Reviews: Ever 17

karma: a review of ever17

It's funny how so many of the best visual novels that initially appear to be "dating sims" turn out to be anything but. Ever17 is, like many other visual novels, built around a series of "routes" devoted to romancing different girls, but don't let that fool you. The characters are all likable, true, but what makes the game arguably the best visual novel ever localized into the English language is the incredibly complex mystery at its core. Judge the game by any of its individual routes, and it is a reasonably entertaining but hardly revolutionary science-fiction thriller, with a couple of absolutely brilliant twists and a knack for being unpredictable.

It's the final route that launches it into the stratosphere. I'll tell you now—if you're interested in playing Ever17, you should not be on this TV Tropes page. Go find it, play it and when you're finished, come back and realize how easily you were duped. There are plenty of other visual novels that have mind-blowing final routes, but not many are written as intelligently and consistently as Ever17's is. Not only does it make perfect sense considering previous developments, but it takes full advantage of the medium in order to tell its story. It pulls off tricks that literally could not have been done in any other art form, and it does so without cheapening the story or angering the reader. It's quite a feat.

I wouldn't say that Ever17 is my favorite visual novel: the first few routes suffer a lot in comparison to the final one, and I would have preferred it if the game's end wasn't so ridiculously happy. But Ever17 is a fan favorite for a reason—it's a game that should be played by anyone with an interest in the medium.

(Additionally, Ever17 is completely work-safe! So if you're avoiding visual novels because of gratuitous and badly-written sex scenes, than that thankfully is not a problem here.)

One of the best Visual Novels ever, if you can forgive the translation

Ever17: Out of Infinity. (Or, "The" Out of Infinity, to go by the original Gratuitous English title.) One of the very, very few visual novels to ever get an official English localization, and boy, did Hirameki pick the right one to localize. (Of course, now that they're bankrupt we'll never see English versions of the rest of the Infinity series, but I digress.) The setup of the plot has already been covered in the main page. That said, nothing—nothing, not even reading the spoilers (though it is imperative that you do not) will prepare you for the plot of this game. Ever17 is an amazingly written visual novel with a unique science-fiction storyline, a Mind Screw done right (you WILL shit bricks), and a cast of characters you're guaranteed to love.

What I liked:
  • Everything I mentioned above.
  • Sora's route, while incompatible with the True Ending, is one of the best sci-fi love stories I have ever read. The glass window scene...beautiful.
  • The story is very, very good at playing with your emotions. You will laugh (see Does This Remind You Of Anything). You will cry. You will yell "WHAT THE F*%&?!". And, most importantly, you will yell "HOLY SHIT!" a lot.

What I didn't like:
  • Hirameki's translation, while arguably readable, is way, WAY below the quality of your average fan translation. Not just in terms of translating the peculiarities of the Japanese language (if you know even basic Japanese, you'll hear some clear discrepancies between what the voice actors are saying and what you're reading) but in terms of overall quality control as well. One particular line that stands out (in addition to the famous "Naturally I Knows The Hacker") is "You're [sic] stupidity is terminal." Yes. Yes, it is.
  • Unlocking the True Ending requires going through all four previous routes—unfortunately, both of Takeshi's routes are about 80% identical, forcing you to skip through a LOT of the same text. Kid's routes have a similar problem, although they're a little more distinct.
  • A MAJOR plot twist revealed in the True Ending sadly makes this amazing story impossible to adapt into an anime. C'est la vie, I guess.
  • The plot has some pacing issues—not until the last day or two is there any real sense of urgency, despite the direness of the situation.