In my epic hunting list I forget to put epic visual novel (both in length and story).
Anyway, today I was looking around for the translated stuff and noticed this game, which wasn’t mentioned in my previous thread.
Now the art wouldn’t get my attention even for a second, but this is being voted (don’t know how, but people consider this reliable) as the BEST VISUAL NOVEL EVER (whatever you see at 1st, that’s it) coming ahead of stuff like Fate/Stay Night. Even the western database puts it 2nd right under CLANNAD.
It’s moe girls piloting mechas against aliens and they say the plot is the most awesome thing ever. And it’s also quite long, given at 50+ hours of … reading.
It’s also being translated in english right now and it’s divided into 3 parts. The one that is praised is the last Muv-Luv Alternative, but there’s another game (that is divided into two parts) that comes before the Alternative and so should be played/read before if one wants the whole experience.
The translating group has already finished the first two parts, and halfway through with Alternative (which on its own is among the longest VNs). In about three months even the second half should be completed.
So, has anyone played this? What to expect? Is it really that good?
I haven’t played any of these, but I will warn you that the Sengoku Rance series is notable for the amount of rape in it. I’m guessing you could probably avoid most of it by not taking the [Rape her] options, but since I haven’t played it I couldn’t say for certain.
I will say that I am beyond sick of moe girls, so I am dubious about Muv-Luv.
From what I read the first two parts (that are rated much lower) are more standard harem, while Muv-Luv Alternative is much more into real plot twists. There’s basically a major alien attack appearing like some kind of apocalypse with lots of deaths and so on.
Anyway, I don’t care much for the “sex”, since it’s obviously thrown in there like some kind of reward while the point in playing these games is elsewhere.
The closest analogue to a “visual novel” is a choose-your-own-adventure book with illustrations, only the choices usually come less frequently than that. You basically just click through a bunch of text and occasionally choose a story branch. Also, almost all of them are at least softcore porn, and I’d guess that a majority are hardcore, and you typically unlock pornographic photo galleries as a reward for wading through hour after hour of text.
Dell used to sell computers with “Can play MP3” written on the top, and other silly things. for the crown “Wait, you can do that with a computers?”.
We can do a lot more with computers that we can currently do. We are wasting the talent of people like Neal Stephenson in novels where these people can write ??? and design ??? and create ??? for ??? with ???.
If you’re curious about Visual Novel and not tolerating the “eroge” side you should look at the old thread, where we discussed VNs like Umineko, Higurashi or Clannad that have no sex/erotic scenes at all.
Fate/Stay Night continues to be the most popular and the sex aspect is entirely missable.
Also, even most of those in this thread have the “all ages” versions that cut all the sex scenes out of the games. Muv-Luv for example is one those. Another famous VN that I think has no sex scenes and is well known is Chaos;Head.
Really popular VNs tend to get reissued for PS2 or PSP with all the sex removed and sometimes additional gameplay elements added.
Part of Muv Luv’s popularity is that the various parts of the game involve putting a standard VN cast of characters through multiple genres. The first third of the story is the “traditional” one and resembles other vanilla datesims like Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (made by the same developer, IIRC). There are hints of something strange happening, though, with a lot of conspicuous references to mecha anime and some inexplicable plot events occurring.
The second part of the story concerns the main guy ending up in a parallel universe where he and his friends are all fighting aliens in giant robots. Where the first part was light and goofy, the second part is extremely straight-faced and super-detailed. You don’t actually see the aliens, the emphasis of this portion of the story is on how all the characters are different and what the shape of the world is. This is also the part of the game that is generally considered the best.
The third part is actually an entirely separate game with much higher production values where they can afford to show us some alien-fighting. This part of the story is written in homage to the violent and nihilistic mecha anime of the early 80s, typified of directors like Yoshiyuki Tomino and Ryosuke Takahashi. All but three of the main characters die brutally, some with gory “death CGs” that actually offended the Japanese playerbase.
Unlike most VNs, this part of Muv-Luv is totally linear and it’s impossible to save any character who dies. A lot of the emotional impact of this comes from playing the first two games, where you see the characters as they’d be in gentler stories. Alternative also circles around to the first third of the story at points, eventually explaining some of the strange things that happened.
Much of Muv-Luv’s popularity with Japanese players comes from the way it combines the primal otaku-beloved genres of harem and mecha to draw out maximum emotional impact. I don’t know if the game will affect a foreign player who didn’t grow up on a steady diet of giant robot shows in quite the same way. It’s probably worth your time if you’re curious and if you already know you enjoy stuff like Fate/Stay Night and Higurashi.