Visual Novel Extravaganza

Why just open one thing when I can open all the things? And okay, one isn’t technically a visual novel, but it has VN elements.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be such a bit post, but between a couple of preorders, some items taking a vacation on their way to me, delays, busyness, and my own indecision, it turned out this way. They all just kind of descended together in mid-to-late September and early October. So, it just kind of turned into a big “what-I-got-in-the-mail” post!

Warning: image-heavy post ahoy!

Item Info:

Catherine: Full Body Heart’s Desire Premium Edition
キャサリン・フルボディ
PlayStation 4
Atlus
Release Date: September 3, 2019
MSRP: $79.99

The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition
ファタモルガーナの館 (Fata Morgana no Yakata)
PS4 / PS Vita
Novectacle / Mighty Rabbit Studios
Release Date: June 11, 2019 (digital), September 2019 (physical)
MSRP: $39.99 (digital), $49.99 (physical), $84.99 (Collector’s Edition)

London Detective Mysteria
英国探偵ミステリア (Eikoku Tantei Mysteria)
PS Vita
Karin / XSeed Games
Release Date: December 18, 2018 (digital), September 2019 (physical)
MSRP: $29.99 (digital), $39.99 (physical)

Root Letter: Last Answer Day One Edition
√Letter ルートレター Last Answer
Steam / Nintendo Switch / PlayStation 4
Kadokawa Games / PQube
Release Date: August 30, 2019 (EU), September 2, 2019 (Steam), October 8, 2019 (NA)
MSRP:

Worldend Syndrome (World End Syndrome) Day One Edition
ワールドエンド・シンドローム
Nintendo Switch / PlayStation 4
Arc Systems Work / PQube
Release Date: May 2, 2019 (NA, digital only), June 14, 2019 (EU)
MSRP: $39.99 (NA), (EU)

About:

Catherine: Full Body is an enhanced port of the PS3 puzzle-platform game with some visual novel elements. It was released in a standard edition, a launch edition, and this deluxe release. It includes a steelbook, artbook, and a plush.

London Detective Mysteria is an otome game originally released for Steam for English audiences. It got a physical version released through Limited Run Games. The game had 2,800 copies available and 400 copies bundled with the soundtrack.

The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition is an updated version of the visual novel The House in Fata Morgana, which was first released in English from MangaGamer. The PS Vita and PS4 versions includes many improvements including some redone CGs, updated graphics, better menu, and a few other changes. Limited Run Games released standard and limited editions for both PS4 and Vita, with 1,000 available of each Collector’s Edition, 2,300 standard Vita copies, and 2,000 standard PS4 copies. The Collector’s Edition includes a poster, hardcover art book, and OST.

Limited Run Games also offered a special visual novel bundle that included all four types of The House in Fata Morgana, London Detective Mysteria with soundtrack, and some additional items. This is what I purchased. My main goal was Mysteria, but I heard a lot of praise for Fata Morgana that made me interested in it.

Note that while PQube’s site calls the one game Worldend Syndrome, Arc Systems Works America lists it as World End Syndrome. Nintendo eShop and PlayStation Store do have it as Worldend Syndrome, so while the cover looks like there should be three words in the title, I’ll stick with that.

Worldend Syndrome and Root Letter: Last Answer are both visual novels. The former is a digital-only release in North America. Both Day One Edition include softcover art books. Root Letter was released on the PS4 and Vita in the West, but Last Answer includes additional story and the option of live action actors instead of anime art.

Photos:

Thoughts:

Okay, first up, Catherine: Full Body. I vaguely recall the original coming out. I remember thinking that it screamed pervert/ecchi. Looking it up, um, yeah, the original Catherine deluxe edition (Love is Over) doesn’t really cater to the cis-female crowd: boxers, body pillow, boob-heavy imagery. This Heart’s Desire Premium Edition seems to keep the sexiness without looking as if it’s geared toward the stereotypical loser gamer guy who lives in his mom’s basement.

I went back and forth on buying this though. One or two of the major retailers did sell out of them, but I didn’t know if that was just one of those “hold on a moment” things or if it was actually selling out. Looks like it was the former.

Box is detailed, with the actual advertising being a slip that goes around the box. A little weird. Opening it up, it does look a little empty above the sheep. You can’t see it clearly in my picture, but the divider inside also has the same pattern as the outside of the box with the windows.

I was also disappointed that a regular PS4 case wasn’t included. The Launch Edition includes the same steelbook as here, so technically, it’s $20 for the plush sheep, CD, and the art book. I do like this steelbook a lot though. Both mysterious and risqué without being too in-your-face about it.

Having a hardcover art book is a nice upgrade over the usual softcover offerings. Didn’t look at it much since I haven’t played the game yet, although I know a little bit about the story.

I do think the sheep is a LOT better than the Japanese deluxe which comes with sheep glasses. But although that version also comes with a regular case with alternative art, sheep plushie >>> dumb glasses. Props to Atlus for this little cutie. The sheep fits so nicely in my hand.

CD is in the thinniest sleeve I think I’ve ever seen. I actually missed it when I was taking pictures. I just pulled out the steelbook and art book one at a time, and I thought that was it. So be careful when pulling them out; you don’t want to smush the CD. So I wish they would have charged like $5 more and put it in a regular case or at least some thicker cardboard to give it some bulk — and include a PS4 case maybe!

Now on to the May 31st visual novel bundle from Limited Run Games. The original estimate was set for July, and I believe those who got just the standard edition of Fata Morgana and I believe Mysteria got theirs in July. Those who ordered either the soundtrack bundle, Collector’s Edition, or the bundle got ours in September. I know I was getting antsy in August since I didn’t see any email updates and that people who spent less money got theirs first.

I tried to include pictures of the packaging to show they did a good job, even though I found it a little funny that the Mysteria soundtrack and game weren’t wrapped up together in the paper. I was surprised when I opened up and saw the Fata Morgana Vita game. I was worried for a moment I got two copies of that instead of Mysteria!

So I’m sure some of you are wondering why there are no pictures of The House in Fata Morgana‘s Collector’s Edition contents. Basically, I don’t plan on keeping all four versions of the game, but I’m not sure which ones I want to keep. My original plan was to keep one CE + standard for the opposite system… but which should I choose? Vita games are going up in price since the system is no longer in production, but there are more standard versions of Vita than PS4. In fact, a couple have sold for less than the PS4 edition. Speaking of pricing, right now, both editions are often selling around the Limited Run Games’ pricing on eBay. I don’t like scalpers, but after fees/shipping, I’d be better off keeping them myself. But maybe in a few months the value will go up. Not trying to be a scalper, but I don’t want to go in the hole or deal with a pain-in-the-neck buyer just to earn enough profit to buy a fast food value meal. I’ve been pondering this decision since I first ordered the bundle back in May and still can’t decide. So for now, they’re staying sealed until the day I finally make up my mind. Sorry if anyone was looking forward to my pics and impressions!

The pins are definitely going to be sold, as I have no interest in… whatever it is. The starter set is like $15 and the expansion $8 on Limited Run Games, so that explains the price difference in buying the visual novels individually vs the bundle. I think shipping was slightly cheaper versus buying things separately, but I couldn’t test it out much. I tried in the morning to get it and the site crashed badly. I had never ordered from Limited Run Games before, but from what I gathered, the site suddenly switched to an old version as the morning bunch went live, which caused a lot of problems. Either way, I got one in the afternoon. I went with the bundle since I didn’t think I could get two or three games in my cart and check out before it sold out.

The bundle also came with a bonus card, and I didn’t recognize the game I got (Prison Boss VR). The others are very pretty though thanks to the holographic print. Otherwise, the Collector’s Editions are a little lighter than I expected. The Mysteria soundtrack seems to be the full OST that is sold on Amazon Japan for about $25-30, so while I’m not super excited to listen to it, $15 isn’t bad over the cost of the game alone.

Speaking of prices, the standard edition of both games do retail above the digital versions, but for a physical copy — and an extremely small availability — the prices weren’t outrageous like I read some people complaining about. That, and while I do hope to see more visual novels released in the West, I hope companies stick to wide distribution channels. Or at least a regular preorder on the company’s site instead of these super limited releases. Not that I have anything against Limited Run Games, but high pressure, site crash-y attempts to buy something is not fun.

I didn’t hear of Worldend Syndrome until I saw a review of it posted by The Otaku Judge. I don’t usually pay much attention to digital-only releases, and I don’t know why PQube skipped this one for US audiences. I thought Root Letter: Last Answer may have the same fate, especially when the European release date approached and I couldn’t find it on Best Buy or Amazon. Then when it finally popped up in mid September, it was listed as not being released until November, and nothing about a Day One Edition. So I imported it, and by the time it arrived, the North American release was moved up to October 8th. (Yes, the day of this post is not a coincidence.) But talk about confusing! Back of the box will probably be a little different, but the art book should be the same.

I ordered Worldend Syndrome from Amazon UK and Root Letter from shop4megastore.com, and it was my first time ordering from the latter. I was impressed at how quick I got it. Can’t remember exactly how long, but under a week. That’s with free shipping. Amazon UK usually takes a couple of weeks for me, but then again, I usually don’t just order one thing at a time to save on costs. Evidently, they operate under a few different names depending on region. I had heard of them before, but it wasn’t until they had a 15% off coupon + a sale on Root Letter: Last Answer that I took the plunge. Will definitely order from them in the future.

Oh, and Root Letter came with a little insert advertising four of their games: the two you can see in the picture, and these two that I just bought. Which are my first European game imports I believe. I am glad Root Letter is getting a release here, as hopefully Worldend Syndrome was just an anomaly. I already have to import my 3D Blu-rays from the UK; I’d rather not add games to that list. No offense, Europe, but if I want to import games, I’d rather go after all those Japan-exclusives!

Either way, both art books are about 100 pages long, so a respectable length. I didn’t look at them much to avoid spoilers, but it looks like the usual backgrounds, character sprites, CGs — you know, all that good stuff. Both Day One Editions are still available around the Web, and for about the price of their digital counterparts. So unless you are a digital-only fan, why wouldn’t you go this route and get a neat art book.

I don’t think I’ll choose drama mode in Last Answer, but I think it’s a really cool idea and made me want to pick this up. Most of you out there are probably like me and don’t have a problem with anime art (since most of use are anime/manga fans), but big eyes and wild hair does turn some gamers off since they prefer realism. At the very least, it probably encourages you to replay the game or visit the game gallery to compare and get some extra enjoyment out of the game. Wonder if the sequel will include drama mode as well.

Final Comments:

And my backlog grows even bigger… If a genie appeared and gave me a free 1-2 days to play any one of these games, I don’t know which I would pick. They all look good to play right now… well, except maybe The House in Fata Morgana since it just reminds me of how indecisive I am!

Catherine: Full Body Heart’s Desire Premium Box I kind of regret buying. Not so much because of the contents but because I think it will start dropping in price as we inch toward the holidays. It’s still available at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and probably other places, so I think it might hit the $50 mark. I still got 20% off though, so even if it does, it’s not quite as bad versus MSRP. But I think a lot of people will just hunt down the launch edition since steelbooks are so popular, but I applaud Atlus for not pulling a Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection with Catherine: Full Body. (They made the “hardcover art book” the game case instead of having a separate art book — awful.)

I usually choose PS4 versions of a game over their Switch counterparts. But as Nintendo’s system takes the Vita’s place as the king of visual novels, hopefully we’ll see more get released in the West since it’s a much more popular system. CLANNAD‘s Switch port I know is supposed to be available through Limited Run Games, but there hasn’t been any updates since… Anime Expo, I believe? Sekai Project’s Tweet said “pre-order”, so hopefully it isn’t just two batches but an actual preorder system. I get that for a lot of people, it’s the thrill of getting in on Limited Run Games’ releases, but I personally think it’s a dumb and unnecessarily irritating model. Sorry to all of you who tried to get either Fata Morgana or Mysteria on May 31st. I know it wasn’t easy, especially if you could only try in the morning.

But Day One Editions are a good way for companies to lure me to not just stall on a game, although I wish PQube and/or their American partners would get on the same track. Open a US branch or at least a site for North American customers. I didn’t know where to find out about Root Letter: Last Answer‘s release. Ironically, I would have preordered it and spent more than to import it just a few days after it came out in Europe, so… a win for me I guess!

Maybe I can use the savings on more visual novels…?

2 Comments

  1. The Otaku Judge

    Thanks for the shout out. It’s cool when someone discovers a game because of a review I wrote. Hope you enjoy World End Syndrome. You might want to keep a guide at hand, when playing, as the game can be a bit strict on what needs doing to get the endings.

    I loved Catherine back when it came out, which is saying a lot as puzzle games usually frustrate me. The game has a cool story dealing with relationships. Root Letter is decent. I am interested in Fata Morgana, but I don’t think it has been released over here. You got your parcel in a week? Wow. When I order stuff from across the pond it takes months to arrive.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Fortunately, I haven’t had any package from UK or JP take months. But this was so fast I thought maybe they had a warehouse in Canada or something.
      Fata Morgana I think they were looking into it, but doesn’t seem like there’s been any news since June. Really strange they didn’t just say no EU or provide an ETA if they’re still planning on it.
      And you’re welcome for the shoutout! Sounds like I’ll be playing with a guide then if it’s picky.

      Reply

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