Crescendo

 

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Crescendo
Released By:
G-Collections
Released: 10/21/03
Reviewed: 6/24/07  

 

Intro

 

            Another game that is considered a classic by many has its flaws.

 

Story

 

            In this game, you take on the role of Ryo Sasaki in the final days of his high school life. The game begins five days before graduation and even though Ryo doesn’t realize it, these final days are going to prove to be the ones that shape his future. Over the course of the five days, he’ll talk with many girls that have been apart of his life: The beautiful fellow member of the Literature Club, Kaho; Kaho’s younger friend Kyoko; the girl who has worked her through high school as a prostitute Yuka; the school nurse Kaori and his beautiful sister Ayame. Though his memories remain, it’s his present and future that he must pay more attention to… while he’s thinking of his past, which of these girls are going to become his future?

           

Artwork

 

            The character design in this game is absolutely fabulous. The first girl you meet is Kaho and she’s gorgeous and it only gets better from there with the beautiful Yuka, Ayame and Kaori. I wasn’t overly thrilled with the design of Kyoko but she was still very nicely designed.

 

            The one thing that I absolutely loved about the artwork in this game is that the game uses very soft colors and curves in their design which leads to characters that are much more realistic looking rather than the usual bright colors and straight lines that keep girls looking like they came straight out of an anime. With more realistic looking girls, the art work really helps to bring you into the game that much more and helps you immerse yourself in the story.

 

            The hentai level in this game isn’t very high which makes this more of an erotic game rather than strictly pornographic. With such soft muted colors used, it also lends to a much more soft and sensual experience with each of the girls instead of lots of pointless sex with as many characters as possible which will always get more points from me. The story takes center stage here instead of the sex. None of the sex goes wild as well, you don’t need to look for wild sex involving toys or anything hardcore, it’s mostly just simple sex between Ryo and his lady of choice.

 

Writing and Story

 

            The story itself in this game was well done and well told with every girl that you encounter leading to a new type of story. For the most part the stories are all similar but they are still all different enough to warrant wanting to play through the game until you face every character and learn all of their stories. Some of the stories are happier but then some are tragically sad for various reasons. The biggest issue that I had with the writing is that the game would’ve been much more engaging if it had been written in first person perspective instead of the constant second person perspective that you might read in most books. By keeping the game in a constant second person perspective, it keeps the player from becoming as engaged as they might be otherwise.  

 

            I did think that it was a clever touch for each day to end with an eye catch though. This was a nice way of really making sure the player knew that one day was ending and another was beginning without breaking the stride of the game.

 

            Another clever touch was how the main character wasn’t used in every scene. It was a nice touch to see scenes that he wasn’t involved in to get alternate perspectives on what other characters were feeling or doing when he wasn’t around. Naturally this wouldn’t have worked if the game had been written in first person which shows that there is always a method to some of the madness.

 

            Using flashbacks isn’t new to the genre but using them to this extent is and in this case I think that it was a really effective plot device and really helped move the story along in ways that couldn’t have been done in any other way. It really great to see the back stories of some of the characters told this way as well. To just hear about the histories of the characters would’ve worked but this way you get to really see some of the pivotal moments that shaped the relationships of Ryo and the ladies of this game.

 

            For the most part I didn’t notice any major issues with translation or grammar within the game but poor use of screen space proved to be frustrating in a couple of places when I would have to constantly go back and re-read sentences because of the way one word would be cut off in the middle and then finish on the next line. Naturally there are a few grammatical errors but nothing beyond what one would naturally expect to see.  

 

Music

 

            Yes, another new section that I felt was missing from previous reviews. The music in this game never proved to be repetitive. Most of the original music from this game is very simple and low key piano scores with occasional violin or flute back ups. The music always sounded good though and never felt out of place and I never felt like it got repetitive or did it get in the way of my playing experiences.

 

            The opening theme was also a big winner with me and I really enjoyed listening to it. I’ve been looking for the single for awhile now so that I can add it to my collection but no luck so far.  

 

Bad Points

 

            Besides what I’ve mentioned above, there aren’t too many issues with this game that I found to be particularly annoying. Installation was straight forward and easy and the playing experience was easy and flowed well.

 

            I think that the worst part of this game would be in its endings. None of the endings are particularly bad but they always feel very anti-climatic and simple. The characters will always give you a basic idea of what is going to happen to them once the game is over but it’s always fairly vague and seems like it’s always just enough to tie up the loose ends but never enough to satisfy the audience leaving you wanting a sequel just so that you can see these characters down the road.

 

Replay Value

 

            The replay value in this game is actually fairly high because of how different each character is. The personalities never blend together; they are always very different which makes you want to learn the history of each girl and what makes them who they are. They all deserve a happy ending and that makes you want to give it to them.

 

            Unfortunately though, with only five girls to pick from (two endings each) it makes it very easy to get through all the endings but to help that point along is the fact that if you get 100% of the CG screens in this game (again, not very hard to do), you can have access to the special hidden ending in the game with a sixth girl. Each ending only takes about 2-3 hours to get through though so if you’re patient, you can make through everything game has to offer within a few days if not a weekend.      

 

Overall

 

            I won’t say that this game is a classic but I will say that the reputation that this game has is very well deserved. The story is very sweet and it’s well told which goes well with the beautiful characters and soft music. If you’re looking for a very well done game to play, this is definitely one to pick up before it goes out of print. Strongly recommended.

 

Final Grade: 89% – B

 

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