Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

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sake-bento
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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#61 Post by sake-bento » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:08 pm

Hehe, if Jisei can be the gateway VN to the wonderful world of VNs, then I am more than pleased. XD Thank you so much for sharing it~

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#62 Post by ultramooz » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:11 am

Just bought the game after trying the demo, and it's great !
I love the attention to detail: the character design and backgrounds are great, and everything is customized to fit the mood of the story (menus etc...)
The anime intro is stunning too... and the voice over is better than most PS3 or Xbox games.
I'm just at the beginnning, so I can't voice my opinion on the story, but so far it's well written and mysterious...

Hope you'll be able to make sequels, because it's a great beginning.

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#63 Post by mangakaluna » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:44 am

Argh! I reached the end of the demo ;_;

The art is fantastic, and the story is great too! I love the voices!!
When I get a bit more pocketmoney, I'll buy a copy!

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#64 Post by Linky » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:11 pm

The first time I played Jisei (the demo version), I was absolutely enthralled into the game. It felt like time passed by in an instant, and by the time the demo ended, I felt that I was missing so much and that I needed to buy the full version in order to truly enjoy this game. The first time I played the full version, I was even more enthralled and became fully immersed into the noveI; that is, I felt as if I was really the unnamed protragonist!!

The only thing I regret about it playing Jisei is that I finished the game too fast on the first time (even though I still listened to all the dialogues fully) . Still searching for other endings!

Everything about this visual novel is just peachy.

The art scenes are especially specatcular; the main coffee room reminds me that I'm in Starbucks every time I see it. I actually spent some time specifically looking around the coffee room, hallway, and bathroom because of the detailed realism and just pure beauty of them. Although I must say, not all bathrooms are as clean as the ones in Jisei are :).

The voice is top quality. How the characters speak is very life-like and they all have their own personal quirks in talking. I especially like the voice of the detective: the seriousness of his voice really fits really well. I could feel the emotions of the characters just by listening to them speak.

The characters: i wish they had more animation or stances, but i'm happy with what jisei presented. THey were designed/drawn out beautifully and looked great (in conversation or just standing there).

The music: hauntingly beautiful and sets the tone for the story fantastically. I'm listening to "murky" has I currently write this.

11/10 - jisei is the reason I'm interested in Virtual novels. Superb job, and i CANNOT WAIT for the next installment. I can imagine all the hard labor that went into the creation of this project and I think the price for buying it is worth it. Just think of it as support for all the great work to come ahead!

In the mean time, I'm looking for some other visual novels along the same lines as Jisei; that is, mystery/suspense/supernatural type. I briefly previewed some others (like bionic heart and date warp), but they just do not have the same quality (artwork, voice acting, character development) as Jisei has and i felt i couldn't play those all the way through. Any other suggestions?

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#65 Post by Krian » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:33 pm

Oh, nice, you got a Gamezebo Review! Even though the rating was average (and as I said in my own review in this threat, at least the "incredible short" criticism has some merit, and there really isn't that much replay value), it's great publicity nonetheless.

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#66 Post by sake-bento » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:33 am

Yup. I'm actually surprised it found it's way there. ^_^;;

The review brings up an interesting point, which was basically the seed for this thread.

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#67 Post by jack_norton » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:19 am

I wouldn't worry about that rating, I used to joke with some casual developer friends that the gamezebo rating was usually inversely proportional to the game success (sales) :)
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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#68 Post by kinougames » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:11 am

Okay, I finally got a chance to play the demo of this game, and this is probably going to be a mini-novel of comments on mostly the writing.

1) The game screen is too large for my computer screen? I cannot shrink it either. Not sure if that's just cause it was a demo, or...what, exactly.

2) The first thing I was glad to see was the well done opening screen. I think too many games ignore their opening screen, and this was simple, but good-looking.

3) The opening dialogue was...shallow. I suppose that the writer was attempting to make it sound mysterious or ominous...I really got neither feeling. It seemed very acted out to me.

4) I quite liked the in game music. The opening, not so much, but the in-game music was mostly spot on for the type of game.
5) This one is a little hard to explain. Very quickly into the game itself, the main character mentions his triple shot mocha latte. I call something like that a "buzz word". It's a very kitschy, city, modern term, and the feel of it didn't fit with what the game seemed to be trying to put forth. Upon hearing that phrase, I felt like I was reading a story about Japanese people (despite the fact that the story wasn't actually set in Japan, but that's the feel it gave) raised in New York City who ended up moving to Japan and it didn't really come together for me. In general, the dialogue threw me out of the entire story because it had this crafted feel, as if someone was throwing themselves too far away from the sort of story they were best at writing. It had this very "American imitation of a Japanese product" feel. It didn't help that you gave the game a Japanese title, which really set me up with "okay, this will probably have a lot of Japanese elements", and then...that, and what seems to be just a single Japanese character. Not having your VN take place in Japan when you don't know much about Japan is fine, but then giving it a Japanese title really gives off an appropriative vibe.

6) The way the police officer recognized that it was a triple shot mocha latte made me sigh. If there are coffee shops with visible enough "mocha latte" signs on the side of them (any words on a coffee cup I've seen that aren't a logo or store name are usually minute and only for the person holding the cup) that also change the color of the sleeve of a cup based on the number of shots in it...I think they're probably rare enough that the plot point becomes intensely contrived, and again, really faux-sounding. I understand about suspending reasonable disbelief, but that reaches a limit, and when the limit is passed, it's really passed.

7) The lead into the investigation was not even vaguely believable. There was not even a tiny reason for the detective to let his one and only suspect (automatically the main character due to the circumstantial evidence) carry out his own investigation. The reasoning that "oh well, I'd rather have you help me than hold you for 48 hours" and "I want you where I can see you" and "well, the big boys could be left to handle this, but..." were all completely unbelievable for the situation, and for most police officers in general. He basically is telling this kid who won't even say his name that "he could let real cops do the jobs that they're paid to do, or he could ask a suspected criminal instead! And he chooses a suspected criminal, by the way." If he'd known the kid beforehand, if the kid was exceptionally well known for some genius, or detective skills or something, I could've bit the bullet, but you essentially have a trained (detectives are promoted) cop doing something that could be very dangerous and illogical so there can be a story.

It also really irked me that the cop said "don't think this is your own investigation" while basically allowing the kid exactly that. Since you went out of your way to purport that the officer was highly intelligent and cognizant, enough to point out from a sleeve and cup the exact drink of the hero, it's hard to even play something like that off as "the character is dumb and made a dumb mistake and this will come up as relevant later." It instead just came off as poor writing.

8 ) I find it very hard to believe that a highly intelligent detective would jump to believing that a person was secretive when 3 people in a coffee shop don't know who she is rather than a killer just lying about whether they knew her or not. There is not even an ounce of a clue to prove that she might've been secretive, and no one considers anyone secretive when 3 random people in a coffee shop don't know another random person.

9) Once again, it didn't make any sense for the detective to trust the main character, who, again, is the main suspect. That was only doubly hammered in when the voice says that the hero has the most "freedom" right now. Why is the detective not doing investigating? Why do you have to repeat everyone's story back to the detective? Again, there's not even a "oh, this guy is a famous kid detective" thing to go on. Why is the detective completely listening to his main suspect and assuming everything he says is the truth? If you want to say "so we can have a game", then alright, but this has definitely hit the "nothing happening is remotely based in common sense" (not reality, as fiction doesn't have to follow reality, but common sense).

10) I was not at all a fan of any of the voice actors. They all made a lot of what I would consider very glaring vocal errors as far as appropriate emotion/getting the sound out without sounding as if they were actors or forcing the voice. It didn't help that the one actual Japanese character didn't have his name pronounced correctly not one time.
Overall, I think that it had a good base that wasn't taken where it could have and should have gone.
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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#69 Post by sake-bento » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:04 pm

kinougames wrote: 1) The game screen is too large for my computer screen? I cannot shrink it either. Not sure if that's just cause it was a demo, or...what, exactly.
It was a design choice that yielded a lot of interesting results. Most of the commercial games I've seen have a resolution of that size. I assumed that people would feel "cheated" with a smaller resolution, and there was some related discussion and other stuff going down as well. The consensus was that more people prefer a large screen, everyone has a very good reason for whichever preference they have, and once Ren'py 6.11 is stable, we will all be happy. OpenGL is a wonderful thing.

In response to most of your spoilered points, I'd just say that I think the biggest mistake I made was dividing this whole thing up into chapters (Jisei being the first of them). The story was originally written as an ongoing comic, so I had this whole plot mapped out and ready to go, but I realized that the scope of creating the entire story in one fell swoop would be unreasonable considering the size of my team. There's a whole lot of "You'll understand in later chapters and everything will click and it'll be great!" going on. Really cool for a long comic series or a novel. Less cool when you ONLY have the first chapter. I honestly don't know how well I can fix this, so at this point I'm trying to make the best of it. The second chapter is already significantly longer, and there's a lot heavier of a plot going on over "oh noes someone is dead!" and I'm hoping that things'll tie up better at the end of installation number two.

There is a certain level of "write what you know," in this series for me, and what I know is Seattle. I'm used to Japanese/American fusion and everyone being hopped up on fancy coffee with ridiculously long names, so most of this world is actually directly lifted from about 14 years of my life in Seattle. I interviewed a barista and we talked about how coffee shops function, what they sell, etc. and she said that it felt like the shop in the game was exactly like the one she'd been working at for several years. Of course, I actually live elsewhere now, and everyone around here calls coffee "coffee," and looks at me weird when I use them long fancy pants names. Live and learn.

There's a whole level of suspension of disbelief that I know will turn some people off. While I actually do have a police consultant, I've decided that I want to take the story more in the direction of "entertainment with some mystery solving going on in the background," rather than "mystery solving that is entertaining." For me, it's more of a formula like Psych or Castle in which some idiot who would never actually be allowed at a crime scene (touching things, reading case files, etc.) is routinely allowed to solve cases rather than be arrested by otherwise intelligent and rule-abiding officers. I know this is a turn off for some people. I can't even watch CSI because I keep thinking "this is ridiculous and unbelievable." I'm trying to strike a balance between "ridiculous suspension" and "ooh, real crime scene," but I'll obviously only be able to get there with feedback from people like you, so I thank you for taking the time to point out what bothered you about it.

Thank you for the mini-novel. I actually do enjoy reading them, and it honors me that you'd take the time to even look at my stuff. XD

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#70 Post by papillon » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 pm

I can't remember if this game is explicitly set in Seattle, but if it is, that would also make small amounts of Japanese-ness make sense... I've only been there once (was up briefly for sakuracon) but was surprised at seeing things like multi-language public signs including Japanese instead of just English/Spanish (or English/Spanish/Chinese, in SF).

... of course, you know that, you just said that, but, um, i'll shut up now.

(I wasn't surprised at the saturation of coffee shops, I expected that part!)
I have to admit, when I first played the demo I immediately assumed the cop must be the killer because I couldn't see why else he would be handling the "investigation" so loosely... I figured he must be setting the PC up to muddy his trail!

It's true that a LOT of fictional mystery-solving settings have someone who is not a real police-related-person messing around. However, they usually come up with some vague explanation for why they have this privileged relationship with the force... a backstory in which they had to struggle hard to get their specialist knowledge taken seriously, until they've now ended up as an unofficial consultant.

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#71 Post by sake-bento » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:29 pm

papillon wrote:I can't remember if this game is explicitly set in Seattle, but if it is, that would also make small amounts of Japanese-ness make sense... I've only been there once (was up briefly for sakuracon) but was surprised at seeing things like multi-language public signs including Japanese instead of just English/Spanish (or English/Spanish/Chinese, in SF).
Technically the name of the city is Edgewater, but it's basically Seattle (just without Pike's Place Market, or the Space Needle, or whatever else they like to mention in Grey's Anatomy).

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#72 Post by nooneknows » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:18 am

I already replied to the replay question and included how much I liked the game. I have a question that I do not remember getting resolved. Unfortunately it is a spoiler-y question.
Why did I fall asleep after drinking all the caffeine? I assumed I had been drugged, but Chance actually wasn't here yet so (no one was except possibly that one person... who may or may not have come back). I had a hard time figuring this one out. That is figuring-out who did or if it happened at all. Early on, I took this to be a big clue. I think every other idea I had was resolved...
Thanks!

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#73 Post by Ren » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:46 am

nooneknows wrote:
Why did I fall asleep after drinking all the caffeine? I assumed I had been drugged, but Chance actually wasn't here yet so (no one was except possibly that one person... who may or may not have come back). I had a hard time figuring this one out. That is figuring-out who did or if it happened at all. Early on, I took this to be a big clue. I think every other idea I had was resolved...
Well, sorry to meddle, but:
As far as I know, some people get no effect from tea and some get no effect from coffee. The reason being that while the substance in them is the same (caffeine), the molecular structure of the substance (we call it "formula bruta" in Italian, it's the layout of the molecules) is different, and for some reason this makes it so that some people stay awake if they drink tea, but not if they drink coffee and vice versa.

I personally get no benefit from coffee or tea: I can drink as much of either, and I still sleep like a baby, which means that during my exams I couldn't fall back on caffeine, to stay awake.
I still need to finish my feedback for this game, I had quite a few questions about the crime myself, which kind of ruined the experience for me, and are in my opinion the real reason why there's not much replay value to Jisei.... but this is OT.

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Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#74 Post by Nameraka » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:41 pm

sake-bento wrote:In response to most of your spoilered points, I'd just say that I think the biggest mistake I made was dividing this whole thing up into chapters (Jisei being the first of them). The story was originally written as an ongoing comic, so I had this whole plot mapped out and ready to go, but I realized that the scope of creating the entire story in one fell swoop would be unreasonable considering the size of my team. There's a whole lot of "You'll understand in later chapters and everything will click and it'll be great!" going on. Really cool for a long comic series or a novel. Less cool when you ONLY have the first chapter. I honestly don't know how well I can fix this, so at this point I'm trying to make the best of it. The second chapter is already significantly longer, and there's a lot heavier of a plot going on over "oh noes someone is dead!" and I'm hoping that things'll tie up better at the end of installation number two.
Personally, I don't mind that Jisei is being split into chapters; I actually prefer series like this, as there's the overarching mystery that I get to fiddle with until the story's over and the little mystery that ends with the episode. I was more than a little excited when I learned there was going to be more.

There's really nothing to fix, short of releasing the second chapter. Those who purchased Jisei already know by now that there's more to the story, anyway. It might be of some help to note on the Jisei site (and on affiliate sites selling it) that there will be other installments, though, so new purchasers won't be caught by surprise.

Ren

Re: Jisei (Supernatural, mystery, commercial)

#75 Post by Ren » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:33 am

I’ve held this feedback for quite a while, as I’d like to at least try to make an effort and make it as in-depth as I can. It turns out I have some time today, so here we go. Spoilered because I am not in the disposition of mind to separate the spoiler bits from the innocuous ones.
I personally take issue with the whole “It’ll make sense once we go on with the chapters!” thing, to be honest. All of my complaints with this instalment have little or nothing to do with that.
I’d say both the art and writing share the same issue:
  • - The art, while well rendered, has some underlying problems: there are some anatomical and perspective errors that are only partly disguised by the polished rendering. As you may want to gain an even wider audience, working on those problems is a must. The same goes for the style itself; it doesn’t seem to be all that different from other games illustrated by Deji – I’d advise trying to work on the choice of the colours (to better fit the theme of the game) and even the style in which the characters are drawn. These, though, are all issues I raised with her personally, and I only mention them here for completeness (and because I’m more trained in suggesting how to improve the art of a game than its story).
  • - The story is at least apparently coherent - you avoided the thing that in my opinion plagues a lot of mysteries: an ending that doesn’t seem to stand on things that the reader couldn’t have known ever. That’s infuriating, and I appreciated that you avoided it, quite a bit. On the other hand, the clues (which, unless I’m mistaken, you can’t not find) were a bit too evident for my taste. Half of the fun for me, while reading a mystery, is to try and figure out the mechanism, or to re-read the story just to think to myself how clever it was (a la Detective Conan). THAT for me adds to the replayability of a game. Lastly, I’d have appreciated a bit more story to frame the crime itself – I barely get an introduction to ???’s powers, which he barely uses at all, and some characters introduced at the end, and that’s it. For me, an episodic mystery which doesn't rely primarily on its cleverness has to be served with something else, or I’ll feel disappointed.
  • - The game seemed to only apparently give the player some freedom: if I don’t talk to a certain character when I’m supposed to, the story simply doesn’t go on, leaving me with the impression that I’m being hand-held to the ending. I didn’t find a way to not find the tape in the bin or not to see the lighter bit on the arm of the victim. I also didn’t try too much, so if it’s actually possible, discard this last complaint.


The dynamic of the mystery itself in my opinion is quite flawed, but please correct me if I got anything wrong; I played it when it got out, so I may misremember some things.
The victim asks Miss Bergstrom to meet her in the place where the other prospective buyer works, B meets her in the bathroom and kills her with... duct tape? I have a huge problem with this particular thing, and I’m surprised no one (that I noticed) mentioned it before. The way I see it, stealing information from companies and selling them to others isn’t the safest or easier job ever; had it been me, I’d have been bloody sure those two never got even to 1 mile from each other. I take issue if I have to think the woman is clever enough to manage to snatch information in the first place, and then is daft enough to make such an error.

Regarding the murder itself, I don’t know if you tried to act it out yourself, to see if it was possible, but it doesn’t seem to work. The victim is in the toilet (either waiting for B, or already talking to her) and B suddenly attacks her: if they had been talking already, I’m surprised B got anywhere near her; even if it was a surprise attack, I’m still surprised B managed to suffocate her with some duct tape!
They’re both women, you don’t mention anywhere that B is incredibly strong, but she still managed to subdue someone who is in a risky business, and should always be alert. I wouldn’t expect the argument Chance had with the manager to be enough to cover the screams of someone who had been assaulted either, and that B relies on such a random thing for her plan (you almost make it sound like that) is naive, plot-wise. Had she not been able to snatch the knife, would she have left the tape on the body, with all her prints? For someone who premeditated the crime (unless she goes around with duct tape because she thinks it’s fashionable, which I would totally understand), she didn’t premeditate it THAT well.
And considering the kind of job she has, I’d have expected her to be a bit cleverer than she was in the end. I also think her motivations weren’t built that well: the culprit with kind of noble motivations is a staple of the genre which is getting a bit trite; I’d have much rather she just killed the victim because she got in her way. ???’s comment on how she ended someone’s life when she apparently was infuriated at that woman trying to have personal gain on other people’s illnesses felt a bit empty and not that well elaborated, too.

Another thing that really put me off the idea of buying the second chapter is Chance’s character: the whole idea that she’d be some sort of corporate spy, in the end, felt much more forced than surprising. If Kizaki had been the only person confirming that she definitely worked in the coffee shop, it could have worked, but I’m sure Miss Bergstrom mentions something about an incident with a customer in the past, and that she’s the owner’s daughter. The way it is, this frilly girl with a flower in her hair, somehow managed to find contacts with some corporation to try and be an intermediary for them in the acquisition of the stolen data. If the rest of the story played with such unlikely characters, she wouldn’t have been so unbelievable (or maybe she would have, but she would at least fit), but as she is, my reaction was pretty much “Yeah, right...”).

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she’s like Decoy Octopus, and stole the identity of a poor girl, and the flower is a headcrab-like parasite that acts as a puppeteer and takes control of the victim... would have been cool. Anything even remotely MGSesque is cool. Head crabs are just as cool, too.


And while writing all of this, I also noticed that I concentrated so much on all the flaws in the mystery because there’s so little(in my opinion) in terms of character development (the protagonist being a prime example) and in terms of story/setting, that there's nothing else to divert my attention. There’s not much to surround the mystery, so the magnifying lens ends up being on that. I would have appreciated it if, at the end, instead of a short presentation of the new characters, there had been a look on the organisation that the voice seems to lead, and not just a “There’s more, in the next chapter!” kind of vibe.
So, in short: I’d much rather put up with a bit of a less polished art that fits the story better, and I can very well put up with a not-so-long story when the core of the plot is solid, and doesn’t have too many holes when I look at it more closely.
I also know that I can very well do without voices, if it means more time to concentrate on the more important elements of the visual novel.
The game is competently done, and it’s certainly above average when it comes to EVNs, but I don’t judge a game by the forum it’s been published on – by going commercial you start competing at a different level, and when you charge money expectations get higher, too.

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