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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Never7 -the end of infinity-

I've heard great things about Ever 17 and been wanting to check it out for a while. Of course, as you can probably guess by now, I'm going in order by first playing Never7 -the end of infinity-. Originally called just infinity for the PS1, it seems to have been ported to every platform imaginable since it's original release in 2000. According to Wikipedia, extra scenarios were added at one point, the OST was re-arranged in one version, a new ED theme here, a new movie there... WHATEVER.

Normally, I would pick the PSP version any day but I got the PC download for free as a promotion when it went on sale online. Unfortunately, the PC version kinda sucks balls to put it mildly. While there is an option to skip text, there is no backlog, no rewind, no auto mode, and no record of which options you've chosen previously. Though bizarrely enough, there IS an option to have a separate font for the girl's dialogue text???

No Option umm... option and context menu doesn't really add much
The inadequacies of the specific version I played doesn't really matter I guess as long as you pick a better version. I'm sure the Android app (region-locked BARF) has all the features you would expect by now including fancy extras like an alarm clock.

All you have to do is get an alien registration card,
open a bank account, and buy a phone in Japan for these nice extras
(FU Google)
The worst part about this version is the inability to adjust the BGM volume down to better hear the dialgoue which is a shame because this game is fully voiced (doesn't include the protagonist). I dunno what it is but something about voice acting from before all the moe shit really appeals to me. Even though it came out in the year 2000, this game definitely reminds me of them old animes I grew up with in the 90s.

I played through Yuka's route before I finally gave up on the PC version. Going through the game over again without being able to fast forward to unread text was a deal breaker. I tried fast-forwarding to the next dialogue option and checking the back log but yeah, screw that. PSP HERE I COME!!!

Hey Yuka, don't be made at me, I'M not the one that picked your crazy swimsuit.
And thank god for the mighty PSP, because the PSP version has every ADV feature that you could want: auto mode, volume controls, it even lets you use the analog stick to see the whole image. I thought that worked much better to deal with the different aspect ratio than a static background image on either side or just chopping off the image like other PSP ports. Unfortunately, taking screenshots is a pain on the PSP so enjoy the rainbow dialogue screenshots from the PC version.

AHAHA an alcoholic! ...oh that's not very funny at all
Putting aside all this talk about ports, PC master race, blah blah blah, how was the game itself? Well, if you enjoy reading about college students enjoying exciting activities such as fishing, tennis, and barbecues, you're in luck. I obviously went to college in the wrong country if attending what they call a "zemi" (short for seminar) is basically a free island vacation complete with private cottage accommodations in the woods.

No seriously, the first 5-10 hours of the game is probably one of the most boring segments I've gone through in an adventure game. The pacing of the game is SO slow, it only drops tiny hints of something fishy going like once every few hours between long stretches of dialogue involving things like shopping for rice, making breakfast, and eating lunch. Zzzzzzzzzz

At least you get can a good fill of that ol' imouto goodness. Even though most of the characters are college age or older, Kurumi, a senior in high school decides to call you oniichan for no reason whatsoever. Even though she's supposed to be a senior in high school, the game still somehow manages to make her seem like 15 years old. #jailbait

I really liked that the branching paths were not too simplistic like Harvest Overlay and yet was not stupid random nonsense like '&'. I was able to play through all scenarios without a guide and even though I got stuck a bit in one part where hanging out with Izumi went into Kurumi's route and vice-versa, the rest was easy to figure out just with a bit of trial and error.

PS2? pffft! I play all my PS2 games on the game gear

Score: 2.5 goddamn I went to college in the wrong country! out of 5 (30 hours to beat)

Overall, the game had some interesting ideas besides the renai dating aspect. You can definitely see that this is Uchikoshi's early work. There are several theories in the game as to what's going on in the story and in true ADV style, any of those theories could be true depending on your route.

As for the renai portion, the characters were likable enough and while the illustrations were rough at times, it had its charm. The music was better than the usual ADV generic crap but not much more so. I really like the quality of the voice acting and while I was bored to death in the beginning, there were brief moments where I really wanted to find out what happened next.

I thought Never 7 was worth playing but I definitely wouldn't call this game spectacular. While there's extra "Append" scenarios at this point, I'm so sick of playing through the same 6 days over and over that I don't think I can touch it without a least few years break.

It was at least something to play while I'm sitting here waiting for my copy of Zero time dilemma (those goddamn "reviewers" with their early, free copies!!!). We'll see how Ever 17 shapes up. For you non-jhipsters, the game was at least interesting enough for someone to make a fan translation patch (if you can find it).

Some additional screenshots for um... investigative purposes.

Yup, still an alcoholic.
This girl is TOTALLY 18, right guys? *wink wink*
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