What do you look for in a good VN story?

Posted in

#1 by tellcools
2020-01-25 at 03:33
How do you guys judge if a vn is shit or not? Action? Good sex scenes? Girls acting cute? Deep plot? How do u guys judge from boring VNs to good ones?

Because you guys say Fault series isin't shit, score is gicen an 8/10 rating, so I buy it and its one of the most boring VNs ever, they ask for 30 dollars for 16 hours of boring story, a random side plot that goes nowhere, and random deus ex machina that isin't even answered after the cliffhanger, and its been 4 years or so and still no fault 3 to answer every one of these major plot holes.

Similarly, why the hell is subahibi on the first page of the most popular VNs when the plot doesn't make sense, everything is waved away with a "tanaki has mental illness" explanation, has a useless author self insert, but is for some reason one of the most popular and recommended VNs for a deep plot and themes.

Who the fuck is deciding these popularity and rating every snooze fest an 8/10?Last modified on 2020-01-25 at 03:33
#2 by fuukanou
2020-01-25 at 04:53
why are you listening to randoms on the internet and not looking for games suited to your tastes if you're so pickyLast modified on 2020-01-25 at 04:53
#3 by veronin
2020-01-25 at 05:15
the plot of SubaHibi doesn't make sense only if you are a brainlet
#4 by altonan
2020-01-25 at 08:35
Ok since this whole thread has devolved into a mudsling match about giving VN scores, I might as well throw in my 2 cents on what a score of VNDB (and the internet by extension) actually means:

4: We start off with 4 out of 10, which is just a little less than half of 10. Mathematically, you might assume this means you didn’t like the story, and maybe lean a little towards disliking the visual novel. Maybe you feel that that you would put it in the 40th percentile of vn’s you enjoy. Both of these assumptions are wrong. See, in the world of storytelling, everything must be black and white. VN’s must be the best, most epic thing ever, or be the worst shit ever made that makes you lose faith in humanity. There is no room for ridiculous things like nuance or middle ground. In modern times, there is no use for the rating of 4 out of 10.

8: Personally I find a score of 8 to be a bit overrated. Or should I say… over-eighted? Haha. While I do agree that 8 is definitely one of the top 10 numbers less than or equal to 10, I think its role as a score is a bit unclear. When you slap an 8 on a vn, you’re telling the world you have some problems with it. Otherwise, you’d just give it a 9 or a 10. But 8 is *still* a pretty high score. 8 out of 10 is still a concession that a story is quite enjoyable and has merits that significantly outweigh its shortcomings. You’re certainly not going to start any flame wars on Reddit by saying that about Stein’s Gate.

3: Don’t get me wrong, I love a good 3. It’s definitely better than 4 in terms of distilling a complex and subjective opinion about a visual novel into a mathematical constant. But 3 is in a funny place because while it expresses a negative opinion about a vn, it’s hard to say how negative. How mad are you exactly? Obviously not mad enough have some backbone and slap a 2 down.

10: We all know that outside of Doki Doki Literature Club the perfect vn does not exist. But for titles that come close enough, a full 10 out of 10 will do. You really can’t have an VN list without a single 10; what’s the point of being an VN fan if you don’t have a title you’re willing to come to bat for?

5: 5 might seem like a pretty low score. A title that’s pretty dull, and not even worth the condemnation of a truly low score. But think about this: 5 is exactly half of 10. So that must mean reading Neko Para twice is the equivalent of reading the perfect VN.

1: Now we’re getting into arcane territory. A 1 is both a condemnation of a truly and historically terrible title as well as a badge of honor. You’ve endured horrors that others have only heard legends of. You have climbed the Everest of bad, and lived to tell about it. I am no mathematician, but I believe 1 is one of the lowest whole numbers out there. And we all know how cool and edgy it is to hate things, so naturally it should be the go-to rating to slap on visual novels you truly hate, right? Wrong.

2: There is some sick and broken bone in the minds of some that derive pleasure from watching something truly bad. As things such as The Room show us, at a certain point so many things go bad that the experience itself is entertaining. For the truly terrible titles, that’s when 2 comes into play. A score for VN that can’t even succeed at being terrible. Sometimes, a weak expression of pity is the deepest act of cruelty.

6: According to thousands of online reviewers and IGN, 6 is literally the lowest number that exists. Visual novels with a rating of 6 out of 10 are a scar upon that medium that might never be washed away. Perhaps these people have recognized that the truly worst visual novels to exist are not the ones that are aggressively bad, but passively mediocre.

9: 9 out of 10 is one of the most popular ratings on VNDB, and for good reason. Have you ever read something that’s super popular, that has near-universal praise and ended up loving it as well? You start the VN rather skeptical; nothing that masses like could ever excite your refined palate, but you’re pleasantly surprised to see that it is indeed a masterpiece. We are now at a crossroad. A perfect 10 is out of the question — your deep and jaded insight has found shortcomings with the work that less knowledgeable fans could not even begin to comprehend. Yet the title genuinely deserves praise, even from atop your ivory spire. It is here where 9, the integer reserved for nostalgic classics and Nasuverse titles, truly shines.

7: Eh, it was alright, I guessLast modified on 2020-01-26 at 22:30
#5 by barfboy
2020-01-25 at 08:40
Two things
1. Cute girls doing cute things
2. See #1
#6 by diabloryuzaki
2020-01-25 at 09:14
as long as the story didn't contradict their own world setting and did not neglect character development then it must be good story
#7 by nukihunter
2020-01-25 at 10:34
#4 : We all know that outside of Doki Doki Literature Club the perfect vn does not exist. But for titles that come close enough, a full 10 out of 10 will do

Wtf are you smoking right now?
#8 by ecchihieronymus
2020-01-25 at 11:53
Inspired by #5:

1. Cute girls doing cute things.
2. Cute girls doing sexy things.
3. Sexy girls doing cute things.
4. Sexy girls doing sexy things.
5. Lolis being Lolis.

Also, I'm personally not into the whodunnit and Sci-Fi genre (neither in books nor in VNs) at all so mystery, thriller and sci-fi action are not my cup of tea. Neither is chuuni/shonen stuff aka FSN so most of the top-rated VNs on this site just fall flat for me. I'm here to have a good and h/fappy time so moege and other dating sim type VNs are right up my alley, with all the generic Nukige, and some slight NTR (られ) stuff here and there.

Before I even put it on my Wishlist/buy it I look at the tags: "Only Bad Endings", "Female Protagonist", "Otome Game", "Boy x Boy Romance Only", "Male on Male Sex Only" are all on my Exclude List with "Spoil Me!" enabled, but I can still enjoy a good trap. From that point the only thing I judge is if the VN achieves its goal, does a nukige make me want to fap/horny? Is the moege cute enough? Do I want to date all the girls in this dating sim/could I see myself irl with one of them? Is the NTR just right/as I expected (you can kind of guess how hard the NTR is going to be by the Ending and Pregnancy tags, character descriptions and possible threads).

Maybe once a year I'll play a Nakige and Utsuge but I can't really stomach a lot of those since I'm here to ESCAPE reality and have fun, not read something that's only going to make me depressed.

Edit: Admittedly, I'm a huuuge graphics whore with VNs so I would be able to play beautiful VNs like Kara no Shoujo etc. even though their setting might not be my cup of tea at first, guess that's an entry point for me and probably not logical at all ^^Last modified on 2020-01-27 at 17:33
#9 by altonan
2020-01-25 at 13:04
@7 The whole post was meant as a giant shitpost. For God's sake, how did you not catch that after I stated that reading Neko Para twice was the same as reading the perfect VN?
#10 by behappyeveryday
2020-01-25 at 17:43
Lol, it is some severe case of "I have a unique taste and can't understand why the vast majority of people aren't like me". If it was a snooze fest for you it doesn't mean that it was the same for everyone. In fact, rating and popularity prove that it was different for most of us. There is certain % of people with different brain/experience/nervous system/empathy, etc which makes them have a unique taste in novels, games, and films. You are just was unlucky to be such a person, try to read some unpopular or low-rated novels, maybe you will find something to your taste.
What makes the story good? It isn't some sort of quiz or test. In entertainment it is about how the work makes you feel.
#11 by naiohoras
2020-01-27 at 09:31
#12 by soketsu
2020-01-27 at 10:52
1. incest
2. onee-chan
3. imouto
4. osananajimi
5. okaa-chan

6. satire... or at least a meaningful parody
7. Philosophical themes
8. Non-manipulative author. They should just tell their story and express their ideas in non-forceful ways. As a reader I dun like to feel like being drag around.
9. rational characters unless it's a nukige
10. Justified villainism. I mean no psychopathic characters who do villainous deeds just for fun or because they can. Much better if there's no real villain at all.
#13 by kiru
2020-01-27 at 13:14
A good writer can sell you anything, if you are actually looking for "good stories". Not everyone does though and it's important to know what you yourself want. Especially when it comes down to things like self-inserting and so on, things can get quickly very different.
"Good story" is a very debatable choice of words however. I prefer to call it good writing.

So, what's good writing? What is memorable?

One really helpful thing I figured out is point of view changes. It's bad to remain the entire game in the shoes of the protagonist, who usually (but not always!) is one of the least relevant and interesting characters in visual novels. Helps the self insert, hurts the story and other characters. To get truly good characters, you need to have a look at them from many different angles. And one of those is simply "from inside". One easy example would be Himawari with Aqua. She is fun in the first chapter but becomes a whole different beast in the second, once you are "inside" of her mind. That creates a pretty huge and impressive character, which on a technical level is very nice. A more superficial reader might not like it though, because he can't self-insert or feels it's depressing and dislikes that. (It sure IS depressing, but that's obviously the point) A well written story or well written characters aren't necessarily enjoyable for everyone, nor are badly written stories necessarily not enjoyable.
Gotta figure out what you want, and be honest about it. If you like your moege, that's fine. It's not like they try to have insanely well written characters and stories to begin with. Their goal is something else, and they give you what you (hopefully) want, even if it's beyond unrealistic and others would just call entirely stupid.Last modified on 2020-01-27 at 13:17
#14 by ember
2020-01-27 at 21:25
The secret to a good vn is not avoiding the boring, since that is impossible in this medium, but to create an enviroment in which the boring becomes interesting. This can be achieved with clever world-building and nuanced characterization. Once the world and its characters have thus been set into motion, what would otherwise be boring becomes meaningful. A sequence in which nothing happens will be perceived as partaking in the natural ebb and flow of time, an ephemeral moment in the nothingness that decorates every component of its creation, signifying nothing but itself in the transient presence of the world that has been created, only to then disappear forever once the story finds its end.
#15 by pramit
2020-02-04 at 13:54
When you play enough vn's, you get an idea of what constitutes a good one. Initially, you will like any vn you play, because you are new to the genre and not used to the tropes. But as you play more, you will understand that most vn's just follow the formula with minor variations, and you will learn to curb your expectations.

The basic rules that apply to writing good books or making interesting characters also apply to a visual novel. For example, not using one dimensional characters, not making everyone stupid to make one person appear smart, avoid contrivances in plot, don't write sentences like a 3rd grader, etc. There is no formula for success, every vn has good and bad parts, some vns are unique in the way they tell a story (but they might have bad characterization), some have great characters but terrible story, some have excellent art and music, etc. Find your tastes and write about it in the discussion section of that VN.

What do I look for? Well..everything a good story must have - characters, world, plot. Its so general that I find it hard to express. Better to go case by case, look at one particular VN and express what I liked or didn't like about that one. I like to see adult/hentai in my VN's too, mostly so I can masturbate to it, but also because it feels more real (though most VN's just put H scenes without any further thought as to how those scenes can affect the characters - i.e. "we had to do it because horny teenagers would not buy otherwise" or "our target audience is horny and lonely people"). There are good and bad aspects of H scenes too, and I've seen a few vn's that integrate H scenes nicely into the story, like they actually matter/have consequence.Last modified on 2020-02-04 at 14:23
#16 by clorust
2020-02-07 at 00:35
A solid aesthetic, quality character dynamic (making for entertaining interactions where you wonder well in advance how they would clash or meld with each other) and consistent themes go a long way in making a good VN. I don't mind meta commentary or fourth-wall breaking provided it isn't overwhelming the other themes.
#17 by eri4ek
2020-02-11 at 06:25
I don't know why you hate Fault milestone so much. It has interesting plot, great characters with their backstories and actually belieavable lore, which we are learning chapter by chapter. Yes, it's pretty slow pacing, but that's not really a bad thing, because we see interactions between main cast and learn about the world.

What i look in VNs are great plot with well developed characters. This 2 things are cornerstone of a beautiful VN worth of my time. Fault is one of those VNs
#18 by mangaka92
2020-02-14 at 22:39
It depends on why I'm reading it. My standards are going to be very different if I'm actually looking for something with a good story versus just a nukige. The ones I play can sort of be split into three categories: nukige, moe, and thought-provoking/story-driven.

For nukige, I look for:
1. Artists/Artstyle (e.g. Sumeragi Kohaku, Ishikei, Ishii Akira, etc.)
2. Tags (e.g. succubus, elf, kemonomimi, kyonyuu, etc.)
3. Companies that I have enjoyed pretty consistently (e.g. Lilith Soft, G.J?, Dwarfsoft, Erectlip, SQUEEZ,etc.)
4. Whether or not its animated (animation is a huge plus for me)
"5." While I don't expect a good story, when one supposedly has one, I'm that much more interested.

> Gyakuten Majo Saiban -Chijo na Majo ni Sabakarechau-
> Kyonyuu Daimaou no Dosukebe Quest ~Kanzen Haiboku Shita Shounen Yuusha-kun UC~
> Marshmallow, Imouto, Succubus
> Motto! Haramase! Honoo no Oppai Isekai Ero Mahou Gakuen!
> Bible Black ~La Noche de Walpurgis~

If it's got most of those things, I don't usually bother with reviews and will just read it.

For moe, I look for:
1. Artist/artstyle (e.g. Suzumori, Akinashi Yuu, Mitsumomo Mamu, Mitsumi Misato, Utsunomiya Tsumire, Kantoku, avoiding things that look too amateur, ones that have inconsistent art styles, etc. )
2. Feel good themes (e.g. helpless alien/ninja/goddess/vampire/neko/etc. girl needs a place to stay and you the MC decide to offer her a place to stay, the girls are clumsy but cute with good intentions, the girls are a bit naive leading to either comedic or endearing situations, cute girls doing cute things, etc.)
3. Tags (e.g. Slice of life comedy, harem, romance, more than seven heroines, imouto type heroine, etc.)
4. Ratings (if it's rated low enough, I might end up avoiding it. However, if I like the artstyle enough and the character design, I might just play it anyways)

These ones are all about just giving you warm fuzzies.

> Corona Blossom
> How to Raise a Wolf Girl
> Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!!
> NekoMiko
> NinNinDays
> Nekopara
> Wolf Tails

For thought-provoking/story-driven, I look for:
1. Artstyle (e.g. I avoid things that look like they're more shounen and look for ones that seem more seinen but will still consider them, the screenshots aren't simply all just cute girls and sunshine but feature more drama or serious themes, perhaps more unique art styles, etc.)
2. Themes/Tags (e.g. Nakige, Murder Mystery, comedy, etc.)

> The Fruit of Grisaia
> Clannad
> Kara no Shoujo
> Saya no Uta
> Steins;Gate
> Muv-Luv

I'm most interested in a really gripping story with these and ones that really make you think and question things are especially good.

In all of these cases, though, I always make sure that the VN is Japanese made. The Chinese ones always end up being really, really low quality (e.g. machine translations, semi-amateur art, boring stories, really uninspired and monotonous music, etc.) while the Western ones can often have unlikable characters, unappealing artstyle or design, or have some sort of political propaganda behind them. The only exceptions that I can think of that I've played has been Wolf Tails which I really enjoyed a lot as well as Doki Doki Literature Club which was pretty good.
#19 by shinytentacool
2020-02-16 at 21:06
I like trapped/escape scenarios, with porn. Or "under_the_same_roof".... with porn
I am a simple man
#20 by zakashi
2020-02-17 at 02:40
i don't look for anything in particular when i'll play something but i avoid some types of content, especially games focused on homosexual relationships, extreme gore, BDSM, non-japanese games, bizarre sexual content (but i can bear tentacles if there aren`t a bunch of them in the game), mostly these.


You must be logged in to reply to this thread.