By Crystal Colwell / March 4th, 2014
“Be careful where you put your priorities for it may prove fatal.“
Fading Hearts is a visual novel that I only recently heard about, thought it has been around for quite a while. I hate when games that have the possibility of being thought provoking or even just fun as hell slip by me. Luckily (for me) it recently became available on Steam, which brought it to my attention.
One of the first things that happens is you are warned that you shouldn’t take anything you hear at face value. People have secrets and they want to protect them. You play as Ryou and piece together what you hear with what you see and what you think might be going on. Open yourself up to all possibilities and see what you can discover from the goings on in your world.
The official website touts the game as having “Multiple end-game climaxes and endings!”, while the about section on Steam states that your choices change the genre of the story and that the game offers “true choices”. Right away I knew this was something I had to play. I get slightly belligerent if something is presented in one way and doesn’t deliver, so I was hopeful but reserved as I dug into the game. I had no reason to worry! Fading Hearts definitely represents itself in a true manner. You are free to make many decisions throughout the game as you are talking to people as well as deciding how to spend your time. The choices you make and the way you spend your time change everything (as it should be with a VN).
My initial impression once the game started up and I saw a few reactions of Ryou was that I could really understand him. He was a bit kooky and had many of the same reactions to life that I have had. He sometimes fears that people hear him but don’t really understand him. I think most of us feel like that from time to time. He also never wants to get out of bed, which is another trait I can identify with. His room is far to neat, though.
While you are seeking the truth, saving the girl, or working (lots of choices!), you meet a few friends. Since you are warned early not to take everything at face value, I was never quite sure who was being honest at first and who wasn’t. As meet more people and gather more information, the way you look at things really changes. Someone you once thought of as a happy, upbeat, hard worker starts to look a little worn around the edges. Your other slightly goofy friend becomes a bit more sinister.
As stated above, you have control on how you spend your time and who you spend time with. You can also choose to work, train, relax, or read. Reading various books and manga will teach you different abilities. These vary from helping you as you work or if you venture into the Forest and fight. There are a few locations you can visit, where you can meet up with people, read, or relax. During one playthrough, I focused solely on working, while on another I focused on training, and yet another I focused on spending time with different people in the game.
I put about 6 hours into the game so far and have gotten several different endings. I used the skip read text feature so that I could get to my choices and free time quickly without having to re-read everything. If you choose to read things through more thoroughly on each play through, you can easily sink 10-15 hours into the game just to unlock a few of the endings.
Check back in the following week or 2 for my retro review on Fading Hearts, where I dive a bit deeper into the characters of the game, talk about the mechanics and explore deeper the options of working, training and spending time with people.
Fading HeartsSakura River