Amaterasu Blog

29Mar/1315

I/O Review

A very long, complex, and deeply satisfying cyberpunk epic.

Between the highly non-linear plot structure, the intriguing treatment of virtual reality (and people who prefer it to reality), the way the multiple timelines interact and protagonists are connected, and the large ensemble cast, I/O is bursting at the seams with clever ideas that inexplicably manage to all fit themselves into a perfectly coherent narrative.

One of the biggest reasons it works so well is that every last character has well-thought out backstories, personalities, goals, secrets and relationships, making it far easier to not only remember but also care about what's going on. The VN also does a very good job of consistently explaining all of the above clearly and concisely, as well as building tension and momentum before and during major events, and somehow never feeling predictable or forced.

It also has an impressive tendency of making you think you understand everything by the end of one story, only for an earth-shattering twist or reveal in the next arc to force you to rethink everything yet again.

My main nitpick is that by far the biggest and most amazing climax (yes, there are several) happens around the 3/4 mark, and the actual finale can't really compare to it. Other than that, the art kinda bugged me at first, and there's a little too much talking as a free action.

Score: 9.5

Polarization: (-1.5)

You may find the plot to be a bit too convoluted or confusing, especially when it veers into mindscrew territory.
The ending not being one of the stronger parts of the story may also irritate a lot of people.

Routes/Endings Complete: 100% on literally everything.