It'll be a year tomorrow since the release of KS, 4chan's infamous foray into eroge. It took me until summer this year to find out about it, and I couldn't wait to download it when I did. Even though I had heard that the premise was treated with respect, I still couldn't believe that the asshole of the internet could have created something that wasn't full of debauchery. Yes, I was proven wrong. Yes, I read all of the routes (save Shizune's) at least twice over, and yeah, I thought it was the best 4chan possibly could have done. And then... I stopped reading for awhile. Picked up some other visual novels (as KS was my first "official VN"; I had played a Phoenix Wright game before but didn't know what V Ns were at the time). Got to thinking. And before long, I realized that KS wasn't near as good as I thought it had been. It took me awhile to figure out why. The art was good. I've seen freeware V Ns with better art (though none with the incredible FM Vs as good as what Mike Inel made), and upon reading it again, I notice the pencil lines a lot more than I used to, but I can't say it's unpleasing to the eye. Music was also pretty good; a few of my favorite VN tracks come from KS. This is without a doubt the most user friendly VN I've read, with a backlog that stretches FAR back, a library that skips to ANY previously viewed scene (even professional ones usually just skip to the H-scenes), and choices that, while not immediately obvious, can be easily solved with a little intuitive reasoning, with an exception or two on both ends of the spectrum. The problems then, had to come from the most important thing: the writing. While it succeeded in its goal of not coming across as patronizing, I eventually concluded that every last route save one (Rin's) consistently had problems with pacing and tension. Not one of the remaining four could conjure up any sort of interesting conflict without resolving it right away, not until the very end, anyway. And furthermore, the emotional stakes often seemed pretty low. It's difficult for me to read Emi or Lilly's routes now without thinking, "What do I care if they get together or break up? They'll be fine either way..." Fittingly, both bad ends are lackluster. So I guess it comes down to what you want from a story. If it's interesting conflict, look elsewhere.
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