Grisaia: Yuuji – The Boy Who Was Broken

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The Grisaia series may explore its five main heroines in considerable depth over its duration and various routes, but ultimately, the central character to the overall narrative is protagonist Kazami Yuuji.

Yuuji is one of the most distinctive, memorable and unusual visual novel protagonists in the entire medium. Through The Fruit of Grisaia’s exploration of him over the course of the five heroines’ routes, we learn a few details about him and his mysterious past. If you had come to the series completely blind, this would have the effect of gradually shifting your expectations: what might initially appear to be a relatively conventional high school-themed ren’ai (romance) visual novel slowly reveals itself to be much, much more complicated than you might expect.

And then you come to The Labyrinth of Grisaia, whose “Grand Route”, also known as The Cocoon of Caprice, finally gives us some concrete answers about who Yuuji is, why he is the way he is and the circumstances that brought him to Mihama Academy in the first place.

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The MoeGamer GameCast: Episode 4

In this episode of the GameCast, Midori, Yumi, Penelope and I discuss the use of language in characterisation and localisation, Gabriel Dropout and much more.

No quiz this week as that JRPG monstrosity took a whole lot of time to put together! Expect more in the near future though. If you didn’t get a perfect 20 last week, you might want to go back and try again for Midori’s grand prize, by the way… I won’t tell anyone if you looked the answers up. Why should you try again? Well, I’ll leave that for you to discover.

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The original music, as before, is by watson of MusMus, and the font is the work of Style64. Other music used in this episode remains the copyright of its respective owners.

If you’re having trouble running the browser version, take a look at the TyranoBuilder FAQ, which explains how to run browser games locally — though be aware there can be some security risks involved, so only follow its recommendations when you want to run a browser-based episode of the GameCast.

Download for Windows (111MB)
Download for Mac (114MB)
Download for Browser (83MB)

As I said last week, if/when I have a bit more money floating around, I’ll sort out some proper hosting for browser versions so you don’t have to go through this process. If you’d like to help out with that — or if you just want to show your support for what I’m doing on the site in general — please consider making a pledge to my Patreon.

If you’re new to the GameCast, start from the beginning to find out more about the characters and what this is all about!

Grisaia: Amane – The Girl Who Learned to Say Thank You

This article is one chapter of a multi-part Cover Game feature!
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The Fruit of Grisaia doesn’t really have a “true” route or “true” ending as such, since the important plot threads are scattered across all the different girls’ stories.

But if there’s one path that stands out as being of particular importance to the overall backstory of the series, it’s that of Suou Amane. Not only does her route give us some insight into protagonist Yuuji’s mysterious past, which doesn’t get explored in detail until The Labyrinth of Grisaia’s Grand Route, it also introduces us to an important secondary character that, throughout all the other stories, is only hinted at.

Consequently, Amane’s route in The Fruit of Grisaia is a good one to save until last, since it provides a good means of wrapping up that game’s story and a pleasing sense of “closure” to the experience. It also provides some important context for The Labyrinth of Grisaia’s main plotline and an exploration of, for my money, one of the series’ most interesting characters.

Oh, and it’s also worth noting, perhaps more than any of the other characters, exploring Amane’s character particularly benefits from playing the 18+ version of the series, for reasons that will become apparent.

Continue reading Grisaia: Amane – The Girl Who Learned to Say Thank You

Wii U Essentials: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

In contrast to The Wind Waker, which shook things up considerably in terms of both aesthetic and game structure, you’d be forgiven for thinking Twilight Princess was “just another Zelda game”.

It marks a return to the semi-realistic visuals of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, and is set firmly on dry land in the familiar land of Hyrule — albeit another, differently laid-out Hyrule to its predecessors on the grounds that it’s yet another era in the extremely convoluted Zelda timelines.

But get into the game a bit and you’ll discover something a little different to what we typically expect from a Zelda game: childish optimism replaced with melancholy; the usual feeling of light inevitably triumphing over darkness replaced by questions over whether everything really will turn out all right this time; and an air of slight cynicism that largely emanates from Link’s perpetual companion Midna, one of the most memorable characters the series has ever seen.

Continue reading Wii U Essentials: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Eorzean Diary: Tips for Being a Filthy FFXIV Casual

One of the biggest challenges you’ll encounter as an MMO player is the prospect of planning out your time effectively so that you can do everything you want to do.

I’m not just talking about in the MMO itself, either; if you’re anything like me, you don’t want just one game to take over every waking moment of your existence — you probably want to continue enjoying other stuff, too.

This is something I’ve been struggling with for some time now with regard to Square Enix’s wonderful MMO Final Fantasy XIV. After some reflection and some discussion with other people who are or have been in a similar situation themselves, I’ve come up with a set of effective tips to juggle your career in Eorzea (or equivalents) with a rich, fulfilling and varied diet of other games and media.

Continue reading Eorzean Diary: Tips for Being a Filthy FFXIV Casual

Grisaia: Sachi and the Maid’s Burden

This article is one chapter of a multi-part Cover Game feature!
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When we first meet Komine Sachi in The Fruit of Grisaia, she’s introduced almost as a caricature: she plays the role of “the perfect maid” to everyone else at Mihama Academy, right down to wearing a maid outfit when she’s not in school uniform.

But it doesn’t take a great deal of perceptiveness to notice her behaviour isn’t what you’d particularly call “normal”.

Specifically, it’s apparent pretty much from the outset that Sachi’s unusually compliant nature and tendency to take things literally is something out of the ordinary. Protagonist Yuuji isn’t quite sure what the exact problem is to begin with, but it gradually becomes clear to him as he starts to spend more time with her.

“She resembles me,” he says at one point. “Organising her life around diligently following orders, she never allows herself to doubt them, let alone defy those who make use of her. And almost as an extension of that, her ‘private’ activities are little more than the bare minimum routines of daily existence. Looking at Sachi, I’ve been seeing myself… and the discomfort I felt was a reflection of my uncertainty about my own way of life.”

Continue reading Grisaia: Sachi and the Maid’s Burden

The MoeGamer GameCast: Episode 3

In this episode, Midori, Yumi, Penelope and I talk about why so many modern JRPGs are flat-out ignored, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and more.

Midori also has a quiz for you if you want to try and prove you know more than your average Western games journalist about the JRPG genre in general.

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The original music, as before, is by watson of MusMus, and the font is the work of Style64. Pieces of music from the various games and shows used in this episode remain the copyright of their respective owners.

Download for Windows (126MB)
Download for Mac (130MB)
Download for browser (98MB)

“Yamato” pointed out in the comments that the game window had the incorrect episode number. This should now be fixed. Please let me know if you encounter any other bugs, this episode was a lot more complex under the hood than the previous ones!

If you’re having trouble running the browser version, take a look at the TyranoBuilder FAQ, which explains how to run browser games locally — though be aware there can be some security risks involved, so only follow its recommendations when you want to run a browser-based episode of the GameCast.

When I have a bit more money floating around, I’ll sort out some proper hosting for browser versions so you don’t have to go through this process. If you’d like to help out with that, please consider making a pledge to my Patreon!

If you’re new to the GameCast, start from the beginning.

From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party

If you have a PSP (or Vita) then you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the magnificent Corpse Party from Team GrisGris, localised by XSEED. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written in 2012, you can now also get a version of the game for 3DS and PC, though note that these are slightly different to the version under discussion here.)

While initially resembling a top-down SNES-era role-playing game more than a traditional visual novel, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a game where story — and, more importantly, atmosphere – is king.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party

Wii U Essentials: Super Mario 3D World

Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise isn’t really one series any more. It’s split off in a number of different directions, each catering to a slightly different group of fans.

The different subseries have enough in common that someone who just enjoys “Mario games” can get something out of all of them, but each type of modern Super Mario game is clearly designed with a particular type of player in mind. And it really benefits their overall game design.

One of the more recent additions to the formula is the Super Mario 3D series, kicked off with Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS and continued with Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.

Continue reading Wii U Essentials: Super Mario 3D World

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