Amaterasu Blog


Kono Yu no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO review

Many awesome games give you a sense of epic scale, making you feel like you actually did just save an entire planet from catastrophes millenia in the making. On the other hand, YU-NO will make you feel the size and scope of each and every extant universe from the beginning of time to unforseeable futures.

To review the game in one sentence: YU-NO does for plot what Cross Channel did for character. The intricacy and subtlety of the story is truly mind-boggling, and almost impossible to comprehend on a first playthrough. Part of why it can do this is the clever gameplay system in which, not only do you get to go through seemingly endless route permutations, but you literally get an in-game map of all the permutations and tools to warp around it practically at will (though you need to carefully plan out how to use them, which is cool in and of itself), allowing you to do truly awesome things like borrow objects and knowledge from other universes in order to unlock an alternate ending in an earlier one. Even today, this system feels incredibly innovative and immaculately designed.

And of course, the cast and writing are absolutely integral to pulling this off. Never have I played a game in which the conversations felt so human and so natural so consistently that for all I know these really are real people and real events and I've just been stalking them all for the past few weeks. Even the slut and the asshole were incredibly fun to listen to (partly since protag-kun is also great), not to mention all of the actual heroines, most of whom are instantly lovable. Each and every branch really did feel like a real alternate retelling of a real event, and not just a different set of tricks the author came up with to make everyone show up in time for the finale. On top of that, the actual subplots in each route are awesome all on their own (contrast with E17), partly since the metaplot justifies copious foreshadowing, twists and character development.

The only things that come close to being flaws: First, the plethora of superfluous upskirts (especially in the first route) severely annoyed me for a while. Second, in the beginning I totally sucked at the gameplay interface and got myself stuck in some elaborately retarded ways. Third, some events border on being predictable, but this is just an inevitable consequence of having played through the same couple days over a dozen times and it never felt the least bit unjustified (all things considered, it's actually amazing how little does overlap).

Score: 10/10

Polarization: Mild (-2)

Arguably, one could find some of the game's earlier reveals to be a bit predictable. Plus, the gameplay interface and old graphics are likely to turn off many despite their flawless implementation. Also, you need to be able to understand fictional multiverse physics on some level in order to stand any chance of fully comprehending the plot.

Routes/Endings Played: All endings required to finish the game, and one of the true ends unlocked after getting 100% map completion

Comments (22) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Because Phar has already committed to translating this game, I will not be taking part in the project except in the absurdly unlikely events he needs help or is run over by a bus.

  2. it is an old game right?
    I wonder if it’s an old yet great one, why just now it become internet rock-star…

    why not put some genres rec?
    rpg, adv, etc.

  3. It’s been well known for a very long time how awesome it was, partly because it’s #2 on EGS (right under MuvLuv Alternative).

    The reason for the surge now is that someone by the alias of izmos ATLAS’d it, loved it, and got an actual translation project going on it for the first time ever (due to age and controversial gameplay YUNO had been stuck in much the same kind of nasty cycle as Alt).

    Genres are a good idea, I’ll start tossing those in when I write my Saya no Uta review.

  4. Haha, my first post here.
    Hi, Ixrec, I really like your review-style.

    I like time traveling/universe traveling/time loop thing and you give 10/10 score to YU-NO, so I really want to play it. Too bad that I don’t know Japanese and atlas suck.

    I’m Russian, so English isn’t my native language so my grammar suck. Sorry.

  5. Thank you, good to know my style has a point. And don’t worry about the Engrish, everyone’s used to it.

    ATLAS actually works halfway decently on most of YUNO, the main reason it has a project is because izmos played in in ATLAS, loved it about as much as I did, and started rounding up staff.

  6. Well, thank you for response. Anyway, I can only wait for translation now.
    I hope they’ll won’t drop it.

  7. … “Even today, this system feels incredibly innovative and immaculately designed.”
    Now I’m excessively curious.

    By the by… how long is YUNO? Or perphaps I should say, how long did you play it?

  8. I’d say it’s about 40-50 hours long. Depending on how systematic you are in the normal routes could be even less or even more. That doesn’t include the extra scenarios either (one of them is a must read), unlocking the music room, and other small extras.

  9. By the way, in case anyone’s interested, YU-NO finished up today:

  10. Can someone describe the NTR in this?

  11. I don’t think there is any.

  12. Oh, really? It’s tagged on vndb, though.

  13. Oh wait, I finally remembered where it is. Duh.

    It’s really easy to forget about stuff in the first half of the VN since the later parts are the most memorable.

    Anyway, “describe” is so vague the only way I could answer it is by simply summarizing the entire plot of the route where it happens, so did you have a more specific concern?

  14. Is it consensual? Rape? Is the MC there when it happens?

  15. It’s coerced, so arguably consensual but still qualifies as rape. The MC is there for part of it.

  16. Alright, thanks, but tell me that it’s at least not Mio

  17. Oooh, that’s nice. I feel like it’s going to be the mom for some reason, but whatever. Thanks.

  18. Heard this was good and played it. At first glance I liked the game because of the music(32 bit I think) and how it looked. Both gave the game a nostalgic feel to me. At first the story got me into it because of my interest in parallel worlds. Backed up by solid evidence that they exist, it hooked me even more. Sometimes I got stuck, sometimes I didn’t(even when using a walkthrough). I literally gave up at the park at night on Kanna’s route because of this. A newly found motivation to go on hit me a few hours later and I continued. Good thing I did, no regrets haha.

    Then the epilogue came, after that I’ve felt fully satisfied with this visual novel. This truly was an unforgettable experience for me.

    If you know any others like this(english translated of course) then please, recommend them to me. (Already played Cross Channel and Muv-Luv Alternative).

  19. I believe all the others that come close are currently on my to-translate or to-read lists.

  20. One other such VN – very different from this one, but also tackling world parallelism – is Cross+Channel. Recommend, even though it tends to get a bit boring at times, and it’s DEFINITELY a VN (warning: highly NSFW), not a cross between a VN and an adventure game like YU-NO is.

    Still, recommend. The story is damn nice.

  21. I finished this game 2 months ago, and I spent my entire march break playing it non-stop until the end.

    This is, hands-down, the best game/visual novel I ever experienced. The voice acting feels very real and the humour is very good, the story is well executed and the gameplay overall is addicting. Having the power to switch through parallel worlds is a pretty fun concept.

    I noticed that Takuya sounded a bit like Adult Link from Ocarina of Time when he gasped or screamed; that made me look online to find out that they’re indeed the same voice actor. That was hell of an awesome discovery too.

    This hidden Gem’s getting a remake in 2016 or 2017 by 5pb. It might not be as great or as accurate the original but at least the game’s resurfacing in some way.

    Yu-No (1996) will be nearly impossible to go on par with.

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