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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'&' - 空の向こうで咲きますように

'&', otherwise known as the worst game title ever in terms of search is the first 18+ PC game I completed in all its censored Cero C consumer port glory. I don't import adult PC games, first because they're overpriced and second, I'm scared of customs but MOST importantly because I'm an upstanding citizen with high moral values and not some ecchi hentai sukebe weaboo (bonus pompous point for you if you caught the oxymoron). And of course, I would never ever dare to even IMAGINE to soil my hands by stealing the hard work of our intrepid developers via the torrent/warez/tokyotosho scene (remember every time you pirate, a kitten cries in agony [citation needed]).

Oh thank god, the HP for 18+ version is blocked.
Now my kids can safely shop online for their AR-15s in peace.

I still don't know why the game is titled '&' (the ending mentions it but I didn't get it nor do I care) and believe me, it was really annoying finding my download in PSN store on the Vita. Yeah, I'm not stupid, I tried searching on the subtitle (空の向こう, etc.) and I got NUTHING. Anyways, on to the game itself.

Now, I'm no eroge expert, but MAN, this was one of the most boring stories I've read in a long time. Unless you're telling me the 18+ smutty version comes with a coupon to a pink salon (don't google that!), I HIGHLY doubt that there's anything in this game that's worth anybody's time.

The main problem is the entire story premise is based on a lame adventure with a bunch of kids wandering aimlessly around some random town. The main character treats this childhood memory like it was the most awesome thing that could ever happen to anyone. But I just came away with a big fat WHO THE FUCK CARES??

Some kids wandered around in town unsupervised and I'm supposed to think this was exciting somehow?
The only weird thing that happened was the kids saw two identical moons. Now, 8 years later, the two moons are back, and all the members gather in the same town to investigate. Now the characters might be in a huge reunion mood eg, "OH MY GOD!! It's been so long. How have you guys been?? Oh wow, you grew your hair? Hey, this old place is still here? No way!" blah blah blah blah blah. But knowing nothing of their childhood, you have ZERO investment in any of the characters, once again feeling like, "WHO THE FUCK CARES??"

Some kids looking at the sky, this is soooooooo exciting... 
Anyways, the "exciting" part of the story is the group makes a wish on a tree and it spits out some tools to help grant each character's wish. The story line splits around the midpoint as you get with each of the girls (and one "kinda" girl in the expanded consumer port). Presumably, this is standard mechanic for eroge except of course, all the smut is cut out.

Don't except anything much more suggestive than this from Cero C
Again, I don't really know much of anything about 18+ games due to my pure heart, but goddamn, it was boring as hell to replay the game over and over as they find out the same shit in different ways. I get that games like Virtue's Last Reward had a unique twist on the formula so going back to the orthodox approach is so goddamn boring.

It's like beating the game, then rewinding where everybody forgets what you just found out. Some different events happen and you get with another girl but you find out the SAME SHIT YOU ALREADY KNEW. To add salt to the tedium, the characters were not interesting at all. The main female character Urara especially was pretty annoying with her always carefree and cheerful disposition. Ugh, I hate happy people.

The OP and ED were good (yay Steins;Gate). The rest of the game's music... not so much.

Now, to be fair, some shit goes down in a couple routes that would definitely be CNN and WHO level stuff. But somehow, despite all the excitement, I was still bored to tears. As for the character interactions, I think I might have almost laughed like 3 times. Almost.
The writing is really top notch Translation: Shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit. Shit!
As my first entry into the galge genre, this was not a good start. If I were smart, I should probably start avoiding this type of game altogether- OOH LOOK, a TGL sale on PSN!! I can't WAIT to delete this game from my Vita... and install another one just like it...

Maybe next time's the charm! Fool me once... wait, wrong proverb, um, never mind
Score: 1.5 apparently my economics 101 lesson about opportunity cost was useless cause I wasted about 60 precious hours on this but wait! PLATINUM TROPHY!!! (my life is so sad) out of 5

I've chipped away at this game for well over a year in the vain hopes that something interesting would come out of it at some point. Recently, I just got so fed up with the space it was taking up on my Vita memory card (Sony U SUCK), I plowed through the last 40 hours or so over the course of a few weeks. Near the end, I actually started getting mad as the main character wasted yet more of my time indulging in yet another filler of reflecting on the past and saying stupid shit over and over about wishes and other pointless sophomoric philosophical shit.

Even the amazing technology powered by CheeseWare wasn't enough to make this a good game
Seriously, the only reason I scored it 1.5 was because I gave Mother a score of 1 and unlike Mother, the mechanics weren't broken and it was at least better than some F2P gacha shit. Oh, and it also helped me fall asleep at night. 30 minutes with this game and I was out like a light.

Bonus screenshots for you know for umm... prosperity? Cero C, by the way, means this game is acceptable for kids from age 15. Isn't Japan so awesome? (You goddamn weebs)

Cero C means extra soap 
This is only in the consumer port (was it worth it???)
This is like the GRATEST game.
Duke duke using evil tool... I don't even have anything clever to say about this.

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely