Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Dec 042017

Over the weekend, I finished Muv-Luv Alternative, a visual novel I’d been looking forward to ever since playing Muv-Luv Extra and Unlimited last year.

Muv-Luv Alternative is considered by many fans to be one of the greatest visual novels of all time, and I definitely enjoyed my time with it, although it wasn’t perfect.

First, let’s talk about its good points. Muv-Luv Alternative is intense and exciting. I really grew to like the cast of Muv-Luv, and it was wonderful to watch them grow and change.

That applies to the main character more than anyone. In Muv-Luv Extra, Takeru wasn’t the most likable protagonist in the world, but Unlimited and Alternative really helped him shape up into a character I could root for.

Muv-Luv Alternative has a reputation for some hard-hitting scenes, and those scenes did hit very hard. There was one point in particular (you can probably guess which) when I had to take a break and told everyone who would listen to me that this visual novel had gotten very dark and upsetting.

Click for Muv-Luv Alternative spoiler
While the actual “chomp” scene is the one people reference the most, the aftermath was more distressing to me. Everything that happened when Takeru tried to run away to his world felt like a punch in the stomach after an already traumatic scene.

Another thing Muv-Luv Alternative does well is handle discussions of responsibility, sacrifice, and human nature. It’s a grim world where people are still fighting each other even though humanity is on the brink of extinction. And you know, whenever someone claims an alien invasion would make everyone forget their differences and unite, I have to wonder if it would really be like that. Muv-Luv says no.

It’s not happy, but it’s realistic, and Muv-Luv Alternative deals with this idea well.

Overall, it was great. I felt some of the action scenes could drag on a little longer than they had to, but I always wanted to see what was coming next.

And that actually ties into the major thing I disliked about Muv-Luv Alternative: when I finished, I still wanted to see what was coming next. The ending felt abrupt, not a satisfactory conclusion so much as a story wrapped up before it was really over.

I didn’t mind the ending itself, like some fans do. It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was a pretty good conclusion… it just didn’t feel like it was time yet.

To explain in a little more detail without any spoilers, if it had ended the way it did, but without the epilogue scene, it would have felt like perfect ending to lead into another sequel. With the epilogue, however, it’s clearly a conclusion, but without actually being done.

Click for Muv-Luv Alternative spoiler
And now to explain WITH spoilers, I loved the stuff in the Original Hive. It was dark, it was sad, and the conversation with the BETA superordinate was so creepy and fascinating. Finally getting a glimpse into how the BETA think and trying to convince them that humans are life forms, and learning that the BETA were created by other beings… I was so excited to see where the story was going with this next!

But instead, it was over. When Takeru protested that he wasn’t ready to leave that world yet, I thought it would continue, but instead, he had to go home. That disappointed me.

Still, it’s pretty positive when the worst criticism you have a of a story is that there should have been more. I don’t consider Muv-Luv Alternative’s ending to be a satisfying conclusion to the saga, but I did enjoy my overall journey with this visual novel. Overall, I felt a lot like I did when I finished Steins;Gate 0: a great story that didn’t come together as tightly as I’d hoped.

If you’ve played/read Muv-Luv Alternative, how did you feel about the ending? Are there any side stories that expand on the part in my spoiler tags? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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