Sunday, December 24, 2017

Usotsuki Shangri-la - review

 Game: [嘘月シャングリラ] 
Genre: Otome Visual Novel. 
Developer/publisher: Rejet.
Platform: PS Vita.
VNDB: https://vndb.org/v20634
Release date: 2017-11-30

Rejet's latest game... and I shall be your guinea pig in trying to figure out
if it was worth it, UsoTsuki is Lie and Moon together it means liar. (lol lying moon.)
Well uh that's all for crappy lessons in japanese you get from me.
Shangri-la is a name of a fictional paradise...

Pro's
-A good mix of sweet&serious scene.
- I'd say the story was ok like there is drive to get to the locked route.
 - Slow skip but there's jump to the next choice.

Con's
- Did they really need to have to force everyone to call Akari Usotsuki-chan a l l  t h e  t i m e.
- The characters are plain, cliche I find unable to attach myself to most of them.
- Its actually pretty short when you think about it.
- Would be better if there are actual epilogues.

Art, looks a bit weird but not bad or anything infact the background art was fine.
Music, its decent, OP... some BGM could be better because the castle-like theme drove me crazy.
As for seiyuu choice... meh its the popular boys.

System... typical stuff, you select the route of your choice right after the prologue.
 I had no preference so I just went with one of initial ones. Ende is locked till you do the other four.
Now this is a bit of a minor complaint but the text was pretty blurry while everything else
 was crisp IDK but it bothered me, it also small but uhm the font in himihibi was pretty big
so maybe thats why it bothers me now. xD

I like the OP and all... atleast they're honest at to what expect even if the context was different.

As you've figured this game is about lies... with the usual rejet spin but lighter?!
it has a pretty generic setup of girl ends up in another world not like her own.
The protagonist is typical, she seems good natured but no experience with guys
this is okay but I sort of laughed when Akari said how well everything else is going
to a relative on the phone in the beginning. I was like girl if you know what you're in for!
 The prologue/common route was an introduction, they explained how the protagonist
Akari is the usotsuki who might save the world and Fenrir, Hel and Jorm are the brothers
of calamity who are believed to cause misfortune and are scorned for it...  they seem
normal enough, like they saved Akari but there seems to be more to them than meets the eye.
Smartphone? what is that? why thank you for this gem...
Who thought this whole usotsuki concept was okay? I can't take it seriously.
At first I thought this whole game is a pun on the word ''Usotsuki'', I joke about it
 but in the beginning it was actually really cringe worthy. Constantly hearing the protag called
usotsuki-chan or liar-chan in plain english is so incredible off-putting...
but as I did more routes I eventually stopped caring.😅
Can't say the transition from Akari's world to shangri-la was very good in fact it confused me.
That aside there is a bit of mystery to it all... and Usotsuki-chan >_> frequently has these
visions/dreams when she touches water so I still found drive to continue, since its
like the way she learns more about the chara's the happiest
ends aren't necessary the best for sake of world which is sad.
The romance and plot developed side by side so it was good mix of sweet/serious moment
the pacing and sense of mystery was nice too bad some routes are just disappointing
story wise since there's only one where all makes sense. As for the protagonist
Akari wasn't that annoying just a bit too nice for her own good I guess...
the guys however are pretty bland they don't have much personality and felt plain to me.
So on the topic of lying, if you lie at certain points you change the ending...
dunno if it was the guide i used but in certain routes you dont need to lie to get best end.
I do think it has its place in the game... Its nice that each route had something new
to reveal, atleast the turn of events was never the same which was nice.
 I thought Usotsuki was so-so... its pretty tame for a rejet game atleast NO VERY TAME
in the first half of the routes(not counting bad ends). Each route focuses on that
character, its unique enough just doing one route won't get you to the truth of the story.
They all have something they don't want others to see and its also very realistic, not everyone
is nice even if at a glance they appear to be. I suppose Usotsuki shangri-la
is like an apology after the disaster that was Moshikami because I believe they went too far
with that one, you might know what I am talking about.
Well if you don't want to read more, I'd say it Usotsuki gets the OK from me...there's no
creepy oniichans or extreme yanderes here so if you expect that then you'd be disappointed.
Might be better for newbies... since veterans may notice how lacking certain aspect are.
So-so otome game but Nice Try Rejet.

If I had to recommend any play order it'd be:
Fenrir / Hati >  Jorm > Hell > Ende.
I do not think it matters when you do Hati he might be nice first, midway or right before Ende
idk it was pretty much the most otome-like route so just do it when you feel like.

There won't be any summaries but I try to write about some parts.

Hati.
CV: Saitou Soma.
Hati a cute...
 Now that Iook back this route was awfully self-contained and had a bit of healing effect
atleast they got the otome part right but everything else maybe not.
Hati was just one of those awkward cutie pies....   a nice guy, he takes care of dogs but here
comes Ende to remind Usotsuki-chan all that there's a wolf lurking within the hearts of men. ಠ_ಠ
Why thank you for reminding us all this is indeed a rejet game... this was actually a hint
but I didn't realize it untill I got to a certain point in the route cuz I thought it wasn't important. 😅
Hati seemed to really enjoy spending time and with Akari and showing her around town so Hati
decides after seeing what a gud gurl she is that he's going to protect her however even his mental
state seems to be affected by what slowly drives people insane in glassheim. I think the bonding in
with Hati in the first chapter was believable, he's a bit awkward but seems to be a good kid.
That aside Hati's had a bit of a troubled past but he's pretty much a dog whisperer
can't say much else stood out other than Hati going on about about how Ende doesn't see him as a
bro/not really brothers uh what else? they go out and search on the outskirts of the town for clues
and grow even closer to each other, they find some shady folks and decide to call it a day
more sol-like scenes and they had a party, they danced. Even though Hati warned Akari
to not look into his past, she did it anyway because curiousity killed the cat or in this case dog
Long story short when they were little Ende took Hati in their maid Sunotra helped him
read and write, Hati believed he's Ende's little brother all this time even though he just took him in
like a stray dog and are not actually blood related. For the first three chapters
the game was actually pretty tame... very otome! like the moment it went
into Hati's past all I saw it as was: I want my non-blood related bro to notice me
then the next full moon comes and Hati's rabies go out of control! >_>;  Akari-chan thought
it was a good idea to check up on him... only to realize he's in yan-mode now.
After he realizes what he's done... he loses it and as turns out he really is a furry
so now the rabies joke makes sense doesn't it? that aside in the best end it was handled ok
Hati doesn't want to hurt her on purpose so he wants to distance himself but he still
protects her in time of crisis so that's admirable and shows he's no coward.
I never really trusted Loki... but some parts surprise me (mostly about Hati).
I didn't write a lot but its perhaps better in person, I didn't want this to become an essay.
IDK what to write about the misery end though... or the good end the latter was better however
I don't see how it solves everything but still I wish there was some sort of epilogue?
 sure at this point their affection is mutual, they're together but that can't be all the way it ended
made it so obvious Hati is not the ''main dude'' which is sad because I do like him
if only a little perhaps its best to do this route first, it leaves you guessing at other stuff.
I suppose his vanish end was sad but appropiate, the world was saved since
Usotsuki died because Hati devoured her since his cult ''friends'' whipped him too hard and
completely lost it, idk the death of her made shangrila its light... regain natural order wait wut.
Back to the good end it was a bit abrupt I looked forward to an epilogue but I got none and the
Vanish/Misery end got me like why this?! I don't want to say Hati's route was irrelevant
it just felt so self contained to his personal issue which in a way is good
no one wants the mystery to be solved the same way in every route.
 There's still questions here... but I expect them to be solved at Ende route(they did)
this was a very romance centered route, that was for certain but it wasn't that special.
 Romance ★★★★☆
Plot ★★☆☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆
 ~

Jorm.
CV: Shimono Hiro.
When a guy comes on to you and you're just like wut.
 This route was very rejet... but he's not really a yandere I expect him to be. 
While I don't like Jorm after his route I couldn't really hate him either.
Jorm seems nice but he literally forces his ass on usotsuki-chan as her protector
in more ways than one, idk who else wouldn't be creeped out when someones like that?
Also who the hell let's a guy in through their window at night?! Akari is so naive... okay
he's not that bad but Jorm seems to be like one of those overly nice guys
with something to hide, Jorm is obviously trying to get on Akari's good side.
One night Jorm just sort of sneaks her out of her room and they go near the lake
he fished(its a hobby) and Akari got to see a bit of his past when she touched the water.
Oh and Fenrir was an angry tsuntsun... who got a bit mad at Jorm(well deserved) also
Jorm wished he met Usotsuki-chan a lot earlier... I won't deny Jorm was surprisingly sweet
even though I knew he just couldn't be trusted, he was just too nice and Akari too gullible.
TL;DR Jorm lived the tough life... the calamity bro's lived in the slums struggling to get by.
Jorm found out crap, people betrayed themhe lost someone dear to him and it didn't
sit well with him so he held a grudge against the wealthy noble folks etcetera.
I liked how Hati's route was all like... the past pls don't look but Jorm was the opposite
after he found out she saw a little with her power he was like why not try and view the rest?
In this route Akari has to lie that she didn't see anything even tho she did...
also deep sigh, I guess I was in the right to be wary of him, Jorm ended up drugging
Akari and mumbles there's no reason to save this world and how he wants revenge
against the nobles but not just them... there's nothing to fix cuz this world is broken
so Jorm stole away the only hope there was Usotsuki-chan. Even if Akari hasn't done
anything wrong so he offers her one chance to not go back, put up with it and stay in this shack.
Jorm gives her some thought about if she really wants to be killed, he also said
he'd join her in death with a smile on her face. So when he's about to kill Akari he realizes
she lied and doesn't wish for that to happen and realizes this revenge thing is foolish.(huh)
Akari forgives him and decides to go back when she finds out he's trying to off himself and tell
the others what's up, she succesfully stops him too and they confessed. After that they try
 to talk to the council which didn't go so well because Loki's an ass as usual
but they get Teal to see through it thanks to Ende.
Once again there's no epilogue but Jorm will be more honest and never lie again.
Misery end is when Akari was being honest to the other bro's and prematurely running off
to an emoing Jorm who was in the middle of drowning himself at the lake.
...She couldn't save him but he kissed her as he went to the other side. ಠ_ಠ
Vanish end is Akari not saying anything and also running off but she overhears some folks
and ends up finding Jorm in the square. He's getting beat up by a mob shouting
they don't need the calamity bro's, Jorm just laughs and takes their shit. ಠ_ಠ
When Akari sympatizes with Jorm the mob turn their anger to her which angered Jorm
they let her go but Jorm is beyond saving... Akari takes him with her to some forest
and watches him draw his last breath. Geez wtf what is this getsuei no kusari.
I give this route props for sticking true to the theme of lying because as a whole
its much better than Hati, Jorm's character was much more interesting too
I just wish we could have some sort of epilogue for the best end? to see them in relaxed times.
Romance wise... it might be convincing but I felt it rode more on forgive, forget his faults
to try and help him somehow which is all well and good but I couldn't really
understand when Akari fell for him, I guess the pity was strong with this one.
TBH same... Jorm did nothing wrong he's just lost, confused and tried to do what he saw was right.
  Romance ★★★☆☆
Plot ★★★★☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆
~

 Fenrir.
CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa.
 Since I tend to not expect much from poster boy routes anymore I did Fenrir next.
Fenrir was... surprisingly laid back and friendly maybe a bit awkward around Akari
but he really believes Akari will save this broken world and he'll protect her best he can.
Akari keeps getting warflashbacks of a kid telling her if only you didn't come here! but
Fenrir's been so supportive to her and he could see she wasn't feeling right.
Honestly half the route was rather boring... like we totally needed to see
Fenrir have a friendly spar with a bunch of random townsfolk. >_>
Then he finds her asleep on the couch and he's all like what a good girl...
trying so hard, she's so pure/good natured while patting her head. (I was like awww)
Literally the only good thing was how considerate Fenrir was, how he's able to pick up
Akari's body language and all that, like he saw how lonely she looked etc.
The rest wasn't interesting cept for his past, just the nobility not liking the calamity bro's
and the nobility wanting to take usotsuki-chan away from them cue Fenrir flipping
when he finds out what the council is planning, Fenrir got locked up.
Fenrir is nice enough to protect Akari from them but there's not much I liked here.
Like Hati, Fenrir's rabies go out of control because he fears he cannot protect
the people he cares about... like in the past, that he's weak and blames himself.
Fenrir is a wolf boy who will go at nothing to protect the person he cares for, the moon
affects him too hench his rage, I don't really know why Akari fell for him... the chemistry between
them was there but at times Fenrir felt like he was an older bro looking out for his sister.
Akari just tries to understand him... it didn't feel romantic to me at all I am sorry.
Fenrir ends up kicking Teal's misguided ass and his friends help but yeah the whole route
felt meh to me so even if I didn't expect much I still ended up being disappointed.
 Akari has become such important person to Fenrir, marriage in the night sounds good right?
epilogue where? too bad we don't get to see it. lmao
Misery end: Fenrir ends up killing Teal... and loses it because he killed again and again.
They lock Fenrir up since his rabies have turned him completely incomprehensible
Akari can't help but pity him and somehow Fenrir calms down a little. ಠ_ಠ
In the vanish end: Teal tries to turn usotsuki-chan into the sacrifice and dies
even tho Fenrir begged him not to.... Teal laughs like a mad man at how he succeeded
in winning back the light but it didn't work... her death was in vain the end. ಠ_ಠ
TBH I do like how Teal was the villain this time around... I didn't mention a whole lot
but I think parts of the story are really connected even if individual route focus is different.
Like routes before this the core problem or mystery is never solved(both good and bad thing)
it is really sad how obvious it is none of the routes so far feel right in terms of story.
   Romance ★★☆☆☆
Plot ★★☆☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆
~

Hell. (Its Hel but you know namidai)
CV: Namikawa Daisuke.
 Unlike other routes this one felt more relevant with the plot, a lot of things start making sense...
and hint at things in the last route even more than Hati. 
Well the route started out more natural... he's interested in her because of her eyes
and doesn't trust her in fact he thought she was plotting something, he even thinks
her unknowingness is an act which only confuses Akari. This is good, He's not forcing himself
on her like Jorm nor being a helpful friend like Fenrir... Hell doesn't like Akari at all at first!
but why the hate though? this made it interesting to continue of course Akari
is being honest and he eventually is like ok you appear to be ok, so its not like he's an ass.
Sadly the change is a bit abrupt but I suppose if you're really honest they'll believe. /shrug.
Akari ends up seeing his past and his mom Sonia was very beautiful and there
was a man named birlest they took care of Jorm and Fenrir when they were little.
Later townsfolk be all like our/my problems are all ur fault liar-chan so pls take responsibility
and disappear and/or die but Hell protected her from them while reasoning with them.
 Then this Olsen fucker comes in and takes interest in Usotsuki-chan because of her eyes.
You do not know how much I was creeped out by him, like the moment he came on screen
and open his mouth I just knew HE IS DANGEROUS Akari run now, run fast!
You know it bad when he said: I AM VERY SATISFIED I WAS ABLE TO MEET YOU.
Mein gott... rejet I thought I was safe this time but I was sorely mistaken.😓💦💦💦
Moving on Hell works for him and when its a fulll moon Hell wanted to be with Akari
and probably thanks to Olsen this'll come true because he messed with him.
Its revealed Hell is cursed and can't feel pain so Olsen did something about it
he ends up dragging himself over to Akari with his eye covered with a bandage. >_>
There was another flashback and the gist of it was  Ruka, wanted Sonia to see
the outside world but here comes Olsen like wolf from the bushes
to try and snag her because he wants to use her for his plans.
Birlest found her right before she gave birth... but it too late she died doing so.
Akari and Hell spends some quality time together, because she's honest she made him
realize to stay the fuck away from mr:creepo and treasure the time they have now.
Though did you really think this fucker was going to let Hell get away with Usotsuki no less!
I am having fun writing this down without much context.... I love how Olsen is just so bad
like even if he's soooo evil you can still like them even if they cause all the shit.
Every once in a while once of those comes around... and I just smile.
So Olsen eventually takes Akari and forces her to look into the past, he's utterly amazed
at it and continues to force her to do as he wants till Hell comes crawling to stop him.
Really though Hell is such a sweet angel who did nothing wrong just fell into the wrong hands.
Sadly the situation was resolved rather oddly, Hell saves Usotsuki from Olsen's expiriments
because deep down he doesn't want the same thing to happen like with his mom.
Hell won't be a good boy anymore and settles it... they basically find ever lasting
happiness afterwards but uhm there's no epilogue so it just never feels finished to me.
Misery end: Hel decides to confront Olsen and settle it right there... tbh I got real uncomf
at how that whole scene went like, Hel freaking murdered Olsen in cold blood. w.t.f.
Akari ends up hearing of this from a bunch of randos and the two just continue like
not much happen, even Akari isn't sure why she puts up with him
only that she loves him for who he is idk how else to put it. -_-
Vanish end: Pretty much different version of the misery end except Hel goes along with Olsen
and continues to work for him because he found out Akari is a dirty usotsuki.
Hel can no longer trust or rely on her so he abandons her or whatever.
Overall I felt the story was more consistent, Fenrir's route suffered too much
from political blibla and Jorm was pretty much different side to it all.
I'm honestly very glad each route so far covered a small part of the whole story
its just that almost none of the guys felt like they're the main guy which is both good and bad
though in the case of Hell it seems he might just be my bias.
 Romance ★★★☆☆
Plot ★★★★☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★★☆
~

Ende.
CV: Sugita Tomokazu.
 From looking at the official site, I saw this route was locked...
I judged from his seiyuu that he's the man that told Akari not to follow the voice
of a boy asking for help... Akari didn't listen and she ended up in that other worldly place.
 So well Akari ends up lying to the calamity bro's and tries to find out the truth.
Ende was real sweet though... he treated her like a normal girl (I am weeping). 😭
This route followed up on a lot of things that was hinted at in Hell's like Sonia's child for example.
Its really the true route, Akari and Ende knew each other when they were little
so its sort of sad in other routes he just fall into the background, Ende isn't even a bad person
like its revealed Akari isn't actually from the 'real world' she used to live in shangri-la
but due to her eyes she wasn't allowed to go outside, Ende really want to protect her.
The rest of the problems also tie together more but this make me sad since
the others just have routes because its an otome game like to have a choice. -_-
There was talk of this moon and that moon and Ende's not exactly human he like watches
over this shangri-la places liek he used to be a god, some folks want to destroy it or whatever
but its too convoluted part of me was like can it go back to being an otome game? ಠ_ಠ
I am not going to bore you with a TL;DR of the past sure I could be detailed but eh screw it lol
I do not think ''the plot'' was bad its so-so like they tried and I appreciate that.
Ende truly was a sweetheart, he was not at all rejet-like and for that I am glad
but it really was the true route, everything came together which makes the others look bad.
Atleast this route felt like it concluded properly, Akari has no reason to leave shangrila again.
The misery/vanish end was more in line what I expect of rejet games
 but Ende did nothing wrong, the antagonist is a misguided piece of shet.
I'm just glad Ende wasn't a Masato... god its like rejet redeemed themselves so much here.
 Romance ★★★★☆
Plot ★★★★☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆
~

Route enjoyment:
Hell > Ende > Jorm > Hati > Fenrir.
Even though Jorm had some predictable developments(I just knew he couldn't be trusted)
 I'd say his route was miles better than Hati or even Fenrir, it just felt more relevant
and he had reasons for what he didl... Fenrir had the most boring route while Hell felt like
he actually mattered but Ende was the real deal...  though his route was very draggy
with a lot of ''plot'' so it wasn't that enjoyable as a whole.

Fav character:
Ende > Hell > Hati > Fenrir > Jorm > Sunotra > Olsen > Teal > Loki.
I guess it Ende for me... none of the chara's left that big of an impression on me
except maybe Hell or Jorm.

Final Thoughts
I never thought I could thank rejet for keeping it civil well after moshikami most stuff seems 'civil'.
 Guess this one will be short because I really don't have much new to say...
other than to wrap up my thoughts one last time.
Usotsuki actually felt like it was an apology for another recently released otome game by rejet
and ya'll should know what I am talking about (hint: moshikami).
It still has rejet's charm so if you like have to play every game by them then go for it but if you
really need to know if this game is ''safe'' without much messed up stuff I can say it was
though i'd say the story was a bit convoluted and there's not enough volume.
If I actually tried I could finish one route a day and atleast the story/romance progressed
side by side the bad part really is no epilogues, there are mini side episodes though.
Some said the skip feature is pretty slow but I did not mind the speed since its not that long
as say black wolves saga and there's a jump to next choice feature so all is okay.
I guess the only bad part is it takes a little for the backlog menu to show up...
For a rejet game Usotsuki was pretty tame... like if you thought Ende was some creepo
you got it wrong, heck even Jorm turned out to be pretty sweet but just misunderstood.
Some of the happy ends are too good even for rejet... so I suppose that's sort of bad.
 I thought overall it was okay... better for beginners maybe? it wasn't that good
this is just another one of those plot driven otome games with a particular bias
for one character. Part of me also thinks it would be better to have skipped it... since in the end
I didn'tfeel attached to any character at all. Maybe part of me didn't really like usotsuki
that much after all... it just didn't click with me, somehow it still gets the OK from me.
I think only Hati, Hell and Ende routes are worth it... Jorm was okay too but yeah
depends on taste, its also so obvious you need to do all to get the big picture.

Characters ★★★★☆
Art  ★★★★☆
Scenario/plot. ★★★☆☆
Music ★★★☆☆
System  ★★★☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆

I think i'll focus on code:realize shirogane no kiseki next...
I'd love to dive into chouchou jiken but all in good time.

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