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Overall, just an okay game. Some of the music is nice and the story was interesting near the end but the somnium portions are not nearly as engaging as the escape rooms in Zero Escape, some of the characters are downright awful, the tone of the game is very inconsistent and it's very noticeable and there are some super cringe lines that just hurt me inside. Way worse than 999 and VLR but better than ZTD.

This review contains spoilers

Losing the thread. A story is woven sentence to sentence, scene to scene. Every piece flows to the next, not just as a sequence of events, but as a network. The attachment to, and understanding of, the cast of characters grows and develops, building into the tapestry that forms a greater narrative, the summation of every detail that can’t be captured in a single line of events. If one string breaks, the greater work may survive, but with each loose end comes a greater risk of everything falling apart.

The introductory thread is that of the protagonist, Kaname Date, being sent to investigate the scene of a murder. The victim is the mother of Okiura Mizuki, Date’s surrogate daughter, discovered at the scene frightened and clutching the weapon that killed her mother. The first Psync of the game, where Date enters someone’s “Somnium” dream realm to see what they’ve experienced, is to learn what happened and help Mizuki overcome the trauma she just experienced. For the audience, it’s plain to see that the focus of this game will be on family, with Mizuki being at the center of it all. One on side, there’s her new father figure Date, and on the other, her murdered mother and her biological father, the prime suspect. Watching her mature over the course of this extended family drama is the central thread, the one that runs from the intro to the very end.

That’s not true though. Mizuki isn’t the focus of the narrative. In fact, she’s actually a very small part of it. Well, unless her route is the first one that ends up being chosen, in which case it will feel much more significant. The story branches depending on certain decisions made in Somnium investigations, with each branch focusing on a different character. In fact, the focus on singular characters is so stubborn that the overall narrative progression takes a backseat, going down dead ends that don’t end up tying into the central plot progression in any significant way. The threads are intact, but they’re frayed and loose, barely clinging to each other at all. The loose connection that barely holds it together is from Spike Chunsoft’s favorite subject matter other than murder, parallel universes. Each thread reveals a few details, and if players reach a point where they would need information given in one of these parallel paths, the game locks progress until it’s completed. As to why this happens or the mechanics of it all… it’s completely unexplained. Unlike the Zero Escape series which also has parallel universes and locked paths, this game uses them as a plot convenience rather than a narrative hook, a sloppy way to patch up holes and get Date into the situations that would make each route different from the last. They’re only referenced to help bridge those gaps in writing, then never discussed again.

So, by the point where the audience understands what’s going on, what are they holding onto? Mizuki’s thread may work out if players happen to choose it first, but maybe the character drama jerked into a different focus instead. Maybe their path was a developmental dead-end, or maybe it was one that revealed the less-savory aspects of the protagonist’s character. Date’s goofy sense of humor shines early on, and the way he tries to look cool in spite of his obvious care for Mizuki can be charming, but he also has the quirk of being completely obsessed with pornography. Not just that, he sexually harasses a couple different characters, tanking any hope of likability. That’s on top of his abusive actions as a police officer, like invading the minds of people without their consent, and bemoaning how his subjects can’t be detained afterwards because he never had a warrant for any of this in the first place. The ethics, or lack thereof, in this situation are never addressed, so players don’t have a likable protagonist to latch onto. They also don’t have a secondary character like Mizuki to focus on, since the cast, and even the motivations, of characters in each path can be totally different. The only possible choice to fill the central role is of the titular AI, Aiba, who serves as Date’s partner. While she has some good moments, she also has no arc. She starts out as a tsundere who clearly has an affection for Date, and by the end of the story, that doesn’t change. The two have some nice banter, but it never grows or develops in any meaningful way, there’s no running thread.

In the end, that’s what The Somnium Files ends up being: a pile of frayed threads that only connect in the loosest of ways. The awkward stitching of coincidence, parallel universes, and plot conveniences knot promising ideas into a useless ball of information, pointless to get invested in when it’s being moved by such unintelligible forces. The drama is so rough that most characters end up unlikable, and the investigation gameplay is of such uneven quality that it’s hardly worth mentioning, other than marveling at how unimaginatively it presents the realm of dreams, often just reusing locations with a few exaggerated elements. Appropriately enough, it all just feels like a bad dream in itself, like there was a story with nice characters, a theme of family, and a logical presentation which was then distorted with exaggerations and a lack of conscious direction. Once it’s over, it’s almost possible to imagine how it all should be, to pick up the pieces and tie the threads back together, but as the game reminds us, there’s a wide gap between the realm of imagination and how things really are.

Just not much to this one. The dream sequences are too arbitrary to feel like good puzzles and too prosaic to feel like genuine dreams, and none of the characters are particularly inspired so I have no impetus to get through the parts between the dreams. I don't really care for the sort of moeblob characters that make up most of the main character's social circle, so that's just me, but the dynamics presented don't elevate things past that.

Acho que nunca cheguei tão perto de droppar um jogo quanto esse

É com grande tristeza que anuncio que esse é, de fato, um dos jogos que existem de todos os tempos

O primeiro Touhou que cheguei a terminar todas as fases e foi bem divertido

Não preciso falar que as músicas são ótimas, é Touhou
História super simples, mas é basicamente a mesma que o EoSD, então nem é algo que prejudique muito

Dificuldade surpreendentemente mais fácil comparado aos oficiais, tirando a fase EX, que fiquei um mês, mas apesar de ser bem frustrante é bem satisfatório também

Recomendaria para quem nunca jogou Touhou e queria experienciar, obviamente jogando pelo Easy a primeira vez

Um jogo estilo Ace Attorney que me decepcionou um pouco, talvez porque eu esperava demais.

Jogo BEM mal otimizado para computador, os lugares que o jogo simplesmente trava ou buga são... vários

História ok, poderia ser menos edgy em algumas partes, mas não é ruim
Personagens e OSTs legais, definitivamente a melhor parte do jogo
Tem um minigame de 21, esse é legal também

Ótimo Death Game que diria que só peca mais no último capítulo lançado (3-1B) com umas decisões questionáveis na história

Ainda assim, gostei de todos os personagens, do estilo da gameplay e a história em geral, com certeza um jogo bom para quem gosta de jogos como Ace Attorney e Danganronpa

This review contains spoilers

A pontuação é provavelmente por nostalgia, mas esse foi um dos jogos que mais me marcou na infância

Ótima OST
História boa, mas o plot twist pode ser descoberto cedo, o que é meio o que deixou esse jogo famoso
Gameplay divertida? Há vários jeitos de morrer e você chega onde parou rápido, praticamente não importando muito

Para quem gosta da história, materiais fora do jogo como o mangá e a light novel deixam-na ainda melhor

O Modo Extra adicionado no MV me deixou gostando ainda mais do jogo, desde as novas mortes até algumas partes do lore serem mostradas

Meu jogo preferido

É meio overrated, mas com razão

Muito bom... a qualidade desse jogo é a base que uso para comparar os outros

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