- The setting: Hinamizawa just pulls you in with its beautiful and breathtaking atmosphere while steadily dragging you to its darker and more violent side. Higurashi's setting is one of the most wonderful places in fiction that I've ever encountered.
- The characters: Ryukishi is probably best suited to writing a smaller and more concentrated cast. Each character gets proper background and characterization, and they are all very rounded characters. For those of you who expect the characters to be just bipolar psychos, you are very wrong, since each of them is wonderfully developed through the stories (it helps that each of them gets the spotlight at least once).
- BGM: Although it's less impressive and diverse than Umineko's soundtrack, it's still quite memorable with tracks such as "Dear You", "Birth and Death", and "Wandering Words which Lead to Heaven". It's one of the best aspects of this VN.
- Art: Not much to say here. The art is terrible, but it's easily fixable through the PS 2 patches around the net.
- Pacing: There's a lot of padding and verbose descriptions or infodumps, which can really hurt the flow of the narrative. Especially evident in Onikakushi.
. The best scenes are all here (the water gun fight, Keiichi's flashback, baseball bat vs. machete on the roof), and the themes of the novel are first met here. It's absolutely fitting as the climax.
, which is strange since Tsumihoroboshi
is the answer arc to this. The pacing is just terrible and it just comes across as boring if you've watched the anime already.
Higurashi or Umineko
: If you want a rounded, character-centric and a less limited, more diverse and closer-to-earth setting, I'd recommend Higurashi
. If you want a plot-centric mystery that will force you to think of the answers, with a more limited setting but a more diverse cast, I'd recommend Umineko
: I loved
Higurashi. It's a very enjoyable ride through the setting, even if you've already watched the anime. I highly recommend this VN, but it's not for the faint of heart