Firstly, I'd like to say that I've never played a game of this type before. I'd heard about Katawa Shoujo over the last couple months through the grapevines (hey, it's getting quite a bit of press for being about a touchy subject), but still thought no more of it.
Then yesterday, I was feeling bored, and was scanning Facebook, and a friend had posted a link to a news topic about the game. On impulse, I downloaded it to have a look at it because, y'know, it'd occupy maybe 20 minutes or something before I got bored, and I could see just how tacky the thing really was.
About 5 seconds into the hospital video, I realised that actually, this game friggin' rocked and had some merit beyond simply being a riské game which would get press and attention based purely on that factor.
While waiting for the download, I'd glanced through the website so was already familiar with the characters, and figured that I would like to go through Shizune, Lilly or Hanako's playthrough, but wasn't really interested in Emi or Rin, seeing them as a little clichéd.
However, after the second time I met Emi and we first went around the track (and I tried to race her and almost had a heart attack), I fell in love with her and her ways, and had no hesitation in spending more time with her (and following her route).
In terms of her path itself, I thought it was very well written, with the exception of Hisao's utter failure to realise that Emi's father was dead, along with the utter, utter failures he said sometimes (~"Well, you can take the secret of your father to your grave then" or something approaching that). I loved Emi's character though, and was very impressed at how alive it seemed to be and how well rounded it was. I didn't have any problem with them jumping into bed, as the other guys have said, they ARE teenagers. I did feel that the story wasgoing to end earlier though after Act 3, and was genuinely shocked that there was a fourth act (which I felt a little like it had been tacked on the end), but thought that it added a much-needed extra layer beyond "boy meets girl and there are no problems they live happily ever after the end". Over the course of the story, I loved Emi and cried through the bad times and smiled through the good times. I play a lot of RPGs, and don't remember ever identifying with the characters this much, and feeling their pain and pleasure.
But the game is excellent. I downloaded it on a whim at 9:00pm, started playing at about 10:00pm and played through to completion in one sitting (ending about 4:30am). That was REALLY not what I was expecting to do.
However, I am curious in that I played through Emi's good ending followed her in the house, but was saved by Misha, then went back to the Library and restarted Misha's scene and picked the wrong way and found the bad ending (/wrist), then I went back to the House and played through not following Emi to see what happened there, but I still haven't unlocked the first two chapters in Act 4. Little confused as to what to do for those, although reading up it appears that I shouldn't have overwritten my save file with a new playthrough this morning (yes, I finished one playthrough last night and started a new one this morning).
But yea, wtf no Misha path. Having now played it through, I don't understand why the devs didn't want to develop her more? It seems very odd that she's such a major female character and you can't romance her, although admittedly she and Shizune live in each other's pockets etc etc.
But yes, overall, truly excellent game (even more so because I started playing as such a skeptic), and if I have anywhere near as much fun on the other paths as I did with Emi, I have no doubts that I'll play all 5 of them through.