Review of Rei-Jin-G-Lu-P
|By||Vote: 8carito728 on 2021-01-24 last updated on 2021-12-05|
|Review||This is a detailed and spoiler-free review (please don't hover the spoiler fields if you haven't finished the game). I split it into "the good" and "the bad" so you can decide for yourself if it's your kind of VN or not. This review comes from the viewpoint of an avid fan of murder mystery and horror visual novels, so I'll reference the basic structure followed by other games to attempt to elaborate on my arguments.|
I tried to write the kind of review I look for when I want to decide if I want to play a game or not, so hopefully this will help you make up your mind.
Please read both the good and the bad before playing, since the bad could completely ruin the experience depending on what kind of player you are.
I'll start with the good, which I liked so much that my final score was 8/10 in spite of the bad being... really bad:
- Raging Loop excels in the Thriller and Supernatural genres, however, the Mystery genre, albeit interesting as you play the game, loses a lot of its drive during the convoluted (and disappointing) final reveal.
- The protagonist is really fun to play as and he's very smart, so he won't get on your nerves from being clueless like other main characters in the genre do. He's probably one of my favorite protagonists in the genre now because he's charming, intelligent, cunning, and has many sides to him for you to discover.
- The atmosphere of the game is REALLY GOOD and it keeps you on your toes at every turn; it's more dark and grim than games such as Danganronpa and 999, and it does its best to emphasize the urgency of the situation while also providing a few reprieves from the grimness in the form of comedy and charming dialogue. I cannot emphasize enough how good the atmosphere is, just keep in mind it's excellent and will make your heartbeat faster from the excitement (if you love mystery novels).
- The music is great and part of the reason the grim atmosphere is so perfectly captured.
- The time looping aspect is played out very well and the change in outcomes is always interesting.
- The game has a chart where you can keep track of all chapters and outcomes, and you can quickly jump to any choice to change your selection and see a different outcome.
- To advance the plot the protagonist needs to go through many loops to acquire the info he needs, which means you, the player, need to explore many endings that will unlock choices to get a positive outcome in a fork in the path that previously led to only negative conclusions. This is a very interesting and fun mechanic and it also helps in the characterization of the cast since you can find out what their reactions are based on many different situations/conflicts.
- The adaptation of the classic werewolf/mafia game is very good. If you've ever played this game before (in forums, tabletop form, Town of Salem, etc.) you'll have an easier time understanding the game and you'll enjoy it even more due to familiarity with the system. If you haven't played mafia before it's an easy to understand introduction to these games.
- The side characters are likeable. In fact, the side cast might be more relatable than the main one... More on this later. Just picture other murder mystery games where many side characters are just annoying filler and you could care less if they live or die. This doesn't really happen in Raging Loop because what each character has at stake is very relatable so there are very humane reasons you'd feel bad if they died.
Now, I have to point out the bad, which stood out more and more as I made my way through the last hours of the game:
- The "rules" that the "murder game" in Raging Loop has to follow are stomped on multiple times very easily, which feels pretty terrible because you're very limited in your tools to solve the mystery but in the meantime, the culprits can just stomp all over your effort. Imagine if in Danganronpa or Phoenix Wright someone could just pull out a machine gun and kill off all the other defenseless characters in the cast during the "trial". This is exactly what happens sometimes and it's very unrewarding to you as a player, since you have to stick to the rules and make your case to expose the culprits and... well they win anyway just because they commit mass murder after you expose them. The only reason this didn't completely ruin my experience was because the time looping aspect of the game boils this kind of occurence down to "non-canon" or "just an alternate outcome" but it's pretty fucking bullshit.
- This game forces romance down your throat when it really shouldn't. This is some weird shit where each route you get into a relationship with a different girl and it's like... Dude I'm here for a murder mystery I don't give a shit about these trash tier girls. Someone dies and you want to discuss the very pressing matters at hand but the main character is trying to get into the girl's pants or vice versa. It sucks and takes away from the severity of the story. I have no idea why there are no "romance" tags among the content tags, but there should be because it interrupts your investigations really often.
- To continue the point above, the game forces you to be attracted to all of the girls no matter what. You have no say in the matter. It's a linear thing. Oh, you liked one girl more than the others? Well, go fuck yourself because the writer says you like all of them.
- The three love interests have so much screentime that I dare say they're main characters just like the protagonist and the main villain. This means the main cast is composed of the protagonist, the three love interests, and the main villain. I'm singling them out to continue the last bullet point I discussed in "the good" of the game: these love interest bitches be crazy. The protagonist is charming and cunning, but the other main characters are either boring or batshit crazy. They're batshit crazy to the point they're irredeemable (like the main villain) but the game STILL INSISTS THAT YOU LIKE THESE PEOPLE (especially the main villain which made me so fucking angry because it's the most annoying character ever so can THE PROTAGONIST STOP TALKING LIKE I EVER GAVE A SHIT ABOUT THIS BITCH JESUS CHRIST SHE WAS SHIT TIER EVEN BEFORE SHE REVEALED SHE WAS INSANE).
- Chiemi is very likable when she's not being a crazy-ass bitch but due to the way the game is written and the conclusion + the extra story, you're never completely sure if she loves the protagonist or is just obsessed with him. I understand that her murderous personality was caused by being stuck in a time loop for so long but the lines between her sanity and insanity are so blurred that even after the true end and Revelation mode you don't have a solid grasp of her real personality because there's not enough content showing what she'll be like after you're out of the hell that is the killing game and the time looping phenomena. The extra story shows her solving another supernatural phenomenon but it doesn't take the time to show you the interactions between Haruaki and her outside of the "gag" that was the whole bear incident. If you want to sell me this as the main pairing I actually need to know how the fuck they're gonna act around each other after the murder game lol. Otherwise, just leave romance out of the picture dude. It's not hard at all. I'm not a big fan of romance in my murder mystery games as is but the way it was handled was exceptionally bad in Raging Loop.
- The main villain is a fucking idiot.
- The confrontation of the main villain was stupid as fuck. The conflict of the game was only solved because the villain had no brain cells.
- The main villain... is a rapist... and a child rapist at that... and the game plays it off as a gag... and there are no negative consequences to their actions... What the fuck...?
- The final reveal and explanation of all the mysteries is dogshit and ruins the flow of the game. Revelation Mode (NG+ mode where you get a lot of extra dialogue and scenes) should've been unlocked and a requirement to beat before you gain access to the true ending. The game currently demands that you finish the true ending before being able to access Revelation mode, which completely ruins the entire point of Revelation mode. What you learn there is stuff they should've let you read before the true end so that you're not so damn confused and so that you still have that feeling of urgency intact while reading through the extra scenes. Since you've already seen the light-hearted and joking true end there's nothing at stake when you're reading through Revelation mode, so the atmosphere is completely ruined. So basically what I'm saying is that the game should have unlocked Revelation mode after you unlock every ending except the true end, and then you can only get the last key required to play the true end after reading the entirety of Revelation mode. This is how it should've gone so that Revelation mode could give you the knowledge you need to understand the True End and so that you'd still have that feeling of "urgency" while reading through it.
- The true ending is VERY CONFUSING. There is so much comedy, and so many gags flying around combined with infodumps and contradictory reveals that I was very lost by the end of it. The ending wants to say the supernatural aspect of the game wasn't real... but there's still even more outrageous supernatural phenomenons happening that are confirmed to be supernatural. I don't understand why the game reached so hard for "logical explanations" and "haha of course it was a manmade phenomenon you silly player, this being caused by the supernatural is very unrealistic" when THE VERY PREMISE OF THE GAME IS A SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENOM (TIME TRAVEL!!!!). The game legit speaks as if believing in the supernatural is unrealistic and silly but then one sentence later it will confirm other supernatural occurrences as canonically supernatural caused by superpowers and God. What ??? the ??? fuck???
*** To clarify: I like the ending itself, as in, the conclusions to each individual character (except the main villain). My problem is how the narrative got us there (how the main conflict was solved) and how the writer chose to explain everything that happened.
If you read the entirety of my rant about the bad of Raging Loop you might ask yourself why I rated it 8/10. It's because I genuinely saw a lot of potential in the game, as in, the good parts were EXCELLENT. If it weren't for the outrageous ending and the weird order discrepancy between Revelation mode and the true ending, Raging Loop would have straight-up been at least a 9/10 (with points deducted just because of the forced romance). This part is something I just can't explain to someone who hasn't played the game, but the atmosphere and writing of the mystery was truly stellar, but gosh did it have a disappointing conclusion that wasted all of the narrative's setup.
Should you read Raging Loop? That's up to you who read this review. If you really like the good and can tolerate the bad then you should, but if you got turned off after you read the bad of the game then you shouldn't.