Operation Backlog Completion 2017
Jun 022017

Yesterday, a game developer worked to make things more convenient and natural for fans, while also letting new players try the game for free.

This upset many people.

The visual novel Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~, which was translated into English after a successful Kickstarter campaign was originally released in two parts.

This meant you’d need two separate game files, each of which would contain the same common route, but separate character routes. A bit awkward, right?

Fortunately, they found a solution and released it on Steam as a single game. Instead of two separate game purchases, you can download the common route for free and then buy each half of the game as DLC.

It’s convenient. It solves the problem of having one game split into two. And it gives fans what is essentially a large demo, to try the visual novel before paying.

But it reminded people of the dreaded free-to-play model where DLC microtransactions force you to buy the game in pieces.

That is not what this is. Not at all. If Act I and Act II were released as separate games, like they initially planned, you’d pay $20 for each and have them as separate files. Instead… you’ll pay $20 for each and have them as one file.

Yes, it’s technically “free to start” with DLC, but only to make it more convenient (one single game file) and give players a chance to try it. Unless you think demos are bad, there is no reason to object to the structure of Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~.

Mobile gaming has given free-to-start games a very negative connotation, but it’s not always like that. Sometimes, rather than being a F2P game with microtransactions, it’s just a demo that lets you buy the rest of the game once you’ve tried it. So the next time you see that alarming term, DLC, slow down and check the situation before you get upset.

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May 242017

A Kickstarter is currently running for the translation of a visual novel called Chuusotsu – 1st Graduation: Time After Time. They released a demo, so I decided to give it a try.

It was… really weird. But interesting!

In this visual novel, everyone gets an “Authorization Seal” that determines their job, strength, intelligence, etc.

When the main character, a girl named Arue, is unable to meet the requirements for her Authorization Seal after middle school, she becomes a “chuusotsu,” a person with the lowest possible power level.

Determined to gain a seal, Arue signs up for a program where she will need to room with two other chuusotsu, and… work on philosophy?

It’s hard to explain how weird this demo was. The basic premise for the setting is so bizarre. As a chuusotsu, Arue is weaker than even children. She can’t read maps or do addition anymore. I’ve never seen a world setup quite like it, and it made me interested in learning more.

Arue also loves anime and manga, and she has a tendency to start talking strangely and referencing RPGs when she gets really nervous. The other characters in the demo were also strange, especially Ahara, who rambles about saving the world from dark forces.

Even Chuusotsu’s narration was odd, with occasional commentary from the narrator outside of Arue’s own descriptions.

Before I played the demo, I saw the Kickstarter, but I couldn’t get a good grasp on what the visual novel really was. Three girls who didn’t get past middle school sharing an apartment and asking existential questions? What? Why is it so well-regarded?

Now that I have played the demo, I’m still not entirely sure how to describe what this visual novel is, but it left me intrigued by its premise and the characters. So take a look at the Kickstarter and try the demo, and let me know your own thoughts on Chuusotsu – 1st Graduation: Time After Time.

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Mar 152017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been out for almost two weeks now, and I still can’t decide if I want to get it or not.

On one hand, it’s a Legend of Zelda game. While I never got into the older Zelda games (except for Link’s Awakening), I’ve enjoyed the newer ones.

On the other hand, it’s an open world game. Open world games are not my preferred type. I like a more structured approach, with separate areas to unlock and progress through.

And yet, I loved Xenoblade Chronicles X. Monolith Soft, the Xenoblade developer, helped with Breath of the Wild’s open world. If XCX won my heart despite its open style, maybe Breath of the Wild will, too.

But at the same time, when I hear praise for Breath of the Wild, it’s usually focused on how much freedom there is and how many different things there are to do. Those aren’t bad things, but the emphasis on those parts makes it sound again like the sorts of open world RPGs I usually avoid.

Still, other people have said Breath of the Wild has enough structure that I could play it like a semi-linear game if I wanted to, while still haven’t the option to explore.

As you can see, I’m conflicted about this game. (It’s not the only one. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to give Paper Mario: Color Splash a chance.) I don’t have a Nintendo Switch, but if Breath of the Wild was structured more like the past few Zelda games, I’d have probably picked it up for my Wii U by now.

Maybe I should finally get around to playing Majora’s Mask instead.

What do you think? Do you recommend The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild even to someone who doesn’t often enjoy open world games?

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