Amaterasu Blog

10Oct/107

Hikari no Valusia ~What a Beautiful Hopes~ Review

Yet another land of fantasies to explore.
Yet another tangled web of cold machines and shining wishes.
Yet another cast of heroes, villains, lovers and warriors.
Have the stories ended yet? No, not by a long shot.

Like the other WABs, we have a wonderfully crafted original fantasy setting which compliments the previous games well while allowing for a brand new cast of colorful (I mean that one very literally) and interesting characters. And of course the art and music are as great and appropriate as ever (this one even has more cgs than usual, on top of full voicing!). But unlike the previous WABs, there is no episodic plot, or at least not the same kind as before.

Instead of a simple sequence of independent side stories, Valusia has several intertwining subplots which last the entire game and are told in little chunks focusing on one or two characters at a time. This is a very welcome change, though it has its ups and downs.

On the one hand, every significant character is now irreplaceable in terms of plot relevance, and when all the threads come together at the end the climax is truly stunning. On the other hand, this is mostly the case at the end of the game. Until then the story can't help but feel somewhat arbitrary, and a couple of the subplots do indeed end up lost and forgotten.

There are also some scenes which are a bit too long, or too repetitive, or too cheesy, but all tolled these are at most a nuisance. Where it really counts, Valusia does everything right. All the major questions are answered this time around (though it still expects you to be working stuff out yourself), and all the characters you really care about get important roles and satisfying resolutions. If you're patient and paying attention, you will be amazed.

Score: 9/10

Polarization: Mild (-2)

In the worst case scenario, the final chapters will be too little too late to be mind-blowing. Hopefully most readers will be nervous but remain cautiously optimistic like I did. You may also feel that the stuff which did not get resolved or explained is actually rather important, and thus constitutes a bigger problem.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear

PS: The last few chapters of Valusia definitely expect the reader to have read and been paying attention during Inganock and Sharnoth. Expect to miss a few important details if you haven't read those first (Sharnoth especially). Celenaria's quite optional though, despite the shout out.

Comments (7) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Yes, it was better than Sharnoth. I’m just as surprised as you are.

  2. I always heard that Valusia was the weakest of the WAB series, but your review is now assuring me that its quality is as good as the other one in the series. As a fan of sharnoth and inganock, I will definitely try to check it out soon.

    On another note, I don’t mean to trouble you, but are you interested reviewing Sona-nyl when it comes out? I can’t really find a good source of WAB series and so I am really interested in hearing your opinion.

  3. I heard the same thing (assuming we ignore Celenaria), hence my comment. Hopefully it’s not just me being a fanboy.

    I’m probably going to start playing Sona-Nyl shortly after it comes out, but I’d like to finish whatever game I’m already working on before switching, so who knows exactly when.

  4. Well, since I am also a WAB series fanboy, I would definitely enjoy it regardless of the circumstances behind the high score.

    Oh, that’s a good new! I…already have the game on pre-order, so it will really be great to see if the game is good enough for a translation project in the future or not.

  5. I began reading about the WAB series some time ago and slowly the desire to play it began to grow within me… I’ll start reading Inganock this week and I have high expectations for it. Thanks for another good review Ixrec! Allways following~

  6. “Hopefully it’s not just me being a fanboy.”

    As long as you aren’t just blatantly ignoring flaws to give it a high score, being a fanboy of the series actually is a -positive- when writing a review. It will show whether this VN will interest those that enjoyed Sharnoth or one of the other WAB novels.

  7. After completing Sharnoth. I found this VN interesting. How to get it?
    I neither found a torrent or physical copy sold online. I wish this series would officially release outside to a bigger audience. Playing Sharnoth was really good even though I rarely play VN.


Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.