Amaterasu Blog

9Sep/1070

Shikkoku no Sharnoth -What a beautiful tomorrow- Review

Here we go back into the realm of deadly fantasies, heterochromia heroines, impeccable tabloids and rumors, noble wishes, and profound locution spam. And the good news is, it's almost as great as it was last time.

The setting provides a very interesting blend of accurate historical facts (including a certain fictional history) with a rich steampunk-slash-fantasy mythos. On top of that are the art, characters, writing style and plot which all compliment each other flawlessly. The resulting atmosphere is so engaging that you almost don't care if anything really happens (even though something usually is), so long as you can "be" there for another hundred lines or so. There are even several parts where you could easily stop and spend several minutes googling whatever just got referenced or thinking about the latest hint.

The writer's love of stylish repetition is back, and I'm pretty sure there's more of it, but due to greater variation, the aforementioned atmosphere and a surprisingly well-thought out minigame (as if the immersion needed another boost), it never comes close to being irritating, and if anything gets cooler with time. Behind all that is an interesting story which demands significant effort on the reader's part to put together.

And that brings us to the problems. The story reveals things (or gives major hints) at a rather meager pace, which produces a slight sense of impatience. It helps that this is justified by the characters, and by the end more than enough was clear to leave me satisfied, but there remain a number of important questions I wish had gotten a more concrete answer. Also, what should have been the last and best climactic scene lost some momentum by repeating known facts instead of revealing or adding a few interesting details (which it could have easily done). Far from deal breakers, but notable disappointments nonetheless.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: Mild (+1/-2)

If the repetition or the less-than-explicit answers bother you more than they did me, this could be a total flop. On the other hand, if you're here just for the incredible setting then you might not care at all. Also, since this game is partly based on a real-world setting, some scenes and characters might feel more "ordinary" than they should given all the illusions and fantasies.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear (also read the webnovels)

Comments (70) Trackbacks (0)
  1. The “What a Beautiful” series is pretty bad, except for Inganock, and that became bad in the last chapters.

  2. Time to buy a copy.

  3. So it has even more of what made inganock unenjoyable, even though you rated them the same?
    I’m not looking forward to it personally.

  4. Inganock with a different setting, so some more ….zzZZZzzZZzzZZzzzZZzzZZzz….

  5. So much hate.

    Admittedly, it would be right to conclude that anyone who hated Inganock would probably hate Sharnoth more.

  6. I still don’t undertand why there’s so much hate to the WAB series. To me Inganock is in my top 10

  7. I agree as well. Inganock is definitely one of my favorite, and I am really interested to see more of the WAB series.

  8. That’s more like it. What took you guys so long?

    Also lol an anon comment up there got thrown out by the spam filter for all those z’s.

  9. “Inganock with a different setting, so some more ….zzZZZzzZZzzZZzzzZZzzZZzz….”
    Would high school moege be better?

  10. Haha Ixrec was getting desperate XD Don’t worry, you’re not the only fan of the WAB series~

  11. Can’t wait! That’s really all I have to say about this.

  12. Inganock was pretty mediocre, and Ixrec sounds clearly dissapointed in this review, even though he rated it 8. I’m not looking forward to Sharnoth

  13. He rated it 8.5 and that’s quite a good review actually (it doesn’t need to be rated 10 to be good). BTW this is the samefag that has been flaming WAB series in all the comments right?

  14. Seems plausible. Even if it isn’t the same guy, a minority of haters is always extremely vocal.

  15. “Seems plausible. Even if it isn’t the same guy, a minority of haters is always extremely vocal.”

    That minority seems to equal most of the comments on this review. wwww

  16. Koi you’re not one of them right? :O

  17. Naw. :) I fall under the “Meh, this geemu looks okay” category.

  18. And masterpieces to you are Reika Bitch Training and KimiNozo (this one is actually kind of excellent)

  19. “oohhh samefagging oh god so bad”
    maybe they are legitimate opinions, just accept the differences and move on, don’t get so offended someone has different thoughts about something

  20. I’m curious about that mini-game… but, it’d probably involve spoilers…?
    :x

    Anyways, this looks to be my cup of tea :D

  21. @sup

    It’s not the different opinion, it’s that the people who have it will not shut up about it.

    @X-Calibar

    It’s not spoilery at all actually, but it’s also the sort of thing that explaining in advance would just lead to claims of Its Better Than It Sounds, so I’ll just leave it up to you guys whether to believe me or not when I say it’s really good (for a minigame).

  22. @OnFireX

    I think just about everyone considers Reika’s Bitch Training a masterpiece. That’s just a given.

  23. Why are new comments at the top now :3?

  24. I was messing with settings for a while, though I found no real improvement so it should be back to normal now.

  25. I played through this a few months ago and loved it. The plot definitely had a few too many loose ends, but I found the characters in Sharnoth much more likeable than those in Inganock (Mary and Moran <3), and the literary/historical "references" had me laughing for pretty much the entire game.
    But then, I'm a die-hard WOB fan.

  26. I think I slightly preferred the Inganock characters, but that’s probably only because I see plot and character as inseparable in both stories (Sharnoth can’t happen without M and Mary, Inganock can’t happen without Gii and Kia) and Sharnoth’s was the slightly weaker of the two.

  27. I’m stunned by the haters – I LOVE this game; best WAB so far in my opinion (I have hopes that Sona-Nyl may top it, but I’ll still love Sharnoth for what it is) and with one of the best casts in any game I’ve ever played. I’m just glad you liked it too.

  28. sharnoth is only good if you’re a touhou faggot

    i.e., are capable of filling in the massive hole that constitutes the plot with your own fanfiction

  29. So were all fags?

  30. @Moogy Just asking but… did you skip the mind reading thing of Inganock? It has a lot terminology. If you pay close attention to it, you’ll understand a lot more. Also, the WAB series has a certain way of explaining things that can’t be taken literally so only translate. I did, and it was awesome.

    It’s not doing fanfiction. Is actually understanding what’s going on.

  31. @OnFireX: Keep in mind he read Inganock in English (which he loved more than I did by the way) but read Sharnoth in Japanese.

  32. @Ixrec Is it possible not to like Sharnoth even if you liked Inganock. Just asking.

  33. @Cody: Yes.

  34. @OnFireX: It shouldn’t be possible to love one and hate the other, no. Most of the common reasons for disagreeing with my scores apply roughly the same to both games. It’s certainly possible to like Sharnoth more or less than Inganock, for reasons stated in the review, but I can’t imagine that margin being larger than 0.5-1.0 points.

  35. Haters gonna hate. Liar-Soft produces games of a significantly higher quality than most other game publishers. I am very glad that such a productive and reliable translator is interested in the WaB series.

  36. Also, Reika Bitch Training? I am not understand.

  37. During my second poll (the one which decided Inganock), izmos made a joke nomination of Wild Androgynous (futanari nukige). During the third poll (after which I chose ML/MLA) he followed up with a nomination of Reika Bitch Training (bestiality ofc), and since then it’s pretty much been a meme among everyone in Ammy and tlwiki.

  38. Everyone is always joking around saying it’s a masterpiece (though I can’t tell if KnD is joking or not)

  39. That’s part of the meme, yes.

  40. I don’t think Moogy reading Inganock in English and Sharnoth in Japanese has anything to do with his scoring it lower; he’s probably just jaded after reading more VNs. (Substitute ‘jaded’ with ‘acquired better taste’, depending on your opinion)

    Anyway, hurray for Sharnoth! I wanted Forest first but I guess it can’t be helped

  41. No, I’m being quite serious. Reika Bitch Training has an amazing, emotional plot and great writing. The characterization exchanged between Reika and the various pigs that rape her brings manly tears to my eyes.

  42. O_Ô

    Amusing XD

  43. I don’t personaly like WAB series that much, it has too many flaws to me to enjoy. Well I only have played sharnoth and inganock, but I doubt I will be touching the other WAB games.
    First of all they are way too repetitive. Its just that the progression concept in each game is the same, and it’s like writer doesn’t even try to come with any new concepts to that. At start there’s bit of plot and at the end theres little bit of plot, and everything in between is almost not needed useless throw away garbage that doesn’t matter in anyway significanty to the plot and characters introduced in them are just there during that short time and never heard again. Add to that the “action” scenes are just ctrl+c ctrl+v. really you could codense the stories to 1/4 what they are and you really wouldn’t lose much. Then I don’t really like the fact that they don’t explain enough, it’s ok to leave somethings to readers to figure out, but WAB games just leave too much things unexplained. So thats why they ended up being flat out boring to me. Well I did like Sharnoth better than Inganock.
    Well WAB games do have some things that still kept me reading them. The art is beatiful and it has cool concepts altough their execution sucks donkey bals, but even if executions sucks if the concept is cool in my opinion then its worthy to me to me atleast to check.

  44. Moogy, I think your opinion on Sharnoth has been duly expressed in many, many places already. Give it a rest.

  45. I’m a little embarrassed at how relieved I am that the Reika Bitch training thing is just a meme. Obvious troll was obvious… thank goodness.

  46. So , this game has even more flaws than Inganock? lol
    The last chapters of Inganock sucked balls and were incomprehensible, I can’t even imagine something worst.

  47. I quite enjoyed Inganock, the pacing is slow and all but the cg’s and the characters manly Gii and Kia were a geat pair. Inganock surely is one of my favorite vn, now gonna in a close future how Sharnoth is.

  48. I’m starting to wonder if my polarization subscores for the WAB games are too low…

    (not that I plan on changing them)

  49. Yeah, maybe. I suppose it’s not for everyone :/

  50. It might just be that the English fandom is spoiled, Ixrec. A majority of the VNs translated to English are masterpieces and major financial successes in Japan. When people base their expectations on the top-notch quality of games like Fate/Stay Night, Cross Channel and Ever17, it is no wonder they see visual novels that are not beyond amazing as crap. I have seen people complain about how an original English amateur visual novel with the price of $15 was not on the level and scale of Saya No Uta, for God’s sake…

  51. Nah, we do get a disproportionate number of masterpieces, but a lot of them are subjective. No one person is going to see all of the good ones as flawless, nor are they all flawless (for instance, I feel your comparison to Saya no Uta there is a weak statement). Probably the big reason why WAB fans/critics are louder about it is because those games are just so different from virtually everything else they’ve ever seen.

  52. Actually, just because those games are so good, they’re usually REALLY criticized. In the case of WAB series is because it’s totally different from other things, like Ixrec said. And well, many people (but not everyone) act like they’re professionals and say everything is bad too.

  53. Just like Ixrec said, we already get a lot of crappy titles in English. Such as SWAN SONG and Narcissu. I don’t think those VNs would have been any less crappy if I had played them before Ever17 and Kana. A crappy VN is just crappy.

  54. I believe it is my duty to inform you that so many people consider Narcissu good to great and Swan Song great to excellent (myself being one of them) that you have probably angered the majority of those who are viewing your comment.

  55. He’s trolling, no one can be that retarded.

  56. Nope, SS and Narci suck. =P

  57. Hahaha, KnD is always the same and nobody takes him seriously. Not even when he’s actually serious. Poor thing.

  58. えへへ~(^w^)わたくしは占い的なのではない。

  59. I also feel obligated to tell you that doesn’t make any sense.

  60. 恋の伝説さんの日本語は悪いですw

  61. Oops, I guess I should have said 占—う—的な?。_。 Because I am a (in polite ojousama-tone) “Not predictable thing.” :D
    Oh well. O>O

    And Sheeta-kouhai is just jealous because she isn’t 占い的な. xP lol

  62. Verbs and adjectives aren’t the same thing. Not to mention you’d need to put it in passive and potential forms to get the desired meaning, and you are entirely unaware that that gerund has a special meaning. Please learn Japanese before trying to use it.

  63. “Please learn Japanese before trying to use it”

    I actually knew I was probably making a mistake when I wrote that. xD I don’t care because: A. I was being silly, and B. Using improper grammar/[whatever] is inevitable to learn how to improve said language. :)

  64. It was a pretty impressive mistake though O.o

  65. Well… The WAB always were a love or hate series. I personally love it and Inganock is at the top of my list of VN’s. Even if there are minor flaws the atmosphere is enough to make it amazing. Even the so hated repetitions made sense in my view. Keep with the good work Ixrec! ~

  66. Reading elsewhere that Sharnoth has a chance of being translated got me ecstatic. I bought Sharnoth right after I saw the demo video, and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf since then. I always thought I’d wait until my Japanese got better so I could give it the immersion and adoration it deserves…

  67. My god, I’m years late on this but whatever. also, I have not read any of the other series. I read Sharnoth and personally enjoyed it. I felt like the repetition that built up over time was unique even if it was a little frustrating. I like the characters but was personally disappointed when M and Mary didn’t end up together :( I ship them lol. Anyways, the minigame cool, I just don’t like doing them. I also enjoyed the artwork and voice acting. The soundtrack fit in really well at the perfect times. Overall, I enjoyed it.

  68. This might seem a little off topic but has anyone noticed Adam Weisphaupt mentioned in this game who is the founder of the Order of Illuminati a secret society which has created Illuminati conspiracy of world domination under the Luciferian Doctrine. The rule of the Illumined Man on the rest of humanity.
    Even the word Illuminati is mentioned in Sharnoth in the scenes of Jane Doe after she turns into a creature, in the flashback of her younger days talking to M about the making of a better world where there will be light of wisdom and people would be free from ignorance. She mentions Illuminati headquarters in those scenes if re check those scenes you will find those references.

    The purpose of pointing this out was to check that if anyone knew this other than me and to enlighten readers and give wider perspective on this VN as it makes it more interesting and shows how much knowledge Sakurai Hikaru has on such topics.
    Even the term Original Thought is mentioned in Shranoth which used in Freemasonry which means pure original thought not influenced and by anything and contributes in the evolution of Human Beings through intellect. Elly Beinhorn was targeted being targeted by Society as she had an original thought. So by reveling this information the VN becomes more interesting and enjoyable and gives a wider on our world as well as the world in Sharnoth.

    So anyone who has played the game have any views on this and would like to share? I am just asking this out of pure curiosity.
    Oh and many references of the work of HP Lovecraft as well which are mentioned which is also connected to in many ways to all of this in the occult.

  69. Man, the amount of copy&paste in unbelievable. Thankfully i can just quick-skip through it, art and settings are both amazing and loving the main character. Also damn you spoilered that ending to me Kairi -.-

  70. @Marx: Maybe it doesn’t count since I was translating those lines, but yes I noticed and/or looked up all those references. Some of them took a silly amount of effort to track down the English equivalent.

    The Lovecraft references are pretty well known, especially since every WAB title uses a name from Lovecraft. A while back I even read a couple dozen Lovecraft stories just because I felt like I needed to get the references better.


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