Rewrite

cover

Could it be rewritten, that fate of hers?

Rewrite is a 2011 all-ages game by Key, written, by Tanaka Romeo, Ryuukishi07 and Tonokawa Yuuto. It had a fandisc, Rewrite Harvest festa!, the following year.

vndb EGS

Rewrite

Story

In the environment friendly city of Kazamaturi, our main character Tennouji Kotarou has had since child the strange ability of strengthening himself. However, it’s not something reversible; he likens his ability to a car with accelerator but no brakes. Because of this, he has tried to use it as little as possible.

But in any case, he’s actually more worried by an anxious feeling of wasting his youth. Which is by, also triggered by the recurrent attack of some kind of ghost at night in his bedroom, he ends joining the Occult Research Club of his school, dragging with him the assorted heroines. And when searching for material for the club (and for a magazine he started working for), he starts experiencing some truly strange phenomena. And maybe he’s not the only one; Kazamatsuri already has a tradition of numerous UMA sightings.

And so Kotarou enters a world beyond his wildest dreams. [/ends trite story description]

Pray and it shall be given to you

Pray and it shall be given

Review

Rewrite is an important departure from the style of previous Key games. Some things remain: an amusing protagonist (not as notable in Little Busters!), a long common trunk with comedic slice of life but also some foreshadowing, heroines with tragic pasts. But while previous games had a more vague fantasy component, sometimes more akin magic realism, here the supernatural component is much more systematized and less “miraculous”; more akin things like Fate/Stay Night.

Which also brings up the point of a much greater action component, one route being markedly shounen (which is also in contrast with the rest of the routes, actually).

As mentioned above, the common trunk consists mainly on slice of life, focusing in the interactions between Kotarou and the heroines, and in how the Occult Research Club takes shape as the group of Kotarou and the 5 girls. But also in a series of supernatural occurrences, which foreshadow what will be the main plot of the game as a whole.

Gardening time

Gardening time

Which is the main attraction of the game. Rewrite has a greater, overarching, even grand, plot, and the different routes do a good of showing distinct perspectives of it. Some do a better job than others, and there are some consistences issues between routes (probably due to different writers), but for the most part it works. Different perspectives, different themes (though always with important ecology and end-of-the-world themes), and even different genres, all with little overlap, make for very distinct routes, all the while being a part of the greater whole. This makes for a sense of integrity for the whole, which sometimes was lacking in previous Key works, and unlike Little Buster!, here the routes are good and engaging and matter (though opinions do vary). Some routes are better than others, but I found all of them satisfying, in their own ways; and the way each route may be satisfying may vary a lot, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter (though mainly some proportion of both). Along with a likeable heroine cast (though I took a while to really warm up to it), it made for a case where I really liked ALL the routes.

And then, keeping with the Key style, there are the (this time two) final, true routes, which are probably the meat of the game. Moon starts with a pretty surreal atmosphere and finishes with plenty of action, and in Terra once again the style changes dramatically (even changing from ADV to NVL), losing most comedy, the romance aspect gets pushed back (though it’s still central), and every mystery that remained gets explained, and it reaches the  bittersweet true end. But the “bitter” part happens here in a different vector than usual; it doesn’t lack punch, but it doesn’t have quite the same tear-jerking quality as Air or Clannad had. In any case, this is the main reason for playing the game; but again, unlike, say, Little Busters!, the routes were still worthwhile on their own.

Just a dog

Just a dog

Other aspects are also for the most part good. The music is very decent, and though the CGs are sometimes… not so good, the backgrounds and some images are gorgeous; along with plenty of effects (which greatly help the action parts) and a fancy interface, it makes for a pretty game (if somewhat resources intensive). Voice acting is another strong point. On the other hand, sprites are not very abundant outside the main characters, with some major ones not even having any.

Overall, a fun and interesting read, than even while being very long (longer than Clannad or Little Busters!), never felt dull. Great comedy (sometimes of a more surreal humor), fun characters, a grand plot, and fulfilling endings (if many times quite sad). Don’t come here expecting the typical Key nakige formula, though.

Sadly, not actually happening

Sadly, not actually happening

Rewrite Harvest festa!

vndb EGS

This fandisc for Rewrite comprises short stories for the heroines (including Kagari) and a RPG part, Rewrite Quest.

The stories and sometimes after stories (Kotori and Chihaya), one time a branch from the middle of the route (Lucia), and the rest of the times alternate universes, some more alternate than others. The stories are fun and in occasion pretty poignant; and while I never felt that the original routes lacked any kind of closure, these stories (especially Kotori) may show things one really wanted to see. They’re all interesting in their ways, and certainly recommended (though not “vital” in any sense).

Swimsuit time

Swimsuit time

And Rewrite Quest is a fun dungeon grinder; and given the shortness of the after stories it may account for half or more of the total playing time of the game. It reunites all the characters, so you get to see more amusing interactions between the heroines, it has a lot of things to do, like a somewhat elaborate alchemy aspect and Mamono summoning skills, and the interface is amicable. It even has a somewhat confusing by the end story. And the bonus dungeon is hilarious.

Thus, Rewrite Harvest festa! delivers as a fandisc, giving plenty of fanservice (in the sense of things fans would like to see). Two thumbs up.

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