The prospect of learning a new language is a daunting one for many people — particularly English speakers, who tend to take their language’s position as “default” for granted.
What this means, more often than not, is that if you’re not put in a position where you have to learn a new language, chances are you won’t. There are exceptions to this rule, of course — some people learn a new language to improve their career prospects, some learn to broaden the range of language-dependent arts and entertainment they can engage with and some just do it for fun — but for the most part we, as humans, are rather lazy when it comes to this sort of thing.
When The Expression: Amrilato’s protagonist Rin finds herself in a version of her hometown that seems to be all “wrong”, she soon finds herself learning firsthand what being in a position where you have to learn a new language is like.
Continue reading The Expression: Amrilato – Suddenly Voiceless
Video games have been used as a means of helping people learn things pretty much since the early days of the medium; even the humble Atari 2600 played host to basic spelling and mathematics challenges.
As technology has advanced and creators have become more proficient at using interactive media to tell stories and express themselves, more and more ways to educate people have become readily accessible.
Best of all, people have realised once and for all that we don’t need a hard divide between “games” and “educational software”, so today we find ourselves with titles like SukeraSparo’s The Expression: Amrilato, a visual novel that provides its audience with both a romantic story of blossoming love between two girls, and the opportunity to learn some Esperanto.
Continue reading The Expression: Amrilato – Introduction
Doubtless many of us have thought at one point or another what it would be like to lead a “perfect” life, with nothing to worry about, nothing to fear or perhaps even nothing to think about.
A core message at the heart of Our World is Ended is one of true diversity: the acceptance of others, regardless of how unfathomably different they might seem to you and how much of a problem it might seem to bring such disparate elements together — and how those differences, when assembled into something greater than their individual parts, can actually create something incredibly strong.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: The Harmony of Chaos
Immortality or eternal life is often depicted in fiction as some sort of grand, ultimate goal — both for heroes and villains under various circumstances.
Normally, achieving such a lofty ambition involves any combination of magical power, epic quests, battles with mighty gods and/or fairies, but here in boring old reality we’re actually much closer to achieving that goal than you might think — albeit in a rather more mundane manner.
It all depends on your definition of “mortality” and “life”, and that’s one of the more interesting subjects that Our World is Ended explores over the course of its complete runtime.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Who Wants to Live Forever?
One of the most interesting aspects of Our World is Ended is how it explores the idea of virtual reality and other worlds without following the usual isekai format.
Instead, what we have is an interesting tale where it’s initially not altogether clear what is fantasy and what is reality, and over time we find ourselves questioning whether certain aspects of one or the other might be preferable.
It’s a timely tale, too; with the growth in consumer-grade virtual reality hardware and a variety of companies exploring the possibilities of augmented or mixed reality, Our World is Ended offers an intriguing exploration of both the pleasures and pitfalls of such technology.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Worlds Apart
A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.
The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.
That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
Even among the already niche-interest community of Japanese video games, visual novels tend not to get a ton of hype about them… at least here in the West.
That’s why when a new one comes along and its localisers are confident enough to refer to it as “a new masterpiece of narrative visual novel storytelling”, it’s probably worth taking notice. Of course, it’s pure marketing-speak, but it also demonstrates a certain amount of faith in the product — and perhaps a track record of the game being well-received back in its native territory.
Is Red Entertainment’s Our World is Ended, also known as 俺達の世界わ終っている (Ore-tachi no Sekai wa Owatteiru) worthy of the descriptor “masterpiece”? Only one way to find out!
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Introduction