JP title: シルヴァリオ ヴェンデッタ
Click here for my impressions of the second trial.
So, seeing how the holidays are soon upon us, here’s a blog post that has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever. Aren’t I smart. Either way, I stumbled upon this VN by complete accident after seeing someone tweet about Bansenjin, which inevitably took me to light’s website, where I saw a banner for this game as well. The art looked pretty and one of the characters looked like Reinhard from Dies so naturally I had to give it a go. It’s also one of light’s 15th anniversary games which makes it sound pretty special, I guess!
There might be some spoiler-ish things in this post, as in, I’ll be referencing stuff that happens in the trial. So if you absolutely do not wish to know, go read the trial and then come back to this post.
So, this game. At first I found it a bit hilarious how much it seemed to resemble Dies Irae. Ultimately it ended up being nothing like Dies for the most part, but you really can’t blame me for thinking this way: the game starts with a discussion of what “victory” truly means, then we cut to a bloody battlefield and the vicious battle of superhuman soldiers, there’s a dude that looks just like young Reinhard from the flashbacks, MC has a Ren-like scarf and one of the heroines kinda resembles Kei with her military uniform and long, dark hair.
But anyway, the beginning. I was at first intrigued by this whole discussion of what “victory” is what it entails + what it can mean for those that achieve it. It’s not there just for show, and will probably be a major theme or element in the story, seeing how the entire trial ended with a cliffhanger regarding this issue. For now, I found it an interesting enough idea:, but we’ll have to see where it actually goes in the full game. The rest of the prologue plays out in Not-Berlin featuring Not-Reinhard kicking some serious ass — sadly, the fight scene that constituted most of the prologue somehow failed to really impress me. I get it, the guy is strong, really fucking strong. But I wasn’t feeling the same kind of awe I did with Reinhard (he’s not even the same kind of character, honestly). And the battle itself was kinda meh, at least to me.
However, the writing does feel *kinda* like Masada’s over-the-top prose. It sometimes works (I sort of liked Vendetta’s introduction at the very end of the trial), and sometimes it doesn’t: for example, incantations — because yes, we have those, but sadly they’re not Wagner — sounded a bit lackluster so far. At least they did to me, maybe others will disagree. The prologue also ends with the MC declaring that the inhuman prowess of Christopher (not-Reinhard, who’s actually the leader of MC’s country and is generally known as a swell guy) makes him monstrous: to him, 英雄 = 化物, which is an interesting way of looking at it.
Most of the trial, I felt, was spent on world-building. A number of characters just get some brief introductory scenes and then never appear again in the chapter; as such, they don’t get enough screen time for me to really care about them at this point… maybe with the exception of Millie. And Chitose, solely because of what she does at the end, but more on that later. Anyway, the bottom line is that the trial is about fleshing out the world and the basic premise. A world that is, I must add, fairly interesting, if “oops we blew up a chunk of Eurasia because science got a teeny-tiny bit out of hand” counts as interesting. (spoilers: it does)
Basically, Japan found a way to use so-called mysterious “astral” particles in order to possibly solve the world’s energy problems — this led to other countries coveting the technology, things escalated and World War 5 broke out. However, Japan’s astral reactor got out of control and the resulting explosion — referred to as the Catastrophe — destroyed both Japan and the eastern half of Eurasia (and birthed a mysterious entity known as the Second Sun), bringing an end to mankind’s old era in 2578. From then on, a new calendar was adopted, with the VN taking place over a thousand years after the Catastrophe, in 1032, in the Adler Empire (western Europe basically). The whole deal with “astral” particles was sort of interesting and the birth of the “Second Sun”, Amaterasu, also fascinated me a great deal. I’m really curious where they’re going to take that story element.
We also find out that our main character, Zephyr (voiced by ルネッサンス山田 aka Shirou in Dies) is sort of a coward. And by sort of, I mean completely. In fact, I felt they went a bit overboard with it: his constant crying and moaning and telling himself how much he sucks and how worthless he is didn’t really work somehow; I found myself wanting to yell “okay, I get it mate, you suck hard, now get on with it” at the monitor. I mean, highlighting human vulnerability / imperfection is totally fine, but I felt it didn’t quite work out all that well here. This gets even more hilarious when he finally unleashes his true power at the end of trial and murders the fuck out of a bunch of elite Empire soldiers. Okay, so as it turns out he’s really good at *one* thing at least, but it still felt kinda like “Look at how much I suuuuuuuck!” and then he proceeds to kill everyone regardless, which made the fight scene a bit hard to take seriously.
Heroine impressions time!
Millie (I hope that’s how you write her name) is wonderful. She’s just too good to be true. I mean seriously, just lovely all around, マジ天使。I feel like I’m going to enjoy her route if I play the full game: it’s the cliché “not blood-related sister falls for big bro” premise but it’s the kind of cliché I’m a total sucker for. She’s also an engineer and a total technology nerd which was pretty entertaining to watch. It’s going to break my heart seeing Zephyr dump her in the other routes, I know it.
Chitose is the resident badass heroine. Probably. I was pretty indifferent towards her (she does have a lewd semi-lesbian moment though!) up until the very end, after which I was ready to speculate that she just might end up being my favorite heroine in the end. The way she loses her shit after discovering that Zephyr’s still alive was pretty surprising, especially coming from her. Crazy heroines that want to both kill you and make love to you are among my favorites. I’d say some stuff about Vendetta (silver-haired girl voiced by 木村あやか = Rusalka in Dies, first picture in this post) as well but she’s pretty much non-existent in the trial, other than some mysterious stuff and potential foreshadowing. So I really have no opinion on her. Tina & Tesse (blonde twins, screenshot at the beginning of this post) deserve a mention as well, I can’t wait to see more of those two.
So that’s about it for now, I think. I’m not *quite* sold on this VN just yet, to be quite honest, but I’m interested in seeing more of it. The characters could be potentially interesting and the world-building was pretty nice. Chitose’s crazy final scene made me want to read more of the VN just to see more of her and her inevitable (and no doubt heated) encounter with Zephyr, so there’s that. And that little scene at the end with Christopher made me curious about what this guy’s deal is. So the bottom line is: once they put out another trial, I might have to read that as well.