Starza (starza_reviews) wrote,

More BL VN, Lamento: Beyond the Void

Well, trying to purge the shitness of TnC out of my system, I moved to Nitro+'s next game, Lamento. Which... revolves around Cat boys. I'm sorry, but Cat boys are just not my thing at all. However, a good story and good characters can actually convince me to give it a chance. And I'm actually REALLY glad I did so.

I'm also shocked I'm in the minority, a lot of people think Togainu no Chi is better than Lamento. Like, uh? I can understand not being into Cat boys, but you come up to me and tell me that Togainu no Chi is better than this one, I'm going to laugh right in your face. And if it's because of the 'draggy plot'? May I remind you of the FUCKING SCREWDRIVER SCENE!? Or almost EVERY fucking route in TnC has rape in it. God, I will not let that go, will I?

If you're gonna bitch about it not being dark enough, go with Chaos; Head or wait for the translation of Sweet Pool if you want a darker yaoi story. This story can get dark in it's own way, but not to the levels of say, Corpse Party.

Also, again, I had a lot of problems running this game. Mostly the save/load function constantly freezing the game (Usually after a minute, we were back in business, but I had to reset it during Rai's route twice cause it wouldn't unfreeze); I had to run this as admin and even then, sometimes, it still freezes when saving. These games do not like Windows 7 and beyond at all.

Title: Lamento -Beyong the Void-
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy I linked them again, cause I can't find if they have a team name!
Rating: E
Genre: Dark/Fantasy/Alternate Earth setting/Cat people/Yaoi
Warnings: Gore, violence, angst, dark themes, light bondage, cannibalism, rape

Graphics: 9/10 - I'm going to admit, the artstyle in this game actually appealed to me, despite the game being about humanoid cats. I like every character's looks; from the cats to the devils to the backgrounds and just about everything. It ranges from being colorful to dark and then goes right for the middle. I also love how the characters move around on the scene and they have full body sprites and face sprites too, and I have to admit, I giggled when I saw their tails swish across the screen as they were darting away in some scenes. Very well done.

Plot: 7/10 - Again, like Togainu, gonna split this between overall plot and the routes. You're introduced to the world of Sisa. All human life is basically non existant and the race called Ribika (They're basically humans with cat ears, tails and claw-like fingers and hands, aka humanoid fucking cats!) live peaceful lives. Until some 'evil voodoo' thing called the Void shows up. It reminded me of the 'Nothing' from Neverending Story to some degree. Anyways, the Void makes it where plants and even animals cause great pain to the Ribika if they're touched. So something as simple as grass can cause cuts and even kill the cat people.

On top of that, a disease called 'Sickness' is going around, basically causing body parts to just vanish out of thin air (No joke, one day you're fine, and the next day, finding your arm just suddenly gone, scary as shit). Sadly, the Sickness is more commonly caught by females rather than males. So basically, the kitties are on the verge of going extinct. And some villages, the Void is so bad (Cause they can't gather and hunt), that they resort to eating each other.

So enter our main character, Konoe. He lives in Karou, well, not exactly, he basically lives by himself in a secluded area away from the village. One day, he starts having really vivid and dark nightmares (I won't spoil it, but it's really cringy near the end moreso), and one day, he wakes up with his ears and tail now black and weird markings on his arm. Which happens to fit the markings of a 'legendary curse' passed down. So pretty much, he's done fucked and now he sets off to find out why he's been cursed.

Along the way, he meets a bounty hunter named Rai, another loner cat named Asato, and a tiger cat innkeeper named Bardo, who seems to know about Rai's 'dark and angsty past'. There's other characters that show up, like the 4 devils, Konoe's BFF that like gets forgotten later on (I almost thought he was going to be a LI), Firi (Is it EVER explained why he has a lizard tail!?), our main baddie, a poet who likes playing the lute...

Holy shit, lemme say, this story is fucking LONG. Rai's route, which is the longest route, took me a good 20+ hours, and I'm underestimating it. Also, consider the fact that I can plow through 700+ length novels in a day if I want to. Basically, if you're a medium to slow reader, this game is going to take you maybe a week, if not more, of constantly reading it.

You cannot read a route in one sitting, end of story. To be honest, this part lost points because it really drags a lot and I ended up taking so many breaks due to the overall length of the game. I feel like the game could've ended sooner, but I also think some of the scenes are needed, because it creates some nice quiet and tender moments between Konoe and whoever you choose.

Rai 9/10 - The 'Tsundere' route. Rai is the 'cold but mysterious' guy. He's also the route that screams 'I AM ANGSTY BOO HOO!' on top of it. And calling Konoe 'stupid cat' (Which is well deserved in some parts, like holy shit, I am siding with the Tsundere for once!) on top of keeping his distance to our main protag. But I think Rai and Konoe work really well and have some really good built up chemistry. I also like how Konoe refuses to back down to Rai, it's almost like we have double Tsunderes in this route. >.>

Lemme tell you, this route really dragged it's feet. I feel you could've chopped out a lot of scenes. The Brothel Scene (aka, 'In Heat' scene), to be honest, wasn't really needed. I would've been happy with just 'The night before the final battle' scene, but I guess we gotta get in two sex scenes (I guess that was the case because there's only 3 love interests besides the bad ends)! Though, gonna say, it was nice they linked them together and it made the scene end up being tender and emotional instead of pure fap material. And the second scene was a lot better than the first.

There's some really tender moments between Rai and Konoe beyond the boink scenes. My favorite one is where Konoe and Rai return to Kaoru near the end. And the promise in the Mirror Lake cave as well. REALLY heartbreaking, but very tender.

I tend to like the Tsundere routes and I also go for the 'boo hoo angsty' guy routes, so it's no shock I like Rai's. There's some boarderline non con in sex scene 1 (Light bondage too), but if you can stomach it, this route is really well done. It's kinda also the semi-official 'canon' route (Maybe because it's the longest), but meh, the other two are just as believable. Just because it's the longest route doesn't mean the other two are any less canon.

Bardo 8/10 - The 'old man' or the 'overly-happy, but you know I'm hiding something angsty' route. Or the 'reverse Tsundere' route. >.> Actually, Konoe is the one who acts very Tsundere in this route, which is funny considering the route I played before was Rai's. In fact, I'd recommend playing Bardo and Rai's route back to back, because they connect to each other.

Like I said, Rai and Bardo have a past, but it's never explained in Rai's route. In Bardo's route, you find out about why Rai seems to hate him and why the father/son relationship between them went boom. It's actually interesting and sad. And somewhat creepy. Like, you're envious of Rai's 'insanity' ability??? Um, no, that is not something to be envious of, that's kinda creepy.

I don't think Bardo has as good chemistry with Konoe as he does with Rai, but later on, you get 'tender moments' that make up for it, similiar to Rai's route (aka, the Kaoru revisited scene). I also love Bardo's teasing of Konoe and Konoe going full 'uke mode' of getting flustered. :X One of my favorite scenes of the route is where Konoe basically lays the verbal smackdown on Bardo after Bardo tells him about his past. Cause really, that needed to be said.

And of course, the 'In Heat' scene (Which is no, honey does not work like that, Bardo!) and 'the night before the final battle' scene. Again, the 'Heat' scene just seems to be there for some kinky time, and it would've been fine, except the honey thing. And again, they link both scenes together, and yes, the second one, like Rai's, is very tender and emotional.

All in all, I enjoyed this route, but not as much as the previous one. It cleared questions I had after I finished Rai's route, what was broken has now been mended, and it ends pretty much happily ever after. I enjoyed this route much better than Motomi's route from TnC.

Asato 9.5/10 - The 'mystery' cat that seems really attached to Konoe, who also acts ignorant of the world around him. Asato is really mysterious, mostly because he has no connection to the other love interests. He's very straight forward, to the point where he basically speaks his mind, tact be damned. It makes for cute embarrasing scenes from both sides. >.> So in this route, Konoe isn't the only one suffering from blushy moments. XD

Konoe almost seems like a caretaker in this route, putting him more in the adult role, but still in the uke position. It actually strangly works well here. Asato and Konoe have a lot of chemistry, you can tell that both of these characters are drawn to each other. I also really like Asato's pure devotion to Konoe, it's very sweet, so much that you may come out with a cavity after you finish the route. >.> This is the more emotional route of the three as well, as there's a lot of tender and quiet moments. This route can also get sad at times too, moreso at the end. There's too many quiet and tender scenes to pick from here to be my favorite, believe it or not. I'm probably going to be predictable and say the Kaoru revisited scene was one of my favorites. And the scene right before they boink again (aka, the night before the final battle).

Also, this is the only 'In Heat' scene I really liked, because it didn't feel forced on Konoe's side. The 'night before the final battle' also comes off as more emotional than even both the other routes. Basically, if you like your kinky times with a big helping of emotion, Asato will fit the bill, hands down.

I think the one problem with Asato's route is that it doesn't connect to the other routes and has it's own story. It just seems it was thrown in the game, and it really is jarring compared to the other routes, which intertwine with each other. But other than that problem, this was a really well down route, and it also explains the mysterious devil, Kaltz, who always seemed to stick out like a sore thumb compared to the other devils. Also, this route took a really dark turn that I didn't really expect near the end. I didn't expect it to be all flowers and sunshine, but it did surprise me how dark it got.

Bad/Dead ends NA - I'm only going to briefly cover the bad ends here. Most of them have, of course, rape in them. They're bad ends for a reason. All the devils save Kaltz have bad ends and... be warned. They end pretty badly. Even the main route love interests have some fucked up endings. I don't have much to say about them, I think DRAMAtical: Murder kind of desensitized me to bad ends. >.>

Overall 8.4/10 - Besides the actual story being really draggy, the routes themselves were wonderfully done. It's very rare for me to like every love interest in a VN. I ended up liking them all.

I will also say, the overall climax of the game was... rather weak. The villian's motives were really weak themselves, and to be honest, I was really disappointed. I mean, you want to kill all the kitties just because you feel like you've been betrayed and you won't even LISTEN to his side of the story and just walk off being all emo??? Didn't it even cross your mind that someone may have followed him and found out where you live and not like it (Which it did!)? Also, we don't get any background info on Firi, who he is, where he came from, why he follows our villian, etc etc. Despite the weak ass ending to the overall story, the routes and characters make up for this little blunder.

I think my overall favorite would flip flop between Asato and Rai. I feel like Rai and Konoe really belong with each other, the whole Touga/Sanga deal (Also, from a story perspective, it makes the most sense). But I also love Asato's route and how just well done it was (Probably the route that actually gave me the most mixed emotional feelings, from being really happy to shockingly sad). When I want to see Konoe being teased a lot and want more fun times, I'd go for Bardo's route, for sure (Though this route has it's darker moments).

Music/sound: 9/10 - I loved pretty much every track in this game and found myself humming it randomly. Since 'songs' are a theme in this game, the music is going to play a big factor and it works wonderfully here, fitting the tone of the scene, whether it's a fight scene, the devils making an appearance, goofiness just happening, or 'shit is gonna go down!' type of situation. I think my favorite song would actually be the one near the end with the final confrontation in Rai's route. And the song that plays when the Devils are on the scene too.

Gameplay NA - Again, a visual novel. There are some choices that affect the bad ends, but there's not too many of them and most will affect the route you're gonna go on. There's a few that actually change some dialogue, but it's flavor mostly. At least I get some choices in the damn routes though, unlike freaking Togainu. And all the routes too have their own bad ends.

Overall: 8.8/10 - Overall, a huge improvement over freaking Togainu no Chi. The only bad thing I can say about this game is that the story REALLY fucking drags to where you just want to get it over and done with. The good thing is that the story is actually really good. If you can handle a long length VN and can tolerate Cat boys, I'd highly recommend this over Togainu no Chi.

Next up, maybe DRAMAitcal: Murder. Or maybe back to fanfiction. Or maybe I get sucked back into the pit of death known as Warcraft, who knows? >.>
Tags: gaming, visual novel
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