I just dropped it and rated it 3 - Bad, here's why

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#1 by whatfireflies
2017-05-02 at 01:20
I picked up this VN a few months ago, because it was one of the highest rated on here and because I love time travel. I had not seen the anime or read the story in any other format, so it was all new to me. In fact, I didn't even know there was an anime until somebody mentioned it to me recently!

I played through the first chapter and was instantly hooked by the story and characters, so much that I bought the full version (on Android, and then I mucked around with conflicting versions and patches, until somehow I got the full thing working in English.)

I kept playing it for hours and hours, somewhat enjoying the story, but also increasingly disappointed at the length of the prologue.

Like, 1 or 2 chapters, ok... I guess a complex story needs a complex setup. But 3, 4, 5 chapters of prologue, with no choices to be seen? I was starting to get annoyed at the thing. I might as well watch an anime or read a manga (or a book) if I'm not to have any say in the story.

And then, in chapter 6, after something really, really bad happens (no spoilers) I get the red phone icon in the message area, I check the phone, but there's nothing there. I'm a bit puzzled, because usually that icon means there's a text message to read, but I keep going. As soon as the icon disappears, the protagonist makes a really bad choice. Like, wtf are you thinking?

And then I get a VERY BAD FEELING.

I jump on Google to read a few blog posts about this game, something I normally would NEVER do before reaching at least one ending, to avoid spoilers, and sure enough, that DAMNED CELL PHONE is the tool you are supposed to use to make choices!!! What the hell!? Like what, by not reading texts? Or not replying? Or maybe making random phone calls?

This is the most horrible and confusing interface I've ever seen in a game.

I'm not going back and spend another 10 hours to play it back from the beginning, especially since I still don't have a clue how this VN is supposed to work.

I'm angry and disappointed at the amount of time I wasted on this garbage.
#2 by fuukanou
2017-05-02 at 01:31
I don't know why they'd make it so you can summon the phone whenever you like if it was useless. I don't know why people would send me texts which I could choose responses for if something didn't happen. I don't know about you, but when I am given even trivial looking choices like the text replies, I'd go back and check their reply if I chose a different option, just to see if I'm missing something. I don't know why they'd give a choice to not pick up the cell phone or not reply to a text if it was crucial that you do.

Feels to me like you just underestimated what 'interaction' entails in a visual novel, if it's not a clear cut "no the story stops until you make a choice at this line right now". I did indeed watch the anime before I played the game (JAST PC version though so phone was bound to right click, a big flag to its importance) but I don't think that knowing the story has any influence on it.Last modified on 2017-05-02 at 01:43
#3 by bunny1ov3r
2017-05-02 at 02:15
I envy OP almost. I've watched the anime twice in the past so that I am not making any progress for this game at all since I've seen it all..
#4 by pendelhaven
2017-05-02 at 02:16
just play it blind on your first playthrough.
#5 by dk382
2017-05-02 at 02:28
You realize you can just use the skip function to blow through that ten hours worth of text in a few minutes, right?
#6 by usagi
2017-05-02 at 10:23
I wonder how op would rated another masterpieces here like Umineko - i.e. novel without choices at all )
I might as well watch an anime or read a manga (or a book) if I'm not to have any say in the story.
..or you can read vn. Vns is not about choices, you see. They are books with sound and pictures. Interactivity almost always is just cosmetic function or mean to divide single story into preferable order of reading - which you read full eventually. There isn't any freedom of action and never was. It's not for what this type of media is appreciated and those who seek in vns interactivity are usually new to the genre.
#7 by kiru
2017-05-02 at 10:46
Like it or not, there are people who don't care about visual novels without routes. It's beyond me as well, but it happens.
#8 by eacil
2017-05-02 at 11:53
Or complaining about a developer who tried to make the system fit the concept. I thought I was going to read for once some valid review about this overrated VN but it was just an overreaction.

Those people don't like kinetics because they lose the immersion, they don't feel like they have a grip on the story like they are used to. Choices are a cheap trick but do wonders for artificially strengthening the involvement of the reader with the story. With kinetics, you just feel like you are *reading*, brrrr.Last modified on 2017-05-02 at 11:56
#9 by usagi
2017-05-03 at 11:22
Those people don't like kinetics because they lose the immersion, they don't feel like they have a grip on the story like they are used to. Choices are a cheap trick but do wonders for artificially strengthening the involvement of the reader with the story.
In my case it is other way around.The most immersive novels for me were ryukishi works (or just plain old books - Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings etc.). Conversely, neccessity to make choices just distracts you from good story and reminds you that you actually reading it - not living in it.Last modified on 2017-05-03 at 11:24
#10 by vorathiel
2017-05-04 at 20:20
Good thread, gave me good laughs. xD
#11 by juggernaught
2017-05-05 at 10:08
I played through the first chapter and was instantly hooked by the story and characters, so much that I bought the full version

I'm angry and disappointed at the amount of time I wasted on this garbage.
#12 by vol-k-e-r
2017-05-05 at 13:52
Today in the news showed that some guy was scared of a new door phone in his house and died of a heart attack... was it you?

Even my grandmother is less likely to panic with modern electronics...
#13 by vol-k-e-r
2017-05-05 at 13:59
Today in the news showed that some guy was scared of a new door phone in his house and died of a heart attack... was it you?

Although it is unlikely. Because he managed to register.Last modified on 2017-05-05 at 14:00
#14 by sakurakoi
2017-05-05 at 19:16
In my case it is other way around
Welp, you must be a weird one then, not that this is bad thing but immersion is achieved by interaction, meaning the better you can interact with something, which also entails quality as criteria, the more immersive it is. Now in return, if you are presented with two choices and do actually think of a third one, especially one you'd rather choose... that's what ruins the immersion so that no interaction could be more immersive because one is at least an observer.

While e.g Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series quite fascinated me (but oh god, the 4th entry...), I was but a mere observer and this goes for quite all books I read, making me in return drop that media after discovering visual novels (games I already played since like always thanks to my "aniki") which made me feel more like the protagonist and actually sharing their thoughts.

Of course, there were, are and will be protagonists I do not want to be... especially the flat&boring, "hetare" or "donkan" kind but if I find a protagonists I can emphasize with, where I can say "I would not have done differently", that's what I like, very much indeed. Choosing a heroine&route to go down is also part of that and I rather dislike having a heroine pushed onto me as "the love interest and fated partner", no romance is better than an unhappy one. Taking 50 years to be able to say "I love you"... duck you, too, that's not "romantic" and given how "pragmatic" (selfish) that genius was, borders rather on domestic abuse (but hey, only males can engage in that and will be thrown out of their own house when they report it, Duluth model FTW!~).

Now, considering actually this work, thread and OP... yeah, I can only say that one overreacted and should not have voted and I actually have the hunch that all these Bla;Blub are more popular and highly rated then they should be. I ain't got any proof for that for I did not read them and people should still be able to enjoy whatever the hell they want but for so many popular title I found actually no compelling arguments why they are actually written well.

Instead, what is quite often the case is that over-dramatization through arbitrary magic, plenty of premises and many unlikely coincidences, along with stupid protagonist, so literary the author playing god... oh, plus "moe" (innocent and cute) characters, they are also a factor, is what makes people feel like a work is a masterpiece because they suspended their disbelief to the point where it entails all of heaven, hell and the void.

This mainly comes from those did not consumed many works yet and consequently, because those are high on whatever popularity list and what is recommend, is what newcomers pick up first. I by the by still remember my "Air-trauma" when I started watching anime seriously (and not just whatever my national TV showed me), I was indeed like "Are you ducklings kidding me?!" especially at the end but at least I could throughout name (and still can) what I thought to be bad, what I did not just want to "listen&belief".

Clannad much latter was no different, merely Angel Beats I actually found to be quite well and logical given the surprisingly few and coherent premises... and do not even get me started on Charlotte or Little Busters, I suppose you can tell now where I am mainly, but not solely are coming from. Titles like Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo I can quite disregard from the beginning given the premise "what if you mentally torture teenagers but let them still roam free", quite like Cross Channel which I kinda regret to have read where it is just having supposedly mentally ill gather but largely unsupervised interact with each other. Another seemingly mere RomCom meanwhile has two schools built right next to each other, for high class and commoners each, with those then not being allowed to "intermingle with each other".

Yeah, I rather have an older eroge transport the perverted protagonist to a world where it is normal for females to wear nothing but an apron. Even that is more funny, not that I read much of it but one should admit that it is kinda witty to have the protagonist be shown a granny showing her back and bending over (luckily no CG). Better than some forced class-struggle at least.

Even Grisaia, one of my favorite series/trilogy (not really into having the name reused), ain't free of my criticism and one part has major flaws, where le writer was el god and ironically, Amane is seemingly the most popular (still... or because of that) even though one has to suspend their disbelief to a much lesser degree, to one that is still reasonable, for the other heroines (and protagonist) where the strings of events are related and quite logical possible outcomes.

What is also often disregarded is how indeed works with high amounts of pornographic content can not be written well or have anything serious of worth (I don't deny that the apron game quite possibly is nothing but entertaining). Currently I am play-reading Venus Blood -Abyss- and it sure has fair chunks of philosophy, mainly regarding ethics, religion and existence, where the many conversations quite well present not only the problem but also addressing arguments, possibly solutions and potential conclusions or at least a personal stance to take, all maturely and without an open end/"think more for yourself"-laziness... incidentally reminding one who knows of how Plato who used to present a teacher figure who explains something and a student who asks and is being asked.

The main problem that Steins;Gate may have, I fathom, is most likely obvious given the theme where I kinda doubt that it has that many "experts", given that this might as well have no real experts since time travelling is simply not something that can happen. I rather admit the multiverse theory where there are infinite parallel worlds with infinite states where even I am infinitely present and right now writing this post the very same way, with merely the infinity being smaller than the ones where I actually exist &c. But the principles, they don't change, whether it's time, space or conservation... so that even whatever magic follows certain rules.

On a not very related side note...
Today in the news showed that some guy was scared of a new door phone in his house and died of a heart attack... was it you?
"funnily" enough since after I moved out, my parents changed some many things in their home, two of them were a new microwave (plus a whole kitchen) and a "small" change to the telephone resulting in the new microwave alerts being more silent than the old one but the phone... every time I am there and somebody calls them I feel indeed my heart racing at least (have yet to experience a heart attack so I can not tell how it feels like), the phone rings very loud, shrill and so sudden (it was "normal" loud before). Not quite sure what happens first, me becoming deaf or this really giving me a real heart attack... well, my parents might as well also not live forever but they are not that old yet.

Again I wrote more than I wanted or needed to but w/e, it's always enjoyable/soothing for me to collect my thoughts (that might repeat) and phrase those at least somewhat readable. Invalidating my whole lot of points (and not just attacking one, a la internet, that won't change anyone's stance and such quite explains why so many on the internet are seemingly stubborn) is also more trouble than it is worth so welp, whoever liked to read this completely, "it's not like I did this for you or a-anything!"

and who did not like to read this (because their ideas where challenged)... hey, I did not force you to, did I? (and you should be thankful instead, fufufu~ seriously, it's not a discussion if everyone agrees with each other and pats their back. I also wear my hat on mah sleeve and tell when I just assert, guess or fathom something, here I merely can tell that I have reasons to assume that the top works are often overrated, not always and so this can quite be one when I have yet to see reasons stated that actually tell otherwise. This thread, it did not help.)
#15 by lne
2017-05-05 at 23:17
The interface for making choices is actually good enough. As far as I remember there is no point in which you need to initiate contact which would be a bit jarring for the experience in my opinion. What I mean by this is that the potential inflexion points should be clearly presented as such, and, given that you are interacting with the phone, it's fair game. If the game gave you no natural clues about interacting with the cellphone, I would probably give up on it. I'm not a fan of mazes and this would be pretty much a maze in disguise.

@14 Actually there's one point in Steins;Gate that bothered me quite a lot. Compressing petabytes of data into 36 (I remembered more like 16 but whatever, it's the same order of magnitude) is something that can be demonstrated to be impossible for arbitrary data (using the pigeonhole principle suffices really). Now, the novel doesn't actually state that arbitrary data is being compressed but rather human memories. An argument could be made for those having a common structure that, once studied, could be exploited for a better compression ratio in algorithms but the difference in orders of magnitude is outrageously big, especially when considering the current state of the art. For example look at these for large text compression; note that it is quite a benign set of data but even with such a set, the best compressing algorithms achieve a compressed size of one order less of magnitude. That is to say, for the first 10^8 bytes, the compressed size achieved is in the order of 10^7 bytes; and for 10^9, 10^8 is achieved. Taking a step back Steins;Gate asks you to believe in a compression algorithm powered by black holes that somehow takes 10^15 bytes and turns them into barely something in the order of 10^1... and I actually find the notion of a black hole compressing information to be nonsensical. It could be said that it compresses space I think, but in no way does that affect information. One could be looking at information density (as in, information density in space) instead but I digress (and I don't know that much about black holes to really go in depth).Last modified on 2017-05-05 at 23:40
#16 by kiru
2017-05-05 at 23:35
Steins;Gate is full of pseudo science and time-paradoxes. It's not as bad as that "Index" anime/ln may be with its science where it should be way obvious to anyone, but it's still pretty bad. It's basically not really sci-fi anymore, only fi. Which is fine, as it's constant and tends to explain what it wants with what it establishes.

I found it actually way worse in Root Double, where they took care to create a plausible near future setting with fitting technology, and then added this one wonder-drug that goes beyond any realism. Because if just one of those exists, everything collapses as another one COULD exist and be the answer to all problems at any time. Steins;Gate at least makes it pretty easily clear that anything could happen and you should probably not think anyway, Root Double on the other hand could work just fine if it weren't for this one thing. At the beginning at least. I wouldn't be surprised if that gets worse.Last modified on 2017-05-05 at 23:36
#17 by eacil
2017-05-06 at 00:30
When you think S;G is so much better than C;H, it tells you how much C;H is so full of bullshit. To hear the marketers tell you it's 99% about science is utterly ridiculous when you know Hayashi has no idea what science is.

S;G doesn't really has the will to be scientifically valid besides the copy-pasted lecture on time traveling, it's more about adapting the delusion of John Titor on top of cool additions like the micro-wave (I don't remember what is from Titor and what is not), which is fine and crunchy. Based on that, it's understandable that you can't have hard SF decrypting all that mess. You are supposed to enjoy some pseudo-science nonsense which looks good (when in C;H it just looks p a t h e t i c - here, Titor helps a LOT to not end that way) while trying to focus on the time travel (the only thread which is supposed to be valid from a writer point of view). Look at what S;G is about, it takes its inspiration from conspiracy theories so of course it wouldn't be scientifically strong. Sometimes, yes, it still find a way to break your accommodating suspension of disbelief like when they explain how the microwave might work but it's part of the deal.

It only starts to suck when Hayashi decides to give up on that fine setting and crunchy ideas to build a predictable charage structure bringing poor predictable tragedies any gourmand of SF doesn't give a shit about.

I had no problem with the phone but I understand the endings can be missed because the branching is not crystal clear. You need to wait for the ending to be triggered. It's more realistic but not explicit.
System of C;H was way worse. I did the whole game without knowing you could trigger different delusions. Even with knowing that, it had no impact on my "enjoyment".
#18 by maou-jp
2017-05-06 at 02:37
Well, I did not like it for different reasons, got bored midway and dropped it.
This game ain't for me, different strokes thing.
#19 by lne
2017-05-06 at 02:47
Yes, it is true that S;G isn't solid in every aspect but it doesn't need to be. It's just that it strikes me as lazy writing avoiding the minimal research needed to insert a plausible even if far-fetched explanation.


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