rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Riona ([personal profile] rionaleonhart) wrote2017-04-05 01:46 pm

It Takes A Child To Raze A Village.

[personal profile] batman: I've been playing Higurashi: When They Cry! It's about teenagers descending into paranoia and murdering each other and - where are you going?
Steam: Please confirm your purchase.

Higurashi is a game I became vaguely aware of some time ago. I thought 'huh, that sounds potentially interesting, maybe I should check it out' and Googled it and was instantly put off by the character art. But, fortunately for my shallow side (and the worrying side of me that can never resist a story about paranoid, murderous teenagers), there's now an official Steam release where the art has been redrawn!

Maybe 'game' isn't the right word; there doesn't seem to be any actual gameplay. It's a visual novel without narrative choices. (It calls itself a 'sound novel', but there are still graphics and visual novels still have sound, so I have no idea what the difference between a sound novel and a visual novel is.) I'm going to call it a game anyway, for convenience's sake.

I was expecting Higurashi to take a moment to introduce the characters and then jump straight into the horrible things, much like Dangan Ronpa, which wastes no time in going 'here's the cast, here's the horrible situation you're in, here's the horrible thing you'll have to do if you want to get out of it.' But three hours passed, and nothing horrible had happened yet; I'd just been watching Keiichi play silly games with his friends. And at some point, I suddenly realised, I'd shifted from impatient 'when are the murders going to start happening?' to 'oh, no, this is cute, I don't actually want everyone to be miserable.'

Too bad. Four hours in, everything became miserable. I knew exactly what I was signing up for, and yet there was still a part of me going 'MAYBE IT'S FINE, MAYBE IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A CUTE DATING SIM.'

([personal profile] batman pointed out that Keiichi seems to think he's in a dating sim at first, and I immediately felt awful for him. If only!)

I don't know what Keiichi looks like, and for some reason my mental image of him is close to Hajime Hinata of Super Dangan Ronpa 2. I love Hinata, so just that inexplicable mental image automatically doubles my fondness for Keiichi. Enjoy your unearned affection, Keiichi. I'm sure it makes up for all your traumatic experiences.

The Dangan Ronpa series is still the gold standard for visual novels about murderous teenagers, and Higurashi is highly unlikely to seize its crown. If you're looking for a teenage murder mystery on Steam, get Danganronpa instead. (Or there's Danganronpa 1 + 2 Reload, now available for PS4! I swear I don't work for Spike Chunsoft.) But Higurashi is certainly holding my interest. I might make a less vague entry when I've played a little further; right now, things have only just started to go downhill.

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