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StarTopic Visual Novels |ST| Let’s-a-read!

I just finished AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative just now and I liked it, though not as much as the first game.

I think the game lost me a bit after the big twist. I actually quite liked the twist itself with the timeline, but my issue was with what happened afterwards. Most of the final scenes just fell a bit flat for me, and pretty much everything that happened at the stadium at the very end was pretty silly I thought. I know silliness is on brand for the series in certain respects, but it just didn't really work for me much here. Pretty much everything after finding out Tearer was already dead I thought was pretty anticlimactic.

I think I'm also in the minority who prefer the first game's somniums. They worked for me pretty well and I actually enjoyed trying to figure out how to get good times lol. They just felt pretty obvious and linear this time.

I did ultimately enjoy the story, I just don't think it stuck the landing. The stuff with Amame/Tearer was okay, but I just really think the stadium climax was extremely weak. The secret ending was cool, at least.

I guess if I felt the first game was a 9/10 (my favorite game I've played so far this year), this one is a bit closer to like a 7.5/10 or something for me. A good game I enjoyed but not great. Definitely dropped a bit for me at the end.
 

Appelsider

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I'm currently playing Ai Nirvana, and I have to say.. they really went overboard in this game with crude jokes.

Like, theres not a moment that goes by without a innuendo and frankly it's getting quite annoying.. like please tone it down a little jeez..

I don't remember it being this bad in the first game.

Aside from that, I guess I am interested in the overall story.
I only finished 1 route so far, so I still got a while to go haha.
 
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Irene

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I definitely hear people who thought the first AI was better. It was better in some aspects to me as well. Among some other things, I liked the big twist better in the first game, it was more stylishly done and tied itself together better, while Nirvana had 3 twists that:

I think the trail of body halves and Tearer being Jin was a bit messier and harder to follow than the body switching conundrums of AI 1.

The timeline twist, while confusing, was inventive as heck, but ultimately, yeah, pretty confusing.

The "Frayer" stuff was very cool though, honestly might be my favorite out of all the three twists.


I just finished AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative just now and I liked it, though not as much as the first game.

I think the game lost me a bit after the big twist. I actually quite liked the twist itself with the timeline, but my issue was with what happened afterwards. Most of the final scenes just fell a bit flat for me, and pretty much everything that happened at the stadium at the very end was pretty silly I thought. I know silliness is on brand for the series in certain respects, but it just didn't really work for me much here. Pretty much everything after finding out Tearer was already dead I thought was pretty anticlimactic.

I think I'm also in the minority who prefer the first game's somniums. They worked for me pretty well and I actually enjoyed trying to figure out how to get good times lol. They just felt pretty obvious and linear this time.

I did ultimately enjoy the story, I just don't think it stuck the landing. The stuff with Amame/Tearer was okay, but I just really think the stadium climax was extremely weak. The secret ending was cool, at least.

I guess if I felt the first game was a 9/10 (my favorite game I've played so far this year), this one is a bit closer to like a 7.5/10 or something for me. A good game I enjoyed but not great. Definitely dropped a bit for me at the end.

I definitely need to replay the game "chronologically" to fully grasp the timeline swap. I was left speechless that a video game even had the gall to pull off something like that, but yeah, it really throws you for a loop.

I don't think I agree on the climax at the stadium though, I loved it. It definitely carried the "over-the-top"-ness of the AI games well, and just went all out. I respect that.
 
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em

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I bought AI: The Somnium Files (the first one) a few years back and finally got around to it over the weekend, completing it last night. It’s not half bad — the twists/ends certainly doesn’t hit as hard as 999 or VLR, but I appreciated the post-cyberpunk near-future special task force setup (very Psycho Pass/Astral Chain/GitS-like).

The sequel’s in my GameFly queue, so I’ll experience it soon.
 

SirArthur

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Not sure if this will come to the west, its on PC. But maybe Aksys or PQube (Uff not a good time to announce anything, story) may pick it up.
 
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SirArthur

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For those interested, its on discount now physically. I think they had a digital sale a little while ago (idk if its gone)
 
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SirArthur

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So Idea Factory's VN branch apparently did a presentation, here is the round up with trailers.
 
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AerialAir

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This week I got to play and finish Dry Drowning.
It has that cool/depressing noir detective atmosphere, with cyberpunk motifs and much rain. It is primarily a game about xenophobia, border controls, and globalization. I enjoyed it. Some characters could have more development, but they are reasonable overall. The story is well-written and sufficiently grounded. I enjoyed the ending of the game/VN, which had not happened in a while. My only complaint with the switch port is that the font is too tiny for handheld play, and you cannot change the size.
 

YoboD

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I'm currently playing Ai Nirvana, and I have to say.. they really went overboard in this game with crude jokes.

Like, theres not a moment that goes by without a innuendo and frankly it's getting quite annoying.. like please tone it down a little jeez..

I don't remember it being this bad in the first game.

Aside from that, I guess I am interested in the overall story.
I only finished 1 route so far, so I still got a while to go haha.
This was what turned me off the original game, it bugged me so much i couldn't even finish it. Hearing it's apparently worse in the sequel is pretty disappointing.
 

SirArthur

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This was what turned me off the original game, it bugged me so much i couldn't even finish it. Hearing it's apparently worse in the sequel is pretty disappointing.
I am playing 2 and saw a recent playthrough of 1 and I can see the difference. I would not say its worse but rather more frequent at some parts. Because unlike Date in 1, the other AI is the one, mostly, doing the jokes. I guess you know there are 2 protagonist, and at least for Mizuki part its been pretty tame so far, I have not finished it yet.

But its totally understandable, there are times I thought "is this joke/comment/observation etc, necessary?", it can bog down the great story.
 

Appelsider

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This was what turned me off the original game, it bugged me so much i couldn't even finish it. Hearing it's apparently worse in the sequel is pretty disappointing.

To be fair, just as @/SirArthur said, it's a lot more prevalent in the beginning, but gets toned down a bit in the latter half. And the game turns out to be pretty fun!

But ngl, even I had trouble getting past the first half eventhough I usually like Uchikoshi's games and the characters are neat. So it's a very understandable feeling you have.
 

Mercury_Sagit

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Finally finished AI 1 after getting sucked into XC3. Overall I think it stands at a weird place in my impression spectrum.
On one hand, the main story and the themes are superb. It delivered multiple shots on how vulnerable children are when parenting (or a lack of) went wrong. It also straddled the border between flesh and soul, showing grave consequences when they become separate. The music, especially the opening theme, also works well in strengthening the depressing aesthetic the game tries to deliver.
On the other hand, I found my suspension of belief constantly challenged while playing the game lol. All the action sequences are jarring and break my immersion into the overarching plot. That said I'm open to discussion, especially on why the developers' decision to include those into the game, because I can't decode them at all despite trying so hard lmao. Lack of exposure to their prior titles doesn't help ...
Any how, onward to clearing VA11HALLA.
 
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em

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I played through AI: The Somnium Files last month and nirvanA Initiative this month.

AITSF I thought was pretty good, even if it had limited paths compared with 999 and especially VLR. There was quite a bit of character development and exploration along with an intriguing serial killer mystery and sci-fi cop elements.

AINI, on the other hand, I found disappointing (but still worth playing, unlike Zero Time Dilemma). The returning characters are flat, there's no particular tension as no one is at risk, and the twist(s) is/are straight-up dumb in execution (although cool in concept). Moreover, the chapter structure does a disservice to its main characters, as the first half is purely Ryuki (which ramps up the sex jokes beyond the first game) and the second half is purely Mizuki (and played entirely straight, although still with the over the top action elements). And side characters constantly do things for the sake of plot rather than believable internal motivations.

But holy moly, the bonus minigame that's unlocked at the end is such a wonderful reward.

I've heard some recommendations for Spirit Hunter Death Mark & NG, but also concerns about the violence and sexualization. How good/bad are they?
 
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SirArthur

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I played through AI: The Somnium Files last month and nirvanA Initiative this month.

AITSF I thought was pretty good, even if it had limited paths compared with 999 and especially VLR. There was quite a bit of character development and exploration along with an intriguing serial killer mystery and sci-fi cop elements.

AINI, on the other hand, I found disappointing (but still worth playing, unlike Zero Time Dilemma). The returning characters are flat, there's no particular tension as no one is at risk, and the twist(s) is/are straight-up dumb in execution (although cool in concept). Moreover, the chapter structure does a disservice to its main characters, as the first half is purely Ryuki (which ramps up the sex jokes beyond the first game) and the second half is purely Mizuki (and played entirely straight, although still with the over the top action elements). And side characters constantly do things for the sake of plot rather than believable internal motivations.

But holy moly, the bonus minigame that's unlocked at the end is such a wonderful reward.

I've heard some recommendations for Spirit Hunter Death Mark & NG, but also concerns about the violence and sexualization. How good/bad are they?


I completely agree on both takes for the games. I think the reason returning characters were flat in 2 is because they wanted to shine on the others and some games have done that better. While I prefer 1 story (because of the turns), 2 has better gameplay (less randomness), cooler somniums and performs wayyyyy better than 1 (at least on switch). Since 3 seems inevitable, hopefully they merge the strengths of both.


As for SHDM and SHNG (I have them sitting in my wishlist), from what I've seen DH has more fanservice, kinda, but I think the concerns you heard are that in some way the games "sexualize" or glorify death scenes if that makes sense. Like how they die and stuff. There is heavy gore and creepy atmosphere not suited for everyone and I think that's why I haven't pull the trigger on them yet lol.
 
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MSnap

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I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I was underwhelmed by 13 Sentinels because I played the House in Fata Morgana trilogy right before it.
 

SirArthur

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So this game has had an arc in the last week or so lol. First it was banned on steam (now its coming out tomorrow) and now there is a "controversy" I dont really understand. I think its how one of the characters writes? Since the game is from the late 2000s they are changes the localization team made that apparently are making people mad. I am not an expert (I might even misunderstood the situation) and to be honest I don't care if there are liberties that do not change the overall character and story. Regardless, I dont know the temp for this game but it comes out tomorrow.


I want to play Anonymous Code, so Ill get it eventually since its part of the Sci/Adv series
 

MSnap

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So this game has had an arc in the last week or so lol. First it was banned on steam (now its coming out tomorrow) and now there is a "controversy" I dont really understand. I think its how one of the characters writes? Since the game is from the late 2000s they are changes the localization team made that apparently are making people mad. I am not an expert (I might even misunderstood the situation) and to be honest I don't care if there are liberties that do not change the overall character and story. Regardless, I dont know the temp for this game but it comes out tomorrow.


I want to play Anonymous Code, so Ill get it eventually since its part of the Sci/Adv series
Yeah nothing’s gonna stop me from playing it on my OLED at this point. I’m doing a full series playthrough having only played S;G and 0 before but I own all the ones available on Switch in English.
 

SirArthur

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Yeah nothing’s gonna stop me from playing it on my OLED at this point. I’m doing a full series playthrough having only played S;G and 0 before but I own all the ones available on Switch in English.
Oh definitely, I will be doing the same. I got Fata Morgana and oh my that art of the oled 🔥 🔥
 

SirArthur

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I’m on Ch3 of Chaos;Head NoAH and I have absolutely no idea what this is all building up to. This is fun.
Good to hear. I am still dealing with Zero (late chapter 2), P5R is coming soon and life lol. So I might tackle it during winter break. Also closer to Anonymous Code.
 
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MSnap

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Honestly I’m not really understanding what the issue is with the localization itself when it comes to Chaos;Head NoAH. It reads perfectly fine. I’ve heard “mtl tier” thrown around but I’ve played MTL games and this does not read like one at all. The cut content is consistent with the JP release and while it’s unfortunate, it’s not the fault of the localization team, and I’m sure on the JP end they made sure to keep the important stuff in.

The real issue is the fact that there’s some inconsistencies in the terms that pop up later in the series, but that seems to be the only one I can think of.
 
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Appelsider

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Ohh the anime adaptation of Summertime Render was amazing, my fav anime of previous season!
That said, I'm not very keen on game expansions of existing series, I do wonder how this one will be received thought!
 
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Nmanic

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Over the last week I was completely hooked on this VN called raging loop. It uses werewolf as a premise for the story but it's not gamified like Gnosia. It reads out more like Higurashi (has similar vibes to Higurashi as a story too). Overall I loved it. Some weird stuff in the last part but it was a really easy story to digest, cause it was paced and written in a way that I always wanted to keep going.

It's a good feeling to really get sucked into a visual novel!
 

SirArthur

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Over the last week I was completely hooked on this VN called raging loop. It uses werewolf as a premise for the story but it's not gamified like Gnosia. It reads out more like Higurashi (has similar vibes to Higurashi as a story too). Overall I loved it. Some weird stuff in the last part but it was a really easy story to digest, cause it was paced and written in a way that I always wanted to keep going.

It's a good feeling to really get sucked into a visual novel!
Good to hear. I've seen it on sale from time to time.
 

MSnap

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Got the first couple endings in Chaos;Head. I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about with the localization. It was perfectly readable. Also I’ve heard the true ending is still unobtainable in this version. Hopefully that’ll be fixed by the time I reach it.
 

Appelsider

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Over the last week I was completely hooked on this VN called raging loop. It uses werewolf as a premise for the story but it's not gamified like Gnosia. It reads out more like Higurashi (has similar vibes to Higurashi as a story too). Overall I loved it. Some weird stuff in the last part but it was a really easy story to digest, cause it was paced and written in a way that I always wanted to keep going.

It's a good feeling to really get sucked into a visual novel!
Raging Loop is so good! If you indeed kinda ignore the weird stuff at the end LOL
These type of mystery vn's are my favorite type of genre tbh!
I also really loved how easy the branching of paths is made. In other games its often vague and a hassle for me to get to other branching paths, this one was very clear!

That reminds me I still need to finish the Revelation mode + Side Stories.. i avoided them because I didnt want the story to end, but now it's been like a year or two since I last read it.
😂
 

Nmanic

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Raging Loop is so good! If you indeed kinda ignore the weird stuff at the end LOL
These type of mystery vn's are my favorite type of genre tbh!
I also really loved how easy the branching of paths is made. In other games its often vague and a hassle for me to get to other branching paths, this one was very clear!

That reminds me I still need to finish the Revelation mode + Side Stories.. i avoided them because I didnt want the story to end, but now it's been like a year or two since I last read it.
😂
Yeah, I'm hugely into stuff like this and Higurashi. Are there any other VNs you'd recommend that scratch a similar itch? My wife is having me read 999 now due to apparently some things I praised in Raging Loop being features of zero escape.


Also, Revelations is TOTALLY worth it even if you just skip through stuff like crazy to get the new text. I thought Raging Loop was a 10 until the ending made me drop it to like an 8.5, and then the Revelations/Extra stuff brought it right back up to like a 9.5. Revelations sincerely improved my feelings on the finale, and there's a ton of great humor in it too. Had me laughing my ass off sometimes.
 

Appelsider

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Yeah, I'm hugely into stuff like this and Higurashi. Are there any other VNs you'd recommend that scratch a similar itch? My wife is having me read 999 now due to apparently some things I praised in Raging Loop being features of zero escape.


Also, Revelations is TOTALLY worth it even if you just skip through stuff like crazy to get the new text. I thought Raging Loop was a 10 until the ending made me drop it to like an 8.5, and then the Revelations/Extra stuff brought it right back up to like a 9.5. Revelations sincerely improved my feelings on the finale, and there's a ton of great humor in it too. Had me laughing my ass off sometimes.
If I recall correctly, I did make it through like 80% of the Revelation mode, and I agree it was a really fun addition.
I dunno something about the unique mc and humor really got to me. XD

Brb let me whip up a quick summary of my understanding of mystery games/vns because I feel theres a big overlap in fans between those games. I'll @ you when I'm done. XD
 
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Appelsider

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@Nmanic
Okay, so I'm not good at making coherent stuff + my handwriting might be hard to read, but these are the mystery/horror vn-ish games I'm aware of so far! But I get the feeling you'll have heard about most of them. XD

 

SirArthur

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@Nmanic
Okay, so I'm not good at making coherent stuff + my handwriting might be hard to read, but these are the mystery/horror vn-ish games I'm aware of so far! But I get the feeling you'll have heard about most of them. XD

I did not notice that Ryukishi07 wrote the Loopers vn (the one with a pinkish cover). I was looking through my wishlist and it was in the description (I dont usually read those lol)
 
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Nmanic

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Okay, so I'm not good at making coherent stuff + my handwriting might be hard to read, but these are the mystery/horror vn-ish games I'm aware of so far! But I get the feeling you'll have heard about most of them. XD

Thanks for drawing this up! I have played everything by Ryukishi07 that's been translated into English (even the extremely obscure stuff like 07th theater and the Higurashi console exclusive arcs, which weren't written directly by him). 07th Expansion is absolutely why I became such a huge VN fan

Also I looove House in Fata Morgana. Very much looking forward to the next work by them.

One that's on your list that I'm interested in is Root Letter. I played the follow-up, Root Film, earlier this year and really enjoyed myself.

I've always been interested in the SciAdv series since watching the Steins;Gate anime.

As I mentioned, I just started 999 on DS, and plan to play the other games if I really enjoy it. One of my friends also thinks I should give Danganronpa a try next.

Anyway, awesome list and I'll save it for future reference!
 

em

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@Nmanic
Okay, so I'm not good at making coherent stuff + my handwriting might be hard to read, but these are the mystery/horror vn-ish games I'm aware of so far! But I get the feeling you'll have heard about most of them. XD


I hadn’t heard of Buried Stars before, but now I’m interested in it. Thanks!
 

Appelsider

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- The Root games make for pretty nice vn's in my opinion! But nothing groundbreaking basically.
I've seen Root Letter go on a pretty steep sale on the eshop, so it might be an idea to keep an eye on that!
Root Film has really neat art I vibed with and the characters were very enjoyable too!

- The SciAdv might seem a bit overwhelming as they're basically standalone games, but at the same time are connected to each other in one way or the other.
It atleast makes for a long series to get comfy with if that's what you're looking for!

- As for Loopers, I haven't had the pleasure of playing it myself so I don't know if it's worth recommending or not. XD

- Danganronpa is an entertaining series! But then again I was like a teenager when I was into it + online buzz was at max back then so there was a lot of general hype surrounding it, not sure if it would still hold up that well. XD
But they are enjoyable if you like solving murder cases with a set cast!

- As for Buried Stars, I love the art for it, and the story was okay too.
But honestly I remember feeling pretty disappointed after finishing it, but it's been so long since I played it, I can't really remember why. XD
I think it had to do with the fact the story's length could have easily been cut in half because not much happened.
But don't go by just my opinion on it!
It's also a Korean, rather than Japanese game, but does have va's for both languages!

- The one lesser known vn I did like was World End Syndrome though! Again, it had really pretty art and I remember it having a cool opening song, and the ending did evoke emotions in me!
 

SirArthur

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Not very familiar with the series but their recent game got delayed (to next week), so probably no new game. Given its Leaf and Aquaplus I don't expect switch ports...
 

Ahmed

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Not very familiar with the series but their recent game got delayed (to next week), so probably no new game. Given its Leaf and Aquaplus I don't expect switch ports...
I've heard very good things about the series and bought the first 3 games just a few days ago since they're on sale for ~€26. I have this one on my wishlist as well and I'm looking forward to it!

Check out user impressions on Steam if you want to know more.
 

SirArthur

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I've heard very good things about the series and bought the first 3 games just a few days ago since they're on sale for ~€26. I have this one on my wishlist as well and I'm looking forward to it!

Check out user impressions on Steam if you want to know more.
Perfect. I did see the sale on twitter so Ill wishlist it at least.
 
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JoshuaJSlone

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I've gone through almost all the routes on Chaos;Head Noah now, BUT... from what I've read the true ending is currently unattainable on Switch. Apparently for both this and the sequel, a mismatch in capitalization for a video file name that's supposed to load causes the software to hang near the end. I understand it can take time for any patch to go through testing and approval, but... 40+ days from launch and a single letter not yet being fixed seems kind of ridic.
Has anyone checked out the Root Games?
I got Root Letter. Pretty mixed on it. I thought it was neat how it took place in a real area and used a lot of real spots (fun to go check them on Google Maps afterward). Also neat that it has two totally different visual styles to choose from--drawn and photographs. But the way different routes went bugged me. In many VNs seeing different endings lets you see more of the whole picture, even if the specific endings are incompatible. But in Root Letter, the different endings also gave different backstories.
 
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MSnap

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I've gone through almost all the routes on Chaos;Head Noah now, BUT... from what I've read the true ending is currently unattainable on Switch. Apparently for both this and the sequel, a mismatch in capitalization for a video file name that's supposed to load causes the software to hang near the end. I understand it can take time for any patch to go through testing and approval, but... 40+ days from launch and a single letter not yet being fixed seems kind of ridic.
Yeah, my playthrough is basically on hold (very slow) until they fix that. Got 3/9 endings so far.
 
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SirArthur

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I've gone through almost all the routes on Chaos;Head Noah now, BUT... from what I've read the true ending is currently unattainable on Switch.

I got Root Letter. Pretty mixed on it. I thought it was neat how it took place in a real area and used a lot of real spots (fun to go check them on Google Maps afterward). Also neat that it has two totally different visual styles to choose from--drawn and photographs. But the way different routes went bugged me. In many VNs seeing different endings lets you see more of the whole picture, even if the specific endings are incompatible. But in Root Letter, the different endings also gave different backstories.
Interesting, thanks. Ill keep in eye out for it.

I guess for Chaos;Head, I hope they fixed it before Anonymous;Code releases (my guess would be early March, watch it be Feb lol)
 
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