Hello, It has been a while since my last post.
Today I'm gonna tell you about one of my new addictions: Visual novels! Thanks to Rinmarugames.com where I found my first visual novel ever: Ascension. After playing this game, I started hunting for visual novels like crazy!! Well I like Ascension, so guess what I'm reviewing it.
Ascension is a free online Visual Novel made by Rinmaru Games. The story takes place in a world called Arunia that is populated with 7 different races. The Main protagonist, Aida, and her best friend of six years, Sky, are investigating what Sky's mother's journals hold when they encounter some new friends and a 23 year old secret. The fourth chapter is rumored to be out in Spring 2016, and will have a new group of protagonists. But you can find it's Alpha v0.1 here to download. Now it also has a manga series based on the events of the series on ImpQueen.
You can play for free online here:
Mind for Spoilers, cause I'm not.
The first thing that stands out in my mind with Ascension is the characters, given how visual novels are stylized having strong characters with a good plot is an absolute given. Rinmaru managed to do both (plot later). With maybe forty minutes worth of gameplay she managed to create a strong cast that's open to expansion and has a good chemistry, a cast that I am more than willing to learn more about. Aida is a very unique protagonist who is putting a nice spin on the chosen one and even with the variations according to game play she still turns out as a strong character (cunning for the world). Sky is a good dueteragonist and seeing her in chapter two is probably one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Although they can seem a little long winded at times and all of them have room for improvement, given how the series is really only starting that's fine.
From the first chapter I was firmly drawn to Zander. He's really sweet. Jace is so much fun but I went with Zander in the end though. For such little time given to the romance, the chemistry still felt natural and I have to give Rin props for that. The second chapter was probably my favorite, really emotional and the small hiccups they had gave texture and realism to the relationship. Unfortunately Faelern did seem kind of third wheeled due to being introduced so late, and frankly his character didn't excite me like Jace or Zander. I still liked him though.
I remember in the first chapter when I first walked in the library, beat up that guy, talk to librarian... do you want to know about the world... yeah, sure... Woah. I was astonished by the raw amount of information that that cute little girl spewed out, like she was world building central. I like it. Arunia is turning out to be a textured world and a character can talk about something and I'd be like, “Oh, yeah that”. The religions are really interesting and unique. Can we talk about the races for a second? We got elves, moon and sun elves with an interesting history. We got humans. We got nobles. And the Lith who I find absolutely fascinating with their spirit thing that's going on. What other critters you got tucked away?
This is actually one of my first visual novels so I'm still fairly new to the genre. There isn't much to gameplay, of course that's the genre. Finding things in the environment and some such with a few mini-games thrown in. I like being able to select my response, picking my romances and how I go about that romance, passionate or tender? I feel like I don't give much variation on the story though, just what Aida says. What I feel like would be awesome though is adding in fights, a turn-based strategy is usually quite simple and could really make the game more fun. Now that's just my opinion and I wouldn't be upset if the series stays as it is. The customization for Aida is really quite simple, a few outfits just for flare really (although I did like picking the team's hairstyles in Chapter 2. In both chapters I felt like I was being set up for something (gathering gold, clothes) only for it to disappoint, being able to buy more stuff would be nice and more side quests would help with that.
Overall I very much like Ascension, is it the best thing I've ever played? No. Not by a long shot. But it's a nice call back to RPG's and a good introduction into the visual novel genre. The dialogue is awkward at times but it does have moments where it shines. It does need help in fight scenes, showing a blank screen with fighting noises and some dialogue just doesn't quite cut it for me. I liked when Jace and Aida fought in Chapter one, something similar to that could really help the scenes out.