I always tell people how my favourite genre in game is text adventure and my all time favourite game is Famicom Detective Club 2 on the SNES. Then they will just quietly back out and outright ignore me for the rest of their life. I should remedy that.
Truth to be told, even though I love text adventure games, I have never ever play a full length visual novel in my life until recently. I played some short doujins one and tons of detective text adventure games but I had never went down the path of choosing which girl you want to fuck. I started on Muv Luv because I actually like KGNE and wanted some new experience in life. And to my surprise, Muv Luv is very easy to read. I’ve never needed more than 3 seconds for a single line in that game.
Muv Luv is separated into 3 games, Muv Luv Extra, Muv Luv Unlimted and finally, Muv Luv Alternative. When people talk about Muv Luv, they are talking about Muv Luv Alternative but the first two games are needed for that buildup and Unlimted isn’t that bad anyway. Even Muv Luv Extra could be tolerable if you are a fan of KGNE.
I personally think that KGNE and Akane Maniax enhanced the Muv Luv experience a lot because KGNE characters crossover into Muv Luv and the things they talk about hold more weight in context. There’s some crossover from Kimi Ga Ita Kisetsu as well but wtf is that anyway.
Muv Luv Extra is your usual wacky harem choose your girl slice of life bullshit with generic lousy forced drama for the ending type of visual novel. It is tolerable because it’s easy to read. It can also be outright brutal when you are stuck with a character that you don’t really like. Luckily, you only need to read the 2 main routes which share like 90% of the text to unlock Unlimited, the second game.
I did all the girls route and even the bad ends anyway because I have to fuck every single fictional girl out there and collect all dem CGS. It also enhance and add quite a lot of context for the next two games in some of the routes. Chizuru route is stupid and useless so fucking skip it unless you have something for her.
It takes around 11 hr for the 2 main routes, 3-4 hrs for each of the other 3 routes and 30mins for all the bad ends.
I also find it interesting in trying to identify how all these asinine bullshit can be turned around for the next two game and imagine all those fuck up parallels that might happen because I have some idea of what the next two games would be like.
After you are finished with Extra and collect all the dem CGs, you can start on Unlimited. When you first start the game, your childhood friend is gone and the world is in some post apocalypse state. You went out of your room and find GUNDAM and get all excited because GUNDAM IN REAL WORLDZ, dude.
You went to school and found out that it’s a military base and you got thrown into detention barrack for lack of identification. You saw your physic teacher and asked for her help but she doesn’t recognize you. She found you interesting after knowing that you crossover from another world and start placing you through basic military boot camp because this world is destroyed by aliens and 5 billion people had died and she needs more soldier/experiment.
You found all your old girlfriends in the boot camp but they are all now strong and dependable while you are some useless piece of shit because you don’t know army.They hate you for being so useless and tell you how pathetic you are. You went on being a pathetic weakling in the army because army is harsh and we are all proud Japanese who are willing to die because we had never experience peaceful life at all.
Everything is still kinda light-hearted because you are still stupid, naive and robot otaku. You become some good robot pilot because you had done this in videogame and everyone starts loving you. You then go through events in the world, fuck one girl and the whole world got destroyed. The end.
You only need to complete one route for Unlimited because the story is the same, only differences are some dialogs and which girl you end up fucking. You should try the extra end which will be unlocked after completing one end. It leads in very well to the sequel and takes 10 min. It takes about 10 hr for one completed route, 20min for each of the other route and 10 min for extra unlocked route.
Then Muv Luv Alternative happens.
BAM! JAM PROJECT IN YOUR HENTAI GAME! (Imagine Ayumi Hamasaki in your low class otaku fanservice shit, same effect)
Muv Luv Alternative starts off with a timeloop and you are back to the war torn apocalyptic world. But now you are this awesome soldier with 3 years worth of experience and you know how everything will happen so you intend to do it right this time. You breeze through boot camp because you are all “hngg, been there done” that and won everyone’s trust. The tables have turned, you are the awesome 3 years super soldier while all your girlfriends are the newbies now.
Everything went so wel land you think you are awesome. You went to fight some alien and got totally destroyed like a fucking fool. You seat there moping and your instructor came to console you. You picked up your courage after words of encouragement .You turned around and CHOMP, instructor’s head got beaten by alien! Good JOB, super soldier, now go cry in one corner and be all PTSD.
After this event, more fuckup shit happens and it just kept on one-up fucking the last fuckup and you will be left all fucked and broken. It’s brutal, hopeless, agonizing but situation turns well because of logic and pragmatism. LOGIC and PRAGMATISM! Things that amaze me.
Humanity is dying, the male got drafted first and that’s why you have so many female soldiers because most of the men were killed. People take extreme measures through lies and manipulation and they were the correct one because logic wins over feeble emotions.
Every single action was planned, calculated and executed without leaving things to chance or miracles. Back up plans were planned. No corners were left unchecked. No one gets all anime-ish and everyone is all mature and srsbzn because there is no time for anime hijinks. Fuck anime and their peaceful idealism. This is a fucking war, we don’t need those shitty stupid shit from the first game because aliens are killing everyone.
Then JAM PROJECT, EXPLOSION, GUNDAMS, YOSHINARI KOU and BAM! The end.
So yes, I doubt I can find another visual novel like Muv Luv as it’s one of the best work I experience throughout all mediums. I have seen/read/play shit like Eternal Sunshine and the Spotless Mind, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Xenogears, No Longer Human, 7 Samurai(Akira Kurosawa), Dubliner, 999 and what had you and I still think that Muv Luv has a place among them. Legend of The Galactic Heroes is the best anime parallel of Muv Luv I can draw because they are that kinda similar and yes, Muv Luv went all LOGH serious after all that silly fuck all girls first half. It’s that awesome.
I think I will try Yu-No next to see whether Muv Luv is the exception to the rule or if I can find another exception in this world of fuck all girls game. I will tell you about it next time.