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domingo, 19 de junho de 2011

Saya no Uta

Saya no Uta (沙耶の唄, lit. Saya's Song) is a short horror/guro ADV title released by Nitro+ in 2003.

  
Story

After surviving an accident that killed his family, Sakisaka Fuminori woke up to a horrifying world. The operation that saved his life distorted his perception of reality - his environment appeared to be made out of gore and blood, and human beings, including his closest friends, became monstrous lumps of flesh. In this mad world that was quickly driving him insane, only one person appeared in his eyes as a normal human being - the mysterious young girl, Saya. In truth, Saya is a monster, and Fuminori was the only one to see her as human.

Anyone who'd read Resurrection should recognize the story right away. In fact, Tezuka wasn't the only one being referenced. The scenario writer of Saya no Uta also mentions that he aims to emulate the H.P. Lovecraft's sense of horror from unknown mythical beings. Apparently the Cthulhu mythos is referenced, but I don't know enough about it to make a judgement.

The story is definitely the strong point. From the premise, the story descends into dark territories as Saya's true nature gradually emerged while Fuminori loses his grasp on reality more and more. Murders and mayhems ensue while conspiracies are uncovered and confrontations are made. The love story is never abandoned however, and is the very core of the story. Even as Saya and Fuminori appear more deranged, touching moments such as when Fuminori cried and comforted Saya right after a distressing scene reminds you of their humanity. At the basic level, this is a love story of two people, isolated and unable to relate to the rest of the world, who have found comfort in each other.

The quality of the writing is excellent. You will be literally on the edge of your seat from the suspenseful atmosphere. Because the length of the game is quite short (about 7 hours total, reading everything) the writing is tight and leaves no room for unnecessary fillers. It doesn't take long for the first death to happen and things accelerate from that point. The writing is very descriptive (sometimes too descriptive for my liking in the gore scenes  ). There are also clever usages of changing perspectives. The endings are on the melancholic side but all three of them leave quite a strong impression.

There are six important characters. Due to the shifting perspective, all characters except for the one that died early get enough time in the spotlight for characterization. In fact, there is another candidate for the "hero" of the story, as the second half shifts largely to his perspective. Quite different from the approaches in most ren'ai games but definitely appropriate for this one.

I only have a few real problems with the story. Mainly, the ero scenes late on (where an unfortunate side character is brought into the picture). I can see they're meant to make us see how far Saya and Fuminori have gone into the deep end, but they're a bit too gratuitous. Which isn't a problem until you start thinking about the incredibly messed up circumstances and wonder if ANYBODY actually wants to see a sex scene at this point. There are very few comedic relief scenes, and most are black comedies that makes you feel guilty for laughing about it; In short, it's not a game for you if you want to relax.


Gameplay

Saya no Uta's consists mostly of just reading and clicking. There are only two points in the game where the user must decide between two options. This leads to one of three endings which are all very different and fulfilling. The text is very powerful and descriptive; it helps you really imagine the distorted world as if you were really in it. The game isn’t too long and can be finished within 6 hours. The H-scenes come up every once in a while to express the love between the protagonist and heroine and also to show the degradation of his demeanor. There is no animation or interaction in these scenes, only text and sounds.

Graphics

The artwork doesn't disappoint. Backdrops of strange yet familiar places fill your view. What should be a hallway with a set of stairs is rendered as an unsightly structure of flesh (similar to how you visit two versions of the same place in Silent Hill). The effect really builds the atmosphere and helps you empathize with Fuminori's pain. The character designs are wonderfully interesting with their hard sketch style outlines and muted color palette. The user interface is equally as polished and impressive as far as visual novels go. The text box is reminiscent of games like Fate/Stay Night in that it transparently lays over the entire picture, flashing away for CG changes or brief character animations. This format seems to reflect Saya no Utah's commitment to narrative over the pure reliance on character dialogue seen in other games of the genre. Menus are well crafted and transitions are fun to witness as you navigate the text backlog or perform other necessary functions. The plentiful gore content in the game can be adjusted in the options. The player can choose to dim, blur, or do both to the offending imagery--or just leave them untouched in all their disgusting splendor as is the game's default.
Most importantly, the visual is essential in our understanding of Fuminori's world. The first moment we load the game we are treated to the horrifying gore filled world that he sees. Couple that with the schizophrenic music, it's easy to understand why he'd choose to go down the dark path.

There's a lot of gore in this game by the way. I mean, when you are in Fuminori's perspective, that will be all you'll see. There are also death scenes but fortunately most of those type of gore is left off screen. In the game options you can set the gore filter on. One setting allows you to blur the gore and the other to darkens it so you can't really see it, and of course you can turn both on at once to maximize the filter. (Being a wimp, that's what I did  ) The nice thing is that the setting also carries on into the gallery. Unfortunately, the writing, where all the really descriptive gore are, can't be censored.


Sound

This is one game where sound effects play an important role. The sounds of footsteps from distances away. The garbled up language that Fuminori hears. All very scary stuff  As for voice acting, some rather known talent lend their voice here and do remarkable job. My favorite voice works are Fuminori's (Midorikawa Hikaru) who doesn't fall in to the trap of villainizing Fuminori - regardless of the situation he keeps Fuminori on a perfect balance between sanity and insanity; and Ryouko's (who I need to look up) whose switch between her facade and true self comes off seamlessly.

The music is not only beautiful, but works in creating an atmosphere that complements the scenario. Some of it such as the pieces with vocal backgrounds are nice as standalone pieces. It is very befitting of the game, always managing to set a dark atmosphere at the right times. Like the game itself some tracks are just as mystifying and spooky yet beautiful. Listening to these tracks really makes the audience wonder which side of this tragedy was right. Some pieces are made by the composer from School Days, Itou Kanako, so there is little room to disappoint. There are a total of twelve tracks, two of which are the ending songs.The ending music (all sung by Nitro+'s main singer, Itou Kanako) are beautiful and emotional. My favorite is the heartbreaking bad ending song.

Gameplay

Standard visual novel, in the format where text is written all over the screen like a novel. There are only two occasions where you have to make a choice and each will lead to a unique endng, so you don't even need a walkthrough (just choose all possible paths).

Summary

Of all of Gen Urobuchi’s famous works of tragedy such as Fate/Zero, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ and most recently Mahou shoujo madoka magica it is Saya no Uta which displays his true skills. Saya no Uta is rated 18+ for its gore and H-scenes, and is not recommended for the feint of heart. However, it is a must-play for any fan of horror/tragedy/psychological/mystery visual novels as it keeps its audience on their toes all throughout the entire game.
Game contains very mature contents, including but not limited to - psychosis, murder, cannibalism, sex with monster, rape, torture, tentacles, lots and lots of blood and gore.

Screens





 

25 comentários:

LM disse...

Interessante, aparenta ser legal.

Rake disse...

Parece ser bastante interessante. Único jogo que joguei parecido foi True Love.

weastside007 disse...

Sounds really good...

Shaw disse...

I played this and now I can't eat green jello without thinking about body parts

Mochileiro disse...

Esse eu não curti.

Deuce disse...

É... esse tipo de jogo não é bem pra mim.

Jamatei O. Poeta disse...

I liked the whores.

The Cake disse...

Mais uma VN clássica, depois que ue joguei virei fã do Urobuchi e da Nitro+

Candle disse...

Dá vontade de jogar porque a garota é muito bonitinha :3

snoobyy disse...

sounds like a nice game.

Daniel disse...

lol @Shaw
very true

Basch disse...

:3

rivalcraft disse...

Fantastic review! I'm VERY impressed...

Chave Do Quarto disse...

Gostei, jogarei.

Ryan disse...

SIQ POST BRO!!!

kills4sleep disse...

Still sounds pretty good.

BomberAzul disse...

Esse ai é clássico muito bom.

Andy disse...

Very nice review. A solid in-depth look.

DIYgamer disse...

I don't play games like this, but the story seems like it's really good!

SHoTS disse...

Sounds like a game I would love to play from the read. I might try it.

Integral_Triple disse...

hey i've never heard of this, im gonna read it. Followed

HiFi disse...

I love games with awesome artwork.

Alejandro disse...

Thanks for sharing man! WIll check it later :D

weastside007 disse...

Nice!

Anônimo disse...

Awesome visual novel, very well written, read it in three days. A horror story that pulls no punches though, not for the faint of heart.

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