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Author Topic:  [Review] Because We're Here ~ Mohnblume und Blauerose  (Read 1729 times)

kokoro-cafe

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Because We're Here ~
Mohnblume und Blauerose



~~~

Kokoro Café has recently been invited to review Because We’re Here ~ Mohnblume und Blaurose, an upcoming otome game for Windows, Mac and Linux. The game is set in an alternate universe on the continent of Lassalle and the story parallels our own history of World War I. The game takes place after the murder of the Wessling Minister of Interior by two Levasseuri nationalists and since then the negotiations between the two countries have deteriorated, ultimately the two nations declares war on one another.  Elfriede Rauss, a young Wessling post women works in a town called Borschberg.  Her childhood friend, August Weil, and most of the men in town have all enthusiastically enlisted in the military to support Wessling’s cause.  Each man joins for a different reason, many for honor and to protect their loved ones, some for a good fight and others join to avoid being drafted in the future and placed in a less than ideal position.  Elfriede had her doubts about August joining the military but could do nothing to sway him from his aspiration, so all she could do was watch him and the other men she had come to know in town ship off to the war.  As time passed and August’s letters became more infrequent, Elfriede became more worried about her childhood friend until one day, by chance, she meets a man who is willing to take her with him to the front lines to visit her friends. That trip would forever change the course of Elfriede’s life.




My initial impression of the game was mild curiosity.  The storyline sounded enticing but the art style felt much to be desired.  I love period pieces; stories taking place during different eras are my favorite along with mysteries, so when I read from the press release that it was set in a World War I –like era, I instantly became much more interested.

While, I’m sure many of us, say yay or nay to a game solely based on the artwork of a game, especially when visual novels are concerned, Because We’re Here reminded me of what great writing could do for a visual novel and many times it even outweighs the importance of beautiful artwork. The storyline and writing in this game are definitely solid, the pacing is excellent and the humor is on point. I found myself chuckling to myself a few times as I was playing and found myself very attached to a certain character right off the bat. It has been a while since I have been this attached to a character, so this was pretty surprising for me.  All of the characters though, were unique and complex in their own way and I was very tempted to play every single one even if I wasn’t attracted to the look of a certain character.




Game play is quite unique in this game, something I have not encountered before.  There are 10 characters you are able to pursue and there are set checkpoints where you can choose to pursue the same character or switch to a different character, keep in mind that selecting a different character doesn’t mean you have to start over, it just continues on from where you left off.   That said, I’m not quite sure how the end will all tie together as the press release never alluded to anything relating to multiple endings (i.e.-Happy or Bad Endings).  During the course of the game there are also challenges called Battle of Wits in which a character is in a frenzied state and Elfriede has to calm the character down by replying to what the character says correctly.  In each challenge, the character in a frenzied state is assigned a number of Wit points.  Elfriede’s task is to equal or surpass the number of Wit points the other character possesses to move on to an all or nothing question. If that question can be answered correctly then Elfriede can diffuse the situation and win the challenge. If the player can answer all questions correctly then they will receive a Blauerose Petal.  Collect enough of these petals and the player can unlock secret scenes.  Also, according to the game information, even though losing a Battle of Wits may not make an immediate impact on the story, however, there may be consequences later on in the game, so be careful!






As I said before, the art left much to be desired and it wasn’t so much the character designs and CGs as it was the backgrounds.  Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the style the characters were drawn in but that’s a personal preference. I did find, for some odd reason, that the characters looked better to me in game than in screenshots.  Perhaps it’s because I’m able to see more detail in the art when in game.  I have to say though; the character art looks quite professional up close.  The style of the characters do stray pretty far from the usual anime-style otome games which may be uncomfortable for some and deter them from giving this game a real shot but honestly the farther I got in game, the difference in style no longer mattered to me as much.




The biggest downfall of the game has to be the backgrounds. Taking into account just how small the team is in developing this game I can see why the background is the way it is and it’s even passable for the situation but I would still highly recommend drawing actual backgrounds as opposed to using an art filter on real photos.  The art filters used made everything look too blurry and at times it was hard to distinguish what the background actually was. That said, the choice in colors for the background fit well with the time period, but definitely some drawn backgrounds will make things look so much more professional.




The use of music and sound effects was very appropriate for this game and at times helped emphasize certain surprising events that happen in game.  A couple of times while playing the game, the music reminded me of the games on my super old NDS color (i.e. - Zelda games).  Even though the music sounds more simplistic, the choice in music is still fitting for the game.

Overall I would definitely give this game a shot! Even if the character art isn’t a style that attracted me, this game is highly worth giving a chance.  The characters, story and game play are all wonderful enough to make this game deserving of your time.

If any of you would like to give this game a shot, you can download the demo at Because We’re Here Tumblr.  The email I received from Studio Elfriede said the demo is 3 hours long but when I timed it, it was more like 5-6 hours for me, but then again, I was playing it at a more leisurely pace and taking screenshots like crazy so it might not take you guys that long.



The Guys:




~~~


For more information, visit:
Steam
Tumblr

Demo Download:
Chapter 1


Linkback: https://kokoro-cafe.net/index.php?topic=1593.0
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 10:20:36 PM by kokoro-cafe »


Sakuragawa

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Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 01:43:44 AM
:O It's already greenlit on Steam.

I'll give the demo a try sometime.



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