In my previous post about this show I talked a lot about the choices presented and I’ll now talk about my general thoughts and ideas as well as the experience of my first play through. Read the previous post first and of course beware of spoilers. Find the first part here.
Now that I’ve gone off tangent about decision making I’ll talk about why my first play through was so good. I decided to go through with the Yuri route and it was really interesting. When Sayuri died I thought it was through neglecting just Yuri and that the Sayuri confession was just a last chance to change my mind. Then when Yuri started acting strange it felt like it was only because of my previous involvement with her and my continued methods to appeal to her, it was pretty creepy and I strongly suspected her of self-harm before it was revealed. Natsuki and Monika seemed to be pushed to the side whilst Yuri’s crazy nature was pushed to the forefront based on my own choices and it felt really satisfying and interesting. The ending also felt like it only occurred because I spent too much time with one individual character.
Then when I replayed it to try and appease Monika so she wouldn’t destroy everything it was very sad to see a lot of Yuri events happening regardless of my choices and I felt lucky to have picked a story that felt so natural. This game definitely suffers on the second play through simply because the negative aspects made by the decisions cannot be avoided and it doesn’t feel like you’ve accidently done something wrong by ignoring Sayuri too much or making Yuri too excited by telling her you love her.
The thing I liked most about the show was the involvement of mental illness and finding out about Sayuri’s depression and Yuri’s self-harm. The fact that Natsuki didn’t appear to have one made me want to find out what it was by going along her route, but this didn’t really work. To clarify this I don’t like mental illnesses but I think it’s really interesting to see them explored for the purpose of education and how to help people with them. It was really cool and it made the decision making so much more difficult because you knew, especially by the time you got to Yuri, that one choice would probably lead to her death. The most interesting thing was actually going back to look at the poems to find early signs of their illnes, and it was nice to see Monika’s breaking of the fourth wall in her early poems.
So the worst part of the story in my opinion was Monika, and the idea that she broke the fourth wall and controlled the nature of two characters felt really underwhelming. I would much rather have the games’ characters naturally had their illnesses instead of having it be inflicted by the in game god. Yes the plot reveal is very cool but I would have loved it if the game did everything the same without making Monika a god. I just hate that feeling of being controlled, I also would have liked to see more of the illness and characters explored more. I think it would have been better if Monika did more human things like lying, being with you and forcing you to write a poem only she will like.
This obviously means creating more content for the game and I can understand not wanting to do this and the creators own artistic vision which is completely different to mine, and what I want. I respect the team very much for what they did and it’s still an experience worth playing despite all my criticisms.
I still have one part of this series left, where I talk more about the gameplay! So stay tuned!