By Chris Melchin / July 27th, 2017
The visuals are stunning, very similar to those in Da Capo III with a higher resolution of 1280 x 720. The occasional movement of both character sprites and the camera makes regular scenes more dynamic, although the CGs and sprites can get somewhat blurry when the camera zooms in on them due to being displayed at larger than their native resolution. Other than that, the art is fantastic. The regular scenes that take place outside also have small glowing circles, known in-game as snowsprites, floating around the screen, which makes everything seem brighter and gives the characters and settings almost an ethereal quality. There are also the occasional chibi-CGs, which are a rare gift, but overall I would’ve liked to see more.
The music stayed with me better than any of the music from the original Da Capo series, especially the more subdued tunes in the heavier scenes. This game is also one of the few eroge I’ve played where I genuinely really like the H-scene music, possessing a certain quality and uniqueness that makes it stand out, rather than the more standard tracks so often used in games. Many tracks beautifully match the scenes where they’re played, especially during more emotional parts of the game. This was most true with the insert vocal theme “The Sound of Heaven” used at the end of Ame’s route, which legitimately made me tear up a bit. The opening theme is called “Pleasure Garden,” and is great in its own way, while the character themes all perfectly match their personalities. I liked the characters’ voices, with Yamato’s in particular being absolutely perfect, but I don’t know Japanese so I can’t critique them to the extent that others might.
Each route aside from Ame’s has two H-scenes, although in three out of the four the characters actually have sex in only one of them. It may be an odd thing to point out about an eroge, but I found Dal Segno to be strangely wholesome in its depiction of the characters’ relationships. The sex scenes themselves are as explicit as any others, but the way they’re presented struck me as a somewhat rare depiction of a healthy approach to starting a physical relationship, in part due to the initial H-scene, where they stop short of actually having sex for reasons that vary for each route. The story itself is structured well to incorporate them, giving them an appropriate degree of impact and emotional payoff. The sex scenes themselves are satisfying, and the other H-scenes still have their own value towards developing the characters and their relationship. The only complaint one may have is that everything that happens is very vanilla, but I think it’s appropriate for the beginning of a physical relationship between high school students. I didn’t play the All-Ages version, so I can’t speak specifically for how the lack of H-scenes affects character development. I don’t feel like the story would be particularly incomplete without the H-scenes, but they develop the relationships between Atsuya and the girls and they’re definitely worth seeing, especially considering the fact that the 18+ and all-ages version cost the same amount.
Dal Segno has the same modern features as Da Capo III, namely the ability to go back to any previous dialogue, along with mouse gesture control while holding right-click and the ability to open the menu by moving the mouse to the top of the window. After skipping unread text, the game displays a small “You’ve arrived” notification in the corner when you get to new text; it doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s a cute little feature. There’s also a relatively small number of typos, mostly coming from what I assume are formatting problems from trying to show certain non-alphanumeric characters in the text box, although MangaGamer has been fixing these in patches for the Steam version and has updated the installer in its store. It also has a sprite viewer for all the characters, which is a very nice inclusion for any visual novel that more of them should have.
Dal Segno is a very solid romance story all around. Some may be turned off by the slightly different structure from the Da Capo series or the small number of routes; however, Dal Segno is entirely independent of the original series. The only direct relation between the games come from the name of Professor Amakase, a direct reference to the existence of the wish-granting Everlasting Cherry Blossom, and the mysterious “that person” that Yamato tries to live up to who totally isn’t anyone from Da Capo. It’s difficult to compare to the earlier games since it’s so different in its themes, structure, and setting. It has a similar length to the Da Capo games at over 30 hours and will set you back $39.95 USD for either version from MangaGamer’s website or Steam. I would recommend playing the 18+ version, just for the extra development that the story gets from the H-scenes. I strongly recommend it to fans of Nakige (crying games, similar to Key’s games) or romance stories, even if you haven’t played the mostly-unrelated Da Capo games.
Review copy provided by publisher
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