Review of SINce Memories: Hoshi no Sora no Shita de
|Subject||SINce Memories: Hoshi no Sora no Shita de|
SINce Memories: Hoshi no Sora no Shita de - Regular Edition
|By||Vote: 5.5meirin on 2021-10-12|
|Review||Before anything I want to start mentioning that I've only become familiarized with the Memories Off series relatively recently with the release of the Memories Off Historia collection. But thanks to it I got the chance to play and finish every single main entry in the series, and after the excellent series conclusion with Memories Off Innocent Fille I was really looking forward to see what they had in mind for a reboot of sorts, unfortunately I feel this game ended up mostly missing its mark. |
Starting off with the positives, I think this game's production is absolutely top notch. It only takes a glance to see how nice it looks, but more than that, everything regarding its audio is just excellent. Some ost tracks in here might be up there as some of the best from the whole MemOff series, and the way it brings back long running themes and melodies was both subtle and effective. But if you have Abo Takeshi as your composer a fantastic ost is most likely something you should already expect, what I didn't expect however was the overall quality of the voice acting considering that most of them are new talents. There were quite a few scenes that caught me off guard with their deliveries.
The next thing that I found praise worthy were some of the choices the game makes you take. You are often thrown into arguments, maybe between the MC and a heroine, or sometimes between two heroines, and the choices you are given are often both just as valid as they are reasonable. This wasn't a matter of "I'm going to pick the choice that's me being nice to the girl so that I get the good ending" but rather "What's the choice that will actually solve the issue at hand?". Although it's worth mentioning that most of these choices don't really affect the actual outcome of the story, there's only a couple that can bring you to a direct bad ending, most of them only influence whether you will end up with the normal of best ending. The story itself is actually pretty linear, there's only four divergence points in total, one for each heroine.
But that could be a positive depending if you want a more straight forward story. The actual main issue of this game is that it's all so terribly dull.
Going back to the scenes with characters having arguments, this game has the nasty habit of overly presenting argumentations and different points of view, to the point where it brings completely useless information dragging so many scenes to utter boredom. Some of those scenes could last between 30, 45min or even more with the same characters and them saying basically the same things over and over, even though the conclusion to the conversation was more than obvious right from the start.
Maybe if the main conflicts themselves were interesting I wouldn't have mind that much, but they were either completely trivial or treated in a way that made them feel like that. I think this comes down to the characters just not being likeable enough, in particular the MC. He is such a massive step down from Rui (the MC from Innocent Fille), on that game even though he had his personal issues, Rui was a character that showed a personality beyond that which then gelled nicely with the rest of the cast. In comparison, Jun'ya's main and only personality is him having an inferiority complex over his dead brother. That's it. I think if I took a shot every time he said "What would my brother do if he was alive?" I would've died of alcohol poisoning within the first half hour. This total lack of personality made almost all the relationship development between him and the heroines feel completely empty.
Speaking of heroines, I also found it tough to care for any of them. I think, for as nice as the art style might be, the actual designs are just too plain. Just look at how of they basically have the exact same style of bangs. Even their personalities ranged from basic to straight up arid (Hinata probably being the worst offender, she's almost always rude, and definitely not the "tsundere-fun type" of rude). Out of all of them Chun'yu was most likely the stand out, with her being the only one showing something resembling a likeable and strong personality. However during her own route her actual plotline gets completely sidelined in favor of Yuriko for no good reason, and whatever is actually left from that original plotline is clumsily resolved with some of the most sloppy and predictable foreshadowing I've ever seen.
But admittedly not everything about them was bad. The dynamic between Chihaya and Azusa was quite fun, in particular during Azusa's route, which might be the better route out of all of them. Besides, the scenes where the girls overcame their own conflicts were satisfying (partially thanks again to the VA's performances). Ironically enough the side characters ended up being the most interesting characters overall. I found the scenes with Misora and Aino to be really enjoyable, in particular Aino was great. She's the only girl that feels that deserves her own route more than anyone else, yet she doesn't. I'm not going to lie, I'm subtracting 0.5 points from my personal score because of that. I also wished Shin and Rin had more scenes, after going through the entire Memories Off series seeing Shin as a father figure was somewhat cathartic.
So to conclude, I think this is an extremely competent and well put together VN that has absolutely nothing interesting in particular to say. It's hard for me to understand why this was made to begin with. It's not like Memories Off is a massive IP, and Innocent Filled also served as a reboot of its own, considering how many years had passed between that and Yubikiri no Kioku. It took a lot of will to get through the entirety of it, and personally I don't really recommend anyone else doing the same.
Also, justice 4 Aino.