Kou Kadokura, a cyber officer, seeks to uncover the truth behind the tragedy that ended his once peaceful life. A war looms, and the answers he’s looking for are locked away in him... So why can't he remember anything? Unravel the mysteries hidden in his lost memories through this fast-paced mech action game!

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I've never seen so many unlocks of such variety in a game. It's a shame that so few developers take the diegetic approach to unlocking basic HUD elements like enemy healthbars and combo meters. Understandable from a practical perspective, but a shame.

As for the rest of this game... and it is a game not a VN... I went in thinking it would be like 90% reading given the 70-90 hour runtime, but oh no... it's like a clean 50/50 split, if not weighted towards gameplay depending on difficulty....

This game is a roller coaster. Except not the kind with any slow sections, but the kind that oscillates between a clean andrenaline rush and whipashing corkscrew nonsense. I can't ever remember being bored during the entire journey, but boy did it get me with shock value at times.

As a sci-fi I actually really enjoyed this narrative. It was a blast from the past of turn-of-the-millenia and early internet, both in that era's hopes and fears. There are concepts of technology, society, and existential quandries used here that I've seen very rarely in the last 20 years (not that I'm some super well read individual) and it uses them in interesting ways, even feeling downright novel at times. It tapered off a bit near the end for me, but I wager at the time the ending would have felt more fresh. Unfortunately some of the final additions are the concepts most overused today.

As a drama this story is nuts. And quite explicit. Like damn. I've never felt so emotionally detached from a group of characters while simultaneously genuinely enjoying and caring about them. It's like the feeling after you've come to terms with something awful happening to someone you care about—or them doing something awful in some cases. You just gotta accept reality, move on, and not become emotionally entrenched.

It does even justify most of those feelings thematically, as well. I'd say the central one here is "crushing nostalgia" as the characters find themselves so far removed from their days of innocence that even just thinking about the good days is a source of pain, even as they find few other motivations in life outside of vague desires to reclaim what once was. It's pretty interesting, and surprisingly not as diluted of an experience as something this long tends to be.

That said—and as I seem to say frequently—it's definitely a game from the early 00's VN scene.

Now, that aside, the biggest surprise here is the combat—the only gameplay but very prominent in its role. It's odd, but it's also oddly good. It's an isometric 2D brawler with 3D movement that plays like a classic arcade mecha game, only perhaps a bit more like an anime fighter than some of its peers.

Given the graphical limitations, you won't be speccing out your mech with specific parts, but you do get full customization of your attack mappings in a system reminiscent of the Tales of series. Each of the four attack buttons can have four attacks mapped to it, each triggering contextually based on range, movement, and a no-repeats limit on moves in one combo string.

The attacks available are varied and their roles in combat seem well defined. The mechanics of combat are nuanced and you can learn to take advantage of them as you work out your tactics to get really devastating effects. There are options you can spam defensively as well early on, but with learning you can take minutes long fights down to 10-15 seconds.

Or, if you're not into that kind of effort in your gaming, you can turn on Very Easy mode and blow everything up with rockets. Up to you. As far as I can tell there's only one or two unlockables that require a higher difficulty and I'm pretty sure they just unlock more combat stuff.

Enemy variety is also kind of absurd for how long the game is. Though I guess that can in part be attributed to it being two games combined into one at this point, but even then, there are probably around 40-60 unique enemies with animated sprites and attack patterns, then a good number of varients on top of that. They're rather creatively designed too, to the point of them sometimes being downright aggravating in that way things can be when creative types are doing what they feel like.

I never found one that didn't have some weakness you could exploit, though. I did get kind of sick of playing on hard by hour 50, though. It's a bit sadistic at times (and I got a new job, so my days of no-lifing games are on hold again).

This is all to say that if you're looking for some classic mech action gameplay and/or a sci-fi that is everything Virtues Last Reward wished it was, then this might be worth checking out.

Just be warned that wholesome feelings are few and far between in this tale.

Honestly brilliant. Brought this game for funny mecha and romance action and I got one hell of an amazing story, with incredibly likeable characters (and biggest asshole in the history).

I was hooked from the start and I just couldn't stop. 70 hours later and finally done. It was 100% worth my time, I do not regret a moment.

not really the biggest fan of certain aspects of the VN, but was a decent read felt kinda too long but most of the routes were decent. soundtrack was alright too.

My opinion is that it's good, but not great.

Generally the the VN got better is it went on route-wise, with the exception of Aki (derivative and weird incest stuff) and Reminiscence (not bad but forced you to go through stuff you've seen already).

Setting was pretty cool. Music was fine with a few stand out songs. Gameplay was cool, grinding abilities to get better ones was annoying but when you get your ideal build and just grinding out orbs for plug-ins and stuff makes things a lot more fun. Characters were generally likable and interesting but none I'd personally put on a top favorites list.

Biggest issue was definitely the repetitive nature of the storytelling. Yes it ultimately made sense when you got to Sora's route, but given the length of both Dives, I think they either should've made the routes stand out more by giving more unique scenes OR just cut down the length by like 1/3 or even 1/4 so you don't have to put so many hours in similar-ish events.

That said, for a VN its length (took me 150+ hours on Steam, though it's mixed with H scenes and Survival Mode and listening to music)... it's paced decently well. Gameplay taking over action scenes helped since I'm not usually a fan of how action is written in VNs. It does tends to keep you on your toes and even makes the slice of life/slower scenes fun.

Routes: 1) 6 - I actually enjoyed the first half of recruiting everyone a lot. Second half was cool if maybe relying on some weird writing to solve everything.

2) 5 - Just generally a feel good version of Kou branch. Good stuff happening all around

3) 3 - It being the first route to have Chinatsu develop from not being a cunt was nice, and having the final battle be the forgotten flashback with current mechs was nice.

4) Reminiscence [new stuff only] - The twist of the (half?) forced Simulacra romance was weird but interesting. Reveals in Sora route made this not as bad. Was also nice to see some filling in of the blanks.

5) 2 - Naoki coming in to save Kou before his Heel reveal was one of my fav Dive 1 moments. Otherwise finding out suffering Nanoha's life was hurt. Good route but everything else above was just that much better.

6) 1 - Had the unfortunate issue of being plagued by the most flashbacks. Ultimately didn't matter as much since I actually liked the flashbacks but it just goes back to my comment of how the repetitiveness/pacing could have easily better by either moving Reminiscence earlier, or just limiting flashback length while still keeping this the decent into route it was.

7) 4 - Had dumb romance and a lot of the story was just copied off Chinatsu route. Saved a bit by Simulcara and Tranquilizer fight stuff.


1/2) Not sure if I like Nanoha or Sora more. Nanoha is generally more my type the deredere childhood friend but with a dose of suffering to make me care for her more. Did cry a bit too much at times though. Sora is by far the most interesting character in the VN. Not my type personality-wise generally but likable even in the flashback stuff. Woulda been cool to see more Dive Sora stuff.

3) Makoto - Was boring as shit in flashbacks. Became way more interesting once she got unmasked.

4) Chinatsu - Very fun in flashbacks. Was a bit of a cunt in present but developed enough and was pretty interesting regardless.

5) Rain - Was pretty consistent, maybe too consistent? Had a pretty stable personality that was fine but didn't go far beyond that besides a few cool moments. Didn't show up enough in flashbacks.

6) Aki - Likable enough just had the dumb romance dragging her down. Did rely a bit too much on her "super smart but lazy" stereotype.

Other notes:

Being fully voiced made the experience much better
Kou was an ok enough protagonist. Got the job done
Masa was a decent bro character. Having a wife and not being a total loser for once helped
Naoki coulda been one of my fav characters pre-Heel reveal. I like them mentor characters. Sad his character just became all about the corruption but oh well.
* Villains were a little too hammy to be taken seriously sometimes. Gilbert and Gregory were the biggest offenders. Anan's appearance and voice. Even Naoki went a bit far sometimes. 19 in general was just fucking weird all around.

Definitely a solid VN series as long as you don't mind it's length, gameplay, and want a sci-fi multi-route mystery taken to its meta limits.

I wouldn’t ever tell anyone I have played this but it’s pretty good.