Amaterasu Blog

15Oct/094

BALDR SKY Dive1 “LostMemory” Review

You all know what most mecha stories are like. Baldr Sky is a lot like those, but better.

The most obvious thing to praise the game for is its pacing. There is never a dull moment, and I mean that literally. The story, despite its fundamental unoriginality, has plenty of intelligent and unpredictable characters/factions/events to keep things moving along and keep satisfying you with skilled plot twists at every major turn, as well as a very clever and refreshingly plausible justification for the mecha themselves. The gameplay is integrated seamlessly into the story (sole exception: can't skip battles when replaying) and does a great deal to help immerse you in it, even if you set the difficulty to the minimum like I did.

The game's only huge flaw is the aforementioned "fundamental unoriginality." Inevitably, a number of events are going to feel cliche or predictable partly because nearly everything in the game is a trope of some form and partly because the writing is not quite clever enough to completely work around that. But other than that, the execution is flawless. The vast majority of twists, reveals and battles will satisfy, impress, and more likely than not sadistically tease you about what they can't reveal until you're screaming "Dive 2 where!?"

The three routes work together beautifully, with the sole flaw that some parts of the final route repeat a little too much old content. And finally, there is a large cluster of potentially world-changing secrets entirely withheld from you until Dive 2, but hopefully you saw that coming.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: Low (+0.5/-1)

One of the convenient consequences of "fundamental unoriginality" is heavy depolarization, so this subscore should come as no surprise.

Routes/Endings Played: All

PS: Some people find this game very buggy, so be sure to either download the patch, disable DirectX or save really really often.

11Oct/092

Narcissu Trilogy Review

This is a review of Narcissu, Narcissu Side 2nd, and Narcissu 3rd Die Dritte Welt (The Third World) all at the same time, since they are all quite short and in my opinion have about the same level of quality. Note that since N3 is four separate stories, I'll refer to them as N3.1 through N3.4 in this review and elsewhere.

The Narcissu games are all short, simple and bittersweet tragedies. The characters, though also simple, are consistently believable and interesting enough to make you care about them. The plots tend to air somewhat on the predictable side, since you pretty much know from the get-go that a certain character is going to die from a terminal illness (except N3.4), and the rest revolves around dealing with that. But most of the little events in the middle nonetheless remain interesting, and every so often manage to also be insightful or surprising. Also, the music was very nice, which for simple stories like this I tend to find more important than usual.

The main reason these stories never come close to "awesome" is simply because they're simple (or "unambitious" if you want to be mean about it). Also, a number of stories (especially N2 in relation to N1) tend to repeat or reuse some of the best details without much variation, thus missing a lot of opportunities to add complexity, and you're bound to feel at least one Untwist sooner or later (for me it was N3.3), and the art is underwhelming in parts of N3.

Still, what matters most is that everyone felt human, and the tragedies felt real. If you like short, simple and bittersweet, you will not be disappointed.

Score: 8/10

Polarization: Low (+/-1)

As a result of its simplicity, there's really not much here that someone would like or dislike much more than anyone else.

Routes/Endings Played: All games were linear, and I did play all four stories in N3.