Amaterasu Blog

23Nov/119

Ikusa Megami Zero Review

Here we have a traditional medieval fantasy story with some JRPG gameplay thrown in for good measure. And it is quite good.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Most of the characters are not particularly deep or interesting. Some of the plot twists were rather obvious. A significant number of details were given either incomplete or convenient explanations.

The good news is that the main plot is actually very clever and interesting. The protagonist definitely felt like a relatively normal human who, through some very unfortunate events, rose to the level where he could literally fight gods and goddesses and affect the history of the entire world, and as a result I genuinely cared about seeing what happened to him and helping him defeat the bosses (especially the final one). Also, every important plot thread got its fair share of closure by the end, and it always felt either satisfying or sad when it did (even when it was quite obvious what would happen).

Although the first chapter was a slow start (for good reason), after that the plot moves pretty quickly, making it easy to focus on the positives mentioned above. The gameplay also does a nice job of not dragging out, except for a handful of deliberately hard boss fights which were quite satisfying to beat. Last but not least, it did feel like significant effort was put into fleshing out the fictional world, which (like in any other decent fantasy story) helped in a lot of ways.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: (+0.5/-2)

First, some people might have a strong positive or negative opinion on the gameplay. I can't tell you how good or bad it is by any objective standards, because I don't play JRPGs.
Second, several event cgs and character designs are comically stripperiffic (sometimes even topless). And there are forty-one lengthy sex scenes.
Third, if you've played any other Ikusa Megami games before this one, you probably know the biggest spoilers already.
All of these might be pluses or minuses to different people.

Routes/Endings Played: Mostly Linear, did not attempt to get all alternate branches and sidequests, about 80-90% completion.

11Nov/1155

Projects #6 and #7 Announcement

As of today I've started translating Forest. Based on the stats we have now, it will probably take about two months for me to finish it.

Also, we ended up talking amongst ourselves to select the next few projects. I've decided that the first VN I'll translate after Forest is Rewrite. We won't announce any of the others just yet in case I change my mind.

That is all.

Filed under: Amaterasu 55 Comments
5Nov/1118

BALDR SKY Dive2 “Recordare” Review

It's almost exactly what we wanted it to be.

Most of what I said about Dive 1 applies to Dive 2, so let's review. Amazingly fast pacing. Gameplay seamlessly integrated into the story. Nice and complicated plot with plenty of clever twists. Routes build on each other perfectly. All characters are significant and memorable and entertaining. Sufficiently troperiffic that it occasionally becomes a bit predictable but is usually executed too well for you to care.

Now for some differences. Let's start with the good ones. They can pretty much all be summed up by saying this: Dive 2 answers everything. Also the ultimate conclusion to the series is quite satisfying. For many of you, that's all you really needed to know right there.

Now the two bad differences. First, some of the biggest reveals were made annoyingly obvious before they actually got revealed (one of them has been obvious since Dive 1). Second, Sora's route takes a bizzare and inexplicable nosedive in quality of execution around the 2/3 mark (seriously, what the hell happened there), but it does mostly recover after a chapter or two so it's not a huge problem.

Despite those nuisances, I still found the game consistently addicting and satisfying throughout. The good differences definitely outweigh the bad ones.

Score: 9/10

Polarization: Low (+0.5/-1)

Same as with Dive 1.

Routes/Endings Played: All