’s a loose kind of ‘order’ to the routes, though it’s obscure, and some routes are literally just completely off on their own with little to do with anything else.
It’s light and fun and some of the emotional beats land way more heavily than I thought they would - surprising the hell out of me. The translation is simple but effective and it balances goofy with serious decently well for what it is. The art is also pretty cute!
I’m really on the fence with putting it on my VN Masterlist - beyond the fact that I don’t have a TON to say about it other than ‘it was pretty fun reading all the goofy bad endings!’ and ‘better than expected!’, it’s just riiiiight on that edge of goodness. I gotta keep the list’s standards up, even if it means not updating it for a while!
… buuuut I also have things like BAD END and Everlasting Summer on there. Is this game as good as BAD END?
… Actually, fuck it, yes it is. It’s a beach romance novel goofy fun silly time that’s pretty well done, and in the absolute deluge of VNs out there, picking out one good one certainly fills a niche that’s worth filling. It’s goin on the list!
Since it’s the new year, and it’s been a while since I talked about it, and there’s been some new blood:
is a list I’ve compiled of worthwhile VNs to check out for people who are interested in the genre but don’t quite know where to start. Each entry has tags to give you a sense of what each particular visual novel is about, to see if any pique your fancy. CrossRoad is the newest entry on the list.
Oh! And! If you have written a review on a game on that list, and you’d like for it to be included, please drop me a line! I may have missed your review.
Next up: Now that those two SG wins are taken care of, it’s back to RNGesus! Time for -
See you soon!