In the near future, an ominous red star suddenly appears in the sky. It’s presence is about to bring about the extinction of all life on Earth. The Unified Government proposes an evacuation project to take all of mankind into space, but in order to make the seemingly impossible project a reality, “Felixes” are brought into the world. Engineered to be highly intelligent with perpetual youth and longevity, the genetically modified superhuman felixes stand as humanity’s only hope for survival.
Sion, the most gifted of the felixes, has been kept in a research facility built on a solitary island for the past hundred years. Here sole purpose, saving all of humanity. Ryou Haruna, a soldier from the Earth’s Unified Government, is sent to watch over Sion, who desperately seeks freedom from the military that’s imprisoning her. Earth’s last love story is about to begin.
Our story takes place roughly 100 years after the “Star of Destruction” appears in the sky and humankind realizes that the planet is dying. By this point in time, nearly everyone on the planet has been evacuated onto the colony ships with only a few stragglers and essential personnel left on the planet to finish up final preparations before the final lift-off. Essentially, Eden* is kind of an epilogue of Earth’s final days, as it is already pretty much evacuated by the time our story starts. We learn in bits and pieces through the story about what happened prior to this point in time; the civil war that spawns from the chaos created by the revelation that the planet is dying, the creation of the Unified Government and their response to the war, and other basic information leading up to our point in the timeline. While we are given a fairly solid back-story and framework, due to the point in time and the length of the game, none of these are really fully discussed in detail and is kind of thrown together in a way to provide the basic grounding for our story, which mostly focuses on the love story of Sion and Ryou.
One thing that I must absolutely talk about is the artwork in this game. Simply put, it’s breathtaking. Nearly every CG and background is beautifully illustrated with extreme attention to detail, from the sky to the flowers and the grass down to the tiniest details. Eden* also utilizes a fairly unique form of VN storytelling in that I’d say about 90% of the game is shown/told using CG’s rather than mostly paper doll scenes with a CG every now and then. Despite it’s short length, Eden* boosts around 12 pages containing a whopping 25 or so CGs per page in the gallery (8 for the game, 3 for the PLUS + MOSIAC scenes); Give or take a few, that’s nearly 300 unique CG’s not counting the immense amount of variations of each CG. There are some paper doll scenes, but the paper dolls are of CG quality that I had a hard time figuring out exactly when the game switched from a CG scene to a paper doll scene. This has to do I think mainly with the fact that these scenes are also set up in a way that I haven’t come across before.
|Pfft, as if your boobs play absolutely -no- part in it. Couldn’t be!|
Instead of your usual paper doll in the middle/several on different sides of the screen, paper dolls are actually placed in a more realistic fashion with the background and with where “Ryou” stands; If Ryou is portrayed to be closer to the character he is speaking to, their paper doll is closer/takes up more of the screen and vise versa when he is farther away from them. Not only that, but a vast majority of scenes have Ryou’s back on the screen in a corner, giving a more visual portrayal of him turning to speak to a character. Another first is that in every scene, paper dolls or CGs, every characters eyes blink and their mouths speak while they talk. I’ve seen this a few times with paper dolls, but never before with CGs. Eden* took “Visual Novel” to a whole new level for me.
Ryou Haruna is the protagonist of Eden*. Due to events that happened to him in his childhood, Ryou joined the military at an early age and quickly climbed up the ranks, becoming a well-known and feared member of an elite special forces group. Due to his reputation, ruthless nature, and his unflinching obedience, Ryou is chosen to be Sion’s bodyguard during Earth’s final days. His mission is simple; Take whatever steps necessary and do whatever it takes to keep Sion alive and ensure that she makes it onto the final colony ship alive. At first, Ryou’s personality is rather bland, but not in the “imprint” way. During his time in the military, and due to the nature of his special ops duties, Ryou comes off as very cold and emotionless. Things such as feelings and desires only make him “weak”, and so he built a wall around the very things that make us human so he could become the perfect soldier; An unremorseful, unquestioning killing machine. However, buried deep down inside of Ryou is a desire for freedom and to truly understand his humanity, and this wall slowly begins to crack as he interacts with Sion and the others. It is through listening to Sion’s dream and developing a desire to help her achieve it that he realizes what it is he truly wants, and what he gave up long ago.
Sion is the main heroine of the story, as well as Ryou’s romantic interest. Sion is a 100 year old Felix, a genetically modified human, and is known as the most intelligent out of all of them. As such, she is essentially the central figure of the “Earth Evacuation Project”, and is responsible for the creation of the colony ships, as well as overseeing the construction of the ships. Unlike many of the other Felixes, she has an extremely young figure due to a default/problem with her genetics that caused her body to stop growing before she reached the “full maturity” of a Felix body. Due to her major contributions to the project, which most believe would not have been possible without her, she is regarded by many as the savior of mankind, and holds extreme political clout. However, due to her political position, she has become an enemy to many who oppose the project. She is known to the public to be a recluse who is rarely seen, whose whereabouts are unknown except to a few, and has never left the research facility she resides in since she was created. This is not of her own choosing though; The military and government has refused to let her ever step into the outside world despite her desire to see what lies beyond the facilities walls.
Sion’s personality is very much along the lines of what I would call a “childhood genius” persona. Despite being 100 years old, Sion shows immature and childish tendencies here and there due to the fact that she has been locked away from the outside world her entire life. In many cases, she understands quite a lot logically, but she merely has the knowledge and has never experienced it herself. There are many scenes in where she speaks and acts as a curious child would. Most of the time however, Sion speaks and acts in a manner that you would usually expect from a hermit genius character; Precise, blunt, and to the point. I couldn’t really get into her character too much, but I will say I was glad that her more mature personality points were played upon more than her childish ones, making her actual age despite her childish figure more believable. I’ve seen way too many times in VNs and anime where nearly every loli looking character acted like they were well, 12, even if they were older characters with “younger” looking bodies.
Elica is a resident of the research facility and Sion’s self appointed “maid”. Being a felix and slightly older than Sion, Elica has been with her since the beginning, taking care of her and her needs so that Sion could focus on her tasks. Elica takes her “maid” status extremely seriously and is never seen without a maid costume on. She is seen frequently cleaning, taking care of the laundry, and helping others out with basic chores. She also has an extreme penchant for frequently pointing out her “adult body” and makes quite a lot of dirty jokes mostly revolving around “servicing” and other maidly things. Despite her air-headed, kind, and flirty nature, Elica is a felix and therefore she is extremely intelligent and calculating even if she normally doesn’t show it. Like Sion, she has never seen the outside world, and she shoved her dreams and desires deep down inside in order to help Sion complete the Earth Evacuation Project, and eventually to help Sion achieve her dreams. She takes an instant interest in Ryou despite his reputation, and begins to grow somewhat close to him during his time at the research facility.
|Save a horse, ride a cowboy.|
Honestly, Elica was probably my favorite character out of the game despite the frequent anime tropes and stereotypes thrown out with her. She was a genuinely likable character and there was a lot of hidden depth to her that was only touched on that I would have liked to have seen more of. Like most people, there were a lot of aspects of her that were shown here and there as to the complete, true nature of her character, but due to the length and her place in the story, it is only explored in snippits. Due to her personality and how she interacts with others, she was also the only character that I can really say brought some humor and lighter moments to the storys darker themes and overtone. I think I was more heartbroken over how things ended for Elica than I was for the overall ending of the game and how things ended for Sion and Ryou.
Along with Elica, Eden* had a couple other major supporting characters. Lavinia Asai, or Lavie for short, is Ryou’s partner during his time at the research facility. While she comes off as cheerful and carefree, Lavie is known for her skills with a blade and like Ryou, her unflinching resolve to follow orders and do whatever must be done to achieve her mission. Unlike him though, deep down Lavie is a broken woman who walks along the edge of insanity due to the nature of her duties. Then we have Naoto Inaba, the superior in charge of the research facility. While he comes off as a lazy slacker, he takes his job of protecting Sion seriously. Later on in the story we briefly meet a journalist named Maya who helps to flesh out a bit more of the civilian side of the games history, as well as bring Sion and Ryou together romantically.
Now, while I usually just make some minor mention of a characters h-scene in their character section instead of an entire part dedicated to the dirty scenes, I do wish to touch up a little bit on the execution of the scenes in its own section. To help others steer clear from suffering my confusion on the issue (As in yelling “where’s the banging!?” at your monitor and gchatting your best friend that you haven’t seen any penis or breasts and you’re worried you accidentally bought the all-ages edition), the h-scenes for PLUS + MOSIAC are essentially what I would consider standalone, unlockable, add-on material that becomes viewable once you have finished the story and are separate from the main game. So, while I have not played the all-ages edition, it’s reasonable to assume that the main story of the all-ages edition and PLUS + MOSIAC are the same with the exception of a few CGs. While normally I would probably consider this a con, in Eden*’s case, it was a plus because honestly, they would have totally derailed from the overall tone of the story.
The main culprit for this in my case was….Phantom penis. Yes, you heard me. Phantom penis. I would include a snapshot of said phantomness, but I’ve decided I won’t be posting NSFW images on my reviews. For the English/Western release of Eden*, Minori decided to keep the scenes censored as they were in Japan as opposed to uncensored, and rather than just mosiac Ryou’s wang in oral scenes, they went with the “invisible but you know it’s there” look. As soon as it came up on the screen, I spit out my drink and fell into a good 5-10 minute fit of non-stop laughter since I’m so unused to it and it looked so damn creepy. Like a ghost was getting a blowjob. If this had happened during the main story, I honestly think some, if not most, of the emotional impact and connection to the game would have been lost in that one, phantom moment.
Eden* was an enjoyable experience despite my nit-picky problems with it, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an interesting and engaging story. If Minori’s quality is like this in most of their titles, I am definitely going to give their other titles a go. If you’re into happy endings however, steer clear of this title, as the ending is clearly from the get-go sad/bittersweet. This is also a title that you do not want to pick up if you’re looking for deeper science fiction themes, as they are sort of just piecemeal and backdrop for the more slice of life qualities of the game. I am not a huge fan of slice of life stories, but the sci-fi themes helped smooth over those segments for me.
Probably due to it’s short length in terms of VNs, the game fell a bit short/cut corners in both the romance and the science fiction/backstory department, but by the same token was able to give both fairly good attention despite its length. Circumstances leading up to the story as well as the characters involved in the story were fairly fleshed out, if not as much as I had hoped. One of my biggest gripes is I would have liked the back-story to be a bit more fleshed out and the science fiction portion of the story to be a bit more detailed. For example, we know that colony ships were created to take humanity into space so that they could survive, but how and where? Are the colony ships just going to randomly fly around looking for an inhabitable planet, or did we find a suitable planet in the 100 years since the enactment of the evacuation project? These small facts didn’t ruin the story, but I would have liked to have learned about them.
Final Score: 83%
Simply gorgeous artwork with tons of CGs that were uniquely utilized to tell the story rather than the usual 90% paper doll scenes. Paper dolls scenes were “realistic” and usually featured the protagonist. Beautiful, fitting BG music. Genetically altered beings. Science fiction and apocalyptic themes. Did fairly well with painting a decent, believable, and interesting backstory. Most of the characters background stories were all intertwined. Good supporting characters. Managed to (almost) make me cry. H-scenes were standalone rather than being part of the story and derailing them.
Anime troupes abound. Romance aspect felt a bit lackluster and forced at times. Did not get all that emotionally invested in Sion and Ryou’s relationship. Some minor QC/Translation issues. Did not really go into detail too much about Earth dying or the exacts on how and why. Maya was annoying to high hell. The slice of life portions were a tad boring at times. Over the top “de-flowering” scenes. Elica being a virgin. Phantom penis.
Available for sale in English in digital format for PC. Released as both an All-Ages edition simply titled Eden*, and an adult 18+ edition titled Eden* PLUS + MOSIAC.
VN by Minori, localization by Mangagamer
18+ and All-Ages Visual Novel (Separate releases)
Purchase Eden* PLUS + MOSIAC from Mangagamer or the All-Ages edition Eden* for Steam or from Mangagamer today!
Purchasing either edition from the Mangagamer website comes with a free steam key.