80 Reviews liked by DevilSurvivor
the only people who like this game do so because they fat balding manlets who relate to a game about "Balder Sky" who rely on quasi marvel-ragnarokian lore to tell a good story.
also, a really, really terrible twin stick shooter. hard recommend, go play Hatred, less underage girls and more targets.
This review contains spoilers
When I first got into Fate with Zero and Stay Night it was a pretty damn good series that honestly helped me quite a bit with my life since I was hella depressed. Got deeper into the series with the visual novels, light novels, games, manga etc which quite a bit of them ranked very poorly for me while others were extremely good and I’m proud to say I love those series a lot. The Fate IP has honestly been milked for way too long and it should’ve ended with CCC but because of Aniplex making FGO (which is an abomination and disgrace to all the other works and fans that love those series) Typemoon is officially doomed and if you don’t see this then you’re blind because it’ll never finish! Mahoyo 2-3 won’t happen, Angel Notes is abandoned, Red Garden 2030 plan, DDD never finishing etc and it’s all because of Aniplex making FGO. Now you’re gonna say this is a Samurai Remnant review and not an FGO review but you all don’t realize that this game is basically just an extension to FGO 😭😭😭
Samurai Remnant is an abomination of a game and is an insult to all OG Fate fans so I’ll explain why. Samurai Remnants story structure is absolutely piss poor and feels like a cheap FGO event and there’s nothing unique about the story at all and feels like a complete waste of time. None of the characters are interesting especially with them reusing the same characters over and over again! The OST is piss poor and the 2D models mouths moving is honestly annoying beyond belief. The gameplay is legit just button mash which is lame asf and takes no thoughts so I absolutely hate it and the story is definitely the worst Fate story I’ve seen by far and the bad ending is like the only decent thing from it. True ending and normal endings are abysmal and one feels like a cheap rip off of Elden Beast from Elden Ring which that boss already is lame asf. There’s absolutely nothing from this game that I like and in fact it makes me angry that this abomination even exists in the first place. If you like it good for you! But I don’t give two fucks about this piece of shit of an abomination and they obviously made DLC so the story feels more complete! WOW so we gotta pay even more money! Fuck no I’m fucking done and will curse this abomination to the pits of hell where it belongs
yes i do watch max0r's epic ace combat "inaccurately explained" series with pure delight, "hey buddy still alive, PEPSİMANNNNN, ONLY THING I KNOW FOR REAL, WTF BOOM!, THAT'S WHAT V2 IS FOR! HAHA!", cannot wait to base my personality around the main character of the next max0r video! btw i never really played the series but i looove posting memes about it on Social Media! You wanna see my Topster about best video games of all time? (ace combat zero, metal gear rising, yakuza zero, ridge racer type 4, final fantasy xiv:shadowbringers)
It’s time to face a harsh reality: Steins;Gate was a miraculous fluke. In the space of a single game, Chiyomaru and friends (henceforth, Chiyomaru) elevated what was not yet even a series of games from B-movie schlock to a critical and commercial darling that, nearly 15 years later, still tops “best of” charts across several media. That’s not to discredit Chaos;Head, which obviously laid its foundation, but is indeed much more than a misstep toward something greater. B-movie schlock though it may be, as one of many successors to the much-acclaimed Infinity series – which even in the west could never be avoided in discussion amongst visual novel fans – it is schlock at its absolute finest. Pulpy, gory, disturbing, downright ridiculous, it was a barrage of pure entertainment from start to finish. Besides that, though, it also felt REAL. The protagonist was an underachieving nerd who spent his life watching anime and getting into Internet fights on 2channel (AKA literally me), and he used contemporary technology in ways that the audience would likely relate to. His “friend” at school, contrary to the idiot best friend trope of many romance visual novels, was a player, a normie. The action took place not in some unnamed suburb, but in the grungy side streets of Shibuya, accentuating the horror by grounding the game in a very tangible time and place. The pseudoscience and conspiracy backdrop were both just believable enough to immerse oneself in, to walk away from the game and imagine it happening to us. This is what most importantly colored the early Science Adventure games: relatability. It’s what the team took and ran with going in to Steins;Gate, giving us that lovable cast, that particular time and place, and that constant sense of looming trepidation along with a story that was more measured, intimate, and consistent. Unfortunately, it’s the ABSENCE of this relatability that has colored most of the series since, and Anonymous;Code doesn’t appear to be breaking the trend.
That isn’t to say that this is Anonymous;Code’s only or even main issue. The Science Adventure games are all astoundingly plotted out conceptually: they tend to nail the world, the character profiles, the musical theme, and the initial tone. Chiyomaru’s biggest weakness seen time and again is a failure to stick the landing, as the back half of most of the games either start meandering, failing to follow through on threads introduced in the first half, misappropriating tone or gravity, or relying on what is essentially deus ex machina. It’s often the case – and even Steins;Gate had this problem – that the narrative will culminate in a world-ending, emotional climax only to be resolved at the last minute by a character limply pressing the “Enter” key on his computer (or something equally uncompelling), with the game ending at least half an hour before you thought it would. Anonymous;Code turns this pacing problem up to 11. I understand the balancing act in creating a good visual novel between slice-of-life bits and the narrative proper: a lot of games rely on the former to a frustrating degree to either pad out the runtime or to relentlessly bash the player’s face into the cute girl characters’ quirks so he can be sad when one of them dies. Problem is, Anonymous;Code has ZERO scenes that do not explicitly advance the plot. My initial appreciation for the game skipping most of the “boring stuff” gradually turned to dread as I realized I was halfway through and knew next to nothing about its characters, who by all accounts are fun and interesting archetypes. Main character Poron, his partner-in-crime Cross, and his fat hanger-on Wind play off each other extremely well, their early-game conversations being both funny and endearing. Unfortunately, we get to examine precious little of what animates Poron, and even less about the other two; the game is so obsessed with its own plot that they might as well have disappeared once the stakes have been raised, except for the fact that they serve as part of the body count of cooperators that goes toward explaining how Poron accomplishes the incredible feats he does. As part of a series, you can tell a game isn’t doing so hot on the character front when you start to wonder what the guys from previous entries are up to in the middle of playing it. This became a serious problem for me once the “world-ending climax” part of the game hit, which was so undeservedly overwrought and melodramatic that I ended up putting the game aside for an entire year after getting through it. Anonymous;Code takes for granted that the player cares about its characters without giving any reason to, and without knowing what drives them their motivations and biases start to come off as stupid and frustrating.
While Anonymous;Code is the first “non-sequel” Science Adventure game since Robotics;Notes (are we really counting Occultic;Nine?), it is thematically and spiritually a sequel and companion piece to Steins;Gate, expounding on many of its concepts, but in the context of a very different world. Once again we are dealing with world lines, time travel, the concept of the “observer,” and saving the girl to save the world. In contrast to Steins;Gate, however, which was set in Akihabara amongst anachronistic tech and niche Internet culture, Anonymous;Code imagines a future of 2037 where all technology is mainstream and all culture homogenized. While the characters of S;G traded obscure imageboard memes and found themselves submerged in conspiracy by virtue of the particularly enthusiast nature of 2channel users, A;C shows us a world where 4chan has gobbled up the formerly-Balkanized Internet to reach even Japan, and where the middle-aged woman walking past our protagonist on the sidewalk could easily be a 4chan user. It’s an amusingly depressing reminder of the state of culture today, though one could hardly fault the game for that as it’s only following the conceit laid out by its predecessors in reflecting reality. Problematically though, and as any observant player would immediately realize, we do not live in the year 2037. Even if we take as a given that Robotics;Notes didn’t make a similar (but far less drastic) mistake in its own setting, we also do not live in the year 2029. It only takes reading an interview or two to see that Chiyomaru understood that the hyper-contemporary settings of the initial Science Adventure games were integral to their reception, so I’m left wondering why the team thought it a good idea to subject us to an entry that completely disregards this in favor of pure science fiction. Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate were unique insofar as they needed to put in very little work to make the player suspend disbelief in the setting; this was already baked in by their very nature. Anonymous;Code may as well be set on Mars: hoverbikes, Google VR embedded in everyone’s brains, wanton remote hacking, automated convenience stores. The world itself is as foreign as any horror that might befall it. Everyone’s Google Glasses get hacked; I have no frame of reference for this. It’s all so distant, so evidently fictional, lacking the sort of visceral terror that came with the torture of watching C;H’s snuff film of children begging for their lives, or uncovering S;G’s jellyman experiments. Part of the blame does lie in the fact that we’re dealing with a CERO C game here, but even Steins;Gate managed to navigate past this restriction and, despite being filled with fantastical, futuristic science, managed to keep itself firmly planted in our world. Perhaps the one piece of A;C’s worldbuilding that evokes that nostalgic sense of unease (besides maybe one other which steps into spoiler territory) is its so-called “Sad Morning” of 2036, the accidental leveling of several major world cities by a satellite defense system, largely owing to its believability and the creepy dissonance between its benign name and the event itself.
I also have to take umbrage with Anonymous;Code’s use of the occult, or rather the lack thereof. This game’s antagonistic organization, falling as usual under the illuminati umbrella, is the Catholic Church, which is a great idea! Zealots are scary, and the horrors they can commit with Science Adventure’s pseudo-scientific technology are plentiful. Unfortunately, it feels like the Church exists simply to fill the “bad guy” hole in this game, as it takes advantage of very few conspiracies specific to the real-life organization. The game’s plot is kickstarted by the Three Secrets of Fatima, but it and the precious few other Church-related conspiracies aren’t really taken anywhere interesting. In fact, a lot of A;C feels like a dumping ground for the metaphysical curiosities that Chiyomaru just happened to remember learning about in high school, as if Neil DeGrasse Tyson is whispering moistly into my ear for the entire story. Pop science is the fuel that powers Science Adventure, but all of the theories presented feel particularly atomized here, only relating to the plot as a matter of convenience. A;C also commits the sin of showing the bad guys’ faces too early and too often. The allure of conspiracy is in imagining the enemy, knowing that he wields power, but being unsure of how far his reach extends. Steins;Gate’s CERN was presented perfectly: we become acquainted with their shady experiments via classified documents, are left to mull over how sinister they could possibly be, and are gradually introduced to the cruelty they can enact on our protagonist. Here, however, we have far too many tangible, mustache-twirling antagonists who also receive bafflingly little development or exploration.
I’m afraid Anonymous;Code’s gameplay gimmick is also rather lacking in function. I loved the idea: Poron has the ability to save and load the world like a video game. He shares the save/load screen with the player who, as A;C is a piece of metafiction, is also a real presence in the game. This relationship between Poron and the player is used to very cool effect at the end, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the concept land correctly as I was absolutely not expecting it to. As a gameplay feature, however, it basically amounts to giving the player a binary choice of dying or not dying. At pivotal points the player is meant to guide Poron to open the Load screen in order to avoid death and rethink his strategy. Several scenes in the game will see the player mashing the shit out of the R2 button to get him to finally open it, as he will rebuke the player unless this action is performed within a very specific, sometimes very short window for which no clues are given besides Poron being ambiguously in danger. Due to the lack of slice-of-life segments, there are few moments where Poron’s ability can be used to humorous or self-serving effect, which is an obvious missed opportunity. The player is not given more than one critical point in each chapter to “choose” (loosely used) to load Poron’s save, and so gets no branching paths to experiment with. Effectively, this means the game has no choices. There are no routes, no means of pursuing girls other than the main heroine. The only creative input the player gets is in finding the True Ending, a process I liked but can see being so obtuse as to frustrate most players who don’t accidentally end up there. That the many gaps in the narrative (again, because of no slice-of-life) and the pathetically few endings combine to create a conspicuous lack of content has become a consistent source of criticism among fans, and I can’t help but agree even as a player who typically enjoys linear experiences.
As metafiction, Anonymous;Code necessarily differs in scope from its Science Adventure counterparts, and the consequences of the twist that offers the explanation for this will likely echo across any future installments. Without getting into spoiler territory, I was rather impressed by how mutedly and maturely the game deals with this shift once shit hits the fan. In part, I do suspect it does so because it’s a twist easily predicted by simply watching the game’s trailer (so in other words, there’s no sense in overselling it), but the new paradigm it creates for the series at least offers up something of substance to chew on afterward. I do worry that this game’s raison d'etre was to answer a question that needed no explanation, that Chiyomaru is taking the easy way out, or that the rest of the series is going to devolve into metafictional slop, but I’ll reserve my judgment for now.
One aspect of the game I was actually impressed by was its presentation. Both it and Steins;Gate Elite are iterations on Chiyomaru’s attempt to make a fully-animated game, and I must say I much prefer this more traditional approach. The warping of the characters’ portraits can look silly on occasion, but the animation feels at home with the loose art style that recalls the abstractness of Steins;Gate. Occasionally the visuals are portrayed in animated comic form, which look incredible and make me wish it were practical to make an entire game in that fashion. The color palette is filled with a lot of bright whites and blues, evoking the feeling of a sleek Apple interface and perfectly selling the near-future setting. Music is on par: nothing mind-blowing but appropriately catchy and used to good effect. I’m sure I’ll have it stuck in my head for a few months.
Between Chiyomaru and myself, I’m not sure who lost the plot with this series. I’m not the obsessive Science Adventure fan I was in the years following Steins;Gate’s explosion of apocryphal media, dutifully connecting the timeline and dimension dots. I’ve played the games, sure, but it’s been fifteen years of them, and I’ll be damned if I remember anything but the most important plot points in each. Maybe Anonymous;Code does appeal to those who have kept up better than I have. I’m sure I’ve expressed some opinion here that betrays my ignorance about the series in one way or another. However, I can’t help but feel that Chiyomaru’s output has only gotten worse, which is a shame. If this series is no longer “for me,” as a fan who has been here since 2008, who is it for? Rather than keep pace with its audience, it feels as though each game is targeting a new audience of teenagers, never aspiring to do anything daring or deeper than trodding through an increasingly diluted series of plot twists that annoy more often than they surprise. As the longest running, meaningfully interconnected series of visual novels out there, I’d like to think the Science Adventure games have a duty to do something more. I’m sure I’ll still be here to play Steins;Whatever in five years, still chasing that feeling from years ago that made me look over my shoulder every time Takumi did in his little cargo crate. I just hope at some point it’ll be worth it.
I already know revenge is bad, this game did a very bad job explaining how it could be good. Like. What's your goal? You make me insert as an unlikeable rapist protagonist with family issues and an ugly ass dark elf, then go and tell me that killing is bad? bitch I already know its not good to kill people, fuck was this game trying to do?
at least the sword katautism was pretty alright i guess. Hanachirasu solo's
see, muramasa and muv luv fans? this is how you write a proper visual novel.
no melodrama. no bitching bout being a bad person. good waifu's. character designs made by talented artists instead of contracted hack artists..
there's a reason this is #1 on VNDB, lets keep it that way.
Fuck mid luv
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