For decades, the peaceful kingdom of Rughznahide and its people prospered under its monarchy and the advances in Manakravte manipulation. Things such as war and violence were almost unheard of in this land that preferred peace and pacifism, until one day a mysterious group of people attack Rughznahide castle, setting it and the surrounding city ablaze in an inferno of death and blood in an attempt to kill Princess Selphine, successor to the throne of Rughznahide and inheritor of the unique and fabled Path-Down manakravte.
On the verge of defeat, Ritona, Selphine’s Royal Guard, casts a manakravte that transports them to a dark forest in unknown territory. Put on edge by the strange vegetation and a thick, heavy atmosphere seemingly devoid of mana, the pair sets off to find signs of life in hopes of finding out exactly where they are and how to get back to their kingdom. Along this journey, one major question weighs heavily on Ritona’s mind; Just who were their assailants, and why do they seek the death of Selphine?
The world of Fault – Milestone One- incorporates a mixture of spiritual, fantasy, and science fiction themes to create a pretty interesting world. In this world, mana plays a great deal in society and the planets workings that reminded me a lot of how the movie Avatar‘s world was set up. The planet and every living being on it has mana coursing through it in varying degrees; Life is dependent on mana, and people even worship “mana” deities in certain parts of the world. Decades ago, man discovered the ability to manipulate both the mana in their bodies and the mana in the planet to create techniques known as Manakravte, and eventually Battlekravte and Commkravte. Those who learned how to harness and use mana techniques became known as Manakravters, with some techniques and abilities being unique and hereditary such as the royals Path-Down manakravte. The discovery of manakravte lead to revolutionary changes for society, ushering in a new era of prosperity.
Unfortunately, not all of man could utilize the advantages of manakravte. Those born in regions of the world where mana streams are too thin to carry sufficient amounts of mana for casting manakravte became isolated from those rich in thick manastreams, forcing them to eck out an existence of hardship and sorrow. Due to the scare amounts of mana, these places began to turn to science and medicine in order to survive and harness what mana they could from the land, creating a stark contrast to the more medieval living of manakravte regions. I’m hoping that the sequel dives more into the world, as I really liked the aspect of both fantasy, magic oriented kingdoms and modernesque, science driven cities being all in one world.
Let’s delve into the technical aspects of the VN. First off, for being a short game (I finished it up in 6 hours or so reading leisurely), it boasts a very good amount of background music, having about as many tracks as I’ve seen in longer VN’s. While none of the tracks were particularly amazing or memorable, they were good and fit their selected scenes and moods well. Speaking of being a short game, this game is essentially kinetic with no routes and only one ending. There is ONE choicepoint in the game, but I’m pretty sure all it serves to do is change some dialogue or send you to a bad end (I didn’t check) since I wasn’t missing any CG’s or videos. The extras for the game contains a CG library, video library, music library, a prologue, and an encyclopedia which I found extremely useful due to all of the terms used in the game.
I usually don’t comment on translation and grammar of a game unless there’s a lot of problems, but I do feel this does need to be commented on. I was an early bird kickstarter backer for this game so I got to play it before it released and Sekai had sent out an email prior to store release that chapters 5-8 in the beta had not yet been QC’d and fixed, so I waited until after the games release date to read those chapters figuring they would be polished. Despite this, I found quite a few instances in these chapters of sentences that didn’t quite make sense without puzzling it out as well as words repeated (they they went) or misplaced. The translation was fine and it wasn’t terrible, but it did throw me off from my reading on quite a few instances, so I honestly don’t know if they QC’d those chapters at all prior to release or they just got lazy since 1-4 was pretty much perfect.
Selphine Rughznahide is princess and future heir to the kingdom of Rughznahide, a land well known for its monarchy having a unique hereditary manakravte ability known as the Path-Down, a technique that allows their ruler to pass down all of their memories, knowledge, and wisdom directly and instantaneously to their heir. This has led to the Rughznahide family ruling under a philosophy of peace, understanding, and compassion rather than by violence and force. I can’t remember if they give Selphine’s exact age, but I’m pretty sure she is around 18-19, as she grew up with Ritona and Ritona is 19.
That line always makes someone feel worse.
Selphine’s character is your extremely stereotypical, happy go lucky, sheltered princess that has been cropping up in fantasy themed stories a lot lately. It seems that most princesses are either a) extremely bubbly and naive, or b) spoiled little brats that make me want to take a baseball bat to their heads. While it’s understandable that a pacifist country would have a more soft-hearted heir/ruler, I found myself unable to really connect with her due to this troupe. Positive note: She didn’t have any mental breakdowns or cry fests in the face of shitty situations. I just find it a bit disappointing that extremely “strong” princesses and queens are hard to find in this kind of setting nowadays. I remember reading a book called Queen of the Tearling months back that tried desperately to have a strong-willed queen protagonist but totally overplayed it and made her down-right dislikable due to the writer trying too hard to keep from giving her a least some “feminine” qualities. (She disliked most forms of hygiene and mocked women who showed any form of vanity or self-grooming, etc. And she hated dresses. And boys.) This is fiction, can we please get some good female royalty with both masculine and feminine qualities?
Ritona Reighnvhasta is a dual manakravter,Selphine’s personal royal guard, and best friend since they were small. She specializes in Pyro and Terra battlekravte with a preference to melee and wields extremely rare and hard to execute manakravte abilities, such as a transidium sword and the ability to utilize the Riptide Effect. Despite being only 19 years old, she is extremely powerful and well versed in manakravte, having been granted her current position at the age of 14/15. She takes her position very seriously, doing everything in her power to protect Selphine while still keeping with the Rughznahide philosophy of non-violence, refusing to kill her opponents.
Just spew something random out, works every time.
If Selphine is the more feminine character of the pair, Ritona is the more masculine. She is brash, calculating, and exhibits a cold demeanor. She’s on par with how most female knights are characterized in this type of setting, although she’s not quite on Brienne of Game of Thrones level. It’s also mentioned quite a few times that she has a penchant for alcohol and can drink most guys under the table. I found myself liking her character a bit more than Selphine’s, although I do wish she had been a bit more of an original character. Despite being the main viewpoint character of the game, there’s not much else to say about her considering how little the game touched on her and her character.
Rune/Sara is a random citizen of unknown age that Ritona and Selphine meet in a city outside of the forest they end up landing in after their escape. She approaches the pair after finding them in a pawn shop and offers to give them a tour of the city. Despite her seemingly happy and unharmful demeanor, Ritona has a hard time ecking out her motives but decides to allow her company at Selphines behest. The three quickly become friends until a series of events threatens their friendship and reveals there is more to this strange woman than meets the eye.
Aka be prepared to be mugged.
I cannot say too much about Rune’s character, as a vast chunk of the game is spent on her character and unveiling the past and secrecy behind her. I was honestly surprised and slightly disappointed that she became the main focal point of the game, and by the ending I knew more about her than I did Ritona and Selphine. It ended up feeling like this story was more about her and events surrounding her than it did the actual main story and the main pairs adventure. A good chunk of the/her story was spent in flashbacks with minor characters babbling on to give her this immensely fleshed out background story, and while it had some extremely interesting science fiction and philosophical themes to it, I wasn’t really impressed with the execution.
Fault -Milestone One- was completely not what I had expected based on initial assumptions as to what this story and game would be like. My end feeling is in-between good and bad, and my biggest gripe is that Ritona and Selphine, the games apparent “main characters” ended up feeling like side characters when Rune took the stage; In fact, part of me thinks that she should have been advertised as the main character with how much time was spent on her. While Rune is obviously set up to be a major player in the sequel, I feel like by the end of the game I should have known more about Ritona and Selphine than about Rune; My thoughts going into this Visual Novel was that it would focus on this pair and their “journey” back home, and the case was neither; They took a back-seat fairly early on and pretty much the entirety of the game was spent in one city in what seems to be a vast world.
I’m not sure I can either recommend, nor bash this game, and so all I have to say is take from this review what you will and come to your own conclusion as to whether you think this is a title for you or not. If you decide to give this title a go, keep in mind that it is not what you think it will be based off of the synopsis and basic information on it out there. It had some fairly interesting and unique aspects to it, but it also had its dull and uninteresting ones as well. I will be giving the sequel a go once it’s out (and probably kickstart it if one comes up) since I really liked the combination of fantasy and science fiction themes, but I’ll be going into it with no assumptions as to what the story will be like. Maybe, just maybe, that’l make the next experience a bit more enjoyable.
Final Score: 76%
Interesting combination of spiritual, philosophical, fantasy, and science fiction themes and setting. Good, fitting BGM. Plenty of CGs for a short title along with pleasing character designs, art, and backgrounds. The concept and execution of manakravte, along with the varying manakravte powers. Ritona’s badassery. Beer. Encyclopedia extra. The dynamic between Ritona and Selphine.
Main characters were somewhat cookie cutter, especially Selphine. Felt like story railroaded from the “main story” for most of the game. Main focus of the game wasn’t at all what I expected, and Ritona and Selphine’s roles were somewhat shelved despite being the main characters. Too much time spent on flashbacks with side characters. Antagonists were…extremely weird. More time was spent developing and understanding Rune’s character than Ritona and Selphine. Playful banter was a little too frequent and a little too annoying. Some QC problems in the latter chapters.
Release Info: Available for sale in English in digital format for PC with Android and Vita releases pending. VN by ALICE IN DISSONANCE, localization by Sekai Project All Ages Visual Novel Purchase Fault – Milestone One- Director’s Cut for Steam or DRM Free today!