I have professed my love of the visual novel game genre before. Really, I enjoy comics, anime, and gaming. Mixing those together into a potent cocktail can make for some intoxicating results. Danganronpa, Virtue’s Last Reward, and the Ace Attorney games are absolutely enjoyable time sinks with entertaining characters and fun puzzles. But what if the game play is completely removed? The result is a glorified comic book to be digested in a cumbersome fashion. Even then, I gave one of those a pass because the writing was just the right kind of stupid to yield an amusing time. When the story is a slog and and that is all on offer, well, then my bag of patience has been emptied.
To those of you reading this, yes, I acknowledge that this review is not exactly timely. I took the code for fault milestone one a few months ago and went through a little bit of the game at that time. My pithy thought then was that it was as bereft of entertainment as it was in proper capitalization of its name. Realizing that I would not be able to stretch that into a respectable review and conceding the possibility that I just wasn’t in the “mood” for this type of game, I set it aside and let Eric, our erstwhile site owner, believe that I was afflicted with a peculiar, narrowly focused form of ADD. As I dug through other games, fault hung over my head like the Sword of Damocles, mocking my laziness.
Finally, I decided I had to bite the bullet. To give myself motivation, I vowed that I would not gratify my ongoing Clicker Heroes addiction until I reviewed this one. To prep myself, and make sure that my issue was not related to just not being up for a non-game, I went through the first case in Danganronpa. I know I like that one, so if I was “feeling it,” I knew that I was good to go. And yes, I was feeling it. With a spring in my step, I loaded up fault to give it the best chance it could ever receive. In return, I received the pure, narcotics grade boredom injected straight into my veins. Okay, enough stalling. fault. It is a thing that exists.
The story starts out in the Kingdom of Rughzenhaide (bless you). Specifically, a Kingdom of Rughzenhaide that is on fire, being stormed by rogue manakravters (read: mages) that have decided that this peaceful country could do with a little orange and red. Soon, the princess Selphine, and her stone-dull body guard Ritona are cornered. To escape, Ritona taps into the mana line and warps the two of them away. What was supposed to be a jump to a pre-planned destination goes awry when they arrive in a foreign kingdom over a continent away. Unfortunately, this land does not have the innate streams of mana available to allow another jump, so they must figure out another way home. So, the setup is like Macross, Star Trek: Voyager, Battlestar Gallactica, or I don’t know what else. Wait, Quantum Leap! Am I remembering the plot of that show correctly?
While getting their bearings, Selphine and Ritona come across Rune, a friendly local with no ulterior motives, No sir or ma’am. The rest of the game revolves around the intrigue of Rune while the villains from the beginning try to hunt down the royal duo.
When I say “the rest of the game” I have to confess: I simply could not finish the story. I made it partway through chapter seven before I just couldn’t take it anymore. I found myself contemplating the brevity of my life as I wiled away time reading this dull pap. While I was reading a long explanation of the sealing process of sediment stones, an implement that mages use in this world, I found myself getting angry. To Alice In Dissonance, the developer, I say “get over yourself.” The fact that you want to call mages “manakravters” in your fiction is fine. I do not need pages and pages of exposition explaining this. Look. Watch this:
“Those who could tap into this new found source of power were called manakravters. They were similar to the magicians in the tales we tell our children, but with limitations due to the reality of the substance.”
Done! That’s it! That is all that needs to be said. You get to have your special little term for a commonly accepted trope, the reader understands it, and you move on! I am not a fiction writer and I could solve that one for you while keeping in the tone of your crappy little universe. And another thing: enough with the ellipses. If you want one to indicate a pause in the conversation, fine. We don’t need five or more in a row. We just don’t. It felt like I spent a inordinate amount of time on:
The art is a bit hit or miss. I thought some of it was quite striking, especially with color choice. There was one part of extreme violence that felt more vicious just based on the juxtaposition of the red blood against the rest of the portrait of the culprit. When it misses, it whiffs big time. What in the world is going on with Sian’s face at various points and who decided that was good enough?
At the end of the day, with some proper editing and proofreading, fault milestone one could have been an entertaining little story. Simply because it relies heavily on commonly accepted tropes does not mean that an interesting story cannot be told. What damns it is a preponderance of pointless prattle. I suppose that a smart-ass could say the same of my work. The difference is that I am not charging fifteen dollars for the dubious pleasure of reading this.