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.

Comments (15) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Character designs reminds me of BB.

  2. Been waiting for this review since weeks. I’m part of I/O’s translation group, so I already played parts of it. What I played of it was awesome, so I was hoping you’d give it a high rating. Though I don’t understand why didn’t like the art initially. I actually love it. I think it really fits with the game’s unique style.

  3. Also, one thing GundamAce didn’t like about the game was that the prime routes kind of felt like a different plot altogether to him. Do you agree with that? And how do you feel about Route E’? The opinions here are mixed. While it was the one route GundamAce didn’t like, Blick loved it.

  4. BTW, could you mention on you review page that Nakazawa Takumi (the director of the Infinity series and one of its main writers) was the main person involved with it? And if you liked this game so much, how about taking a look at Root Double? It was Nakazawa’s next game at Regista.

  5. Added.

    I’m avoiding adding stuff to my list right now since it’s way too long already.

    How I felt about the primes is pretty much stated in the review: they can’t compare to the Route E climax.

  6. I confess myself pleasently surprised! I feel like I have greatly misplaced my hype. Time to get excited about another VN.

  7. Awesome to hear it’s so great. This VN always seemed pretty mysterious to me, so it’s nice to hear a concrete positive opinion.

    How is the level of Japanese compared to, say, Rewrite? I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a fair while, but held off since I didn’t feel my reading was up to par yet.

  8. It’s harder than Rewrite just because the story is more complicated so they have to use big words more often to explain it properly. It shouldn’t cause any serious trouble once you learn all the relevant vocabulary.

  9. Right, sounds doable enough then. Thanks for the info.

  10. interesting, but with my current japanese………… i think it’s impossible.

  11. Wow, Sounds awesome!
    Thanks for the review!

    i’m waiting for Lemnisca to release the patch~Shouldn’t be longer now~

  12. Actually, it’ll still take quite a while. While 75% of the text has been translated so far, almost nothing has been edited yet. That’ll take quite a while since our current editor also works on 12Riven. Not to mention every protagonist uses a different writing style. And even after editing everything, I’ll still have to do a QC check. And since I/O is a rather linear game, I’ll make sure to check every single line. Did I mention that the script size is 3.12 MB? We might release a partial patch at some point though.

  13. Okay! I have time to kill so i can wait….

  14. Just noticed you forgot to mark this VN’s translation as finished as well.

  15. Brillant blog thanks for the hard work


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