Community The Visual Novel Council | All Choices Lead To Here

Kvik

Play Trails from Zero — Councillor's Orders!
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
There's this nice comparison writeup between the official localisation of Summer Pockets and Fan Translation made by Alka.


TLDR; both have their strong suits, but the official one is consistent in terms of quality, while Alka's has good flow in some cases but inconsistent in others.
 
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DeejayDoom

MetaMember
Nov 1, 2018
373
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The VN's published by Aniplex.




 
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tetel

Junior Member
Jan 7, 2020
54
132
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Adabana is blocked in Poland and, apparently, in many other European countries. ¯\(ツ)
 

ZKenir

❀ Child of Raikou ❀
May 10, 2019
930
2,303
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Fucking why? :(
Because Aniplex is shit, regionblocking is why I left manga and anime and now I mostly focus on VN, ofc Aniplex and other publishers had to fuck it up as well at some point.

I rarely complain about stuff but I fucking hate them for this (and fuck you too Liar-soft)
 

tetel

Junior Member
Jan 7, 2020
54
132
33
ATRI page is blocked here too (Steam still okay). Same goes for Aniplex.Exe website so I guess they just forgot to block the Steam page for ATRI.
 

ZKenir

❀ Child of Raikou ❀
May 10, 2019
930
2,303
93
I wonder if they are gonna block ATRI on steam as well.
Surely there's a reason why Adabana is blocked but ATRI isn't.
If it isn't blocked in NA I expect the reason to be because of licensing (and thus because Aniplex is shit), if it's blocked in NA as well Aniplex is still shit.
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
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In that case it is probably just an oversight that ATRI isn't region-blocked on Steam.
Damn. I was looking forward to both of those titles.
 

ZKenir

❀ Child of Raikou ❀
May 10, 2019
930
2,303
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forums for the game can still be accessed even if regionlocked it seems

it seems to be available in Brazil? For whatever reason they're targeting Europe specifically
 
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Knurek

OG old coot
Oct 16, 2018
1,143
2,549
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In that case it is probably just an oversight that ATRI isn't region-blocked on Steam.
Damn. I was looking forward to both of those titles.
Will be up on nyaa 10 minutes after they go up on Steam, so if the publisher actively doesn't want your money, I don't see any reason not to passively give them the middle finger.
 

ZKenir

❀ Child of Raikou ❀
May 10, 2019
930
2,303
93
Personally I'd rather not having to download the game as piracy has inherent risks which I'd rather avoid.

I'll make a conscious effort not to be obnoxious and spout a tide a bile, if there's one thing that really pisses me off is region loked media, being from liar-soft is doubly frustrating for me.
 
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Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
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I'm not gonna pretend to be a saint when it comes to piracy, but I'd really do prefer to buy my VNs.
I actually own physical copies of Inganock and Sharnoth because of that.

So I'll probably just take a wait-and-see approach if Adabana and ATRI are still region-locked by the time they launch on Steam.
I also have enough highly rated titles in my backlog that I can easily put off reading those two for a good while.
 

ZKenir

❀ Child of Raikou ❀
May 10, 2019
930
2,303
93
it's not about being a saint or not, I want:
1) conveniency - press a button and done
2) downloading knowing a third party (valve in this case) checked for potential malicious software

I don't get that from a download that johnny uploaded

So I'll probably just take a wait-and-see approach if Adabana and ATRI are still region-locked by the time they launch on Steam.
ATRI is region locked for you?
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
93
ATRI is region locked for you?
Right now the store page for ATRI isn't region locked, but the websites for Adabana, ATRI, and Aniplex.exe are all region locked.
So I'm basically assuming that ATRI will also be region locked by the time it is released on Steam.
 

Kvik

Play Trails from Zero — Councillor's Orders!
Dec 6, 2018
1,788
3,941
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Downunder.
The two titles aren't blocked in Australia at least, but knowing Aniplex blu-ray pricing in the past, they'll charge exorbitantly for the pleasure of owning it.
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
93
So there has been drama brewing around Sol Press on Twitter today:

For a bit of context, Sol Press has been know for paying poorly compared to other localization companies in the business. For example, translator Steiner tweeted that he had turned down a contract from Sol Press, after Sol Press attempted to give him a pay-cut of more than 75%. And when translator Arunaru released a public statement explaining that he would no longer work for MangaGamer due to the low pay, it was revealed by editor and former contractor for Sol Press, Decay, that Sol Press offered even worse rates than MangaGamer.


Last month this was followed by tweets by translator koestl, warning against working for Sol Press:

This warning appears to have been motivated, in part, by the experience of Hirei, the project manager for the visual novel Under One Wing (also known as Hitotsuba). In a series of tweets, Hirei accused Sol Press of refusing to pay $5,000 that Hirei and their team were owned for the localization of Under One Wing. Supposedly, this project suffered from some sort of delay due to a "impossible deadline", which Sol Press then used to justify greatly reducing their payment, something Hirei was not in a position to contest in court due to not being located in the US:


And now a bunch of other localizers have tweeted in support of Hirei, including Decay, who explained exactly how Sol Press supposedly takes advantage of their contractors, translator Evan, who touched upon the same thing, and Steiner, who had reacted to Herei's initial series of tweets, as well as translator Tom James, and more.

I've purchased VNs from Sol Press (including Under one Wing) and backed two of their kickstarters, which have been an emotional rollercoster in themselves, so it is fairly disappointing to see how they have been behaving behind the scenes.
 

ExistentialThought

Coffee Lover ♥☕
Feb 29, 2020
48
181
33

Marco finished! Around 6 hours to complete, I could see some folks taking less and some a bit more, especially on auto mode. All around just an extremely fun read, great music, amazing animation, awesome CGs (the over 1000 is no joke), lots of options, and overall high quality. I think I would have liked it to be a tinge longer, though only because I enjoyed my time with it so much. The story is not necessarily going to go down as a classic per se, though the high quality of everything else is going to be a hard shake for any VN to follow.
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
93

Marco finished! Around 6 hours to complete, I could see some folks taking less and some a bit more, especially on auto mode. All around just an extremely fun read, great music, amazing animation, awesome CGs (the over 1000 is no joke), lots of options, and overall high quality. I think I would have liked it to be a tinge longer, though only because I enjoyed my time with it so much. The story is not necessarily going to go down as a classic per se, though the high quality of everything else is going to be a hard shake for any VN to follow.
I finished Marco yesterday and while I really loved the presentation, humor, and basically everything else, I found myself mixed about the story-telling:
The biggest problem I had was probably that it did not do a good job of transitioning between scenes/that it jumped too quickly between subplots. This was exacerbated by the emotional whiplash that occurred every time the game jumped to/from scenes involving Astaroth; he was, simply put, too evil for the rest of the story and the extreme (and sometimes literal) stakes did not mesh well with the comedic nature of the rest of the story. I think that a Rita Repulsa-esque villain would have been a better fit for the story and more in line with the other antagonists, compared to the nihilistic and genocidal maniac that we got with Astaroth.

Part of the problem was probably the short length; while I expect that it was a trade-off due to the high production values, it unfortunately led to a lot of things that should probably have been explored more in depth sorta being glossed over. For example, at one point the game drops the bombshell that Rakka is unable to feel emotions, and then does nothing with it. Similarly, Haqua's story arc amounts to a few glimpses into her backstory that don't really go anywhere and then she just goes missing at the end. The entire arc involving The Love also felt weirdly out of place. Perhaps if Marco had been told in a more rigidly defined episodic format, this would have made more sense as a monster-of-the-week kind of deal where The Love could be given more time, but due to the overall short length and frantic pace of the novel it just ended up feeling like a gag that got drawn out for too long.

I'm also a bit mixed about the ending. If it was meant to be the setup for a sequel, then I'd be willing to take it (and buy the fuck out of the sequel the moment it goes on sale), but if it was meant to be the final ending then I don't think it is very satisfying: The story is basically back to square one and Marco is once again on an adventure looking for somebody precious to her that she has no memories of. The only character that felt like they got a proper resolution to their arc was Gargouille, in that Astaroth gets killed and in that she shows character growth by showing mercy towards Haqua instead of taking revenge.

This all ended up sounding quite negative, but I did have a really good time reading Marco. Despite the short length I still ended up with more than a hundred screenshots of CGs and random gags, more than any other VN I have read, and I am hopeful that we'll get a sequel to Marco that can improve on these flaws.

Oh, and a quick heads-up in case anyone likes physicals:
The Japanese version includes English support, so you can import that if you want a physical edition of Marco.
 
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Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
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The Muv-Luv CODEX has gotten a Steam page:

I'd love to own that in book-form, but unfortunately they were a Kickstarter exclusive and go for hundreds of dollars when they pop up on eBay :negative-blob:
 
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Mr_Horizon

Junior Member
Apr 1, 2019
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Berlin
www.retrogamequiz.com
I'd like to dip my toes into visual novels. I like narrative games with interesting characters, dialogues and an engaging story: Firewatch, Red Strings Club, Tacoma or even Soma.

I wonder, do the following titles classify as visual novels? Ace Attorney, Death Mark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Tokimeki check in? The first two still have a decent amount of gameplay, the latter ones are more akin to dating sims.

I'd like to point out that I really like my first four examples, from the other four I only fully enjoyed Ace Attorney (zany courtroom drama) and DDLC (the genre twist).

Can you recommend a shorter VN that is not too japanese in its writing?

With "not too japanese" I mean clunky english translations, prudish humour or sexism and that obnoxious 'tough guy' stereotype - all those turned me off Death Mark.

I hope someone has an idea. :) Available platforms are Nintendo Switch and Mac/Steam.
 

ExistentialThought

Coffee Lover ♥☕
Feb 29, 2020
48
181
33
I finished Marco yesterday and while I really loved the presentation, humor, and basically everything else, I found myself mixed about the story-telling:

Oh, and a quick heads-up in case anyone likes physicals:
The Japanese version includes English support, so you can import that if you want a physical edition of Marco.
I can definitely agree with your issues with the story.
Part of the reason I took a tiny bit longer was having to replay one section to make sure I understood the time frame. The other points you brought up are also extremely on point, the shifting tones were jarring at times, though the length is definitely the culprit. Based on the ending, I am definitely hoping for a sequel, though it would have been nice to have it have more closure. It thankfully has sold fairly well based on charting and number of reviews, though I have to imagine it will take years for anything to follow :crying-face:

I also had no idea there was a physical version, I may have to keep an eye on its pricing.

EDIT:
I wonder, do the following titles classify as visual novels? Ace Attorney, Death Mark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Tokimeki check in? The first two still have a decent amount of gameplay, the latter ones are more akin to dating sims.

Can you recommend a shorter VN that is not too japanese in its writing?
I would completely classify all of those as visual novels. I consider Ace Attorney and Death Mark as a VN with gameplay elements. Though I would be completely receptive to folks arguing to the contrary.

If you want something short, and liked Ace Attorney, you may like Aviary Attorney. It is on Steam and should have recently released on Switch. It is maybe a 3 1/2 to 5 hour English VN with gameplay elements. Other English VNs I have NOT played, but have heard good reviews: Subsurface Circular and its sequel Quarantine Circular (some may take issue with calling these VNs in name, which again, I would completely receptive to views towards the contrary).

I also like VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action (my avatar is a character from the game), it is a shorter 11-13 hour VN on both Steam and Switch with a basic drink making game. Though it may have one or two characters which start to cross into some of your concerns.
 
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skLaFarebear

Junior Member
Dec 4, 2019
230
448
63
I'd like to dip my toes into visual novels. I like narrative games with interesting characters, dialogues and an engaging story: Firewatch, Red Strings Club, Tacoma or even Soma.

I wonder, do the following titles classify as visual novels? Ace Attorney, Death Mark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Tokimeki check in? The first two still have a decent amount of gameplay, the latter ones are more akin to dating sims.

I'd like to point out that I really like my first four examples, from the other four I only fully enjoyed Ace Attorney (zany courtroom drama) and DDLC (the genre twist).

Can you recommend a shorter VN that is not too japanese in its writing?

With "not too japanese" I mean clunky english translations, prudish humour or sexism and that obnoxious 'tough guy' stereotype - all those turned me off Death Mark.

I hope someone has an idea. :) Available platforms are Nintendo Switch and Mac/Steam.
Long Post Incoming:

I haven't checked to see if any are compatible with Steam on OSX but here are some of my recommendations

Based off your recommendations, I'd go with Higurashi and Umineko for very engaging and strong narrative mystery novels with some very compelling characters, especially Higurashi. Both VNs are an extremely long, yet really gripping, emotional roller coaster that I still look back on quite often. Fantastic music as well. Almost no gameplay in either game.

There's Fata Morgana, which I can't say anything about as I haven't played it, but it's talked about as being one of the best VNs ever made and is rated pretty highly on places like VNDB.

For something more gameplay driven, the Utawarerumono trilogy is one of my personal favorites, with the second/third game already on Steam and the first one coming soon after it's PS4 release in May. It's a SRPG/VN hybrid that's very character and world driven, with not much focus on a plot or escalation until the later parts of the game, instead focusing on building it's world and establishing it's character relationships both through comedy and more heartfelt scenes. It's also one of the gold standards of VN localization, featuring some of the best work Atlus has ever done (at least the second and third game, I don't have much faith in NISA to do anywhere near as good a job with the first one).

Danganronpa is similar to Ace Attorney in it's approach to solving murder mystery trials, though it takes it's time to get going and personally I didn't feel the characters or story itself were ever up to snuff in a way Ace Attorney nailed those two aspects. The gameplay is a pretty interesting twist on the AA formula though, for the sometimes better and other times much much worse. It also has a pretty clunky english translation, compared to the VNs above especially, but it does have it's fans.

While I haven't played the games myself yet, the Science Adventure games like Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head, Chaos;Child, and the very soon to be released Robotics;Notes are also held up to great standards among the community. They're more sci-fi/mystery driven VNs, like in S;G's case, time travel is a big concept and have the basic "choose what path you want to go down for a different ending" VN gameplay. I can't say more than that as, again, I still haven't played the games yet.

There's a ton of good VNs out there, but here's some that should hopefully help you get going. There's probably more that fit your criteria as well as a ton of good VNs I haven't recomended yet as they're not really ideal if you're not into ones with more prudish humor, or generally meant for newcomers of the medium, but I hope you can find something you're into!
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
93
I'd like to dip my toes into visual novels. I like narrative games with interesting characters, dialogues and an engaging story: Firewatch, Red Strings Club, Tacoma or even Soma.

I wonder, do the following titles classify as visual novels? Ace Attorney, Death Mark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Tokimeki check in? The first two still have a decent amount of gameplay, the latter ones are more akin to dating sims.

I'd like to point out that I really like my first four examples, from the other four I only fully enjoyed Ace Attorney (zany courtroom drama) and DDLC (the genre twist).

Can you recommend a shorter VN that is not too japanese in its writing?

With "not too japanese" I mean clunky english translations, prudish humour or sexism and that obnoxious 'tough guy' stereotype - all those turned me off Death Mark.

I hope someone has an idea. :) Available platforms are Nintendo Switch and Mac/Steam.
In addition to the recommendations you have already gotten, all of which I second, I would suggest also looking at the recently released Murder by Numbers. It is a detective story inspired by Ace Attorney that features picross mini-games during the investigation segments. I haven't finished it yet, but the reception has been quite positive. It is available for Windows and the Switch:

Heart of the Woods is another VN that I'd like to recommend, as it was one my favorite reads of last year. It is a rather dark (at times) modern fantasy story, with a small but great cast of characters. There is a free 18+ patch for it, but it is wholly unnecessary if you prefer to skip that kind of content. Currently only on PC, but I believe that a Switch version is planned.

In addition, I would recommend Christine Love's Analogue and Hate Plus, two non-linear sci-fi stories centered around the investigation of a derelict colony ship, the Mugunghwa:
 

Snakethesniper

Time Traveler
Jan 11, 2019
245
270
63
So, I recently finished the main route for Chaos;Child and I think I'm almost at the end of the first suggested route to reach the true ending.
As of now, I'll say I'm a bit disappointed considering that some people consider this better than Steins;Gate.
Warning: I didn't play or read anything about Chaos;Head.
Thoughts in spoiler:
I was all on-board with the misterious murders and psychic abilities, but I'll say that I was a bit disappointed with the introduction on the Di-Swords. I'm ok with stuff like time-travel,psychic abilites etc explained with some pseudo-science, but the Di-Swords are straight out of some fantasy anime trope with "girls fighting with magical swords", I didn't expect this honestly, I thought it was a little more "grounded", you know?
The twists about the father and childhood friend were hinted a little too much before the actual reveal, so they didn't have much of an impact.
Also the whole plan being only a "game" for Takuru for doing something he's good at, the sumo stickers being only an attention signal for "the organization", was a letdown.
Like I said, I think I'm near the ending of the Arimura's route where's she's basically going crazy, but for now I don't feel really invested in the story like in other VNs, I hope that the various routes + the true ending will change my mind
 
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Ascheroth

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
2,358
5,957
113
I'd like to dip my toes into visual novels. I like narrative games with interesting characters, dialogues and an engaging story: Firewatch, Red Strings Club, Tacoma or even Soma.

I wonder, do the following titles classify as visual novels? Ace Attorney, Death Mark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Tokimeki check in? The first two still have a decent amount of gameplay, the latter ones are more akin to dating sims.

I'd like to point out that I really like my first four examples, from the other four I only fully enjoyed Ace Attorney (zany courtroom drama) and DDLC (the genre twist).

Can you recommend a shorter VN that is not too japanese in its writing?

With "not too japanese" I mean clunky english translations, prudish humour or sexism and that obnoxious 'tough guy' stereotype - all those turned me off Death Mark.

I hope someone has an idea. :) Available platforms are Nintendo Switch and Mac/Steam.
I can second the aforementioned Aviary Attorney and Analogue: A Hate Story. They are short and don't have the issues you described.

You might also enjoy 999 - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (included in Zero Escape: The Nonary Games). It's a VN with a lot of gameplay elements (which are escape the room puzzles in this case) and about 10-15 hours long maybe? (don't remember exactly).

For a very "traditional" VN experience (basically no gameplay at all except a few choices to make, but no branching paths) I heavily recommend The House in Fata Morgana. It's one of the best stories I've ever experienced in any medium. It has a non-standard anime artstyle, excellent non-pandering writing and tackles very mature themes with great care. It's also an emotional roller-coaster and extremely heart-wrenching. I'd say it's medium length at about 20-30 hours.

To add my 2cents to some other previous recommendations, while I really like both Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry, I'm not sure if you'd enjoy them. Higurashi is an excellent horror/suspense/mystery, but has also some very pandering/questionable/(sexist?) moments.
I don't think I remember anything especially egregious in Umineko, but it is the opposite of short. We're talking 60-100 hours depending on reading speed. (It is fantastic though).

Same for Steins;Gate. I haven't read the VN either only watched the anime, but there are certain parts that would very likely put you off based on what you have issues with.

But basically, read Fata Morgana :p
 

Kvik

Play Trails from Zero — Councillor's Orders!
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
What about Reincarnation tho?
It'll be forever stuck on the Vita.

Joking aside, who owns the worldwide publishing rights for the Revenants Edition? I imagine it's yet another legal minefield to navigate since Reincarnation was a joint project between Novectacle and another company which name escaped me.
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
93
It'll be forever stuck on the Vita.

Joking aside, who owns the worldwide publishing rights for the Revenants Edition? I imagine it's yet another legal minefield to navigate since Reincarnation was a joint project between Novectacle and another company which name escaped me.
It was published by Dramatic Create, so they might be the ones owning the rights.
Hopefully they'll be able to untangle that at some point, so that we can also get that on PC.
 
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Kvik

Play Trails from Zero — Councillor's Orders!
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
Is there any new content?
Nothing that I know of. This release contains the redrawn art in the widescreen aspect ratio released in the Dream of the Revenants edition, with the exception of Reincarnation. It might have the QoL improvements from the console version as well, though.
 
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Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
513
776
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Sakura no Mori † Dreamers aka. Sakuranomori Dreamers is up for pre-order:

The premise sounds quite interesting:
Soon after after graduating to grade two of high school, Shinji Fukigami saw a spirit. He had seen her before, but didn't know her name, and of course hadn't talked with her before. She was a student in his class.

Why had she died? What happened?

Even if she couldn't speak in words, she could show him what happened. The thing that laid it's hands on her was a monster in the skin of a human, a "bodach."

From the beginning of that incident, the town that Shinji lived in, "Sakura no Mori," was the stage of repeated incidents. The only ones who could stop this tragedy were themselves. Shinji and his friends got entangled with the supernatural.

The stage of the battle was in dreams. In that deep place, the monsters lurked there inside humans.

To protect their town. To protect the people they love. Sakura no Mori Dreamers went forth to battle the unknown.
Unfortunately Valve must have rejected it or MG didn't want to submit it for whatever reason.