I think I’ve started a tradition to review every visual novel in two part.
I said I’ve just finished two routes when I wrote Frozen Essence review, so today, several days after, I’m going to flesh the rest, if you’re still unconvinced to try.
The quality of the story is best in Life, Earth, and Water path. Air and Fire are a bit lackluster and even the writer herself admitted she was already burnt out when she did the Air path. Fire is not as weak as Air but the ending might turn off some people. There’s a bonus path named Death where you can meet every characters and punish them as you wish. Very refreshing after all the depression from the main storyline.
The multiple point of view approach works well. If you choose smartly (meaning not sticking to the same pattern) you’ll be able to see what actually happen in the first part of the game after second or third playthrough. Of course, you can use scrollback to see everything in one playthrough but that’s not very exciting. You’ll play more than once to obtain other endings, anyway. I don’t think you’ll be satisfied doing only one path except you start with Water.
Do note that you can only pursue two paths at most at the same time as much as you want to be female Casanova. Afterwards it’s up to you to narrow down the options. Be greedy, try more and you’ll end up with no one close enough to you. Wait…there’s one *wink*.
Every character has flaws, which make them more believable. How often we see perfect boys and girls in a fiction? Far too many and that’s exactly why we have the term ‘Mary Sue’ and ‘Gary Stu’. I don’t know, however, why so many people are complaining about not being able to obtain several endings. I did them all without walkthrough and I only had difficulty with Air:Bad ending and Life:Dark ending, both are not one would want to see deliberately unless they’re keen in achieving 100% completion. The Light and True end of all paths are pretty easy to get with the exception of Air:Light. The options are logical enough.
I like Life:True End, Earth:Light End, and Water:Light End best, and I recommend the following order to pursue for the best experience (according to my opinion) that the mystery unfolds one by one. Death path not included, as well as some bad ends:
Air Alternate>Air Light>Earth Dark>Fire Dark>Fire Light>Earth Light>Life True>Life Light>Water Light
Earth and Air are considerably more spoiler free than the rest so it’s up to you to decide which to be played first. Since many characters appear in Life, it’d be better if you’ve done the others before. Water is to be played last at all cost unless you like knowing the truth from the very beginning.
My playing order?
Water Light>Earth Light>Fire Dark>Fire Light>Death Light>Death Dark>Water Dark>Earth Dark>Air Alternate>Air Light>Life Alternate>Life True>Life Hesitant>Life Light>Life Dark>Air Bad
spanning around ten hours playtime.
If you only have little time to spare and only want the best part, then I recommend Water Light, Earth Light, Life True and Light. Go for Fire (both Dark and Light) if you like open ending.
I have to end the follow up here because writing a spoiler-free review is ten times harder than I think. Before we part, I highly encourage you to try it if you haven’t, or join the discussion (spoilericious!) in Unbroken Hours forum if you’ve already played.