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Review of Root Film

SubjectRoot Film
ByVote: 7.5monado-boy on 2021-04-15
ReviewI was pleasantly surprised by Root Film, especially considering I wasn't expecting it to be anything to write home about.

To start with the presentation. I liked the art-style a lot. Although there was a lack of variety to the character art in that they seldom changed their pose or expressions.

While I never played Root Letter, I am aware that a handful of music tracks were recycled from that VN, which certainly contributes to the low budget feel this VN has to it. The music in general was just okay. There were only about 3 or 4 tracks that stood out to me

The voice acting was also fine. Some might consider it a bit immersion breaking that many of the side characters share voice actors (in most cases putting on the exact same voice), but it never bothered me too much. The voice acting of the central characters is what mattered to me more and I found that to be perfectly alright.

I give particular praise to the fact that the MC was fully voiced (both of them actually), as this is something that is sadly less common in VNs than I wish it was.

I should also note that the translation quality was... interesting. The script was littered with typos and there were some random memes shoved in here and there, the most notable examples being the phrases "Ugh, ok boomer" and... "Yeet it over the fence."

Now moving onto the QoL... Or lack thereof.
To be blunt I was very unimpressed with this aspect of the VN. You get one page of settings with only 6 options. Those being: Text speed, Autoplay speed, Skip mode lock and then BGM, SE and Voice Volume.
No options to change the font, textbox opacity, text box size, set individual character voices etc.
Even for a rather low budget feeling VN, I expect better than this.

As for the gameplay, it was very basic. it mostly consists of just choosing where to go and then selecting which people to talk to or objects to examine within each location. I did get a little irritated with the lack of direction at some parts. I found myself scrolling through each location in order, confused at where I was meant to go next, only to find out that I was actually supposed to talk to this one guy again, even though I thought I'd exhausted everything he had to say.
The other major aspect of gameplay were the confrontation segments or "Max mode" as i think it's called.
These were visually engaging but otherwise way too easy. it was almost always incredibly obvious which answers you are supposed to pick.

The real meat of a VN like this, or what I care most about, lies with the story and characters.
The story is split into episodes, somewhat akin to those you'd find in Ace Attorney Investigations. There are 5 episodes in Yagumo's perspective and then 2 in Riho's perspective.
Most of the earlier episodes were pretty mediocre. Many of the answers were a little too bizarre or random to take seriously and some of the culprit motives were so laughably dumb.
The later episodes, however, were very gripping and had some decently surprising, and sometimes tragic, twists and reveals. I found myself far more engaged in the story towards the end than I ever expected to be. These later episodes also tied the whole story together very well so that none of the prior episodes ended up feeling like unimportant filler.
I'd say the biggest issue plaguing the story throughout was that it felt very underwritten at various parts, leaving certain moments to have less impact or feel less effectively explained than they should.

The characters were very likeable and entertaining, as were their interactions. The comedic banter between both MCs and their respective assistants being the highlight. There was also a good few emotional and heartwarming moments. If you enjoy the character writing in Ace Attorney, you'll enjoy this.
In fact, that's pretty much how I feel about Root Film as a whole. It is the sort of VN that will appeal to more casual VN fans the most, or people who are just hungry for another mystery VN with full voice acting.

tl;dr Root Film is 11/10 kamige and it changed my life.