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Monday, July 25, 2016

Net High (ネットハイ)

Net High is a game where I have so much to talk about I honestly don't know where to even begin. This game is truly a product of our time, an artifact that would have made absolutely no sense only a few years ago and is a perfect encapsulation of our society at THIS VERY MOMENT.

This game has it all including shameless self-plugs!
I'm sure kids of the future will look back on the kids today watching other people play games on twitch, their snapchat shenanigans, and whatever else they're doing nowadays and look bemused and confused with their typical smug "I can't believe this is what old people used to do!" asshole attitudes. Finally, today's kids can get a taste of their own medicine similar to how us old fogeys feel now with these stupid kids react videos to rotary telephones, Reaganomics, the holocaust or whatever the fuck they're doing on the youtubes nowadays. I'm sure the future kids can have a good laugh at these old kids watching videos on a OMG physical screen instead of some sexy AI avatar projection gently serving up their entertainment straight to their brain cells. Umm, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah! Net High is an extremely unique and funny game.

In the sequel, it'll record you playing a character watching a livestream of the game which your friends can then watch.
Net High is basically Ace Attorney but instead of a courtroom, you have Tweeeter, a social network not unlike Twitter and the netizens as the jury (Well AA is strictly bench rulings but whatever). You as the main character must steal Tweeeter followers from the riaju elite (if you don't know what a riaju is well, ggrks). Each battle is live-streamed from Niyo-niyo douga with the winner decided by the number of thumbs up from the viewer. Of course, you can thumbs up yourself. OF COURSE. AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT! SPAM AWAY!!

This is how public discourse has evolved over the centuries? Sorry Socrates...
As I said, if you're not all up on Japanese internet culture in 2015, you may get a bit lost with the numerous parodies of popular websites, apps, games, etc.. I wouldn't even call it references at this point. The game's setting is basically a dystopian result of the constant stream of meaningless information and distraction we are bombarded with via our smartphones nowadays. It's a reflection of today's modern smartphone culture and what a sad, sad world it is (don't even get me started on that pokem** Go shit).

Kankore parody but with tanks called Pankore? GENIUS! And this was BEFORE Girls und panzer exploded in popularity.
Not only did I love the premise of the game, the voice acting and cast was superb as well. Every voice actor was excellent except for one painful exception which was I think unavoidable given the situation which I can't talk about cause spoilers. In particular, I just loved listening to the voices of Shiru and MC.

I totally love this game for the voice acting. NO REALLY!!

The art, animation, and music were great as well. If the artstyle reminds you of Gurren Lagann and Kill la kill, you're not the only one. The illustrator is a freelance who has some really nice fan art on his tumblr page.

This guy's got some mad skills
My only real gripe was that the battles were painfully easy. While it makes a good effort of well, shamelessly ripping off AA, complete with frequent remarks about the protagonist's spiky hair, which gossip to use to attack your opponent was always painfully obvious. The investigation sections were anything but, requiring not much more than picking dialogue options. But at least Net High has petting mini-games!

In addition, there's a real pain-in-the-ass trophy that requires you to play for 3 hours a day for a week consecutively. I don't like to be rushed so having to keep the game on until I could play 3 hours for the day was a big bummer especially given that the game is not much longer than the 21 hours it takes for the trophy. Not to mention that one time it crashed after 2 hours... ARGH!!

I thought the artstyle, animation, and music were all good and-WHOA BOOBS!

Overall, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the game and loved it to bits really. I was simultaneously amused but also slightly frightened by how much of the real world is reflected in the game. What with all the gamerg*** crap, flaming, and all the ugly stuff going on nowadays with getting people fired from their jobs, doxing, death threats, and swatting. While the "game" aspect of Net High was certainly its weakest point, I still had fun with it and was thoroughly entertained during every minute of the story (despite some large plot holes). And at the end of the day, having fun is all that matters to me.

I highly recommend this game for all Jhipsters and while there is no localization yet, the fact the trophies are translated to English means non-Jhipsters may eventually be able to check out this neat title, hopefully before all the references get outdated and are no longer relevant. Here's hoping they come through with the sequel they teased at the end!

Score: 4 whereupon I spent hours pondering the effects of the internet on our society and cultur- OH MORE BOOBS! out of 5. (32 hours for platinum)

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

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