half a star for the soundtrack and werewolf mechanic. everything else about this game is so utterly despicable i want to off myself just thinking about it. i didn't think i'd find a game where i hated literally every single character but raging loop has managed to surprise me in the worst of ways, including this one
This review contains spoilers
wait, the big plot twist is "she raped everyone"???
i have never seen a game fall so fucking flat on its face in such a multitude of frustratingly stupid ways before, raging loop breaking the mold for visual novels everywhere
Raging Loop has been on my radar for a long time but always got pushed back for one reason or another. Following a bad storm and a long power outage with nothing to do, I saw a good opportunity and went ahead and jumped on it. A very comfortable ~25 hour experience split into a few nice binging sessions. Anything “999-coded” (murder mystery with a flowchart and remembering things that you shouldn’t be able to remember!!!) is always going to speak to me on a deeply personal level because it is simply the greatest of all time every time it’s implemented, but in all honesty I really wasn’t feeling Raging Loop during its first route. I was considering dropping the game after the conclusion of the first route, in fact, but I’m glad I persevered because the middle stretch of the game was much more consistently engaging and well-paced.
Raging Loop is interesting because I think it really shines in this middle section, where the player is just familiar enough with the setting, its cast, and the “ruleset” of the game to feel like an active participant in the deduction-making while still leaving plenty of room for the inevitable “you haven’t seen anything yet” reveals. The ending suffers from some pacing issues and lack of satisfying buildup and closure for certain characters/plot points but there are some undeniably great scenes so it isn’t anything too egregious. I was especially impressed with how much I came around on the main character who went from actively taking away my enjoyment in the first route to a surprisingly endearing lead in the game’s final hours. At no point did I ever really care about the “romance” aspect the game seemed so hell-bent on trying to spoon-feed to me. I was definitely not buying what Raging Loop was selling on that front, sadly.
It’s not perfect but it was a very fun read, I’m glad I finally got around to it.
never before in my life was i presented with a cast as dislikable as this, but you keep at it, you think it will improve, and then when the story finally gets to rolling they hit you with another shitty joke, and another, and OH we were being serious? nah, HERE'S YET A N O T H E R. and then the endgame is building up to be this GIANT THING, and you think, YES FINALLY, HERE IT COMES - BUT THEN THEY INFODUMP FOR 5 HOURS STRAIGHT AND THEN YOU SEE THE CREDITS ROLL BUT THEY KEEP INFODUMPING, AND THEN YOU GO READ THE EXTRA SCENES BECAUSE IT'S A VISUAL NOVEL AND YOU WANT ALL THE CONTENT BECAUSE IT WAS OKAY-ISH OVERALL AND IT'S JUST MORE INFODUMPING ON SIDECHARACTERS IN A SETTING YOU WILL /NEVER/ REVISIT AGAIN BECAUSE IT JUST DOESN'T STOP.
what initially drew me to this game was the artstyle, and the story held great promise. in the end i feel like i could have spent those 50+ hours with like 3 other games, because after it was all said and done i was just so tired. so so tired of the writing in this. it could have been great, it had its great moments, but the overall package was such a letdown, i felt myself legitimately get angry for even spending yet another minute suffering through it.
Game #37: Raging Loop
Raging Loop is an another VN that features the flowchart mechanic. Story is really good, in every flow you experience totally different things and on top of that it's humorous too. Definitely one of my favorite games.
This review contains spoilers
What if umineko had an actual ending
The story gets really convoluted and hard to follow at times but I still think the overall writing can be pretty compelling in this game. Top heavy character cast (Chiemi especially is great) but not too bad otherwise. A werewolf/mafia VN where your choices matter is just kind of a brilliant concept so that lead to a lot of fun and interesting scenarios. Unfortunately I think that's far and away the best part of the game and that the attempts at deeper lore with giant info dumps just hurt the experience more than anything.
Minor-medium spoilers ahead.
The game kind of goes back and forth between ridiculously supernatural and this idea of "Wait but nothing is supernatural after all!!!" which leads to some contradictory situations. I would've rather they took it easy a bit on the attempts at 300 IQ genius writing and focused more on what the game did well: the elements surrounding the feast, and Haruaki's relationship dynamic with the different characters. The first loop was by far my favorite part of the game, which means to me the game went downhill after that, although I thought the other 2 main loops were also interesting in their own right. I frankly don't think the game concluded well (although the last scene with Chiemi was admittedly cute and satisfying) but I can say that I generally enjoyed the ride along the way.
Top-shelf murder mystery/horror take on the social game Werewolf. Haruaki Fushaishi is a certifiable freak, and we love him to bits. It's a stellar cast, the looping is structured well, and it even scared us a handful of times (though it balances it out with plenty of goofy humor). This one's well worth your time.
A thrilling and very well paced VN with an incredible protagonist, a very solid cast otherwise too that ties into the great mafia scenes showcasing the great dynamics and thematic cohesion at play, a generally great atmosphere and sense of danger that's very present all the time, and most interestingly of all a fascinating perspective on themes of society and religion. Unfortunately the ending is a big sticking point and it keeps this from being higher than it could've been, but it's notable that it doesn't ruin what I did love about this VN.
cw: mentions of ableism, transphobia(?), and rape
Reeling from his recent break-up, Haruaki Fusaishi stumbles into the remote village of Yasumizu. Before long, an ominous fog descends on the mountain, trapping Haruaki and the residents within the town. The residents begin holding a ritual known as the "Feast." Its essentially a game of Werewolf. One of your friends and neighbors has been replaced with a murderous "wolf." You have to vote to hang the wolves before the wolves kill you. On top of that, Haruaki finds himself time looping and repeating the feasts over and over. In a community that already distrusts outsiders, can he find a path to escape?
Hard to get a read on my feelings on this. I think there's compelling stuff here. Major themes of how societies and religions form. How isolation or ostracization shape how people view themselves or others. How anyone, no matter how strong a will, can justify a cult mentality or mob violence.
I found myself getting pretty attached to some of the characters. The post-game revelation mode lets you hear the internal monologues of characters you had trouble reading for most of the game. When the main game is a paranoia run of who you can trust or fear, its a great way to add layers to the experience. You can understand the pain the characters are going through when they have to fear their loved ones or how someone is slowly convinced to become a wolf. Some of the stand-outs is Haruaki himself. Starting off as a generic mc man, he quickly reveals himself to be one of the Most Characters I've ever seen. He's a prankster and a liar, and for a game of paranoia and manipulation it makes him the kind of rogue-ish hero that a narrative like this needs. It also shows how he's not above the village's legends. He's a skeptic by nature, but in the route where he's forced to become a wolf, his desperation to survive sinks him to the same depravity he tried to stay above.
At the same time, there's elements of the character work that feels... weird? Yasumizu is established as a town of people who were exiled from the more affluent nearby town. There's a fascinating class and prejudice angle that the story digs into multiple times.
But then you get characters like Mocchi. Mocchi was exiled because he's an eccentric and his family thought he inherited some family instability. It makes sense that Yasumizu wouldn't exact have a robust mental health system to support Mocchi and provide the language or aid he needs for himself. But one of the ways they show that Mocchi is "weird" is that he wears dresses. Haruaki goes out of his way to ask "are you uncomfortable with your gender identity?" and Mocchi literally responds, I quote, "No I'm just weird." No one ever judges Mocchi for this and its never brought up again but it makes the intentions of that writing decision even harder to pin down. I don't THINK its transphobic but the fact that I can't even tell is some kind of damning.
The final villain runs into a similar problem. Without getting into details, its revealed that the villain needed to sleep with almost the entire cast for their plan to succeed. This includes minors. Whether or not sex was actually involved or not, that's just a bizarre writing decision to make? At the same time, the villain tragic past involves some weird sexual aspects that are also horrifying to untangle? It just seems like a decision that didn't need to be a part of the story and was thrown in as a last minute gross out factor.
Its a weird game to decipher. I think it has genuinely great themes about social conflict, but some of its decisions are so baffling that it completely takes you out and makes you question how intentional those themes are.
Bizarre little game.
I played this game twice, once through the normal route and then again fully with the revelation mode. I really really loved it. I'm not gonna be out here saying its perfect. But I don't think thats a good metric to have for anything. I found the story super engaging and I really loved where it went. I can see why people might not like the ending but I just adored it.
Haruaki is such a great protestant, he's such a freak.
I think this might genuinely be in my top 10 games. Though I don't know if I'm quite VN pilled enough for that. But I do feel it in my heart.
Really great game, with an amazing premise and atmostphere as well as lore, and absolutely incredibly memorable characters - all of them are so fleshed out that it's impossible to not feel like you're part of the village as well. The plot progressed in such a seat gripping way that i remained glued to it for several days on a row until i completed it. And if that's not enough, upon finishing the story you get access to a sort of story+ mode, where you can reread everything again but this time including extra bits of dialogue outside the MC's reach, such as other character's thought processes and opinions and new scenes, that really add to the story and help complete the experience, explaining a lot of things you may have been left wondering the last time. I said it before and i'll say it again, the atmostphere and the characters are what make this game for me. The MC is one of -if not the most- interesting and full of personality protagonists you'll ever find in a visual novel, and this game wouldn't be nearly as good without him. The rest of the cast are all so lovable but nuanced as well, which really helps complete the feeling of humanity you get from them. The pacing was really to my liking, not too slow but no too rushed, and the resolution of the story has seen a lot of varying receptions from diferent players, but it felt great to me, even if some parts were a bit out of the blue in tone and scale. This vn would be a solid 10/10 for me, if it wasn't for the subtle but consistent nudges at romancing minors, which made me lowkey uncomfortablr in several situations, but mostly with Haru's route and Yasunaga-Hisako in their extra side story. Otherwise, really solid title.
The ending is just an incredible catastrophe and some of the writing choices made are uh, not great. Still has some solid writing and a cast which is fine but makes you wonder how great it truly could've been if it stuck the landing in the last act.
I was quite surprised by how fun this VN was, despite being a bit disappointed by how static it was. Having just played Gnosia, I read the setup of Raging Loop and expected something similar but RL is firmly within a classic VN structure. With that expectation, however, it excels as one.
The highlight here, and what you would hope for a hidden role type setup, is the characters. I don't think there's one poorly written character in the bunch and even the ones you might not like at least add to the narrative, engaging in the proceedings in a way that feels reasonable and yet dramatic. The main character being my favorite as his quips are roguishly entertaining and he's sometimes even more mysterious than the people he finds himself involved with. They don't keep his motivations locked away, though, so you still can more or less understand why he's acting the way he does.
The pacing of the plot is overall pretty snappy as well. It drags for me a little bit once it explains the rules of the "game" (likely because of my recent plays, again) but there's enough important differences here that you'll still want to pay attention to it all. As a mystery story there's a lot of subtlety in the moment to moment proceedings and I think they strike a good balance of "keeping things happening" and "explaining why it happened."
If there's anything I was disappointed by in the story, though, it was the ending. It was well executed and interesting, but not as surprising or revelatory as it might be for most readers. If you've read Higurashi and seen Owarimonogatari, you'll probably see what I mean when you play. And I still suggest you do, because the journey is still quite enjoyable off the writing alone.
As for the bells and whistles, this a pretty full featured VN experience and the navigation options are more than sufficient for the kind of branching it uses. Good enough even that I wished they had actually made the route traversal a little more complex near the end to push the mystery element a bit more.
In any case, while not the most mind blowing story out there, it really is a solid one. Do recommend.
Almost-perfect horror/mystery visual novel that centers around a mafia-style social deduction game. The conclusion of some character arcs in the final/true ending are a little unsatisfying, but it's overall a fun take on a classic deduction game, with a great cast.
Played at the start of the year and now near the end of the year I still think this is one of the games I enjoyed the most.
The final route doesn't really hold up, but everything leading up to it is so damn good it didn't really make a dent in my overall enjoyment. I love werewolf setups and it's fun to puzzle it out each route, and Revelation Mode is a really cool addition if you want to revisit the story (and I wish more mystery games had something like it). The localization is fantastic and handles all the cultural references and kanji trickery well. I want to put Haruaki in a petri dish and study him in a lab.
Raging Loop understand something that few straight romances comprehend: the girl has to be insane and murderous.
A game that has its moments but ultimately left me feeling cold sadly. While the first few routes were quite entertaining, the quality of writing worsens dramatically in the final act. Raging Loop didn’t satisfy my hunger in the end.
The game has plenty of good points in its favor. The core premise of a Werewolf-style mystery game is good and the setting and characters both contribute to it. I generally enjoyed the first two thirds or so and was interested to see how it would all be tied together.
But there are two main issues that really bring the game down for me.
First is that the game's central premise never felt fleshed out enough in terms of actual gameplay and writing. You are stuck in a time loop, keeping your memories each time you experience the game. Yet, apart from a handful of choices scattered about, nothing ever actually changes to reflect the knowledge you've acquired. Start a loop from the beginning knowing exactly who the werewolves are? Well your thoughts never actually change to reflect that. You are just as clueless and helpless as the first time unless you are reacting to a very specific choice. Ultimately, I can at least understand this flaw but it does still bring the game down. One of the interesting aspects of a game like Werewolf is just all the different ways things can go depending on how people act. Different choices for the wolves' target and investigations and accusations can all go a lot of different ways normally. But in Raging Loop, the choices are limited (and almost always just lead to an immediate bad end if you choose incorrectly) so the game actually ends up being completely linear with few deviations.
Maybe that's just an issue with expectations, but given the inspiration they're working with and the opportunities it presents, Raging Loop takes what makes the original Werewolf such an interesting experience and diminishes it into a structure for telling a very linear and unchanging experience. I can understand why they did this, but it does leave a poor taste in my mouth.
Second, and the issue most other reviews point to, is that the ending is atrocious. I honestly don't even know how to express the sheer nosedive the story takes once you approach the ending, but rest assured that I am not exaggerating when I say it is one of the stupidest and most out-there resolutions I have ever seen to a mystery. Ever seen the resolution to a Professor Layton game? Well think of something along similar levels of bullshit to that.
So good fundamentals, but brought down by some structural issues that underdeliver on the game's potential and an atrocious resolution. The early stuff can still be interesting to play and I enjoyed my time with it enough that I don't feel cheated of my time and money, but its hard to recommend the game given its pretty significant flaws.
Maybe play it if this seems like something up your alley. There is still good content to be found, just know ahead of time that the buildup is a much greater experience than the payoff. And don't touch any of the postgame content. Its not worth your time and retroactively makes the ending even worse.
the game is good but... oooooh the pacing...