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Old 2006-10-02, 19:05  
Sushi-Y
湯音カワユス~
*Scanlator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Canada
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dont
PP - Pianissimo
2 round end
I'll try to guess what that means... You cleared the game once, but it was too painful to go through it a second time (for scene/CG collection), so you had to give up... どう?当たってるかな

I played the demo for it and fell in love with the atmosphere (which is something innocent grey is great at, apparantly). I suppose its story might be a possible weakness, which would be fatal for a suspense thriller. Hopefully it can pass my standard.

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For the sake of getting some feedback, I'll paste on a mini review I wrote on ef over at Aquastar.

ef -First Fan Disk-

First of all, this is only a "preview" version of the full game, ef - a fairy tale of the two (which wil be released in two installments, as ef - the first tale and ef - the latter tale). The -First Fan Disk- package includes various bonus goods, such as setting booklets and comics, as well as the main game disk.

The game itself was short (after all, it's only a "preview" of the actual game, the first of which will be released in December), and I mean short. No matter how slow of a reader you are, you'll get through this in less than an hour. Most eroge demos are longer than that. ^^;

Considering that this was only meant to give the gamers "a taste" of what the full game will be like, I'd say minori did a very good job. However, for such a short "game", the 2,500 yen price tag does seem a little expensive, even with the bonus goods.


First of all, and most importantly, the game has amazing visuals. Not only are the CGs beautiful, there are plenty of movements too: eye blinks and mouth movements are a standard, and plenty of variations in character portraits.

One thing minori mentioned in an interview is that they wanted to break the traditional image of a visual novel where a character is usually presented as a tachie (立ち絵, a standing portrait) on screen, placed over the same background image that gets reused all the time. Only once in a while does an original image appear as an "event CG".

Instead, they wanted to go for a game where the visuals remain fresh (as opposed to seeing the same portraits over the same backgrounds over and over again) through methods such as manipulating the camera viewpoint/angles and creating art variations that's unique to every scene. By doing this, minori is hoping to give the game a "cinamatic" feel, as if it's like watching a movie.

The results are quite impressive, even regular talk scenes appeared to look like special events, even though it's really just the result of unique placement of camera viewpoints and character portraits over background images that may change to reflect interactions from the characters.

Not only are the screenplays unique, the characters show quite a bit of animated movements too for a visual novel (eye blinks, mouth movements, occasional body movements). For talking scenes (like the church scene with Yuuko above), you can be tricked into thinking you're watching a super-high quality anime. ^^;

While I'm on the topic of quality, let's talk about the art. Having an innovative idea for visual presentation is great, but the art has to look good too. As you can see from the screenshots, there's no need to worry about that either. The "completion level" (the amount of details placed into the art by an artist before it's declared "done") for the arts in this game is very high. You can't complain with Nanao Naru-san as the character arts/designer either. As for backgrounds, well, I'll let them speak for themselves.

The background scenaries give off quite a strong European look, but some parts are quite Japanese-ish too. It's quite an interesting blend.

As for the sound department, the character voices are all very fitting of their image. Yuuko's cheerful voice was a little surprising at first, because I didn't expect her to be such a bright type, but it felt just right after a while.

The music is the usual blend of instruments, the "daily life" category of tracks are all nicely paced and soothing to the ears. The piano tracks aren't bad either. The violin track in the end was a nice surprise too.

Finally, the all-important story. Honestly, there's not enough here for me to judge yet. After all, this is more like an introductory disk where the main characters from the first arc of the game make their appearances. I got through this in 30 minutes, and nothing spectacular happened in particular.

I will admit though, the concept is very interesting: different main characters with either stories occuring during different episodes, yet, all of them are connected to each other in some ways, ultimating weaving them all together into one single tale. Main characters from one episode may become supporting characters in another episode, while people they're related to one way or another become main character themselves. I suppose what minori is trying to do with ef is to demonstrate the complexity and intricacies of human relationships, not unlike some western TV dramas, I suppose. ^^;

Anyway, that's that. The game has already proven itself worthy in the visual and sound department. If the story is actually any good, then we might have a winner in our hands (provided they can maintain this kind of visual quality throughout the game, which will be hard).

ef -the first tale- will be out in 2 months, I look forward to it. ^^
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