As I said in my last blog post, I have finally made this game of the year post. Sadly it's long overdue, but I've been busy with university stuff so I'll start now.
This game may have been overlooked as it was released very early in the year, January 4 of 2012 in fact. Otherwise, people might have just avoided it because it was "too Japanese", or maybe they didn't like the idea of play a visual novel. In either case that would be a grand mistake as it has one of the deepest and most impactful storylines I have played in a game ever. The game was also an international effort by amateur developers from around the world. Best of all, there is no excuse to skip out on it as it was created and intended to be free and is available for download off of their website http://katawa-shoujo.com.
Without spoiling too much, the premise of the story is about a guy by the name of Hisao Nakai who is afflicted with cardiac dysrythmia which was dormant, but becomes a problem and he can no longer live his everyday life at his highschool. Thus, Hisao is forced to attend a highschool for people with handicaps or disabilities hindering their lives. There he is forced to struggle onwards as he meets people who will change his life forever. The game has 5 routes for different girls in the story which he can hopefully find true love, problem is that he has to help each of them face their fears and accept them for who they are despite whatever affliction they may have. Knowing all of this, even though it has 18+ scenes it becomes pretty obvious that those are far from the main point of the game although some of those are important in exploring some of the characters' insecurities. However, if you have problems with viewing 18+ material, there is an option in the menu for turning said scenes off, and impressively enough, not disturb the storyline too much.
Due to it's amazing art, beautiful soundtrack, and powerfully driven story..."Katawa Shoujo" easily became my number one pick for game of the year in 2012.
The following is a list of the protagonist along with the 5 main girls and their afflictions:
Hisao Nakai (cardiac dysrythmia)
Emi Ibarazaki (legless amputee)
Hanako Ikezawa (severe burns)
Lilly Satou (blind)
Rin Tezuka (armless amputee)
$hizune Hakamichi (deaf)
Anyways, that's it and I'll just leave you some pics of the artwork:
I remember someone telling me about this and honestly at first I found it really offensive and kinda of sickening, but seeing its not as evil as he made it out to be now =P
But I wouldn't play it honestly I kinda finished it offensive
@Hanzoadam The guy probably sucked at explaining it then, all you do is basically cope with your own problems while helping the girl in her route overcome her psychological trauma/disability. You should at least try the first few minutes of it to see what it's actually like
@soulless4now It's really good as it makes you connect with the characters emotionally, you should give it a shot :)
Oh I've heard of this game before and was intending to play it, but it totally slipped my mind! Thanks for the reminder. Have you played the visual novels by Christine Love? Digital: A Love Story was what made me interested in this genre despite how minimal the whole thing was.
@mufujifi actually I haven't, I usually find my VNs by watching an anime based on one for picking a random one which receives a ton of praise, I'll definitely look into this one
If you consider it a graphic novel, the only one I've played is The Walking Dead (My GOTY 2012) (I'd consider Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire more interactive movie).
@rigbybot127 Well yeah, graphic novel is like the Westernized version of saying visual novel. And I do agree with you on Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire (I did enjoy both of them though). I should try "The Walking Dead" soon once I hear that the issues on the physical release has been smoothed over, and you should try "Katawa Shoujo". Well I can't guarantee the same experience as "Katawa Shoujo" is a bit more psychological with less action from what I've seen of friends playing "The Walking Dead", but you should be able to enjoy it :)
@phoenixangel9 It is pretty interesting since you have to face everybody's fears and their past as well as fall in love with them. At the same time there are minor characters which play a role like your roommate who is a bit psycho
Glad to hear you liked it. I heard it made a lot of people cry. Its funny, I downloaded this game months ago but never got around to installing and playing it. One day I'll stop putting it off. I've never played a VN before so this'll be my first one.
@Lucky_Krystal It's definitely a good starter one, tell me when you play it and who your favorite character is
Sounds like an interesting change from the norm, could spice up the interactive story genre a bit. But I'm already having a problem with this game just from looking at the images above. Like just about every Japanese game ever, all of the love interests are attractive, and the main character is handsome. And not that there is anything wrong with that, if only! But it's just funny that this game is apparently trying to push people to be more accepting of handicaps and medical problems and scars, when it is also making darn sure that the characters aren't one bit ugly or even average-looking.
@Ovirew Pretty sure it's just the art style associated with it, but the fact they do that doesn't really detract away from the story or your feelings for the characters so I happen to really like it :)
@Arbalon you shouldn't be disappointed, also I shouldn't have to tell you this, but like with all visual novels, you can get bad endings and have a route with 1 person while leaving her hating you and herself, or if you select some wrong choices and push your heart too much, you can die.