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1 person found this review helpful
11.6 hrs on record
have you ever seen someone juggling while gradually adding more objects? how it starts off pretty standard but eventually becomes really special? but just when you're really enjoying yourself they add one object too many (perhaps the 9th?) and you, as an observer, can pinpoint the exact 'it was in this moment he knew he had ♥♥♥♥♥♥ up' that occurs as they desperately try to maintain control before eventually just dropping everything in a glorious yet tragic collapse?

that's what playing birth me code is like. i don't think it's fair to not recommend a game because it tried to be great and wasn't really that far off, even though the disappointment still stings. it proudly wears its 999 and Danganronpa influences on its sleeve so if you liked those games, i think you'll find yourself having a good time.
Posted January 15.
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2 people found this review helpful
29.8 hrs on record (26.7 hrs at review time)
After binging through all of this game and both sequel games in like 3 days, I've been struggling to think of how to best write a recommendation for this game/series in a concise manner without gushing endlessly or doing the game a disservice. After thinking about it for a while, I think I've got it (important note that I'm including the Drakan/Lisha sequel routes as part of this):

Most games in this genre use the inclusion of different races, magic, and elements outside of the normal human experience as an excuse to date cute monster girls. Sable's Grimoire uses cute monster girls as an excuse to explore different races, magic, elements outside of the normal human experience, and the cultural differences and difficulties that would need to be overcome to coexist in a world containing all of the above. That's not to say the romance is poor, but I'd describe this game as a fantasy game before a romance game.

And that's not a bad thing: "well-realized fantasy world" is not the first that comes to mind when I hear "monster girl VN", but I've always wished it would. It's a much more difficult task to create a world that feels this alive and realistic than it is to write a fluffy romance story between a high school boy and girl, where the girl coincidentally has wings or a tail. I'm a huge fan of worldbuilding, and the main appeal of different routes isn't the opportunity to date someone else but to learn more about the world they inhabit, painting an even fuller picture of Amadronia Academy and the students that attend it. The knowledge-obsessed Sable is a perfect main character for this kind of story, sharing in my enthusiasm to learn more about the weird and wonderful inhabitants of this world.

In regards to the characters, the immediate comparisons I can think of are Beastars and Katawa Shoujo. Both are phenomenal works, where (at their best), love between their characters does not come easy. Be the hangups physical or mental, personal or racial (often both), closing the distance between people of different species and upbringings requires a lot of work and often leads to more struggles than successes. And while the personal difficulties Sable and co. need to overcome are out of the ordinary, they don't require herculean effort, and are often solved by no more than a change in perspective... which, just like in real life, is often easier said than done. The entire cast is flawed (which a good thing!) and often make things harder than they need to be, and the balance Zetsubou writes them with adds dimension to them all.

A few of those characters do fall a little flatter than others, Rei and Eth being the worst offenders, making those routes notably more tedious to get through. Lisha keeps up the strict manzai dynamic with her father for a little longer than is believable given her otherwise intelligence, and Sable's lack of self-awareness regarding his precarious situation in Drakan's sequel is just about the only flaw on her route. The only other things I can really knock the game for is that the music's just average and can get a little tiring when you're a few routes in. The art isn't necessarily masterful but has enough heart and emotion in it that I doubt anyone will knock it as an actual downside, I just don't have much else to complain about.

Sadly, I think that Sable's Grimoire's focus on subtler aspects of storytelling has led to a lot of this game's obscurity, something equal parts tragic and understandable when a lot of people just want to self-insert into a harem lead. For those who want something a little loftier in its aspirations, though, Sable's Grimoire and the long train of content updates to come create a world that will leave you wanting more.
Posted December 29, 2020. Last edited December 29, 2020.
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74 people found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
3.5 hrs on record
Let's be brief.

-You're here because you played VA-11 Hall-A
-You're reading reviews to wonder if this game is as good as Valhalla
-This game is not as good as Valhalla, but it will scratch your itch and then some
-Buy this game if you liked Valhalla, especially if you can find it on sale
Posted December 24, 2020.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
11.5 hrs on record (2.5 hrs at review time)
Phenomenal experience. Everything from the concepts to the visuals to the soundtrack is all top notch. Only thing that could make it better was more songs/levels, but considering how much went into them that'd be a herculean ask. There's enough incentive to keep replaying them as well from just replaying the sheer awesomeness to solving the zodiac riddles.

Buy this game.
Posted July 16, 2020.
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1 person found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.2 hrs on record (3.8 hrs at review time)
I adore this game. I'm normally very hesitant about buying English VNs as they often feel overly hammy or forced compared to their Japanese counterparts, but Perceptions nails it. The setting's unique, with enough details to hook you in but enough mysteries to keep you wondering. The cast is the real star, though, as all of the main 5 are super memorable characters with some great interactions. And the voice acting, good lord. It's phenomenal and adds so much life to the characters. There's none of the stiffness of voice or writing that a lot of other English VNs have. Something else I think worth pointing out - I'm normally a fan of the "dollar per hour" rule, but I think that Perceptions is high quality enough that it's more than worth it at full price.

The additional stories added in over time have been great at flushing out the characters, as well as Garage Reverie dealing with some heavier topics through nuanced and careful, yet realistic writing. I've come back every few months just to re-read that one because it puts me in a good headspace to deal with the rest of the world. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Posted May 30, 2020. Last edited May 30, 2020.
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16 people found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
2.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I went back and forth between how to rate this review and as much as it pains me, I don't think I can recommend A More Beautiful World as it stands. And that's really hard for me to type, because I wanted to love this VN. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is one of my favorite anime and seeing that AMBW took inspiration immediately piqued my interest, so much that I put off buying it until most of the game was put together so I'd have the best possible impression. While it's not entirely done, I eventually gave in and played for it. I'll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but some overarching story details/motions will probably be referenced.

The first thing you notice is that AMBW is definitely a work of passion, but it's just... so rough around the edges. The opening scene is clearly supposed to familiarize us with Violetta (our closest thing to a main character), but the dialogue just feels stilted and abrupt. You get used to her personality and mood swings, but one of the things I was never able to get used to is the dialogue. AMBW clearly takes place in a medieval setting, but there's sprinkles of more "modern" dialogue that just take me out of it. Something along the lines of "Anyways, tell His Majesty the Emperor that I'll see him later." It sounds petty when I read over it, but it stops me from being able to get fully immersed when it's constantly happening. On a similar note, the voice acting is much appreciated for giving the characters personalities, but it's also inconsistent. Some characters were clearly recorded on high-quality mics and sound great, but others sound like they were recorded on an Xbox headset and again, the difference takes me out of the experience. There's a few slip-ups in the recording, as well - one of the characters pronounces "Marquis" as "mar-kwiss" instead of "mar-key" and when that character is in conversation with others pronouncing it correctly, it feels a little amateur. Some of the recurring gags between the characters feel a little ham-fisted, like the Merchant's "Have you ever considered becoming a..." and the Farmer's family and their laughs. None of these complaints are absolute deal-breakers on their own, but they lower the quality of the experience.

With dialogue and speech out of the way, how is the story? ...I'm mixed. On the one hand, AMBW does indeed deliver on the similarities between itself and Spice And Wolf/Maoyuu with a political/economic drama set in medieval times. If someone described the story writ large, I'd be very interested, but as always, the devil is the details. Minor spoilers: Roughly half of the story is Violetta wandering around meeting characters, with the latter half describing those characters gradually coming together. The direction is nice and I like the characters, but my biggest issue is Violetta herself. Personality aside, she just feels forced. Her ability to commune with the heavens and tell characters exactly what they need to know to progress and nothing more, nearly constantly, is annoying. "Do X." "Why would I do X?" "The Heavens told me." [character does X and there is a positive outcome] "How did you know to do X? Are you a fortune teller?" On the contrary, most of the scenes WITHOUT Violetta were quite enjoyable, because dialogue and plot progression felt a lot more natural, especially towards the end.

If it feels like I'm nitpicking a bit, it's because I'm saving my biggest issue for last: the price and duration. I'm a big fan of the "dollar per hour" rule as a general guideline, but I'm aware that high quality gameplay is obviously worth more. Despite the aspects I do like, for all of the aforementioned reasons I don't think the time I spent with AMBW was "high quality" enough justify 20 dollars for an experience that I completed in under 3 hours (including both endings, one of which only happened because certain characters acted way against their established personalities). I'm a fast reader and the end went by even faster as there weren't voicelines to slow me down, but even if it took me double, I'm not sure I could recommend it with the issues it has. There are a few early access problems (mainly regarding sprite placements) that I'm sure can be fixed, but seeing as the price is set to increase after leaving early access it might be more worth it to play it now if you're REALLY looking for something to scratch that Maoyuu itch and don't care about the complaints I already listed.

I never found a place to praise it, but the art throughout is very nice to look at and the soundtrack is fitting and well-made, if not overly memorable.

Posted September 12, 2019.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
4.9 hrs on record (4.0 hrs at review time)
Early Access Review
Came expecting FTL, left pleasantly surprised when I got Space Station 13. This game could easily turn into a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ with randoms, so it's best to play with friends.
Posted June 29, 2019.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
0.9 hrs on record
Somewhat short, but it's very enjoyable 60-90 minutes depending on your reading speed. All of the short stories are well-written, interesting, and more importantly well-voiced, which is something of the Ithaqua Labs standard. Witty and with 1-2 moments that you don't expect, it's exactly what an hour long free VN should be. Haven't played the 2nd yet but I plan to, and I have to imagine it'd be great as well.
Posted June 23, 2018.
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1 person found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
this is literally stanley parable but a beat em up

i cannot overstate the similarities between this game's narrative gimmick and the stanley parable
it's not that they're similar, they're almost exactly the same

that's not a bad thing by any means, but you're not really getting anything new here in regards to meta-gameplay. beyond that, the combat is really satisfying, visually impressive and can be extremely rewarding at times. a little short length-wise, but worth the buy if you're a fan of stanley and definitely worth one on sale.
Posted August 22, 2017.
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4 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
still haven't forgotten a moment of this game a year later
Posted November 23, 2016.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 entries