Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

Discuss visual novels and story-based games that didn't originate on this forum.
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LoaExMachina
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Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

#1 Post by LoaExMachina »

Despite being on this forum, and having ambitions of making my own VN, I actually haven't played that many of them...
Pretty much just DDLC when I was in highschool, and since then a few short ones I found on itch .io or here. Unless Ace Attorney counts (and maybe even Professor Layton, but that'd be a stretch...) I don't think I've ever played a visual novel from Japan, although I've had a big weeb phase and still occasionally enjoy manga and anime.
I've watched a few anime based on visual novels tho : Steins;Gate, Steins;Gate Zero, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Fate;Zero.

Should I try to get into one of the VN franchises they're based on?
My favorite VN-related anime I've seen was definitely Steins;Gate, so maybe that one, but on the other hand I don't know if I'd enjoy it to the max since I already know the story. I've heard there were also VNs set in that same universe like Robotic notes, should I try one of those ? And if so, where to start ?

That aside, the other thing I could consider getting into first would be Umineko, because I like mystery and then youtuber Red Bard's video on the subject sells it really well. But on the other hand, it seems a bit long...

Out of these options, which one would be the easiest and most worthwhile to get into, for someone who doesn't have a huge amount of time or money to invest in it ? Is there a better or simpler option I'm overlooking ?

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Re: Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

#2 Post by Ocelot »

Out of these three I would choose Stens;Gate. I read VN after watching anime (which is based on best ending), but there is a lot to explore. Scenes in anime generally are shorter, less descriptive amd some are omitted (because of screentime issues). Usually nothing important, but there were at least 3 scenes, where I was taken by surprise, because I didn't expect that. Other that that, there are other endings to explore.
After finishing S;G I would continue in release order as depicted here: https://www.kirikiribasara.com/what-is-sciadv/

Umineko no Naku Koro Ni is another good choice, but be aware, that it is not what people traditionally think about VN: branching paths, choices, etc. It usually considered a kinetic novel and describes itsef as "sound novel" (because music there is great). It is a book with a lot, and I mean a lot of text, background images, sprites, sound and music accompanements, in-game biography/death tracker and (almost) no choices. If you are not afraid of reading what amounts Gone WIth the WInd three times in a row, then 8 episodes of UnNKN is a good choice.

Fate/Stay Night will be the most traditional VN out of the three, but the franchise seems to have drowned in gacha hell, alternaitve univeses and retcons so I can't recommend getting into franchise. You can still play original game, though.
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Re: Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

#3 Post by LoaExMachina »

Ocelot wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 2:03 pm Out of these three I would choose Stens;Gate. I read VN after watching anime (which is based on best ending), but there is a lot to explore. Scenes in anime generally are shorter, less descriptive amd some are omitted (because of screentime issues). Usually nothing important, but there were at least 3 scenes, where I was taken by surprise, because I didn't expect that. Other that that, there are other endings to explore.
After finishing S;G I would continue in release order as depicted here: https://www.kirikiribasara.com/what-is-sciadv/
Thank you for your advice ! But if Chaos;Head came first, why is Steins;Gate the best starting point ? Is it because I'll more easily get into it because I already partly know it, or is it just better ?

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Re: Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

#4 Post by Ocelot »

Both, actually. Steins;Gate is a huge step forward, and you are familiar with the plot already, so it is the best place to start. Chaos;Head protagonist is less likeable. In Okabe his chuuni traits were silly and funny, in Takumi they are disturbing. On the other hand, future games in series drops references to previous games and you encounter characters from them. If you end up getting S;G, do not buy ELITE version (which is basically anime cut and inserted in VN-like interface), get original one with original art.

If you want, there are some other non-pure VN series I can suggest:

Zero Escape trilogy. It is classical VN with branching paths + Escape Rooms.
You and several other people are kidnapped and forced to play a game for your survival. ANd it appears that the game is not the only source of danger.

Danganronpa: somewhat similar to Ace Attorney in that you will investigate murders and will try to uncover the truth on trials.
You and seveal other people are kidnapped (I feel like there is a pattern here) and the only way out is to kill someone and get away with it. The only way to survive for others is to uncover murderer on trial.

AI: Somnium Files, which recently gor a sequel. The game is a mix of AA-style point-and-click investigation, ability to move in 3D world and interact with objects, solving dream logic puzzles, and QTE events.
You are not kidnapped (shocking, I know), but instead you are an amnesiac cop working for a secret police force, which developed a device which can place you within someone mind. You start Investigating murders which are strikingly similar to ones happening six years ago, but your bosses are adamant that there could not be any connections between these incidents. What is even more strange is that all events which starts to happen seems to have at least some relation to you.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness. I know, I said non-pure VN, but this is worth checking if you saw original anime. It is different story, chronologically set roughly at the time of first few anime episoded, and is written by Urobuchi Gen, like the scenario for the anime.
If you do not know who he is, he is known for writing heavy dark and tragic stories, like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero novel (which is slightly darker than anime, which he supervised too, it cut some more gruesome parts, like musical instruments made from still living children, and sneaked in some happy outcomes, which never happened in the original) and Saya no Uta.

Speaking of Saya no Uta. It exist. It is dark, violently sexual and tragic. 18+ rating. If those things do not put you off, you are velcome, it is shorter than any of others in this list.
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Re: Should I get into one of these big Visual Novel franchises ? (SciADV, Naku Koro Ni...)

#5 Post by LoaExMachina »

I see... I've seen and loved Psycho-Pass and I knew it was from the same scenarist as Madoka Magika (which I also loved) and Fate;Zero, but I forgot it was based on a VN too, I'll be sure to check it out along with some of his other stuff. I'll probably check Danganropa too.
And of course, I'll read Steins;Gate first!

Thank you again!
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