Monday, July 2, 2018

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly - review

 Genre: Otome Visual Novel.
Developer/publisher: Otomate, Aksys.
Platform: PSV.
Release date: 2018-04-27

Back to our regularly scheduled otome game reviews.
I will be reviewing this a little bit different due to the nature of the game
as in its better to not know too much about anything story or character related
before you play which means it probably will be my messy ramblings of likes/dislikes
and my apologies for bringing up the biggest drawback too much
but it just shows even this game isn't perfect, tbh i've yet to play one otome that was.

Unfortunately before I played I was warned that this game is in fact a giant common route
with the individual or romance part as an after thought. This is fine but part of me prefers
something more balanced like code:realize. However sometimes I don't mind if the story's good.
Also you're better off playing this game without a guide, you'll most likely get Kagiha's route
(like what happen in my case) without trying; unless you were super curious about that one book.

Good stuff first, I really like the story, the way its presented and written sort of sucks you in
because its full of suspense which is good motivation to continue on. The flow chart is meh
only really handy to get where you want to be, constantly having to stop the story
for the side stories might be annoying especially when things got really interesting
(more on this later) even then later on certain side stories provide a way to see
another side of the characters others are meaningless filler of days gone by.
The minigame isn't annoying but it might take a bit to get used to.
The key is to not shoot the butterflies individual but lock on to a lot of them at once while getting
the special coloured ones and then shoot, basically look what you chain together.

The protagonist is voiced, has an actual personality and backstory this time.
Beniyuri is an integral piece of the story which after the last localized otome i played is very
welcomed. A protagonist makes or breaks a game...but for the most part she made it a lot better.

Music adds a lot to the mood of the game which helps with both suspenseful and light-hearted scenes.
 The OP isn't really my thing but its not unbearably bad or anything.
The art is of course pretty to look at; it helps with the overall theme of the game
I like how they changed the colour depending where it took place.

- Interesting and suspenseful narrative.
 - Likeable cast of characters.
- Art is pleasing to look at.
 - Music fit the mood.
 - Giant common route, individual routes or more like ends are short but overall its of decent length.

- Extremely short; I think if you actually put effort into it you can finish it in two-four days.
Main/side ep - Having to read Five of these ''daily life'' to continue the main narrative was
incredible jarring, esp when I was pretty engrossed by it. I only liked the one about
cooking and shojo manga but most did nothing to add to the actual plot except camaraderie.
This just brings the potential of this game down,  its like reading this manga and at the end
of volume 4 there's a bonus side chapter full of fluff which takes place some time earlier but we
couldn't fit it in! I get some of them are like a reward but its sad how the mainstory
just goes like ''a bunch of days passed'' yet here we are in a bonus episode  about just that, it really
could've been executed better like there are these ''main story'' bits  and things get interesting
like at one point I expected a minigame as they headed out to confront a monster but was booted
into the flowchart to read even more ''short episodes'' WAY TO RUIN THE MOMENT!

That aside its still an enjoyable mystery otome game, that has a bit of a flawwed execution.
Great cast, decent amount of suspense + drive to get to the bottom of it all
and good art/music to compliment it. What more could you ask?

As for the localization? I am pleasantly surprised! its really good, like BAW its
not that long of a game so it makes sense they have more time to check things over
if the size of game isn't that big, the font is pleasant to look at this time too so thats another plus.
It does makes me wonder what goes wrong with their bigger titles...
if only they could give those the same type of Q&A as their smaller ones.
Speaking of BAW... certain things are similair however in my honest opinion
I think Black Butterfly has the better narrative but even then it has its own set of ''issues''
to the point I am going to have to recommend you to read as many side stories
as you are able too even if you can advance the main story. Doing so will give you less
frustration of having to go back and read them later on which ruins immersion
especially because some do take place early on and its just weird to go back
I really do think the whole main/side is this games biggest drawback. :/
Personally the only side stories I've enjoyed are Yamato and Monshiro's
nothing against Kagiha but because I saw his end first his were permanently ruined!
so I was lowkey like I should've watched his along with Yamato after all... sigh.
The only thing they did execute well was the enforced play order and how more of the
overall story will be revealed with each new ending you get to. Its just a bummer most side
episodes are basically just filler, atleast the actual individual ends(thegood ones) are a nice treat.
The only jarring thing is some oddly copy pasted text here and there but nothing too bad.

Out of all the otome games currently out in english it depends on what you want
but if mystery type stuff is what you fancy i see no reason not to get it if you haven't.


That's the not so long version atleast... i'll ramble a bit more after the jump.

 Overall I do think this was a great mystery driven otome game with a little romance on the side
when I got my first ending(Kagiha) I was still confused but still had drive to get to the real truth.
This game really is a giant common route with branching paths to relatively short routes(ends).
While a bit dark it doesn't shy away from the otome bits but its clear it was not the focus
the only thing worth complaining about might be some of those five ''daily life side stories''
at the very least the side stories further into the game actually brought something
interesting to the table but I wouldn't be surprised if some people dropped it before then.
That aside I still recommend this otome game, while certain themes are lowkey similair to
BAW which without spoilers I can't talk about I think Black Butterfly is still executed a lot better
because every ending is like a puzzle piece that fits into the overall narrative
that has many different outcomes and trust me most aren't very desired but it does give you
happy ends where they are due, its not all despair but is it the desired outcome? hmm.
While I didn't exactly cry, I would be lying if I said I did not get emotional at times
you don't need to baw your eyes out but some parts were pretty sad.
 Certain ends are locked behind others so even if you get Kagiha before the main end
it won't matter much, if you are truly interested in the truth you will find your way to it.
However its funny how you can get endings without reading the character related side stories
I swear they could have implemented character events better into the overall story
because its just a tangled mess trying to have to fit it in somewhere yourself.
Its like the writers remembered this is an otome game after all and we gotta have some
of that content but couldn't fit it in normally... yeah thanks for trying?

Atleast I was interested in the characters, for some even able to symphatize
because I saw something in them that I myself recognized plus invested in the overall story
which in all honestly its still pretty cliche, I found out some things before they were revealed
except about Monshiro's identity so that was a nice surprise.
again I just wish part of it was better executed, this felt like tierblade's fragment of memories
except there's no general timeline as to when certain stuff happens; its just happened.
I can't help but think most of the side stories are just there to pad it out a little longer
but like i said (many times before) it should've been implemented better.

Story wise there's much time for actual romance there's a few sweet scenes but its not important
to the plot and said plot digests them away all the time it only helps to lead into some of the
individual ends but its funny they couldn't implement it better.
I mean it is fine the way it is but I wonder if for some they just wrote them in too late
and where like hey let's just make the player unlock them and rolled with that.
So uh yeah that flowchart system? absolutely terrible!

So uhm on another note I recommend ignoring the so called spoiler free guided, someone already
got massively confused by the way they tell you things; once you hit chapter 7
there's supposed to be a main ending but doesn't even mention the choice that could derail it
I know its supposed to be spoiler free but atleast mention the one choice to get to the main end
and makes you think its ok to go back to chapter 4 in the middle of chapter 6.
Porque? yeah its not very clear nor does it mention choices that won't show up on first play.
Besides when going to Monshiro end it forces you to select unnecessary choices
while you can just go to 6:3 on the flowchart after viewing his side episodes.
My playorder ended up being Kagiha > Bad/Main> Rw > Yamato >Karasuba > Monshiro > Hikage >happiest.
I recommend the same as this  my only advice there is just follow the flow of the story; do what
you think is right and only if you are truly lost look up a guide chances are you won't
even need one because from the flow chart its obvious where the choice branches are.
As handy as the flowchart is... on my first play I didn't get it at all not even
the guide made sense of it, its only after I got the main end I had an eureka moment.
I absolutely recommend Kagiha's end before the main one...

If you want a ending impression here it goes:
Kagiha: Why was this even a thing?
Bad: ...curiousity killed the cat.
Main: I couldn't wish to a better conclusion to the general story.
Real, world: Expands further on stuff that happened in the real world.
Yamato: Oh shit...atleast his good end was cute, best in the whole game. ^-^
Karasuba: Progressively this was just as bad as Kagiha maybe even worse!
 his good end was a lot better; might be better for him to stay friendzoned forever though.
Monshiro: My sweet angel ;A;
Hikage: Possibly the biggest asshole in the game, a lovely ass at that.

 My favorite character? Yamato > Monshiro > Kagiha > Karasuba / Hikage.
  Yamato and Monshiro wise felt most appropiate story wise unfortunately
Yamato had the most otome like route in the game which might've helped
and I honestly think the brothers are the most relatable/likeable character too.
Kagiha... somethings just aren't meant to be no matter how much you endeavor it.
 Karasuba... I think his bad end ruined a lot of things for me...
 he redeemed himself but it might've been too late at that point.
Hikage, its obviously the story is mostly about him but romance wise... it doesn't feel right.

That aside I liked the general attitude and initiative of the protagonist, she had
bad and good moments but she was just like the rest of them; its great when you
can imagine yourself doing the same even if you still have fears
she even for better or for worse had actual development.
Just want to say this... but her personality sort of went to shit midway in Hikage's route
you know the part where she acts ''like that'', it lowkey triggered some childhood memories.
I couldn't stand it... I used to be like that when I was 4 years old, I got my just desert
for it even though I didn't know any better which in turn affected my whole life.

Uh well moving on this game was short I knew this, so I am glad I took my time with it and
am looking forward to Ashen Hawk as well. You don't know how happy I am
they decided to localize this series, even if its not a true otome I prefer these story focused
otome games with romance as little as there is over the purely romance ones.
I enjoyed this game much more than the previous one i got in english maybe it was
because they actually took time and effort to give the protag an actual personality and development.
 Unfortunately I loathed the system, Ayyy lmao anyone who says this was a good idea?!
any with rose-coloured glasses on apparently, i'm not even talking about the minigame
which was fine btw its how this game handles story/side stuff which 
makes this game even more scattered than shiro to kuro no alice.
You might not like how I compare this to a certain other otome game in english but if you liked
some of the themes at BAW but wanted a more solid plot then I recommend Black Butterfly to you. 
BAW might've had more romance but honestly it has enough problems as is.

I also love the way they end some of the routes in the this game especially the ones
that are happy; gives you room to think or be like AH no not there just a little more?!
This game is fair yet unfair at the same time... I love it.
The only real bummer is some of the side stories... I only enjoyed a handful character specific
episodes and there's even some for when you finish certain ends, you get an episode
from certain characters POV but honestly even this just confirms what we already know
making it in my opinion pretty pointless, I appreciate the effort though.

So its an 8/10 from me... its a great mystery otome game but some stuff just drags it down.

Characters ★★★★★
Art  ★★★★★
Scenario/plot. ★★★★☆
System  ★★☆☆☆ (2.5) Terrible execution but not WoF/Reine lvl of bad.
Enjoyment overall ★★★★☆

So what is next for me? Ashen Hawk of course!
I also plan on getting Piofiore no Banshou, Wand of Fortune R2 FD(better late than never),
Variable Barricade and Shiro to Kuro no Alice Twilight Line but if I had to be honest
those aside the future of otome gaming is unsure. I played a ton and might still
get a few otomege here and there if they strike my interest.

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