Main Character (unnamed) is a highly ranked scholar and friend to Lucas, the only (?) knight that’s not a noble. The two of them have worked so hard to come where they are now, but it all crumbles to pieces when Main Character stumbles upon the demise of the royal family. Now a fugitive – saved by none other than the assassin of those of royal blood, Kitsune, what will Main Character do?
Before sharing my thoughts I want to begin by saying I was going to post this earlier if I got the early release – and you know, I did so major props to CodeV! – but I was midst pre-operation stuff for my little baby, so I didn’t have time to even look at anything before the demo actually released. The surgery is over with now and baby’s fine, and we’re all back home.
Shoutout to Baby for being so nice while we were at the hospital, and to Papa who did probably more than Mama Anny (aka, me, ’cause who else would it be?) did! Oh, and to Big Bro because he went to school while Baby was at the hospital, and to Papa’s family for taking care of Big Bro. Much love to each and every one of you for making these past few – very stressful – days work so well at the end of it all. And the biggest THANK YOU to the surgeons for doing such a good job.
But I digress.
Unlike most stories where you play as the main hero, here, you are part of the supporting cast in everyone else’s stories. Your choices will lead you through their lives, and your decisions will have a great impact on how their stories unfold.
– Description of the game written by the team at CodeV
I expected something a bit different, to be honest, when I read this. It’s a concept very hard to pull off, and I didn’t feel like the MC was not the main hero. I guess the fact the character in question is the youngest inquisitor in Lucarene’s history (I guess?) doesn’t help. Even if Lucas is the one with the plot twist, it’s still the MC that doe the hero(ine) actions. It all is, in a sense, set up so the MC is… well.. the MC. As horrible as it may sound, the MC is “good” to be part of the supporting cast, from a more literary standpoint, at least.
Speaking of literature though… This is one quickly moving story at times. The twists and turns aren’t bad, but if the final product has the same pacing, there’s not enough time to recover from from twist to another. It may not be bad in terms of potential, but I would want it to slow down and build up more to the twist. Especially at the beginning. I mean, I don’t mind breaking storytelling rules (being an creative writer as well, I get it, and as a reader of many books, I don’t mind it as “correct” storytelling changes over time and based on culture and societies.) but there is a way to capture the reader (or player, in this case) and to make the reader (or player) feel with the MC. I just went “WTF, lol, calm down ppl!” and was amused at how it went from 0 to 100 is 0 seconds and then it kept escalating before the story flatlined for a while.
This isn’t just reading though. The game is planned to be partially voiced, but the demo is fully so. Which is not bad! At all! Not a monotone line in sight! Eh… You get my point. And at least not unintentionally monotone voice acting. Not on par of any of my favs who are specialised in that and have years upon years of experience, but definitely great! I wouldn’t mind the full game being partially voice, but based on this demo, I’d say the game would be worth getting for the voices.
As I have no biases among the VAs in this game, I can truthfully say I really liked Amaris’, Sabre’s and Lucas’ voices specifically and found them very suiting to their roles. I’m not a fan of the voice itself of the rest, but that’s just a matter of what is more pleasing to listen to for me personally and it’s not an indicator anyone else would be bad at the voice acting by any means.
And while I’m speaking voice, I can add that this (as usual) has an unvoiced MC, but it makes very much sense, as the MC would had needed either someone with a very androgyne voice or two actors. See, there are two options for the MC: Be a guy or be a girl. I played as a girl during my first playthrough, then switched to play as a guy. I can get all my shipping fantasies true. Almost, kinda missing a non-binary option though.
Another bonus is The Log. This is a problem even with come big name VNs, you know? There is either no log at all, or you can’t find it. For some VNs. Far from all. But the frustrations I’ve had due to that makes logs all the more valuable. Especially as a reviewer usually writing long summaries of entire games – imagine trying to sum something up but you have to do it all from memory? It’s hard. (I’ve tried.)
However, the log clears at every change of scene. It’s one thing that the log clears whenever you close the game or change save file. But the log clearing at the change of the scene is actually more annoying. Want to look back at what happened before the change of the scene to better get what’s going on? Tough luck, mate! Get that notepad out ’cause you’ll be taking notes if you wanna keep stuff fresh in mind.
And when the auto is “HOLY CRAP THAT IS FAST. What was that? I had to know beforehand to slow down the text before hitting New Game? Why didn’t you tell me?” from right away, a log that clears at every change of scene is terrifying until you change the speed.
Generally speaking, the art is really, really nice and I really like the CGs. It’s one of those times when the CGs are more pleasant than the sprites, though that’s also within the norm. And the moving sprites kind of makes it cool enough to make up for it.
But while the sprites moved, some parts of them were fairly static, which in turn means Lucas’ hand (to mention the most glaring issue for me) every once in a while became part of his hip. Ouch. They also was lacking a bit in gestures. I rather have a few sprites to show gestures, than moving sprites that just nod or move side to side. Just personal preference though.
And… I think that’s almost it.
Bugs I’ve encountered in the current demo build (1.8.7) for Mac (64-bit) that I hope gets fixed for the game:
- Auto function doesn’t turn off
I tried about every thing I can think of (except saving and reloading the save, which would defeat the purpose of a log anyway), but if it starts, it’ll run to the next choice, so I have to actually take notes in a very old school way – a notebook and read the log a lot. Not that I mind, but I normally leave the game to type out comments in the post before I write it all out in a more beautiful manner.
- Auto speed is hidden
When you first go into the settings it looks like the auto is set to slowest. Nope, it’s not. It’s fine once your select your speed though.
- Changing speed require you to pull from fastest and then lower
I mean, even if the speed is set to middle, you need to go from the fastest to slower. Not exactly intuitive and I can only assume it’s a bug.
- Some missing voice lines.
I noticed Luca, Amaris and Sabre all had a line unvoiced.
- Fire effect disappearing
- Skipping read(?) lines
I chose skip read, but the skip didn’t quite turn off when I played unread lines. The speed was unreadable!
And a couple more things:
- Slow loading time
Something’s up when the computer has to work to load a VN. I even closed software in hope to lower the loading times. A reboot of the computer and the software did not resolve that issue. Is this VN not low-end/old parts friendly, because usually VNs aren’t that hard on the computer. Could be the engine moving the sprites (or whatever)?
- I… am not sure what something was called
Demeria, Demeris, Demesia – there was a variety and I’m not sure which it may be. Demesia I think was the most common though. At times voice and text didn’t match up either. That just gives me horrible flashbacks.
Is this demo worth playing? I mean, I did enjoy myself. The time really flew by. Would I buy the final game? Depends. And not on the price or whether it’s fully or partially voices, but more on the overall quality. There is room for improvement, like the pacing specifically, but the setting (once the game actually allows for setting the “scene”) is good. It does include tropes, but is that necessarily a bad thing, because you know what to kind of expect from characters and there’s is the option for some homosexuality and homoromanticism, which I totally am up for on both accounts. Just worried is might not be quite SFA.
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