Okay, now that I've taken some time to digest the ending (and watch the season premier of Galactica), let me try to comment a bit.
First, let me get something out of the way: This is the best commercially translated visual novel released in 2005. It's one of the best, if not the best, commercially translated VNs ever. And the only reason I put the "commercially translated" qualifier on that is because I don't consider it fair to compare smaller games with much larger ones.
Make no mistake about it, this is a large game. It took me a full week of my spare time to play through it. I belieive that it took me a full 24 hours of playtime, at least. And I played through at a very fast rate, so some people may take much longer. That's the time it took me to get all the good endings. (I currently have all the good endings, but am missing some bad ones.)
If you decide to play this game YOU NEED TO GET ALL OF THE ENDINGS. I cannot emphasize this enough. The game is incomplete until you get the final ending. This isn't the sort of game where you settle down with your one true love and live happily ever after until the end of time. It is a science fiction story with romantic elements, and you really need to get all of the endings to understand that story fully. Ever17 utilizes the multipath nature of visual novels in a way that would be almost impossible in a more traditional medium.
(The following paragraphs aren't really spoilers, as they just repeat information in the manual.)
Ever17 is somewhat non-traditional in that it features multiple POV characters. Bascially, what happens is that while the start of the story features some POV changes, answering one of the earliest questions locks you into a POV character. So it's not a game where one can switch back and forth between POV characters, it's a traditional VN in which the POV can changed as dictated by the story.
The fairly subtle question that determines the POV character governs which characters endings you can pursue. If you wind up playing as Takeshi, then you can only get Tsugumi and Sora's endings. Playing as the Kid, you can get You and Sara's endings. On all of these paths, once the POV character has been selected, it does not change until the game ends.
The final ending is Coco's. This ending cannot be achieved until all of the others have been achived. While starting out on Takeshi's path, this ending jumps between POV characters quite often before the end of the game is reached.
I call this a science-fiction story with romantic elements. When playing it, you'll have to deal with a number of SF elements, some of which may be somewhat odd. (I don't know... it didn't faze me at all, but then I'm used to this sort of thing.) There are references to things like cryptography, higher and lower dimensions, holograms, and more. (Many of them feature in the opening sequence.)
The romantic aspect of the game, while quite present, is somewhat understated, but in a good way. Not every good ending leads to a pairing of the POV character and the girl whos ending it is. That's not to say it isn't romantic, it's just not the only thing this game is about. The SF and romance aspect of the game are integrated to the point where it's not possible to get a good ending in one and not the other.
I found all of the good endings and the bad endings to be satisfying stories. That being said, I think one thing with this game is that it can take a long time (hours) from the point where you make an incorrect decision to the point where you get the bad ending. While this isn't really a problem the first time you get the bad ending, it can be somewhat frustrating the second and later times you get that same bad ending.
I wound up getting the Tsugumi and Sora endings by myself, and then I used a google-translated Japanese walkthrough to get the other endings, just so I would finish the game in a reasonable amount of time.
While the normal endings were good, the final ending (Coco's) is great. It integrates elements of the other endings into a coherent structure in such a way that everything that happened makes sense and is (at least reasonably) consistent with what went before, with the final relationships also making sense.
While there isn't any nudity in this game, there is one intimate act that takes place off-camera during the game. So people who offend really easy should be aware of that. Apart from that, the most risque the game gets is bathing suits.
I had a bad CD #4, but the patch Hirameki put out fixed it, so it wasn't a problem for me. There were a few glitches in the Kid's path but nothing major, and probably few for a large game like this.
The translation is somewhat localized. For example, the translators substituted Rip Van Winkle for Urashima Taro in a number of places. It worked for me, but I'm not sure how well that one would work for a non US audience.
Ever17 comes with quite a few bonuses as part of the game. Along with the usual scene jump, gallery, and music player, this also comes with wallpaper and screensavers that are unlocked while playing the game. I haven't seen that.
Anyhow, to wrap it up, let me just say Ever17 is a great game, well worth playing for anyone who has the time to see it through to the final ending. Running the emotional gamut from hilarious to sad, this game really is worth the time it takes to play it. I'd expect it to take its place among the top rank of games, and on the shelves of anyone who likes playing visual novels.
Another Old-Fashioned Bishoujo Gamer
Supporting creators since 2004; Code > Drama
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming" - Theodore Roosevelt