Reviews Comments: Quite possibly the most boring thing I've ever read/played

Quite possibly the most boring thing I've ever read/played
Katawa Shoujo is a long awaited dating game/visual novel by the folks at 4Chan. Before I say anything, I think it's only fair to applaud the effort that went into this labour of love. It takes the time to examine mature issues that are never addressed in videogames, and it does so with sobriety and honest intentions. Alas, this is also why I find the game all the more disappointing.

Initially, I was captivated by the premise. The protagonist, Hisao, is hospitalised by a life-threatening heart problem. The game follows his attempts to pick up his life, months later, at a school for the disabled. Hisao's frustrations came across as very authentic, and I was quickly engrossed in his depressing circumstances.

Unfortunately, once the setup has been provided, the girls are shown in and the story takes a nose dive. Individually, the girls are as compelling and fleshed out as Hisao. But the story prefers to focus on utterly banal and uninteresting conversations with them. I spent twenty minutes just reading through a tedious discussion about a student council. It isn't of any importance in itself, yet keeps coming up over and over. These conversations are supposed to establish the girl's personalities, but all they do is bore. I felt for the characters, but I don't feel their need to talk crap for hours.

It is one of those sad situations in which the good points make the bad all the more glaring. The excellence of the characterisation and themes only serve to exaggerate, by contrast, the tedium, the repetition, and the filler. If you wanted to read a compelling story, you won't find one here. If you just want to see naked pictures of (underage?) girls, you'll have to wait for about two hours before the dubious porn materialises. The final straw is that there is an utter lack of interactivity. There seems to be just a dozen or so occasions in which I actually get to make choices. If only I was presented with an opportunity to lead the conversation itself, that way I could perhaps avoid the more hundrum discussions.

Katawa Shoujo is a disappointment and a waste of time, but at least it is a step in the right direction. It is a game that is willing to take on new issues and try different perspectives. If nothing else, I take some comfort in the fact that such innovation exists in the first place.

Comments

While I understand your opinion perfectly and your review is good for people who share your interests, I imagine you're not the type for slice-of-life.

Which, of course, is fine, just noting that other kinds of people may potentially find this appealing.
comment #12268 AsterSelene 12th Jan 12
I admit that I am not familiar with erogés and visual novels, so perhaps I'm just complaining about the genre, rather than the game itself.

I do like slice of life stories. Despite this, I am of the belief that they, like any other story, require some kind of compelling hook that carries the reader through the entire tale. Take the manga Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou; though it is very slow paced and spends a great deal of time dealing with banal situations, there are plenty of mysteries and quirks which keep the reader involved. Had Katawa Shoujo featured such hooks, I'd have found it a lot easier to tolerate the long periods of inaction or mundane conversation.
comment #12269 maninahat 12th Jan 12
Did you actually finish anything...?

The student council, is, you know, a major core part of Shizune's character. To call it unimportant is wrong.

This review just screams "I read for a little bit, then stopped"

Also, filler, tedium? Katawa Shoujo is rather tightly paced over all.
comment #12283 PataHikari 13th Jan 12 (edited by: PataHikari)
"The student council, is, you know, a major core part of Shizune's character. To call it unimportant is wrong."

What the student council comes to represent is important, but that isn't what is being discussed ad nauseum. They aren't discussing Shizune's character, or her issues, but the council itself. none stop. For twenty minutes at a time:

"Join the student council!" I don't especially want to join the student council. "Why should I join the student council?" "The student council is really great!" "Wait, are you two the only members of the student council?" "Well, there aren't many members of the aforementioned student council." I am beginning to think that said student council lacks members. "I think you should play a game, in which if you lose, perhaps you should reconsider joining the student council!" I don't think that is a logical premise upon which to join the student council. "You lost the game, so I think you should consider joining the student council." "I'll give my answer regarding the student council later." "Wait, that girl used to be a girl in the student council." etc. etc.

Great googly moogly. I can't stress how long these conversations go on for. It takes the game five minutes to set up four months of back story for the protagonist, so why should it take forever to establish that the simple fact that Shizune really likes the student council? There is no excuse for that. "Brevity...".
comment #12292 maninahat 14th Jan 12 (edited by: maninahat)
Yeah, you didn't actually read this longer then twenty minutes.

You have utterly failed to bring up any points that give the impression that you actually read the story.
comment #12353 PataHikari 16th Jan 12 (edited by: PataHikari)
I don't appreciate people declaring I didn't read the story. Especially after going to the trouble of reading all the way through something I wasn't enjoying. If you disagree with my impressions of the story, then fine. But don't spuriously accuse of skipping, just because my opinion is different. Personally, I don't see how anyone playing the game could not feel those scenes go on for too long, but I chalk that down to opinion myopia, rather than them misreading the story.
comment #12355 maninahat 16th Jan 12 (edited by: maninahat)
Congratulations. You seem to have missed the point that Shizune and Misha are actively pestering him to join.

To be fair, I can see where the other guy is coming from when he asks if you've read the story. All your complaints so far seem to be directed on the scene with the student council, and I don't really see you talking about anything else. I'd honestly like to hear from you what else seemed to drag on, and which route(s) you choose for your run(s).
comment #12393 jarell88 19th Jan 12
As it happens, mine was the Shizune route. I would have complained about other scenes, but for the word count. Ones that come to mind are the lengthy conversations with the nurse (which didn't really add much - perhaps it is more relevant to the other girl's threads) and that annoying anti-feminist, conspiracy guy who kept popping up and interrupting. A lot of those scenes had a perfunctory, trudging feel to them; now we have to have a scene for that comic relief jerk, now we need a reference to the heart condition, in case we forgot he had a bad ticker etc.

Most people seem to dislike the Shizune story, but as I said in my review, I don't think there is a problem with the character at all. In fact, the whole idea of Hisao basically making Misha redundant in Shizune's life (and Misha's response to that) is fairly compelling. The problem is more to do with pacing, the distractions, and the overarching story (or lack of). You have to wait forever to finish a very tedious first act, and when it finally comes, you are robbed of any interaction. That's a serious problem, because there is only so much blabber you can get through before the mind starts to think of those eight deadly words.
comment #12401 maninahat 19th Jan 12
More people hate the route than the character. It's too Slice Of Life for a lot of people. The other routes aren't nearly as much, especially from Act 2 on. Maybe Lilly's but like everything else in fiction, YMMV
comment #12402 encrypted12345 19th Jan 12
The problem is more to do with pacing, the distractions, and the overarching story (or lack of). You have to wait forever to finish a very tedious first act, and when it finally comes, you are robbed of any interaction.

That's a serious problem, because there is only so much blabber you can get through before the mind starts to think of those eight deadly words.

If this is a problem, then visual novels definitely aren't for you. It's not really a problem specific to this game; it's a property inherent to the entire medium because it settles somewhere between reading and interactivity.

And besides, it's a slice-of-life story. For a slice-of-life/romance story, the pace is rather fair.
comment #12403 LiberatedLiberater 19th Jan 12 (edited by: LiberatedLiberater)
Arguing that the lack of interactivity is a staple of the genre doesn't really make the lack of interactivity in Katawa Shoujo any less egregious. Fans of the genre may over look that sort of thing, but I can't really comment on that because I can only describe my own immediate experience of the game. And all I can say is that I found the lack of interaction annoying - especially my inability to direct the conversation away from the subjects I found tedious, like I've become used to in a typical rpg. I suppose that makes my opinion irrelevant to fans of the genre, but not necessarily to people like me, who have never ventured into dating sims before.
comment #12408 maninahat 20th Jan 12 (edited by: maninahat)
If it matters, I do respect your opinion and you raise some valid criticisms about not just the novel, but I suppose the genre as a whole. It's disappointing that the game didn't appeal to you, though.
comment #12426 LiberatedLiberater 21st Jan 12
I too, felt that it was slow-paced, but the themes and character development make up for it. When you think about the story weeks from now, will you remember the tedium or will you remember the themes?
comment #12746 NG14916 8th Feb 12
Arguing that the lack of interactivity is a staple of the genre doesn't really make the lack of interactivity in Katawa Shoujo any less egregious. Fans of the genre may over look that sort of thing, but I can't really comment on that because I can only describe my own immediate experience of the game.

It isn't overlooking it so much as accepting it as part of the medium. Katawa Shoujo is a Visual Novel, and as such it isn't something you play so much as you read. You might liken it to a choose your own adventure storybook in game format. Each choice you make takes you along a different route of story, and you can expect to only make a choice every hour or so. I can understand you might not like this kind of game. It certainly isn't for everyone.

Don't worry about the people getting angry or annoyed at you for not liking Katawa Shoujo. You went in expecting a game and what you got was a book, so you were disappointed. It's all well and good.
comment #13884 Kajin 18th Apr 12
I would agree with you, if what I got was a good book instead of a game. It wasn't. Games can usually get away with poorly written stories as long as there is a good dose of interactivity, but this sacrifices the gameplay whilst failing to make up for it in the writing. I'm an avid reader, so that sort of thing tends to stick out in my mind.
comment #13888 maninahat 18th Apr 12 (edited by: maninahat)
I certainly liked the story, or at least most of it anyway. Shizune's story route was a total pain, but then again all five different routes were written by different people so the quality is sure to vary somewhat.

I thought it was a good book. Not good enough to write home about, but I didn't hate it.
comment #13890 Kajin 18th Apr 12
I had no idea what a 'Visual Novel' was until I played Katawa Shoujo, and like maninahat I was also expecting something a bit more... interactive, which was particularly frustrating given just how inscrutable Rin is.

I guess I get where maninahant is coming from, though I'm not as disappointed with what I got. In fact, I found it quite entertaining. And rather touching.
comment #27268 MAI742 12th Dec 14

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