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Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:33 am
by DMGnome
The "Games that are similar to KS" thread has kind of been hijacked, so here's an attempt to remedy that. (If the devs are okay with the new direction of that thread, then by all means lock this one.)

I'm going to get the classics out of the way:
-Fate/Stay Night. A mostly normal student named Emiya Shirou gets dragged into a war for the Holy Grail. Great plot, great characters, great music. The H-scenes can be charitably described as "bad." Most people here have probably played it, and the ones who haven't have almost certainly heard about it.

-Ever17. Six people are trapped on an underwater theme park, and they have 119 hours before it implodes and kills them all. Great sci-fi with a truly amazing plot twist. The translation is perfectly readable, although marred by occasional typos, some really weird mistranslations, and a sloppy find/replace job for Youth=>Kid that results in sentences like, "So, what do Kidink?" No explicit sex.

And something new:
-don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story, which is available for free here. (Yes, it's written in all lowercase.) You play as new teacher John Rook. The school has a new program allowing you to view your students' social network activity, both public and private, which they say is meant to prevent cyberbullying. It's your job as a teacher to guide your students through the troubles of high school. The story deals with issues of sex, sexuality, bullying, acceptance, etc. It's short and sweet; it'll probably take you less than two hours. The plot twist is a bit strange, and the ending gets a tad preachy, but I enjoyed the story. Fairly linear storyline--there are a few different endings and two different middles, but the endings branch off right near the end. One easily avoidable topless scene which contains nothing plot-relevant.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:22 pm
by Roy-Kr
Tsukihime, always Tsukihime.

Umineko is also fun.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 6:01 pm
by Aura
Technically this is offtopic, yes, but actually delta and I have been talking a couple of days about what we'd recommend (because of that other thread) so we might post something here at some point.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:25 pm
by Csihar
Narcissu (and its prequel Narcissu Side 2nd, which also contains the first part) should be required reading for anyone looking for some semblance of higher artistic/literary value in VNs. It's short and extremely minimalistic in presentation, but you WILL cry manly tears, and you will like it. Great soundtrack too.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:25 pm
by HeMeido
999 for the DS was pretty awesome. The ending pissed me off a bit, but it was a hell of a lot better than Time Hollow.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:49 pm
by Shades of gray
well, I just finished Yume Miru Kusuri that Suriko Recommended. and I'm going to give it a thumbs up.

I've played through Utawarerumono, that also gets a thumbs up from me (one for story and one for the battle system)

KiraKira is good and if you like it there is also : KiraKira : Curtain Call

Edelweiss is another good one IMO and if you like it there is a extra for it : Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia

Wanko To Kurasou is good but if you dont like anthromorphics (sp?) you may want to avoid.

and thats my recommendations for now more will be added as i play them ^_^

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:08 pm
by neumanproductions
Shades of gray wrote:well, I just finished Yume Miru Kusuri that Suriko Recommended. and I'm going to give it a thumbs up.

Wanko To Kurasou is good but if you dont like anthromorphics (sp?) you may want to avoid.

and thats my recommendations for now more will be added as i play them ^_^
I remember YMK, I actually do believe that it handle its topics rather well.
As for Wanko To Kurasou, I've had that on my harddrive for some time and have just started it 2 days ago. From what i've seen so far I also agree that it is well played when it comes to the little amounts of humor but of course might be unbelievable to some but you got to remember, their world is definitely different from our own.

I have to throw in on of my first, free and favorite kinetic novels. True Rememberance:
It does have a very nice tone throughout the entire story and I can simply love it for that. Also, I am more the loli guy as many would point out so this doesn;t come as much of a suprise to some. :mrgreen:

There is also on that I have enjoyed as being well humored which is kind of what I enjoy in many visual novels and it is one I typically mention in forum discussions. "Snow Sakura" especially since I enjoy acting out the parts of the POV and male friend character. Why even I talk like Itsuki from Shuffle! while typing this comment. :wink:

There are of course many more but these are some I like to mention for starters.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 12:29 am
by Rocket Royal
The only one I've played is Hinata Boku. I've got Clannad ready to play as well, when I get bored of the other stuff I've been doing.

Hinata is about a college student who needs to leave his aunt's apartment temporarily as their is a reconstruction project going on. He ends up working and living at the cafe his former teacher's family ran. I haven't fully completed it and it's not ground breaking. /a/ recommended it and it's decent. The translation could have been done better.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:29 am
by Suriko
Yume Miru Kusuri - probably the closest VN I can think of to KS. Not a huge fan of it, but it was a decent read, and it did influence KS.
Planetarian - a short dystopian story, and the only Key game I'd say is good.
Narcissu - has a similar theme to Planetarian, told in a more grounded (and minimalistic) way, and probably the better of the two. Given its short length and size, there's little reason not to try this.
Quartett - my favourite VN for genuinely trying to do something different. It's not perfect (in fact, far from it), but even with its warts, it manages to achieve a style and feeling much different to other VNs (along with great visuals and music). It's let down a bit by seemingly focusing so hard on what makes it different that it slightly forgets the usual elements (the main heroines and their stories), but the MC, side characters, and common story path are good enough to keep the narrative together.
Swan Song - awkwardly topical given recent events, but it's a solid story that's told well. The ending falls apart completely, but otherwise, it's a good game.
Sekien no Inganock - nice steampunk setting with expressive art, reasonably likable characters, and a plot that, while badly paced, is pretty good.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:15 am
by MultipleChoice
Yin-Yang, X-change alternative:
Mistaking a strange potion for an energy drink, you wake up the next morning as a woman. Hilarity ensues. Contains transgender obviously, but it really is better than you'd think at first. Also, one of the endings involves herm. The reason for the change is at least justified, instead of simply being slapped in your face.

Already mentioned, but bears repeating. This is an amazing VN that any fan of a good story should play.

Snow Sakura:
Excellent story with healthy doses of humour thrown in. Each story also has a twist to it that actually makes sense, with no stretching of the story required. Not the best VN you'll ever read, but still a very good example of VNs as a whole. You get sent to go live in Northern Japan when your father gets a job in Hawaii and doesn't take you with him. Living with your uncle and cousin, you begin attending a new school and

Kira Kira:
Already mentioned, but bears repeating. This VN explores a few deep concepts with surprising grace.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 7:54 am
by delta
1. Narcissu
Short, free, serious, minimalist but good looking, as well written as any VN you can read in English. Give Side 2nd a spin also, which is not as good as the first one but still one of the best VNs available.

2. True Remembrance
Also short and free, science fiction complete with ~twist~. If you liked Haibane Renmei, try this. Art is not that good but easily good enough.

3. Crescendo / YMK
Two roughly similar games, Crescendo has less melodramu but worse art.

4. Ever17 / Fate/stay night
Both are slow and plodding, with many silly slice-of-life scenes that grind the story to a halt. However when they get rolling, they're brilliant - E17 is a deconstruction of the VN medium and F/sn has a great premise and ridiculous fights. If you have time to spare and don't mind SOME boredom, these are the ones.

5. Saya no Uta
Horror game that doesn't really know where it's going but is very atmospheric. It could be a lot better but is hamstrung by its dire porn (not only badly written, but terrible pandering that tries to have its cake - "YO DAWG SOME PRIME FETISH PORN IN HERE" - and eat it too - "HEY IT'S A HORROR GAME, IT'S LIKE, SUPPOSED TO BE DISGUSTING *WINK*") It's still worth checking out, but be aware that even if the porn works as a story element for you, there are people getting off on it and the game is definitely made with those in mind as well.

The overrated (anti-recommendations of games people tend to praise):
* Cross Channel (just bad throughout, ending is as great as people say but that's 10 minutes of a 20 hour game and totally not worth it)
* Sharin no Kuni (trying to be clever, is actually quite dumb and nonsensical and full of generimoe to boot)
* Higurashi / Umineko (Ryukishi has good ideas but he can't fucking write to save his life)

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 10:11 am
by Aura
1. Narcissu
Canonized in 4LS as the best VN ever made, and for a good reason. Frugal yet expressive, emotive but not overdone, this VN is not perfect but it's as close as anyone's so far made it. Side 2nd is great as well, Dritte Welt is not.

2. True Remembrance
Atmospheric fantasy/scifi story that stumbles a couple of times over its course, but is extraordinarily strongly written. As an amateur, I like this VN especially because the visualization is totally cheap and amateur, yet the story carries it so well that it doesn't matter.

3. Sekien no Inganock
The only VN translated, though not the best, from the most interesting writer in the scene, Hikaru Sakurai. If you can read Japanese, her next work, Shikkoku no Sharnoth was a bigger hit for me. Sakurai's steampunk-fantasy settings and personal writing style are imaginative and excellently supported by Liar-soft's artist team throughout their games.

4. Swan Song
One of the only VNs I've read where the story provides actual depth and insight. Not without its flaws, but very solidly done overall.

5. Quartett
A Visual Novel where the fairly unexciting though competent story plays the second fiddle to the wonderful visualization and background music. A showcase of what visual novels can be when the "visual" aspect is cranked to eleven.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:09 am
by hayate135
Though this post might not be helpful as I'll be mentioning a title that would require you to have a very firm and thorough grip on Japanese, try out Forest written by Hoshizora Meteor from Liar-Soft, the company Aura brought up in the mention of the ~WAB~ series. Granted, some simply won't get it and some might not appreciate how convoluted the presentation of information tends to be in-game, but it's by far the most unique and amazingly intricate title I've read. An original setting, deep characters, a rich writing style, this title gets progressively exciting and overwhelmingly enchanting if you choose to hang on through what you would at first deem a messy and bizarre presentation. At the risk of sounding like a broken record though, you really need a thoroughly fluent understanding of Japanese before you dive into this title, otherwise your thought process will perpetually circulate around the letters "WTF" from start to finish.

Another honorary mention is Kono Yu no Hate de Koi Utau Shoujo YU-NO (quite a mouthful for a title). Clever gameplay implemented within the VN structure, heavy emphasis on a fictional multi-verse physics profoundly well done, several consequences that shifts constantly towards a mind-bogglingly impossible amount of route permutations, a cast that never felt so naturally human in any VN I've played... the list goes on. Only thing I can imagine what would turn people away from this title is the old-school gameplay interface/graphics, as well as the annoying amount of inopportune upskirt shots. It also has a rather active English translation team currently on the job. Try it, it borders on a level between "epic" and "masterpiece".

EDIT: Meh, in retrospect, seeing as how this particular thread is geared more so towards recommendations for starters, the games I've mentioned aren't all that helpful in this regard as they're rather complex. Try these titles out when you have a firmer grasp on visual novels/eroge, I suppose.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:27 pm
by HotDamnILoveVNs
G-Senjou no Maou and Sharin no Kuni are some of my favorites.

Also add to that Clannad, beats the anime if I do say so myself.

Re: Recommend a VN

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:43 pm
by neumanproductions
Suriko wrote:Yume Miru Kusuri - probably the closest VN I can think of to KS. Not a huge fan of it, but it was a decent read, and it did influence KS.
So is this were we can attribute the many interesting roof scenes from Suriko or is it just the concept of a VN taking on something that not many would that was the influencing result?