Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Katawa Shoujo

Gamespot score:n/a

My score:7.5

(+)Pros:-Most of the girls are pretty lovable, -Emotional story for most of the routes, -Multiple routes allow for longer game play, - Is completely free :), -Most of CG arts are lovely and you'll probably want to go for a 100% completion, -Good use of music at the right time.

(-)Cons:-Lack of any voice acting what-so-ever makes the game a little dry at times, -Rin's route is pretty boring, -Click away~~

Gameplay time:10-20 hours

I'll say this straight, I have never played an eroge. Yea, despite me being a huge otaku, Katawa shoujo was my first eroge, since it was legally free for download when it was announced for an english release. I went to give it a try, and it pulled me into the world of eroge. For my 1st game in the genre, it was a good experience that opened me to something totally new that I have never felt or played before. Katawa shoujo pulled me in with its wonderfully diverse girls, each with different personalities and problems. You think girls with handicapped problems should be shoved off without a care in the world? Think again, Katawa shoujo, as the free game it is now, is a solid eroge that anime loving otakus will enjoy.

Well eroges (or visual novels as an overall),  are all about story, so if you wanna get your visual novels right, your story has to be good. Luckily, Katawa shoujo gets that part right and has a story that is sure to evoke many emotions. It stars the main character as Hisao Nakai, a regular young man who happened to suffer a terrible heart attack at the start of the game, during his first confession (ouch, sucks to be him). After being diagnosed to have a heart disease, he is sent to a handicapped school for handicapped people, since he is no longer fit to attend a normal school. There he attempts to fit into the awkward surroundings filled with people he thought he would never meet in his life, while trying to cope with school life and recover his heart disease. Of course, he also wants to find friends..little does he know that there are five girls out there for him that are looking for love!

Ahhh! YOU! ARE! WELCOME!!!!!

As an eroge, Katawa shoujo is highly text driven, and that can drive people like me (who have never played these kinds of game before) restless. Still, the emotional story and great writing is what keeps me reading. Hisao Nakai is a regular high school kid who is forced to go to a handicapped school because of a heart disease. Immediately you feel sad for him, and the story continues to describe his pain while he is in the hospital. Such writing is what makes this story one that strikes at your heart. Your role as Hisao Nakai is to score one of the 5 girls you meet in the school and try to build a loving relationship with them.

There are 5 girls that you will meet in the prologue, and once you reach the branching path you have to choose one of them. There's Emi, a legless girl who loves to run on metal legs. Rin, an armless girl that likes to paint with her legs. Lili, a blind girl with an "Ojou sama" presence. Shizune, a confident and brash girl who cannot speak. Lastly, there's Hanako, a super cute girl with burns stretching over half of her entire body. Each of the girls has their own personality and understanding them as the game goes on brings you love them more and more...DA POWER OF EROGE!

Choose wisely...they affect the way the girls think of you!

With 5 girls, there are 5 routes in the game, each with its own good and bad ending (some even have neutral endings). The first initial run will take you slightly more than 5 hours to clear, and subsequent runs will take you 2-3 hours each with the skip text function. All in all you'll take about 15 hours to clear the game and get 100% collection (of course, you'll have to save at the right time, before choices). Speaking of 100% collection, its almost impossible to resist the temptation to go for it, since the CG arts are pretty damn awesome (yes, especially the ero ones). Come on, its an eroge, there is BOUND to be that kind of scene sooner or later, and this game has them. You can turn off naughty content but that kind of takes out the point of the game.

That said, the game is strictly for 18 and above, unless you don't give a shit about these kind of stuff (you shouldn't, I started porn when I was 14, and hentai soon after). Another good thing about this game is the right usage of music. Some funky and peaceful music plays at almost every conversation, and during touching moments, the music changes for the appropriate situation with soft tunes. Sometimes during important game changing scenes, the music even stops completely to help you get in the moment. 

CG art is awesome.

Flaws? Well, its not really a flaw, but as I mentioned earlier, the game basically consists of reading all the way, so you'll be clicking the screen over and over until you go crazy. If you cannot take endless amounts of reading, it may be a good idea to take this game slowly (like me, I still enjoyed it though). Also, I thought that eroges should always have voices of the characters in it, to make it more lively and entertaining. Strangely enough, Katawa Shoujo has no voice acting what-so-ever, which can makes things a little dry at times. Another thing is Rin's route. It seemed to be the most boring route of them all. It had a good ending like all other routes, but going through it seemed boring...even the climax wasn't as good as the other girls.

For a free eroge, passing up Katawa Shoujo is just freaking stupid. You may not enjoy it, but at least give it a go since you don't have to pay a dime. And for a free game, it's pretty damn good. For my first eroge, it made me proud to be an otaku. At first I thought 100% completion was only for addicts, but after realizing the nature of this game, it wasn't that hard for me to go for that mark. If you have yet to play an eroge, Katawa Shoujo will help you make that first step. If you have played eroges before....I don't know, I really enjoyed this, so definitely give this a go. After this game, I am inclined to find some more eroge to endulge myself in (I'm currently installing hoshizora no memoria)!

Happy gaming!