By William Haderlie / January 26th, 2017
|Release Date||December 23, 2016|
|Genre||Eroge Dungeon Crawler|
|Age Rating||Adults Only|
*Rance 5D is an Adults Only Eroge Dungeon Crawler, as such this review is 18+ and NSFW, as are all links contained within.*
It was a momentous day early in 2016 when MangaGamer was finally able to release their first title from the prolific Adult Visual Novel studio, Alicesoft. Now, almost a year later, we have finally seen the first entry in their most prolific franchise, Rance. The release is a bundle of two games in the franchise, Rance 5D: The Lonely Girl and Rance VI: Collapse of Zeth. This series is both famous and infamous, depending on who you ask about it. I will be splitting the review into two different sections, since each game is its own entry in the series, and I’ll provide a score for both. This review will start off with Rance 5D, which is a side story to the main franchise and was released back in 2002.
A common theme between the previous Alicesoft title, Beat Blades Haruka, and this one is rape. As such, I would advise that anyone read my disclaimer about the subject in the previous article here (the 3rd paragraph). But an additional disclaimer to that one should probably be included for this game. Rance treats rape and sexual assault in a slightly titillating way, but more so in a comedic fashion. As such, the sense of humor can be offensive to many people. For me personally, it’s a little off putting at times but it’s mostly treated with enough humor that it didn’t bother me personally. And it’s all fictional, so I find there is little reason to be offended. In the end, it’s one of those classic hentai situations where the focus of the rape or assault is initially reluctant and they either start to enjoy it during the process, or they were only reluctant because they weren’t being honest with themselves. Of course, some people will bristle at that trope but others will enjoy it, and this will be the last time I mention the moral conundrum for this title.
Rance is a warrior from The Free Cities, associated with the Keith Guild. But in this game they are immediately thrust into the all new land of Nippon (pre-Edo Japan basically). Starting right in the middle of the series with Rance 5D will leave Rance himself a bit of a mystery, and he’s certainly not a character that engages in much introspection. However, the protagonist does definitely wear his emotions and intentions on his sleeve. Most of those are frankly involved in getting him laid. He’s willing to lie and cheat and steal, and even engage in some heroic deeds, but his end goal is always in deference to his genitals. To say that this is a man that thinks with his penis would be a fairly drastic understatement. The most common repository of his libido is his slave Sill, but much to her chagrin he will try to use his “hyper weapon” on any female within eye shot, by hook or by crook.
Sill Plain is the slave of Rance, but they never really reference how she came to become his slave, or the fact that she used to have obedience magic placed on her and (unaware to her master) it has worn off some time ago. She still stays with him though, both because she seems to actually love him and because she has a very strong masochistic side. She is rather smart, really gentle, and just all around pleasant to be around. Sill was the highlight of this game for me. There were a lot of memorable characters, but she stands head and shoulders above everyone else. In combat she is a magic user that is proficient in both fire and ice, as well as having the ability to heal the party. So she is an invaluable party member that you will typically want in your group at all times.
For the third party member spot there is a rotating cast of rogues from Rance’s past, and a new character or two. His slave “dog” Athena is the first one that you meet, but she is rather haphazard and is frequently removed from the party for long periods of time. The slave demon Feliss is a much more impressive party member. She is extremely powerful for that point in the game, but she is on her “flux” and is having issues with fighting at her full power or sticking around for very long. Also, the more battles you fight with Feliss in the party, the weaker she will become. Copandon Dot and a few others are potential party members, but you can also capture monster girls and add them to your party temporarily.
The other major character involved in the story is a new one, named Rizna. She is a girl that is trapped at the top of a feudal Japanese castle. She needs Rance’s help to escape her bondage, but she is tired of getting used by people. Her inherent trusting nature has led her astray in the past, so her best friend yokai tries to help protect RiZna from her own inherent naivete. Of course, Rance just wants to have sex with her, and even though she is initially reluctant, she has been so lonely that she eventually starts wanting him to dominate her. The first chapter and a half of the game involves just setting up the alternate world that the characters have stumbled into, but when you finally meet up with Rizna at the end of Chapter 2, that’s when the real story of this game begins.
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