Mangagamer released a package of Alicesoft’s Rance 5D + VI in the end of 2016, and if I had to pick one word to describe it, it’d be
lewd fun. Rance is a comedic fantasy series full of erotic scenes portrayed in the most hilarious way I have ever seen.
It mostly has S&M scenes, though it also hits a few specific fetishes that aren’t related to that and normal sex from time to time, too. The twist, however, is in how those scenes are presented. Rance is a complete, total idiot, and his sex scenes, while often very hot if you are into the kinks they’re portraying, are also intentionally very funny. Rance is a complete idiot and he will not shut up about the prowess of his hyper weapon or about his awesome imperial juice during sex scenes, which have an explosive, fun music to them and honestly, I’m never sure whether to laugh or to masturbate when he’s doing that type of stuff.
As you may have noticed, Rance is a very peculiar character. His goal is to have sex. It’s almost the only thing he cares about, though it’s shown he does care about certain characters on a personal level, and it’s certainly the only thing he talks about. He will approach girls and just straight up ask to have sex with them. If they reject, he will then proceed to come up with a plan to have sex with them.
In fact, most of the sex scenes in this series are mercenary – they are used as coin, and he solves a girl’s problems for the sole sake of having sex with them.
What’s even more hilarious is that this is overall a pretty serious setting. Characters are generally interesting and they’re working towards their own respectable, interesting goals and they have good designs and nice backstories and motivations attached to them. They face serious threats and can be very compelling.
Rance, however, does not care for the seriousness of those characters. He’ll appear, save all the cute girls he can, have sex with them, kill any annoying guys in the way, and move on to his next adventure. He is an overpowering protagonist, dragging every other character in his nonsensical pace and forcing their big ambitions and their important moments to adapt to him.
Without Rance in the Rance series, you’d be staring at a fairly dark, war-filled world with interesting characters that could lead to some really nice tragedy stories, with a large cast of memorable, easy to like characters going at each other’s throats for their conflicting goals. The world of this series has been very fleshed out over time, and it can be absolutely hilarious to see it as the playground for some lucky dumbass who just so happens to love sex more than anyone and be really talented at the intricate art of hitting people with a sword, and incredibly it can still tug at your heartstrings at certain points if you really buy into the style this series sell.
Gameplay wise, both 5D and VI are very solid. 5D’s system has automated combat (that you can customize through changing your character’s movesets as they level up) and a luck based system focused around rolling slots to be able to find new treasure, monsters, the next event, treasure, and a few other wacky things. There’s a timer on how long you can take to finish each chapter and several ways of spinning those slots, and it’s overall a pretty fun game that you can play without putting too much thought into it.
VI is a much more traditional dungeon-crawler, with some interesting additions to the usual formula of that genre but nothing too big. You have to grind a bit more for it, though the grinding in this one is actually lighter than what a pure dungeon crawler would normally be. Charged attacks not spending MP is interesting, it has a nice but not too complicated strategy element to it for the most part and it’s a really interesting game if you’re fond of dungeon-crawlers, though it’s nothing revolutionary and it doesn’t contain anything that might make someone who doesn’t like dungeon crawlers like the gameplay here.
The Rance series is known to have some pretty legendary songs, some often reappearing with their own little twists in arrange in each game and though nothing in this game made me lose my mind as much as rebirth the edge did in Sengoku Rance or the sad arrange of Ontology did in Kichikuou Rance, it’s still overall very strong and pleasing to listen to. The soundtrack captures the feeling of the game perfectly and it’s always a treat to listen to a good soundtrack being used well.
The worst part about this series is that it has no voice acting, which is always a pity. The soundtrack is strong enough that I can call it a fair exchange, but I could see good voice acting greatly enhancing these games beyond the obvious extra of nicer sex scenes, both in serious and in comedic segments.
So, should you play Rance? It really depends. As a highly stylized erotic battle comedy series, it’s largely up to the reader if they are interested in following dumbass Rance alongside his journey for his crazy sex-related shenanigans. As a character, he is incredibly polarizing, and normally people either love him or hate him.
If he does, however, seem interesting to you, and you think you would enjoy the gameplay, hop along the Rance train, since there’s probably a great game waiting for you.
Pick up your copy of Rance 5D & VI here | VNDB (5D) (VI)
This review was written using a review key provided by MangaGamer.
- Kaguya's Review
+ Style - Rance is an idiot and a jerk and it can be absolutely the most hilarious thing you'll ever read
+ Fun, polished gameplay that compares to good dungeon crawlers
+ Great soundtrack
- No voice acting
- Style- Rance is an idiot and a jerk, and it can put people off
I’ve found games in the Rance series to suddenly veer off into the more-or-less deep Dark towards the end. They’re all great fun most of the time, but as you get closer to the finish line, Bad Things(tm) start happening… and by that I mean ‘off-putting things’.
It’s what’s making me very hesitant towards any game in that series. It’s easy to get started, it’s even easier to get hooked; but once you ARE hooked and start to really get into it, sooner or later you ARE going to get blindsided.
I dunno; maybe that’s actually one of the selling points. But as for me, I can stand an idiot of a jerk of a protagonist (who does keep having at least honest-*seeming* “But I do care, didn’t you know that?” moments to keep things light). What I *don’t* like are genre shifts, and if there’s one thing about genre shifts I *really* don’t like is when they shift (light) Comedy to (dark) Drama, to the point where even if you do stop to consider if this *could* in any way considered funny…. you just can’t. And I still have this slight memory from ‘somewhere in the series’ where if you’re not quick enough to take care of things (which may or may not be related) you get to watch your love interest(s) raped by someone not the protagonist, usually in a rather brutal manner, which may or may not end in their (gory) deaths. Not off-screen either; you get to slug through those scenes yourself. Rather graphic too. Not particularly funny, that? Didn’t think so. Not particularly Rance-worthy, then? Oh yes it is, at least as far as I am concerned. This despite a protagonist’s penchant for raping a certain pink-haired maou who in turn blows up all kinds of things in a spectacular manner… in hilarious ways. Dark? Yes. But funny? Very much so.
Makes it hard, if not impossible, to actually play through any of those games. Pity too, not least for the reasons already outlined.