saguaro wrote:Anyway, Version 1.1 is up. I remembered to run spellcheck this time which is fortunate because apparently I am a horrible speller.
Yes, it's just too bad that "gusty" is not only a misspelling of "gutsy", but also a real word that a spellchecker doesn't flag as wrong
Two other minor 'issues':
RK815281 is the only one that has a comma after "Censor" in his RootPro profile.
The happy elevator music that starts playing after you've censured traceurfacer and have a breach, keeps playing in the next scene. It wasn't entirely appropriate for the serious dialogue with mother. I think this only happens the first time.
My thoughts on the actual VN:
I replayed the demo because I thought I'd remembered real vomiting instead of just threatening with it. That's... not the only thing that's changed. I think your writing has really improved since the demo! The released version is much more concise, elegant and subtle. For me, the lack of any concise history or backstory for both the System and the Outside is what makes it work; the both of them are so vague that your eventual choices end up being determined not always so much by an ideological position as by the way the characters present them and themselves to you. If anything, I think you could have trimmed it a bit further. For example, the whole explanation on deletion might be on the extraneous side; the sentence "I guarantee this infiltrator won't be punished with menial labor" says enough, doesn't it?
For me, the heavy characterisation is both the strength and the weakness of this piece. I think they're overall good, although Eff is perhaps rather on the boring side of things. Jay is just deliciously despicable; there's no moustache twirling involved, but the insinuations behind him just make him entirely detestable. Mother is remarkably subtle as a contrast to Jennifer, whom I am imagining chewing the scenery behind the screen. A bit over the top, maybe, but if she weren't unreasonable, the System as an option would be at a disadvantage with all the talk we've had of people disappearing. I like how it doesn't go into ideology, almost not at all (unlike the demo), because it shifts the struggle to a conflict between mother figures and whom CJ can and should trust. It's not a philosophical piece about abstract concepts, it's a very human one about relationships.
At the same time, that sometimes clashes with expectations. Censorship is a hot political topic. The VN starts by detailing the political situation that CJ is in, and what ideas are behind that. RootPro and the obligation to censor things conjure up images of a Lucas Pope game. But it's not, and it's not primarily about those things. That's why I think that The Censor's major weakness is that it doesn't feel very focused. Locked-In, while not perfect, was thematically as sharp as a razor; all of it was about how Jacqueline alienated the people close to her and finally needed to reach out. With The Censor, I'd have a harder time describing one central theme in a sentence like that. The central theme certainly isn't censorship anyway, so that's a bit confusing. It's a richer piece, but more diluted.
About the choices: I'm not sure they always work. It is possible, for example, not to ever see Eff in person. Why anyone would, I'm not sure, but it really messes up the flow of the story, since she ends up fulfilling a rather important role later on. Some of the other choices are a lot of fun. Personally I kept flip-flopping all the time between the System and the Outside because both factions are made up of jerks and the actions of the characters had me change my reactions to others all the time. It's so easy to bring down the system when they set you up with Jay; it's so easy to support the system when Jennifer is so unpleasant. Perhaps because of my lack of conviction, I ended up in a situation where I could load a save before the last conversations and get four out of five endings by choosing differently there. I don't know if that was supposed to be possible, but I think it's a tad on the cheap side when you're having me make decisions quite consistently and seemingly relevantly for the entire thing, only for all options to be open in the end.
Li'l magic deserves compliments too. The super theme is great, and it works really well with the sirens. I thought they were part of the score until I found the music files. It's an awesome moment when the music starts. I suppose 'cinematic' is the wrong word, but there is a kind of tension that is really uncommon for a visual novel.