Visual Novel Fans

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Visual Novel Fans

Postby Penter » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:19 pm

I'm not entirely certain if this should go in the books forum or video games section ( I've always considered Visual Novels a form of reading and not a form of "gaming", but some people disagree).

I'm been on a huge visual novel reading spree recently, and was wondering what any of your favorites are, seeing that finding good "sfw" visual novels are difficult to find.

MY favorite as of now has to be Umineko no Naku Koro ni, but it's definitely got some questionable parts in it. If you are squeamish, it's definitely not for you, as Umineko is pretty bloody at times. On another note, it also has quite a few occult themes.
It's still pretty amazing, though. If you can handle it ( and have the hours to waste) I cannot recommend it enough. It's a beautifully written masterpiece authored by the genius Ryukishi07.

Another good visual novel that was my favorite before Umineko took the spot is "Ever17".
Ever17 has to have the best ending I've ever read, but has a very slow middle section ( I've noticed that many visual novels get a bit slow in the beginning, and this turns off a lot of readers).

So what is your favorite and why?
What would you recommend?
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Nate » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:41 pm

Hatoful Boyfriend.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:52 am

Mahoutsukai no Yoru is my favorite VN. Top notch art, music, and presentation style. The story may not be epic or as engaging as something like Umineko, but it's a short, standalone story that remains entertaining the entire way through with very little "downtime." Also, some of its animation is better than most anime, so there's that too. Unfortunately, no English translations are available (yet).

I would recommend everyone read Narcissu Side 2nd because it centers around characters of Catholic background. Although it depicts the main character falling away from faith, it does so in a very respectful manner that I think really helps Christians to think about these things from a different perspective. It is also legally free to download!

For those who are unfamiliar with VNs but are interested in getting started, I did help put together a beginner's list for Christian readers here. Planatarian and Narcissu are probably the best starters due to their short length.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Nate » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:16 am

I was gonna mention Katawa Shoujo but apparently it still has nudity even if you turn the sex scenes off? That's kinda dumb. What VN wizard came up with that one?
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby IPv4 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:25 am

Doctor layton vs ace attorney and THE WALKING DEAD!!! are good novels.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:21 pm

Nate wrote:I was gonna mention Katawa Shoujo but apparently it still has nudity even if you turn the sex scenes off? That's kinda dumb. What VN wizard came up with that one?

Because there is still a big difference between a nude sprite and a full blown sex scene. To be fair, the option is "turn off sex scenes," not "turn off all the nudity and other potentially considered R-18 content." And honestly, the option isn't there because they care about people like us; it's there because it's super easy to throw in a flag that can be toggled on and off to skip a scene to please x amount of people who don't want it. With sprites, you have to actually tastefully censor or change the sprites, which takes more work, though how much work it may actually take is debatable. Putting aside the part where KS was made by 4ch, this issue is seen in the actual VN industry as well where you either get the same thing or you get a VN without the scenes but similarly mature sprites and it gets labeled as "all ages," because "all ages" really just means no sex scenes (the rarity depends on where you draw the line on the spectrum...actually seeing something, or something drawn at the perfect angle to "censor," etc.) So maybe KS is just emulating this pre-established rule, in which case the answer comes down to: it's Japan, welcome to the Japan logic.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Midori » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:06 pm

In KS's case though, they didn't just remove the sex scenes, they replaced them with bizzare (and in my opinion, slightly disrespectful) images, like a piece of cooked chicken. So yeah, who knows what they were thinking.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:48 pm

The only VN I've played (read? whatever) is Ever17, which was amazing. It got a little boring during the middle parts of each path that were almost identical to the others (I got sooooooooooooooooo tired of that stupid kick-the-can game DX), but it was really fun to see the different relationship dynamics (and refreshing that they weren't all romances!), and the final unlockable path that brought them all together...was just amazing. The friend who recommended it to me called the game "freaky," and I was like, "Yeah, whatever, I've seen this kind of thing before." Then I got to the part where SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Kid looks in the mirror and it's a different face and I was like, "WHAT IS THIS MY ENTIRE LIFE IS A LIE ALKDJGSLKGHAS:DLFJADKGJ:SDLJ *dead*"

Seriously, anyone with a bit of patience needs to play/read/whatever this VN. Definitely worth it, despite a few bits of innuendo (that can go right over your head unless you're thinking that way, I expect).

And I think I'm going to try out Umineko when I have a bit more time. I'd shied away from it before because I didn't think I could get my hands on English translations of the entire thing. But now I think I'll give it a go, because it looks like precisely my cup of tea ;)

I really wish there were more VNs that weren't quite so explicit. It's a really interesting medium, and has a lot of potential for coolness, I think.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby JensSchweitzer » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:35 am

Visual novels are rarely produced for video game consoles, but the more popular games have occasionally been ported to systems such as the Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, PlayStation Portable, or Xbox 360. The more famous visual novels are also often adapted into the light novel, manga or anime formats. The market for visual novels outside of East Asia is small, though a number of anime based on visual novels are popular among anime fans in the Western world.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Penter » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:31 pm

the_wolfs_howl wrote:The only VN I've played (read? whatever) is Ever17, which was amazing. It got a little boring during the middle parts of each path that were almost identical to the others (I got sooooooooooooooooo tired of that stupid kick-the-can game DX), but it was really fun to see the different relationship dynamics (and refreshing that they weren't all romances!), and the final unlockable path that brought them all together...was just amazing. The friend who recommended it to me called the game "freaky," and I was like, "Yeah, whatever, I've seen this kind of thing before." Then I got to the part where SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Kid looks in the mirror and it's a different face and I was like, "WHAT IS THIS MY ENTIRE LIFE IS A LIE ALKDJGSLKGHAS:DLFJADKGJ:SDLJ *dead*"

Seriously, anyone with a bit of patience needs to play/read/whatever this VN. Definitely worth it, despite a few bits of innuendo (that can go right over your head unless you're thinking that way, I expect).

And I think I'm going to try out Umineko when I have a bit more time. I'd shied away from it before because I didn't think I could get my hands on English translations of the entire thing. But now I think I'll give it a go, because it looks like precisely my cup of tea ;)

I really wish there were more VNs that weren't quite so explicit. It's a really interesting medium, and has a lot of potential for coolness, I think.


So, Didja Ever get on to reading Umineko? It's definitely one of my favorites although, I would recommend reading Higurashi first. (I think you can get a Japanese version of Hou over on MangaGamer, which contains all 8 arcs plus the extra ones Hou added. There is a fan English translation too ) It seems much different at first, but really, the core concept is similar. 8 separate arcs, all of which tell the same basic story but with big enough differences to keep the story engaging. Each one slowly adds more clues until the final few 2 chapters which makes sense of everything. While I probably got lucky, I did have the murderer down by the first arc (Although I started going back and forth among different characters later... so not sure if it really counts.) ((Also thanks to Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" for helping me out)). The ending still surprised me, though.

Ever17 is definitely amazing, too. You ought to read the sequel, Remember11 (which is not quite as slow, but does leave a somewhat confusing ending.) .Still worth the read.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:51 am

I guess I'll take the chance to start a new discussion on the topic: English localization of visual novels. The past year has seen major titles generate large success in the West through kickstarters (Clannad, Grisaia, and MLA). Sekai Project has perhaps been the leading company, bringing Key visual novels to the steam platform, with Clannad scheduled to be released next month and there is even talk of a simultaneous English and Japanese release of Harmonia. The announcement of MLA was particularly surprising given the bad history Age has had with their previous localization attempt of MLA and, until now, stubborn refusal to reconnect with their fanbase outside of Japan. Even outside of kickstarters, other big name titles like Umineko has been confirmed and Kara no Shoujo 2 is almost ready for English release. Perhaps most noteworthy for us is that with steam being the choice of distribution for many of these titles, they are being released to us in an all ages format (i.e. no sex scenes).

So what are some thoughts on these recent developments in the growth of the visual novel market outside Japan? It looks pretty hopeful, and if sales of these major titles do well, it is quite likely the Japanese companies will take note of it and work to not just localize older titles but the wait time between Japanese and English releases may also drop significantly (that Harmonia simultaneous release sure sounds interesting). Also, with many being released on steam, it makes it a lot easier to get others into at least trying them out (Planetarian and Narcissu, excellent starter VNs, are both available on steam). Personally, I'm really hoping a Rewrite kickstarter happens if Clannad sales are as high as we hope them to be.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Mullet Death » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:15 pm

My thought is that it's awesome that more VNs are being localized recently. I find some things about it annoying though.

First off, a lot of these titles are getting released only for Windows. You shouldn't have to worry about what OS you're using to read a VN. Second, most of these are getting released only for Steam. I like Steam and yet I also don't like Steam. It's a DRM-ridden service that requires you to update before being able to play a game again with its mandatory propietary client. It'd be nice to see more of the big titles released DRM-free elsewhere. Better to release them on Steam than on that store I won't mention by name that sells Kirakira though. That place is filled with filth and definitely not CAA-friendly or safe. Third, a lot of these translated VNs don't come with the option to play in the original language with or without changing the system language and/or locale (which you frankly shouldn't have to do), which should just be a simple menu option in every VN. I don't think you should have to go buy the game twice, it's a little different than buying a translated version of a physically printed book. It's not a necessity but it would be nice if more visual novels did this. The other problem I can think of is the community around any of these games. If there's an adult version, you can't go on the Steam community pages. Those idiots and sometimes even the developers themselves actively encourage you to seek an adult patch to each game and post images and threads about partial nudity or sex scenes a lot. All of that can be avoided by not reading anything about the game anywhere, but you shouldn't have to, and these games shouldn't have had such scenes in the first place while we're at it, but one could make an entire huge thread on that topic alone. Visual novels shouldn't have to be tainted by perverse associations.

Those unpleasant grievances aside, I love VNs and can't get enough of them, so the more thr merrier.
I'm a little wearied by crowdfunding-- and who isn't-- but I'd definitely back Rewrite. I'll back any VN that seems to be of a decent quality, especially if it's ever confirmed to come to Linux.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:15 am

Penter wrote:So, Didja Ever get on to reading Umineko? It's definitely one of my favorites although, I would recommend reading Higurashi first.

No, I never did. I guess I probably gave up too soon, but the site I found that claimed to have it led me nowhere - guess it wasn't updated in a while. If you know of a place where I can actually get ahold of the VN, PM me. It looks really interesting, but at this point I'm more inclined to just watch the anime because that's easier to find and be able to understand :shake:
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Penter » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:35 pm

I think MangaGamer should have them, if not they are getting a new translation too.
You could try amazon, but it might be somewhat expensive.

I think it's better to get the original Japanese version then use the fan translations, which are typically better than the official ones.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Mullet Death » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Has anyone played/read any of Narcissu? The first two are free on Steam. It's getting a Sekai Project Kickstarter right now to finish up the series apparently. It looks deep, but I'm wary of it because it also looks dark. Can anyone tell me about its philosophical and theological content? I don't wanna play something that makes it seem like there's no hope.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:31 pm

Mullet Death wrote:Has anyone played/read any of Narcissu? The first two are free on Steam. It's getting a Sekai Project Kickstarter right now to finish up the series apparently. It looks deep, but I'm wary of it because it also looks dark. Can anyone tell me about its philosophical and theological content? I don't wanna play something that makes it seem like there's no hope.

I'm a huge fan of Narcissu and really think every Christian should at least read Side 2nd. I suppose you could classify it as dark with its focus on death but it's far more of a realistic look into the minds and lives of the characters who have terminal illnesses. It does a fantastic job of portraying how they react to their hopeless situation. And yes, frankly, it's not a hopeful story. One of the characters falls away from Catholic faith, but I think the depiction of her loss in belief is done with utmost respect and realism to what happens to people in such a situation. I think the author said it best when he said Narcissu is a story about ordinary people; what better way to help us understand and empathize with the hardships of people facing death than a story about the most ordinary of people? But while the story may not be hopeful, I don't think the story makes it seem like there's no hope either; it's very neutral in this regard because all it does is show you how ordinary people react to having a terminal illness, and how you interpret that information is up to you. A little tangent here, but if you've seen 1 Liter of Tears, that would be a story of an extraordinary person which made for a very hopeful and inspiring story (even more so for being a true story), but Narcissu is very different in its depiction of admitting the average person won't have the strength to remain hopeful.

This is a personal reaction, so obviously results will vary, but I felt like I took a lot away from Narcissu, even if none of that was hope. It made me seriously think about the individual hardships of people in such situations and that consoling such people is a lot harder than people would like to believe. Especially in relation to religion, as I briefly alluded to, Side 2nd features a character of (former) Catholic faith, in addition to her sister who is very devout. I think it did an excellent job showcasing how hard it is to continue believing in that situation and the internal struggle they face that outsiders cannot perceive. It was one of the few stories that left a strong impact on me on real life and how hard it is for these people to see anything beyond their inevitable death. Does that sound hopeless? Maybe. But again, I think it's very realistic, and I think as Christians, we should try our best to understand the struggles of others, and Narcissu perfectly gives insight into some of those lives.

Actually, let me change that just a little. Even if it does make it seem like there is no hope to you, I still think you should read it, because Narcissu shows exactly how some people in this world feel, and as a Christian, I think we need to understand others' suffering the best we can or else any proclamations of hope we give them will sound empty and ignorant.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Mullet Death » Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:08 pm

KazeShiki wrote:
Actually, let me change that just a little. Even if it does make it seem like there is no hope to you, I still think you should read it, because Narcissu shows exactly how some people in this world feel, and as a Christian, I think we need to understand others' suffering the best we can or else any proclamations of hope we give them will sound empty and ignorant.


Is that still true even though I'm suicidal? I feel like after the description of the game you gave I really shouldn't read it after all given my state of mind. But you did thoroughly answer my question, so thanks.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:46 am

Mullet Death wrote:Is that still true even though I'm suicidal? I feel like after the description of the game you gave I really shouldn't read it after all given my state of mind. But you did thoroughly answer my question, so thanks.

Okay, that's a pretty serious and legitimate reason to be wary. I'll retract my statement since when I think about it, you're right, and in a certain state of mind, reading it might influence you negatively.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Zeke365 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:46 pm

I'm pretty new to the visual novel world to and have read Planetarian, Narcissu and Narcissu: Side 2nd, and working on my third one Tokyo School Life.

Now there observation I made most people (based on steam reviews) say these are short visual novels and they may well be short. There not like animation or a video game where your goal is to complete the game in one sitting. There meant to be taken in pieces like a piece of pie or pizza, only a couple hours a day. If you do this then you will have find a much more satisfying experience and you can justify the $10 price tag. If you try to rush through in 1 sitting like eating a whole pie at once your gonna feel not satisfied enough because you will want more but there will be none left to give.

It sort of like an dramatic full cast audio book with static images that help enhance your brain to play it as movie. That the best way I can describe it. I hope this helps everyone.

besides can you recommended any more clean visual novels be greatly appreciated on steam.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Penter » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:08 pm

Zeke365 wrote:I'm pretty new to the visual novel world to and have read Planetarian, Narcissu and Narcissu: Side 2nd, and working on my third one Tokyo School Life.

Now there observation I made most people (based on steam reviews) say these are short visual novels and they may well be short. There not like animation or a video game where your goal is to complete the game in one sitting. There meant to be taken in pieces like a piece of pie or pizza, only a couple hours a day. If you do this then you will have find a much more satisfying experience and you can justify the $10 price tag. If you try to rush through in 1 sitting like eating a whole pie at once your gonna feel not satisfied enough because you will want more but there will be none left to give.

It sort of like an dramatic full cast audio book with static images that help enhance your brain to play it as movie. That the best way I can describe it. I hope this helps everyone.

besides can you recommended any more clean visual novels be greatly appreciated on steam.


I'm not really sure which ones are on steam, but I think The first few chapters of Higurashi and/or Umineko are. They definitely have some horror and some bad gore, but if you make it through to the final few chapters you won't regret it. I tend to view them as mysteries being told through "retellings" or alternate versions of the same story, and it's your job to figure out what the differences and similarities are, using the clues. I only hesitate with these because both are quite gory at times, and are *very* long.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Zeke365 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:04 pm

has anyone played Go go nippon:My first trip to japan 2015, Neko Para series, Gaokao.Love.100Days. Ever17 -The Out of Infinity- and Voices from the Sea and what are your thoughts on these game as being clean?
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Mullet Death » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:50 pm

Of the above, I've only "played" Neko Para. I had a more detailed explanation of its troubling content like we normally do for, say, fanservice in an anime around here, but I'll just give the short version instead: ABSOLUTELY NOT, it's censored hentai.

Gakao.Love.100 Days looks interesting. I'll see if I can look into it.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:30 pm

Zeke365 wrote:has anyone played Go go nippon:My first trip to japan 2015, Neko Para series, Gaokao.Love.100Days. Ever17 -The Out of Infinity- and Voices from the Sea and what are your thoughts on these game as being clean?

Ever17 is pretty clean. I'm not sure where you personally draw the line, so there's still some mild fan service, but it's definitely one of the cleaner things you could play (in great contrast to, as Mullet said, Neko Para which is basically hentai). The worst part would be SPOILER: Highlight text to read: an implied sex scene. Nothing is shown though; not even the description is explicit. It actually gets a lot of praise for being one of the pioneering VNs to use the medium's unique strengths to tell an overarching true route story without relying on dirty content to get sales. Highly recommended by me.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:23 pm

I second the Ever17 recommendation! (See my first post in this thread ^_^)


Okay, I'm getting myself all confused again, so I'm going to ask those who've played Higurashi/Umineko. So...they're in the same series, right? Are their stories connected, or are they like "spiritual sequels," if you will? I mean, is Higurashi necessary to understand Umineko, and does Umineko continue the story of Higurashi?

Also, I finally got around to looking them up on Steam since someone mentioned that at one point, and it looks like they only have chapters 1 and 2 of "Higurashi When They Cry Hou". What does the "Hou" mean? I'm getting very confused - is this just a different version with updated artwork and such, or is this a whole different story? Also, does anyone know if they're planning on putting more chapters up on Steam? I'd really like to be able to pay for this VN, but I haven't been able to figure out how to buy it in English anywhere else :C
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Xeno » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:38 pm

Only time will tell if they end up on Steam or not, but the other chapters do all have at least some form of English translation. VNDB.org is good for checking this kind of stuff.

I absolutely refuse to play non-clean/uncensored VNs. I do like visual novels, kinetic or otherwise, but I'm really not at all interested in hentai. Lost all interest of Neko-para when I found the landing page for its uncensored version, didn't have much interest in it to begin with anyway though. Been slogging through Steins;Gate (PS Vita) and The Fruit of Grisaia (Steam version) here recently.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby KazeShiki » Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:48 pm

the_wolfs_howl wrote:Okay, I'm getting myself all confused again, so I'm going to ask those who've played Higurashi/Umineko. So...they're in the same series, right? Are their stories connected, or are they like "spiritual sequels," if you will? I mean, is Higurashi necessary to understand Umineko, and does Umineko continue the story of Higurashi?

I suppose "spiritual sequel" is the closest to describe them? They are the same series kind of the way Final Fantasy games might be the same series, but with some definite overlap. Umineko has references to Higurashi and there are certain parts which make more sense after reading Higurashi but those examples are closer to being jokes for the fans rather than important to Umineko itself. Would you enjoy Umineko more after first reading Higurashi? Probably. Would you be able to understand Umineko completely without Higurashi? Yes.

Also, I finally got around to looking them up on Steam since someone mentioned that at one point, and it looks like they only have chapters 1 and 2 of "Higurashi When They Cry Hou". What does the "Hou" mean? I'm getting very confused - is this just a different version with updated artwork and such, or is this a whole different story? Also, does anyone know if they're planning on putting more chapters up on Steam? I'd really like to be able to pay for this VN, but I haven't been able to figure out how to buy it in English anywhere else :C

Regarding Hou, you are correct - it's just used to denote an updated version in terms of art and such. The story is the same. They have already announced plans for steam release of all of Higurashi and Umineko, so there is no real reason to think the later chapters won't come, but of course unexpected things can always happen, and it's going to take awhile regardless. If you don't want to wait years and have the money, you can buy the game in Japanese and patch it into English.

In other news, Himeko's Epilogue (direct sequel to Narcissu 2) was released today on steam! It's really short but I enjoyed it a lot.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:08 pm

Thanks for the help! :thumb: I'm definitely going to at least get what Steam has now, for sure.
You can find out things about the past that you never knew. And from what you've learned, you may see some things differently in the present. You're the one that changes. Not the past.
- Ellone, Final Fantasy VIII

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"There's a difference between maliciously offending somebody - on purpose - and somebody being offended by...truth. If you're offended by the truth, that's your problem. I have no obligation to not offend you if I'm speaking the truth. The truth is supposed to offend you; that's how you know you don't got it."
- Brad Stine
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Zeke365 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:14 pm

I read that Higurashiis horror visual novel and that it can get quite scary so if you dont mind it I say go for it, yes the first two chapters on steam, as for me I won't play something like that.

Now if those looking for more clean visual novels I should give a warning all of these visual novels I played have mild foul language but other than that there clean and available on steam, Voices of the sea free visual novel or pay for some extra content like voice acting and extras, Sepia tears another free visual novel very good and long one at that, Emily Away is another one for more of an old school type chat-room who grew up with windows Xp, and I m finishing Himeko's Epilogue which is good.

All in all these very clean visual novels with mild foul language, so be sure to check them out on steam and I will make post when I finish others, I m slow reader so what long time may be short to you.
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Re: Visual Novel Fans

Postby Zeke365 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:44 pm

Has anyone played Princess Evangile cause I m thinking of getting, what are your thoughts is it good or should I pass it up, the one I m looking at is the a;; ages version steam, but mainly stick to clean visual novels. So what are your thoughts?
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