By William Haderlie / April 20th, 2016
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What the hell? Is this a harem visual novel, or what?” And that… would be a fairly astute question. Frankly, this visual novel, along with being very long, is quite the roller coaster ride. Honestly up until the opening credits rolled, I thought for sure I was in a horror visual novel. Then up through the first 75% of the game, I thought that I was in a battle visual novel. Then for the last 25%, you are pretty sure that it’s a romance visual novel that you have been experiencing. So the truth is, it’s all of those things. There are many other characters, Angels and Demons and Gods alike, that populate this world (too many for me to go into here) and this story is about how all of them deal with the aftermath of an Apocalypse that they did not want. What if Armageddon happens, and you disagree with the assertion of your God that all must be destroyed? That is the raison d’etre of this visual novel. And raison d’etre itself is a very important aspect of the story, it’s one of the most common word or phrases that you will see during the story. In this world of Tokyo Babel, your raison d’etre functions much like the power of “The Word” does in many mythologies. It gives both reason for being and power.
When there is horror in this game, it is pretty gruesome and horrific. When the battles start, it is pretty quality action using some video resources to give it a more kinetic feel (hence the extremely large install size, 1.8GBx3). However, looking at these pictures may not be able to show it well but, this is one of the funniest visual novels that I’ve ever read. Lilith, Raziel, and Sorami make quite the comedy team, but even demons like Belial or Archangels like Camael can be quite hilarious. It’s mostly the slice of life type humor that you would find in your standard school life anime or visual novel, but the present beings add to the hilarity. And having both Angels and Demons occupying the same place is a recipe for both disaster and humor.
But that does also bring to light one of my few negatives about the visual novel, and unfortunately, it must be laid at the feet of most visual novels coming out of Japan. Because visual novels and video games are aimed at adolescents there, they almost always star teenagers and happen in locations that teenagers can relate to. That’s not to say that I can’t relate (using Tokyo as the modern day Purgatory makes sense on many levels), it’s more that I find it a little disappointing for so much of the action and story about Gods and Monsters to be taking place inside of a High School. And not only does that make the setting a bit more bland, but that means the relationships within are a bit adolescent. No offense to the asexual, but I am not one, and I would not engage in a relationship that was sexless for very long. So while I don’t necessarily need every visual novel to be Eroge, if sex is missing from a romantic relationship entirely it feels adolescent and unfulfilling to me, personally. But that is a personal choice and doesn’t really reflect in my final review score. The other complaint I have is that the editing work was not consistently good. I played through every path in the game, and you must go through both the Raziel and the Sorami routes first before you can unlock the Lilith route. What became apparent after playing through the Lilith path was that far less attention was paid to that route and there were several spelling or grammar errors and word exchanges (wrong character name being used, etc). To be fair, though, this was a huge visual novel dwarfing many game scripts and most of the translation was pretty good, and the Lilith route is particularly branching-path heavy.
Raziel and Sorami each have a Good End or a Bad End, Lilith though has a Bad end and two different good endings (however she also has a bunch of dead ends in there, her route is quite a bit different than the other two). To see every ending you can plan on a good 50 hours or around 30 hours if you skip previously read content, and their routes differ quite a bit on the story and the fights, on par with the fabulous The Fruit of Grisaia. This is a visual novel that you can spend a lot of time with. Since many of the words and terms in it can be a bit difficult for many readers, there are menu options to describe some of the myths and name/weapon sources. I didn’t entirely agree with a couple of the summaries in there, but they weren’t nearly as inaccurate as many of the stuff floating out there, let alone “accuracy” can depend on your source. So they are a pretty good source for Levantine Mythology. This is a full priced release from MangaGamer, at $34.95, and in my opinion, it is definitely deserving of the premium. This can’t have been an easy project to translate something of this size and with this degree of eccentricity. More than likely some of its content is going to offend some people, but that is okay; an art form should be bold. The last thing I want to give special attention to is the music. This game has one of my favorite VN soundtracks of all time. The story gave my tear ducts a serious workout with every route, and the music very much played a key role there. There are some great vocal songs in there, but the general theme music (especially the romantic and the tragic ones) was my highlight. So I have already pulled up the music menu to listen to those songs again, and likely will continue to in the future. So if you are looking for a SMT Persona game without the dungeon or RPG mechanics, this may be right up your alley.
Review Copy Provided By Publisher
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