It’s that time again. Time, that is, for Kouryuu to demand some extra content for the blog, and therefore time for me to write a few hundred words on something I worked on a few months ago. Fortunately for him, Kara no Shoujo is awesome enough that I’d have done it anyways.
I’ve said it before on IRC and twitter and to friends, but I’ll put it on the record and say it here: Kara no Shoujo is one of the best games in our catalogue, and easily one of my favourites amongst the titles I’ve worked on. Everything about this game just screams quality, and its dark, interactive mystery aspects make it a great introduction for fans of classic Western adventure games to come to the world of visual novels.
“But Sloane,” I can hear you typing away, “You bastards removed all the voices so why should I buy this, let alone recommend it to my friends?”
Well, Mr. Reader, I’ll break it down like this: When I work on MG’s visual novels, I’m working on them….without the visuals. And the voices. And even the music. Most of the time, I’m not given a copy of the Japanese game, and even if I was, it isn’t always easy to know where things map to since I don’t read Japanese, let alone the fact that I’d have to run the game in virtualisation next to my copy of Pages. This means that for me, our visual novels are…novels. eBooks. Very long eBooks broken down into an exhaustive set of MS Word files.
In other words, my appreciation of what we release is almost solely based on the quality of the writing and the translation. And KnS is bloody (pun intended) brilliant. For starters, the MC is a proper adult, as are most of his associates. This brings a weight and maturity to the game as we’re dealing with something outside the idealised realm of “Boy wants girlfriend.” Likewise, because you’re a true professional, the level of conversation you have quickly moves past small talk and into plot dependent exposition and investigation. All the characters, be they Yukari’s friends or your sex-crazed informant, are treated with a level of maturity which is refreshing to those used to school-set antics.
Kara no Shoujo also excels in its use of suspense and pacing. The idea that your investigation is a race against time is drilled into your head early on, and as the body count starts to rise, the urgency moves with it. Plus, your inability to interview everybody and the shifting nature of different informants means that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed line of inquiry or new information. Somebody who gives you everything you need one day may simply be unavailable or only willing to make chitchat the next.
This isn’t to say that the game lacks levity, mind you, and it provides welcome breaks and releases from the death and dismemberment around you, but at its core, we’re dealing with a tightly paced suspense thriller, and fans of mystery series like Wire in the Blood or Waking the Dead and classic adventure games like Phantasmagoria and the Gabriel Knight series will find Kara no Shoujo directly up their alley.
And those voices? From what I read of the beta tester submissions and my conversations with Kouryuu as he played through, the music and the graphics layer fantastically, but at its core, they work because the story is so good: they’re icing on an already tasty (and real) cake. Would voices be nice? I guess. But unlike, say, We Love Master or even Koihime Musou, they’re a perk, not a core requirement.
I should also take a moment to comment on KnS’s ero content. While not the selling point, the ero is often well placed in context (needing to trade it for information, a logical outgrowth of a relationship, or leading to a bad end in traditional horror movie fashion), and it’s blissfully free of lolis and incest. In other words, we’re dealing with a mature game with a (mostly) mature presentation of sex. Mind you, if word from the back rooms is correct, most of you will be skipping through it to get back on the case as quickly as possible – at least on your first time through.
In short, I can’t recommend Kara no Shoujo enough – not because I worked on it or because it’s my job to post about how awesome our games are, but because it’s genuinely brilliant. Believe the hype this time and you will be well rewarded.
Huh… A game that makes me want to skip the ero? I wonder if that will also be the case for me…
Am I the only one who skips at ero scenes? Not the most engaging reads imo. Though I did read some of Sengoku Rance’s eroscen; they did make rape funny and trivial at the same time lol
I’m a girl and Sengoku Rance had the most amusing ero scenes I’ve ever read… I mean, just about everything Rance said while having sex was just too hilarious. I’d have never thought that I would start laughing while reading a rape scene in an eroge, as I usually despise them, but Rance made me crack up even then. Love the game, but it’s so addicting, make you waste lots of time.. ;_;
I’m starting to wonder whether the ero is truly needed for this game. It may well be a selling point for some, but I’m starting to think that it may just be something that’s more of an annoyance and, not only skipped but actually moves to ruin the experience.
Hmm… I guess only time will tell.
I think I’d say the ero felt more like a side-story to me. Basically, if you spend enough time with any one woman while investigating the real case, you’re likely to end up having a moment or two with them. If you don’t spend a lot of time with a single given woman, you may not even get any ero-scenes at all. I nearly avoided all of them on my fist time through. But, at the same time though, if you don’t develop a relationship with anyone, you’ll likely miss their special event-CG during the Good Endings.
I think it’s a great and well done aspect for you to enjoy on your second play-through when you’re exploring the characters more than the case. But during your first play-through you’ll be focused on the case.
That’s quite interesting. So is it actually possible to play the whole game through and not get an ero scene at all? Would it still be possible to get a good end?
Don’t get me wrong, I know I seem to come across on here as being completely anti-ero, and I do admit to being an all-ages advocator, but ero so long as it’s a part of the story and actually helps move the story forward I’m not against (hell, how few films or TV series could I watch otherwise) I’m just interested in how the limited, or not, the ero for this game is and whether it’s really worth it or not (except for a few good CG’s).
I have to be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in this game to begin with, but the more I hear and read about it the more it’s starting to peak my interest.
Can you finish the case in one play-through? and do you have to engage in to a relationship with one of the female characters to solve the case or is it optional?
It is possible to access the true ending within the first playthrough, but that is rather difficult without a guide. There isn’t much in terms of relationships, but you HAVE to have the relationship points to the max with the main Heroine in order to get to the true ending. The other heroines are there mostly to provide their contribution to the overall story, h scenes, and a short little scene in the epilogue. You need to interact with them in order to gain clues, but that is completely separate from love. The solving of the mysteries are not dependent on the relationships (other than with Touko, as I’ve mentioned).
I heard that the ero is just out of the blue and random in this game. I’m getting this for the story, but I’m still wondering if Yukari has a scene or not >.>
“and it’s blissfully free of lolis and incest.”
you just lost a sale <:
but in all seriousness, it dosent sound like ero is needed AT ALL in this…
Well, at least that’s the case for most of visual novels. Ero scenes are simply another selling point.
I haven’t read a VN in quite a while now. I just haven’t felt like it. Maybe KnS is what I need to pull me back into VN Mode. ^_^
Those shocked faces look bad.
I KNOW. The artist is wonderful and all, but those shocked faces really hurt the mood (especially in serious scenes…sigh…………..).
So uhhhh, when will I be able to pre-order? 😀
(You’ve had me since the post title)
You know I’m actually glad that (according to the reviews) Duke Nukem Forever sucks so I can spend the money taht would’ve gone to that on this upcoming gem.
Eagerly awaiting this release and hoping for a hard copy to add to my collection. Innocent Grey is just BRILLIANT. Here’s hoping you guys also get Cartagra and Pianissimo. XD Keep up the good work, you guys.
“It’s blissfully free of lolis and incest.” Booooooo.
“It’s blissfully free of lolis”
Good. Lolis tend to be annoying as hell. I’m really looking forward to this. Need to find a friend with a credit card so I can purchase it.
Trial is out go download it~
Just finished my first playthrough, and my first bad-end.
This game is plain awesome, and so damn hard!