By William Haderlie / November 16th, 2016
|Title||Corona Blossom Vol. 2: The Truth From Beyond|
|Release Date||October 27, 2016|
|Genre||Adult Visual Novel|
|Age Rating||Adults Only|
*This game is 18+ and the review is potentially NSFW, links may lead to sites which are Adults Only*
I have already reviewed Corona Blossom Vol. 1 for Operation Rainfall, so if you want any background information about character specifics and the story so far, definitely check out that first review. I’m starting off the review this way because I simply have to say that it’s impossible for me to review anything about Volume 2 without containing any spoilers from the end of Volume 1; the review would be totally worthless otherwise. That being said, I still will not engage in any spoilers for this title, as you would expect in any normal review. Episodic games just make that process a little harder because there is not nearly enough time between releases, and so many people may not have gotten around to finishing, or even playing, the first installation yet.
Volume 2 begins right at the point Volume 1 ended, which is a very good thing since it finished on such a cliffhanger. But it is important to know that this Visual Novel does not take the common book sequel route of filling you in on the previous story in any way. This is less a game sequel and much more of an episodic installment, similar to the style of Telltale Games. In this case Frontwing is using IndieGoGo to obtain funding for each episode before they engage in development. It is an interesting business decision that could have easily fallen flat on its face, but after two episodes it seems to be working out quite well.
It was fairly obvious that the attempts of the pirate crew to kidnap R-ne would fail, there was so much more left to discover on Earth. That was already hinted at during Volume 1. Their failure certainly led to many humorous conversations and events, but more importantly it allowed Kenji (and thereby the readers) a chance to get to know the stellar cat pirate maids much better. The combination of the aliens and the harem element definitely made Volume 2 feel a bit similar to Tenchi Muyo!, but that is not at all a bad thing. And it still has enough of its own personality that it doesn’t feel like a rip off of that story.
With Lily and Yunie playing a larger part in the story, both the comedy and the ecchi were turned up several notches. The story in the first volume was already quite fun, with a few mysteries thrown in, but this one had me chuckling even more. The ecchi happens more often in this sequel, but it’s also more ribald, especially with the 18+ patch in full effect. Yes, the 18+ patch adds extra sex scenes, much like in Volume 1, but it also means that when a nipple slip happens, you get to see that in its full glory. Apparently I was not the only one who had an issue with Frontwing making mosaics for an Adult Visual Novel that was released first in the West. And they listened to the criticisms and responded admirably. There is no censorship to this title, and that was my largest complaint about the first title. With several ecchi scenes that ended up with a small amount of nudity in the main game, it would have looked even more out of place for Volume 2. So I’m really glad they changed their stance on that issue.
As I said in the first volume, this game remains possibly the most visually impressive Visual Novel that I’ve ever played. In fact, in Volume 2 they seemed to have gotten even better with the art and the development tools. There is even more action on the screen which allows the girls to move relative to each other. There seem to be even more expressions that they can move to, and the variety of scenes has also improved. Due to the short playtime of each volume it is easy to forget how much art design is being invoked here, but when this full story has been completed it will end up being a truly impressive example of great anime art. The music didn’t change; I could not recognize any new tracks, but it still remains just as good as in the first release. It would be nice if they could create more new music along with the new art, but it must already be difficult to keep up with the demanding production schedule and all the bonus voice work.
The voice work has remained extremely good and consistent throughout this game, and if anything it reached an even higher level with Volume 2. One of the main reasons for this is that the actresses needed to express a greater range of emotions in this section of the game. As I said earlier, there is even more comedy during this story, but there is also more heartache in this volume. To be honest, Volume 1 was a great and fun story, but it did not quite feel like the same studio that created the fabulous The Fruit of Grisaia. This one gave me very similar vibes from that previous game, and so I liked this story a bit more than the first one, and I really like where they are going with this whole game.
Once again they added three bonus scenes with the 18+ DLC. As I said earlier, it is not censored this time, and that alone makes it much better than Volume 1. But they didn’t stop with that lone improvement to the adult content. Both games had some nice and steamy sex, but this newest one had some really good animation on 2 of the 3 sex scenes. Volume 1 also had some animation, but this one was done much better. Of course, it helps that the mosaics are not there obscuring any of the action, but regardless this is some of the better sex animation I’ve seen in a Visual Novel. The other improvement is in the stories of each X-Rated scene. Instead of just being a sentence or two to get you into the sex, they feature some backstory that gives you the impression that the sex is in an alternate version of the story where the relationships have changed. The best example is Kumiko, who is your girlfriend during your scene with her, even though you are not even dating in the main story.
It’s a good thing that they made the 3 X-Rated scenes more than just a couple minutes of sex, because they definitely make you pay for it. The 18+ patch available from JList (and JAST) costs slightly more than entirety of Volume 2, at $10.39. I’m really glad they switched away from DLSite, which they used for the first volume, because it’s a more stable download platform and it’s much easier to download on another device or re-download later after an uninstall. But I still don’t like the idea of a porn tax, especially when it makes a game double the price. I honestly wish that they would either make the game $15.00 for everyone and make the adult content free, or some combination of lowering the price of the DLC down to $5 at most. That being said, the adult content is really good, so I’m reticent to lambast the developer too much over it.
And really, considering how quick the developer has been while using IndieGoGo campaigns for funding, and how much they have listened to their fans so far, I am really rooting for them to succeed. And I want them to earn enough off of the release to keep on making more. Even though I saw the cliffhanger coming from a mile away, I still can’t wait to see how it turns out in Volume 3. I’ve never considered myself a fan of Episodic Games, but with such wonderful girls and a well told story, they have me by the testicles. Other than the price of the adult content, the main game only costs $9.99 and that is extremely reasonable to me. Sure it is only about 4 hours of content (including the X-Rated scenes), but with the quality of writing, voice acting, and the art work, that is a very reasonable price. Volume 2 of the game was funded to 400% during it’s campaign, and I see no reason why the next one wouldn’t be funded as much or even more. They are creating a classic Visual Novel here, and I can’t wait for more.
Review Copy and 18+ Patch Provided By The Developer
18+Adult Visual Novelcorona blossomCorona Blossom Vol. 2: The Truth From BeyondfrontwingIndiegogoJAST USANSFWPCSteam