I know that feel

That feel where you’re not enjoying what you’re playing but are too lazy and stubborn to give it up and start something new… Luckily enough, powering through the boring bits of Operation Abyss seems to have worked and I’m slowly starting to enjoy myself. I think the turning point was hitting level 6 and getting powerful new spells for my Wizard so I could blast through battles at a much faster rate. The rest of my team is much stronger too, which means I can explore for long periods of time without always feeling the urge to back out and save.

So yeah, Operation Abyss isn’t that boring, I guess. And it only took me one month to realize it, woo hoo! You can look forward to a “this game is sugoi!” kind of post next time… maybe. This was just a “Sorry to disappoint you but I’m still alive” update. See you guys in a bit!

Just not feeling Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy

I said I would be busy until early June and I was, but I’ve been relatively free for about a week now. In that time I’ve been trying to get into Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. Trying, and not exactly failing but not exactly succeeding either. I’m about 6 hours in, finished several missions, beat two Wanted Variants. Level up my troops to level 5 thereabouts. Picked up some new skills, etc etc. The usual early game stuff.

The story goes that you’re members of some secret group tasked with taking down some monsters. That’s it. Love it. Love it when dungeon crawlers don’t bother me with too much talking. They also let me roam around the dungeons as long as I like without constantly calling me up on the phone or dragging me back to headquarters (*cough* 7th Dragon 2020 and sequels *cough). There’s some blah blah intrigue going on with some TPF group or the other, but no one seems bothered about it right now.

But that’s it what I love. As for the rest, waaah… The NPCs are lifeless, the enemies are lifeless, the graphics aren’t nice, the gameplay is a clunkier copy of Entaku no Seito and Stranger of Sword City, the soundtracks are almost identical, and so on and so forth… And it’s… so… easy! I’m sure it will get harder later, but right now I’m just mashing Attack, Attack, Attack all day long and getting through just fine. For the boss fights I break out a few spells and a couple of healing items. One time I did Hit Up, Hit Up, Hit Up for three turns. All right! Time to get serious… but the boss was already dead. Awww…

I’m also a little tired of exploring the same two dungeons over and over again. Morimoto High-Rise, Gakuto Sewer. Morimoto again. Gakuto again. And I had to fight the same old same old goblins and trolls everywhere I went. I want new enemies!

And more whining and more bitching and more moaning.

And that’s why I’ve been avoiding posting about Operation Abyss, because I don’t have anything nice to write yet. It doesn’t have the charm or spaciousness of Entaku no Seito and it lacks the polish and smoothness of Stranger of Sword City. It’s just a very mediocre dungeon crawler. I mean I was warned not to compare it to the later games but… Well, I’m only 6 hours in and it’s a pretty short game. I’ll give it my best shot and maybe it will grow on me. Yeah…

Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen – Asahina Kakeru GET!

Nnnn… so sleepy… Let’s make this quick. I reloaded from the Kakeru save I made midway through Kariya’s route and used that to get Kakeru’s happy end. As I’d suspected, meeting him for the after-school chat does make things awkward for a while. Especially since Kakeru doesn’t actually confess. He admits he’s had feelings for Yui for years but says he doesn’t feel ready to formally ask her out yet. So it’s a refusal to confess, more or less. You interrupted my busy schedule for that?

Later on he talks to Yui about why he’s going through a slump in his soccer game – he broke his leg before and is subconsciously terrified of breaking it again. She offers some trite words of encouragement, Kakeru is suitably gratified and he goes on to bend it like Beckham once again. Then he confesses, then she gives him the “I’ve loved you all along too but wouldn’t have known it if you hadn’t said anything” speech and then they start dating. The same making-out-on-every-street corner that Kariya’s route suffered from.

It’s even worse than Kariya’s route because at least Kariya and Yui had new and exciting things to talk about. With Kakeru and Yui every other conversation starts with “Hey, remember that time when we…” and goes on for ages blah blah blah childhood memories blah blah it was so much fun blah blah blah. I call it the “Stranger’s Family Reunion” problem. It really makes the gamer feel left out when the characters are always in their own little world going over their own little memories we are not privy to. Once would be enough, but every single conversation is just depressing. This has put me off playing any other childhood friend routes in other otome games. I am soooo sorry for intruding on your happy memories.

Well, enough of that. Kakeru’s a nice guy. Really nice guy. What does he see in that Yui girl anyway? Hmph. Moving on, I’m going to give Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen a break and play some other stuff for a while. And by ‘other stuff’ I mean I can’t wait to start Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. I want to do some dungeon-crawling, the more mindless the better. But first I need some painkillers and a nap. Too sleepy…

Non-update: Managed to play an hour of Operation Abyss and haven’t been able to touch it since. I’m just too busy ;____; And it looks like I’ll be busy till early June at the latest. Waaah…

Further non-update: Played a little Fire Emblem Echoes as well. Less than an hour. Most of that was spent watching the characters talk and talk. I think I’ll prioritize Operation Abyss over this, I’m not in the mood to be talked at right now.

Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen – Kariya-sempai GET!

Or to be precise, Kariya-sempai “happy end” GET! According to the game, anyway. Which suggests there’s a not-so-happy end and maybe even a bad end? Aww, I wanted to see those. This route was too happy happy yay yay, it needed more darkness!

The good news is, Kariya did officially ask me out, shortly after yesterday’s post. Whining on your blog never fails, I tell you. Most otome games end with the grand confession and you’re left to assume they all lived happily ever after. In Hatsukare, however, the couple date each other for about a month after confession, giving you a glimpse of what their relationship would be like. It’s like Storm Lover (same developer) and Love Plus in that respect.

And like those other games, ehhh, I don’t like that part. Sure I’m happy if the relationship goes well, but I really don’t care to see all that lovey-dovey stuff. The process of getting there is the interesting part, the rest I don’t care about. I used to think it would be cool to know what happened afterwards, but now I realize it’s just boring cheesy “I love you”, “I love you more”, “No me”, “No you”  teenage stupidity. And like stupid teens they’re always making out on the street corner, in the school courtyard, at the mall, on the stairwell, everywhere under the sun. GET A ROOM kids! Wait, no, get out of the room! No! Aaaaah!!! …I’m kidding. …Barely.

Long story short, the last month of the game was rather boring for me. It’s just day after day of Yui and Yuuji giggling and making out and making googoo eyes at each other. All the family dysfunction and drama I was promised on this route was quickly swept under the carpet and never referred to again. For example, throughout the game Kariya has been hinting about his parents being violent, neglectful ex-delinquents. He has even shown up at school once with bruises from being beaten by his father. But once we start dating the whole narrative changes and now his story is “They’re really nice people once you get to know them.” Uh, really. Uh, okay.

Moreover I was all hyped up to see some drama involving Reiji, but he and his gang just gave up and virtually disappeared once Yuuji and Yui became a proper couple. It seems Reiji was interested in her because his brother was interested, but once she officially became his girlfriend he was too honorable to go there (or maybe he just valued his life). Either way he never bothers you guys again. He even shows up at the fireworks festival to chase away some baddies so Yuuji and I can make out in peace. Thanks bro, I owe you one.

Not like this, sempai, not like this!

Ah well, Kariya-sempai himself is a nice enough guy. I think my main problem with the dating part was that Yui often says and does things I don’t necessarily think are wise. For example I already mentioned how much of a buzzkill it is on Shun’s route when she keeps whimpering about how little she knows about games. And there’s another scene where she tells a friend all about her brother’s teenage heartbreak. Uncool, girl. Just, uncool. And another scene where she goes to Kariya’s house and falls asleep in his bed. I’m like, is that really wise? Really?

So it’s okay for an otome heroine to have character, but whether that character will gel with the player or not is a hit-or-miss prospect. If the writing is strong enough you can still enjoy the game even if the heroine is a huge idiot (Kanuchi comes to mind) but it’s harder to do so.

Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen at all. I did. I’m working on Kakeru’s route even as we speak. But I think the best parts are the early bits where you’re just getting to know the characters. The post-confession stage which should be the highlight of the game is meh because you have to watch Yui interact with Mr. Dreamboat. And I don’t really like Yui. I don’t hate her but… nah, I don’t like her. And the game ends on that note so… eh. Well, all’s well that ends well.

That’s it for the mini-review. Next post I’ll summarize the results of my Kakeru and Shun routes and then move on to another game.

Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen – Kariya-sempai’s evil twin brother noticed me!

Waaaaah! Now I can’t get married! Nooo! …Actually it wasn’t that bad. I managed to push him away just in time and then Kariya ran over to help. Yay, my hero! Only problem is I wouldn’t even have been in that mess if it wasn’t for his stupid little brother randomly falling in love with me just because I’m his brother’s girlfriend (even though I’m not because Kariya hasn’t formally asked me out), so he owes me some compensation. On a more serious note, I don’t see any future for our relationship if his brother is going to assault me at every opportunity. Just think of how awkward the family reunions would be!

Unfortunately it’s a little too late for me to back out of a Kariya end now, seeing as I’ve ditched or friend zoned all the other guys and there’s only one month left till the end of the game. What I did with Kakeru was particularly ingenious… or cruel, depending on how you want to see it. It got to the stage where Kakeru was clearly trying to confess his feelings for Yui. He asked her to meet him after school so they could talk. Kariya-sempai hadn’t (and I remind you still hasn’t) asked me out, but I’d already made up my mind to go for him so Kakeru didn’t stand a chance. But turning him down would make things uncomfortable for the rest of the game. What to do?

Why, blow off the meeting and pretend I completely forgot, that’s what. Stunned by how easily Yui “forgot” about him, Kakeru calls her up to say it didn’t matter what he was going to say that afternoon and that he hopes they’ll continue to be great friends forever. And that’s the end of that. Heh heh heh. That’s right, folks, I manipulated Kakeru into friend zoning himself. I’m such a little…. heh. Maybe being stalked by Kariya’s brother is divine punishment. ‘Cos I just told him off for shoplifting and now he’s head over heels for me. That’s not natural. Definitely a bolt from above, so don’t feel too bad for me. And don’t feel too bad for Kakeru either, because I made a backup save right before that event. Now I won’t have to start the game from scratch to get him.

Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen covers a school term from April to July and I’m already on June 23rd, so I should be done soon. I can’t wait to see how Furyu gives me a happy ending with a guy whose brother likes to mess with his girlfriends just for the fun of it. There will be blood, oh yes there will.