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[Review] World End Syndrome (Nintendo Switch) + other visual novels

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Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Arc System Works
Release: May 21, 2019
Price: $60 USD

So soon after I just reviewed Our World is Ended, another visual novel comes out for the Switch, this time one from the Guilty Gear/Blazblue Devs. 

So just for the record here’s my verdict of some past visual novels that I didn’t write a blog post on:

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VA11-HALL-A (PS Vita, 2017) – one of my all time favorite games ever. You get to be a bartender in a cyberpunk setting (which I love) and the stories and characters you meet are utterly fascinating and interesting. The main character Jill actually has a personality unlike most bland visual novel protags. 10/10 highly recommended

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Steins;Gate (PS Vita, 2015) – another one of my all time favorite visual novels and games. Time travel, IBM 5100s, CERN (SERN in the game), Kerr Black Holes, internet conspiracy theories and everything is involved. Any lover of Sci-Fi will definitely love Steins;Gate. 10/10 highly recommended. 

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Steins;Gate 0 (PS Vita, 2016) – it’s not *quite* as refreshing as Steins;Gate but its almost as good. More of the same, more sci-fi conspiracy theories, time travelling, and the stakes are arguably even higher because this time the world ends in WWIII (instead of just being taken over by SERN). 9/10 highly recommended, but you need to play the first one first.

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XBlaze: Code Embyro (PS Vita, 2014) – this is actually the first visual novel I played. It’s based off of the Blazblue franchise. The story is mildly interesting, but it’s also slightly confusing in the way that Blazblue tends to just throw out some lore without fully explaining it to you kind of way. 6/10 it’s ok for a visual novel but there’s much better ones out there.

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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS Vita, 2017) – this is part of the long running Danganronpa series, and its more focused on mystery solving than other visual novels. I don’t know, I’m more into sci-fi stuff generally, but the visuals are on a step above other visual novels. If you are familiar with the Danganronpa series you know what to expect here. 8/10 – potentially higher but I’m not *too* into the series.

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Root Letter (PS Vita, 2016) – This is another mystery oriented visual novel. It’s slightly bland – I mean yes it has a core mystery and there’s people to investigate and places to go but I felt Danganronpa and other visual novels already did it better. It’s alright though, and if you like the mystery genre you might be intrigued. 7/10 a good choice for mystery lovers, otherwise pass

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Our World is Ended (Switch, 2019) – see here. I gave it a 7/10. It’s a solid Steins Gate derived title, and the colorful artwork is great but I wish there was more interaction.

Muv-Luv Extra Review | Nigma Box

Muv-Luv Extra, Unlimited & Alternative (PS Vita, 2018) – These visual novels actually came out in the early 2000s and the graphics show. It’s just been recently ported to the Vita and PC. There’s also a patch that allows you to see some of the more R rated stuff although its not really that much to begin with. There’s three parts to this game.

Muv-Luv Extra is a standard slice of life dating sim type game where you choose a girl and you end up with that girl. Ok cool. 8/10 – I enjoyed it, but that’s because I’m a dating sim type of guy. The dated mechanics might turn off some though.

Muv-Luv Unlimited is a different take, with the world being invaded by aliens and everything. There’s mechs, aliens but it stays fairly light and its a good middle ground between the lighthearted Extra and the dark Alternative. it’s a solid 7/10 – I enjoyed it but not as much as Extra. 

Muv-Luv Alternative is a very dark take and much more mature than the other two. The story is much more grim and there are lots of graphic scenes in it (the violent kind). It’s a solid 9/10 because the story is a tearjerker and really makes you feel for every character. Some people might prefer the more lighthearted stories though. 

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Ok, so now that I got that out of the way… how’s World End Syndrome (with a very similar name to Our World is Ended)? It’s not bad. It’s half dating sim, half mystery, kind of like a cross between Muv-Luv Extra and Root Letter.

The characters are the standard tropes, you have a rich spoiled girl, a ‘mysterious quiet’ girl, a ‘girl next door’ girl, a ‘mature’ girl, an ‘out of your league’ girl, etc and a very annoying guy sidekick. 

The graphics are very clean and well rendered, so nothing to complain about the visuals – sometimes the background will even move in a loop while the character is talking – so its slightly above the typical production values of a visual novel I feel.

The first part is a prologue and non interactive. This was like half of the game, and honestly I felt the second interactive half could have been longer. If you choose the wrong choice – its an automatic game over and you gotta start over again. The second interactive half is just you going to various spots around town, trying to find a girl you will eventually be attracted to, while trying to uncover the mysteries of the town. 

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I only got two endings Saya, and Maimi (IMO the best girl) – I think you have to go through each one to get the true ending or whatever, but I didn’t have the patience. I’m just going to say if you liked Muv Luv Extra’s slice of life dating sim type stuff, and Root Letter’s underlying mystery then you’ll like this game. I also like the fact that some scenes are fully animated – but its usually the background only and these scenes are in the minority.

I wish it was longer, I wish the side guy character wasn’t such an annoying creeper, and I wish the characters weren’t so stereotypical.  7/10 from me. Recommended for fans of visual novels, otherwise it’s not anything that will suck non fans in. 

 

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Why is the Nintendo Switch successful but the Sony Vita failed? In many ways the Vita was really good on graphics, quality of hardware and battery life.

Nintendo is king when it comes to portables

Sony is king when it comes to home consoles

Looking at the track record, Nintendo’s Game Boy wiped Sega’s Game Gear off the map. The Game Boy Advance did the same to the Bandai Wonderswan. The Nintendo DS did the same to the PSP, and the 3DS did the same to the Vita.

On the other hand, Sony’s Playstation consoles (PS1, PS2, PS4) were the best selling consoles of their generation while the PS3 tied with the Xbox 360 for second place. Sony has a pretty good track record at home.

So Nintendo already has a good grasp on what makes handheld portables succeed. But on top of that, Sony basically shot themselves in the foot with the Vita as well because they made several mistakes:

  1. Sony is terrible at marketing. It seems that for everything outside of the PS4, it sucks at it. Sony’s headphones? Way better than Bose and Beats. Sony’s AIBO robot? really cool. Sony’s Xperia phones? Really nice devices. Sony’s alpha cameras? blows away Nikon and Canon. Sony’s OLED TVs? much better than LGs. Sony’s Walkman DAPs? Competes with audiophile companies. Their Blu-Ray players? Class leading. But Sony sucks at marketing all their devices. They need to take some tips from Samsung. They have great stylish devices but high premiums and don’t market well. Consumers look at them, scoff at their prices, and move on.
  2. The PS Vita memory cards were proprietary. Big problem. A 64GB Vita card costs $100. Do you know how much a 64GB microSD card costs? $10. a TENTH of the price.
  3. Sony stopped supporting the Vita game library sometime after 2012. The Vita was mostly propped up by Japanese RPG makers + indie developers. Once the Switch came on the market, they all moved to the Switch. The Vita was basically on life support already because the first party (Sony) abandoned them 2 years after release. After the Switch, the Vita’s days were numbered. Nintendo on the other hand? STILL releasing first party games for the 3DS (2 years after Switch was released)
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updates on my life…

Checking back in again on my monthly status report here.. not much has changed, SF is boring as usual. But there is no shortage of things I have to do.

1) I can’t get a home equity loan due to not being a US permanent resident (strangely I was able to get a mortgage tho?) so I have to rely on making a deposit for my Canadian home using cash instead. I have about $30k CAD in my bank there already so I need roughly $100k CAD ($75k USD) more saved up to get enough deposit for a $600k home in Vancouver. That means I need to save up quite a bit well into next year.

2) My company said I’m performing quite well enough to transition into full time, but while I think being a contractor means I lose out on PTO and stocks, I find the hassle of getting a visa very annoying. It took me 3(!) tries to get my visa last time when I crossed the border. such a hassle… not sure if its worth it.

3) I have to get the insurance company to reimburse me for my rental car accident which I got while driving to the DMV to get my license renewed.. its another big hassle

4) I have to get Walmart to reimburse me for the corporate credit card charges that I filed an expense report for back in January… Citibank keeps calling me, and yes its another hassle.

5) Everytime I take time off work as a contractor it hurts me. But I’ve been having breathing problems recently and had to go see the doctor and again.. its a hassle

6) I cancelled my chase rewards trip which I booked using points because I wanted to transfer the points somewhere else so that I could get a better deal on the trip – it cost me $100 to cancel and the rewards wont be refunded for 2 months. in the meantime I need to book a trip to Korea still so I had to pay that in cash since I’m not going to get the points back in time. So yes.. another hassle

7) I realized that Comcast has been charging me $10 a month to use their modem(!) for 3 years I’ve had to pay that insane fee thats $120 a year. So I have to get a new modem and send theirs back and make sure they dont bill me anymore for that! another hassle

8) I have to get my Google Pixel fixed because I dropped it and cracked the glass on the screen and it interferes with my camera – now you see refractions on the camera so thats another thing to do.

9) I tried transferring some Bitcoin into Bovada to be able to bet on the NBA games that I wanted but it seems that my transfer made it through but they still haven’t deposited that money into my account yet. So thats something else I have to talk to them about to make sure they get my money on time so that I can bet. Another hassle.

10) I have to transfer my webdomain over to a google domain so that I can host my website (this one) on my synology DS instead of using SiteGround so that I can save $100 a year on that.

11) Of course I still have to find a Korean girlfriend to marry, and right now I have only 2 weeks of vacation to go back to Korea. If I can’t find a girl to bring back during that 2 weeks, I’ll have to see who I can find when I move to Vancouver. This is easily the hardest thing to achieve on this list.

In other news.. Bitcoin / Ethereum are at all time highs and I have a little bit of each as hedges. I made back all the money I lost last year from gambling ($8k) with BTC/ETH so that seems great so far! Although I missed opportunities to make more. Stock market is also at all time high so I’m a little wary. I am bullish on TSLA, AMZN, NFLX, NVDA, BABA and FB though. But waiting for good time to get in. Trump’s ongoing antics have been crazy and I think its just a matter of time before he gets impeached. Its been 5 months in and he’s already had a ton of scandals. And finally.. I went on a little bit of a spending / selling spree, sold my Gretsch White Penguin and my old drone and bought my friends Macbook Pro (2016) and the new Phantom 4 Advanced. The camera lens is amazing! see below:

Got the DJI Goggles and DJI Spark working too…

and the Nintendo Switch as well… (was finally able to get my hands on it)

Oh and watch me assemble my guitar in fast time its pretty cool

and a lesson in guitar…