Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Blog updates

November 30th, 2011

I have so many games to play, and there’s still lots of news coming out all the time, so I’m trying out a more frequent posting schedule. Mon-Wed-Fri every week, but some (like this post) might be short posts.

Also, the Love.101 website will be updated in December with content, and will continue to update at least monthly with teaser content, I hope you like it! All feedback and comments are welcome, I’d really like to hear what you think of what’s coming out for Love.101.

So right now, I’m in the middle of playing several games. Because I got so many at once, I would play a bit of one, then get excited about another and start that. So far I’ve started:

That’s all for now…just looking at that list makes me tired! And I’m waiting for Angelique Maren no Rokukishi, and I haven’t even started Wand of Fortune 2, or Sangokuren Senki, or Bloody Call, or Death Connection…Phew.

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone had a preference as to how I review these – I know lots of site do posts on one route, or parts of a game. Is that a good way, or would you rather I wait until I’ve finished most of a game before reviewing the whole thing in one long post? I’m not sure which way is better.

And if you want me to review a particular one first, let me know! I want to play them all, so anything that helps me pick from the list would be great.

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Wingfield – My favourite R18 game

July 7th, 2011

Was that upfront enough to warn people away? If not, let me make this clear – this is a review of an adult otome game, with graphic sex in it. If you aren’t interested in those games, don’t read this.There’s also some profanity in this review, so be warned if that bothers you.

Alright, now on to the fun part. I was able to play Tsubasa no Oka no Hime (Princess of Wingfield) recently, and it is BY FAR the best R18 game I’ve ever played. I adore this game, I want there to be a fandisk just so I can support it more.

I’ve played quite a few R18 otome games (yes, they’re still otome even if they have sex in them), and some I enjoyed quite a bit, so what makes this one so different? The characters. I don’t know about you guys, but I am so used to Japanese standards of gender roles and sexism by now that I don’t bat an eye when a male character insults the heroine, especially in adult games where often the insults are while they’re having sex – calling the heroine a whore, ignoring her requests to stop, just generally being a total asshole. Even in the games I mostly liked (like Jingi Naki Otome, about a heroine unwillingly becoming the head of a gangster family), have a lot of problematic stuff in them – the aforementioned insults, questionable consent, and just general dickishness. It doesn’t make me give up on the game, but it can get pretty grating when it’s bad, and even when it’s not as obvious, it’s still annoying.

In contrast to all those games, there is the Princess of Wingfield. (Watch out, small spoilers ahead)

The heroine, Vivian, owns an area of land somewhere in Britain (probably Britain), including a village, rules over it intelligently, and every 19 years, has an epic battle with her nemesis and is reborn. She has done this 99 times, and thus has been around for almost 2000 years. She remembers everything, and because of this is extremely knowledgeable and capable. She also has a healthy libido, which she feels no shame about dealing with with whomever she finds attractive (and vice versa). The servants at the manor as well as the villagers not only accept this but still respect her and are fond of her! In most other games, she’d by typecast as the evil villainess/witch, trying to steal away the hero from the innocent heroine. Or she’d be used by the men and hated by the women until some hero comes along and makes an honest woman of her/accepts her horrible past in return for her being penitent/some other stupid crap.

Depending on your choices, you’ll see different aspects of her personality, but in all routes she not only enjoys sex, but is also assertive and enjoys teasing people. Because of her circumstances, she’s the more experienced one in all the loves scenes, yet at no time – NEVER – does anyone call her a whore, slut, or any other sexist insult. Well, actually there is one character who does, but he’s the Bad Guy so I can accept it as an example of his horrible personality.

So what I love about this game is the characters, and I think the story is quite interesting too. It’s fairly involved, as I found when I was trying to explain to people on the fly while playing it last week, so you won’t get the full story on your first playthrough.

Actually, on the first playthrough, you have to go through the novice butler Christopher’s route. It’s not hard, mostly just choosing who to talk to. The story is standard: innocent falls in love with rake/gets toyed with but eventually wins them over type of thing, but the sexes are reversed and Vivian is the rake, Christopher is the innocent. Amazing how something so simple can be so innovative, because I don’t know of any other otome R18 game that does this.

However, there is very little gameplay to speak of. This is a pure visual novel, so if you are looking for minigames or stat building, this isn’t for you. Most of the choices are simply deciding who to talk to, and then some in-scene dialogue choices that affect the endings.

Other things I like about the game – the art is gorgeous, the music is nice, and the seiyuu are excellent. It’s fully voiced, including the heroine, and I like her voice as well – even during the sex scenes I didn’t find her voice to be too high pitched, and unlike many games, both/all characters are obviously enjoying the action – one of my pet peeves is during sex scenes when the female character has way more lines and is way more…uh…vocal than the guys, who are often totally calm and sometimes even seem bored (even during blowjob scenes, I mean how likely is it that the woman is having a better time than the guys there?!). Not here.

SO anyways, if you haven’t tried this game, or have been disappointed with the over-the-top slut-shaming of other R18 games, you MUST try this. I recommend Tees as my favourite character and storyline, though they’re all pretty good (I haven’t finished Dyse yet).

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Storm Lover Review

June 8th, 2011

Storm Lover CoverI’m finally getting around to playing Storm Lover thoroughly, which I mostly missed last year when I got it because 1) the first guy whose route I got into didn’t interest me, and 2) so many games were coming out that once I put it down, I never really picked it up again.

However, since I haven’t gotten games in a while (I’m trying to save up money for my trip to Japan in October), I finally put it back in my PSP and am really enjoying it. I always thought it was an interesting premise, and once I decided to just start over and go for a different guy, things worked great. And the fandisk, Storm Lover Natsukoi!!, is out this summer, so perhaps this will be useful for anyone who’s seen it and hasn’t played the original yet.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Storm Lover, it looks like a standard high school otome game, no fantasy or mystery plots really. What makes it different from others in the genre is that you’re never locked into one route, as in most visual novels. Usually, you have a certain amount of story before your previous choices bring you to a certain storyline, and from there your choices only decide whether you split betweeen a couple stories (or fail entirely).

In Storm Lover, which goes through a year of high school by day, as far as I’ve played (I’m only up to October so far, with about 5 months to go), your relationships are never set in stone.
At pretty much anytime you can:

Right now I’m on my second relationship, after deciding once to stay with my first boyfriend when someone else confessed, and then dumping him for another guy (I felt so guilty! but I wanted to see what would happen), and I’m trying to decide whether or not I should stay with the same guy again, or start a new relationship again.

It’s quite fun, and to be honest, I find it kind of refreshing to not have characters in high school locked into one relationship forever and ever.

To make this review complete, I should probably comment on other aspects of the game. The art is very good, I like the character designs (same artist as Little Anchor), it’s interesting that they’re obviously drawn (like, the shadows of their necks etc. are clearly drawn in as opposed to CG shading), voices are of course great, the music is pretty forgettable, and the scenery is fine but fairly generic city/school type backgrounds.

Some other things I liked: after you dump or refuse someone, the next few times you see them it’s awkward and you can’t talk to them. However if you persist, they’ll come around and you can be friends again. I haven’t tried to see if you can get up the affection levels to confessing again.

Apparently, you even get a special ending if you go out with ALL 6 guys, heheh. I don’t think I’ll go for that now, but it actually sounds pretty fun to do at a gaming party…

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English Game Review – Curse of Slate Rock Manor

June 1st, 2011

Disclaimer: This is a review of a visual novel game that I was asked to review and I got a review copy free. This is a mystery, not an otome game, but the main character is female and there is a little romance.

Curse of Slate Rock Manor, by Red Panda Games, is set up as a mystery, but most of it is kind of locked room game, where you start out from the same point all the time and try to figure out the correct course of choices to get to the end. You can’t see the end and solve the mystery until you try 25 different paths (I think there are more than that possible, but there’s a minimum number, I believe, to get the ending). There’s a guide on the creator’s website  if you get stuck.

Story: During the intro, you, Delilah, get a phone call. It’s from a woman you don’t know who claims to be the girlfriend of your boyfriend, Trent. She asks if you’ve seen Trent lately, because he disappeared after going up to a place called Slate Rock to investigate ghost claims. After Delilah hangs up, she gets worried about Trent (not to mention wondering what’s up with this other woman, since Delilah is actually pregnant with Trent’s baby (!!?)) so she and her other friend Lyle head up to Slate Rock to search for Trent. Delilah’s relationship with Trent is a secret, so Lyle doesn’t know about it – as far as he knows, the three of them are all just friends. Once they get up to Slate Rock, the real story begins where you choose how to go about investigating the creepy Slate Rock Manor, which is supposed to be haunted.

Sound: It’s fully voiced! The voice acting is pretty good for an indie game. The heroine, Delilah, is the best IMO. The music is suitable but nothing stands out. Sound effects are done well. There’s a great extra at the end, where outtakes are played during the ending credits. Quite fun.

Visuals: The avatars are also very attractive, in an anime style. They have different expressions which fit them pretty well. The backgrounds are based on stylized photographs or simple 3D CG, which makes the characters and scenes seem unmatched, but I stopped noticing it after a while.

Characters: The main character Delilah is pretty likable, although I was surprised she didn’t seem that upset by hearing that her babydaddy-to-be was cheating on her. Then again, there were hints of issues from the beginning, and I don’t think Trent was supposed to have known yet. Lyle was alright, but was a little whiny at times – Delilah was definitely the cool head in that partnership.There are two other characters that are in most of the scenes, the maid and a police officer, and they play their parts well. Officer Dooley was great in a put-upon authority figure way who’s tired of all these stupid kids running around way.

Story: The background story to the manor is interesting, but most of it is told through information dumps and not through conversation. Also, the writing is kind of stilted, so a lot of the suspense and mystery is not as intense as it could be. The story that you actually go through is alright, but the gameplay mechanic makes it kind of choppy. You have to go through the same lines quite a few times so I ended up not paying as much attention as I should have to put the pieces together.

Many of the routes end abruptly on bad ends, but are not very realistic (you’re arrested on trespassing charges and are stuck in jail forever? not too likely), but that really didn’t bother me much, as the point of the game is the mystery, not a realistic drama. The real end was also a bit sudden and over-the-top (and there were some ablism issues), but definitely surprised me.

Gameplay: This is where I think the game falls down a bit. There were a few small things that could have been done that would make this a lot easier and fun to play. First, there’s no skip feature. That means that everytime you start at the beginning and decide to go with Lyle or wait for him, you have to start clicking the enter key many times to get through the dialogue and story. To make it worse, choices come up suddenly and it’s easy to mistakenly hit enter again and choose the first option. There’s no back or history key, so if you make a mistake you just have to play through to the end of that chapter.

There’s also no indication of what choices you’ve  made before. Already-read text isn’t a different colour, nor are the choices you’ve picked already. So if you leave this game and come back, you’ll have to go by memory as to what routes you’ve done.

There is, at least, a progress bar when you finish a chapter to show you how much you’ve completed (and so roughly how many more routes you need to do to finish). That’s very helpful.

Summary: I don’t think I can fully recommend this game because of the gameplay issues. The story is interesting, and the voices are a definite plus. I would, I think, recommend it with the caveat that you should play through using the guide from the beginning, so you don’t get frustrated by trying to figure out the different routes.

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