19 people found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 1.3 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 5, 2020 @ 10:01am
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 @ 9:53am
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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病毒恶化 VirusCrisis is a survival RPG game in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world where you take control of a protagonist among a group of surviving students, trying to make the best of what's going on. There are significant elements of resource-management simulation, visual-novel, card battles, along with character permadeath to give it that roguelike feeling.

The combination doesn't necessarily make for a good game overall, as the game doesn't seem to have a good sense of direction. Other than surviving as long as possible and trying to work on developing a good relationship with the other characters as to explore their storylines. Thus the visual novel element is predominantly what drives replay value, instead of perhaps the survival or card-game components. While it's okay to have a kinetic-novel driven game, I think it's just not what people may be looking to get into while diving into this game. In addition, the dialogue doesn't necessarily reflect what has happened in the overall game in terms of situation/personal wounds/etc. The VN/dialogue kind of just follows its own path based on likely internal point triggers that are counted when you continue to interact with an individual.

In addition, the card game is completely unplayable if you are trying to play the game in English. All of the cards are in Chinese, and so unless you can reasonably read a good amount of Chinese, you might be stuck in these sections. Of course the game does give you the option of not playing the card game at all, you can use computer simulation to run through all of the battles just to get to the end result, but when I did that, one of my characters suffered severe wounds and was then going to die in the subsequent turns. But when I decided to take on a card battle instead, my outcome was much better.

You can play the card game alone in this game. In fact, you can go into the Gallery section in the main menu, and select Card Battle and click on which characters you want to use and which enemies you want to battle and just click start. That's the best way to experience the card battle yourself. There are no rules to explain, it's an attempt to insert another title into the card-driven roguelike genre that is already bursting at the seams. The cards make sense and you spend action points to play cards, alternating turns between you and the enemies. The cards are heavily underdeveloped though, they are just white cards and some black text, all in Chinese, with no illustrations at all. So as of right now (v1.0.2, January 5, 2020) you cannot play this card game if you cannot read Chinese.

The resource management seems also heavily off-balance, there is just not enough resources to survive long, as far as I can tell. There are not many locations when you start and your team of survivors all need food every day. Of course I did not realize that you can explore and gather resources from different sectors all simultaneously. So you are not stuck exploring only one section, or trying to obtain food/resources from that one place in any given turn. I hope there's a proper way to heal people after severe injuries, so that they are not all destined for the graveyard after suffering a major injury. I just couldn't play on to find out how to go about doing that though.

I got caught off-guard in a day-two dialogue in-game that took me 20+ minutes to scroll through. That was when I decided to call it quits. I think the time-management in terms of game breakdown need to be heavily modified for audience captivation.

Controls
You only need a mouse to play this game.

Graphics
Good VN artwork, poorly developed cards in that part of the game.

Music & Sounds
Music is decent. To be completely honest, I think there was quite a bit of effort put into the Chinese script writing, and a lot of the spoken parts are rather funny, despite some of the situational stuff being completely ridiculous. But there are places where the voiced-over dialogue just cuts out here and there, and then I am reading the English and scratching my head.

Audience
Perhaps taking out the survival/resource management/card game components and looking at it as a pure VN, it may have appeal to that audience if the localization is better. I think the Chinese dialogue lines are decently written. Or maybe if after the card game gets better localization, that aspect may be attractive to people who like that. However, the card game isn't really outstanding enough to make it worthwhile by itself. But I am looking down my friendlist and I don't think anyone who plays games only in English can appreciate or enjoy this game right now.

Pricing
It's definitely Early Access right now and it has plenty of work still need to be done. The base price of $15.99 is too much for what's there right now. Also there are planned price increases with more development.

Positives
+Good VN artwork
+Chinese dialogue is decently written

Negatives
-English localization is poor in dialogue
-Card battle system has no tutorial and is purely in Chinese
-Survival/Resource management aspect weak and not explained
-Gameplay direction/objective not really clear, other than survival
-In-game time-breakdown in terms of balancing aspects of gameplay is something that needs to be absolutely addressed.

My First-Look Video
https://youtu.be/HIk0fpuoC4g

Conclusion
病毒恶化 VirusCrisis is perhaps trying to do too much all at the same time. I don't doubt that there are people who enjoy the game for its various parts, and a lot of the Chinese reviews are very positive. It's a first game for an indie team and so I hope that they succeed with further development and polishing of this game and perhaps their future titles. However, in its current state, the game is not fun for anyone trying to play it in the English localization, for the above-mentioned issues.

Of course my review came from only a first-look impression, and I did not dive deeper to see if the the resource management can be a more involved and heavily strategic element that may impress some players. I also didn't see what the overall goal of the card battle system is other than using it to kill zombies and ensure survival. I admit to the weakness of this review based on the short play time. But when there are so many glaring issues, I feel like I will stand by my decision even if one or two of the gameplay elements turn out to be better than I see at the surface.

Thank you for reading.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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Developer response:
Bloody Beast  [developer] Posted: Jan 5, 2020 @ 8:17pm
You are right .and I saw your youtube video.
it is very funny ..
hahahaha.
I like it very much!
our English The English localization is incomplete and pretty bad.
that is true...
case when 1/1/2020 is a very day for our team.
so...sorry for English player now.
we will fix the wrong where you point.

I really like your sytle. nice and easy!

about card game it is uncompleted.
we will fix it for a long time.
:D
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1 Comments
tarok26 Jan 9, 2020 @ 6:48am 
nice!