Finally finished playing Garnet Cradle, after sacrificing my sleep for almost a week straight…
The review should be pretty general and devoid of spoilers 🙂 …and most probably biased. Because:
- it’s illustrated by Carnelian;
- after the angst-fest that was HnO2, Garnet Cradle was pure joy by being pure fluff.
The first thing that struck me was the storyline’s pace… it flowed really well, and pacing was just right. Not too rushed and not too slow, and just… dunno, just good. My interest timespan is pretty short, and usually the moment a game starts getting boring I’d switch to another game (the reason why I have 10+ games installed on my PC, few of which had been installed for 1-2 years and which I just haven’t regained the interest to continue playing). When I started playing Garnet Cradle, I probably played for 10+ hours straight… only stopping because I realised it’s already past sunrise. So yes, it was definitely a worthy purchase, having managed to get me glued to my PC…
However I know some people had found it to be boring… I guess it depends on what you’re looking for? When I played I just wanted a game which wouldn’t require me to think too much, and on that note this game was a perfect fit.
The storyline only branched somewhere in the middle, but overall it was a good thing. Sure you have to go through 6+ hours of text where it seemed like nothing romantic was happening, but on the other hand it was a good build-up of the story, explaining the characters, the plot, the setting, and just… basically just a good build-up towards the individual routes and the ending. Once you entered the individual routes, Miku’s interaction with the other Princes became non-existant (unless they served as a plot device), and the route just focused on the development of the relationship between Miku and her chosen Prince. The individual routes themselves were quite distinct, with a few shared scenario. For example, the part where Saariya was acting strangely was present in all the routes, whereas events like the duel only existed in Kiichirou’s route, etc. While the shared scenario might make it feel like it’s the same thing again and again with only the guy changed, I found it to be alright; I was actually quite interested to see how each guy would react in the same scenario. Sure the final part of the story was pretty much the same thing for everyone, but again I actually enjoyed seeing the slight variations in it, like how Kiichirou welcomed Saariya help but Rihito outright rejected it. On a positive note, it made the second half of the story seemed distinct from one another. On a negative note, it meant you can’t use the skip function…
On that note there’s an option in the Config that says “don’t skip spoken dialogue”, make sure to turn that one off…
Characters were good, as in I didn’t find any of them to be annoying or dislikeable. They followed stereotypes, somewhat… except for Rihito. Probably. Not sure what to classify him as. Main character, Miku, was actually a nice fit for the story. As in, I could see her personality fitting in with the guys… if, for example, Miku’s personality was more like Quinrose’ heroines, while I can see it working out with Rihito (he’s obsessed either way) and Touya (tsundere attraction), I couldn’t quite see it working out with Kiichi or Sou…
Miku is quite the standard heroine, being pure and innocent. However at least she could think for herself, wasn’t overly hysterical, and didn’t whine non-stop. I found that her personality simply helped to get the story going… how to say this… her personality blended well with the type of story? The only route that got me annoyed at her was Saariya’s… it’s the only route where it felt like Miku’s being overly emotional. She’s fine in all the other routes…
Seiyuu was… rather odd. Probably just me, but when I first started playing, I found that I couldn’t distinguish one character from another (I got better after 4 hours or so). Like, if I’m to play the game blindfolded, I wouldn’t be able to tell who’s talking on-screen if they all read out the same line of dialogue. I could only recognise Touya, for example, from the random outburst of shouting he occasionally does, or recognise Sou since he’s the only one calling Miku “ojou-sama”. Other than that… the female characters sounded more distinct from one another. …I’m not sure if this is just because I’m not used to listening to seiyuu and thus can’t recognise them…? Not to say that the seiyuu did a bad job; they all fit their roles, just… maybe it’s just me ( .__.;)
A point of comparison, when I played Crazy Rabbits, the characters sounded really distinct from one another that I could recognise the voices easily. When I was playing HnO2, the voices still sounded quite distinct, despite that game having like 10 characters to chase after (compared to that, Crazy Rabbits only had 4 chaseable characters…). Garnet Cradle has 5 characters to chase after, and I found it odd that none of the voice really left an impression on me. On the other hand, even random classmates were voiced… there were sound effects for footsteps, wind, papers falling, etc, that definitely that department isn’t lacking in details.
Graphics were very, very pretty, as expected from Carnelian. Everytime there’s a CG scene I would stop reading the story and pause for a while to admire the amount of details shown on screen. The jewellery/accessories the characters wore, the pattern on their clothes… I admit spending a considerable amount of time just admiring Miku’s veil. Speaking of graphics though… a friend pointed out that for an otome game, most of the guys’ character design were pretty plain… that is compared to eroge which Carnelian also illustrated. I have to agree… just look at the design of the main character here, at the bottom (NOT work-safe). So… in a game aimed at female gamers the guys’ design were pretty plain, and yet in a game aimed at male gamers the guy looks damned hot…? Or is it just a matter of taste?
Music was very good… I could finally understand why everyone kept on swooning about the part where Saariya sang. There was quite a number of BGM music, and all of them fit the atmosphere in which they got used. Never once it felt like a BGM was out of place, and on that note even on loop the music never grew to be repetitive or annoying. …really want the OST, except that I don’t think it’s been released…
Story was what I’d call light entertainment… no weeping angst, no life-shattering drama, no abusive relationship, none of that “I rather raep you rather than give you to someone else” nonsense. None of the character was truly evil; even Rihito, as psychotic as he’s made out to be, was given a compelling reason for his actions. Admittedly they neglected to explain the motivation behind the action of the other ‘villain’, but it felt more like a sequel-bait… they thought out everything else but failed to explain the reasons behind 2 of the more mysterious characters–on purpose? Romance in the game is what I’d consider cute/sweet, with each route offering a different flavour of ‘romance’. Again, nothing dramatic or tragic, and I found that I didn’t question why the guys fell for the heroine or vice-versa (…except in Saariya’s route…). …maybe just the way it’s written.
…then again, I probably can say the above because I’d just played HnO2 and needed something happier, and so was very happy with Garnet Cradle.
…I loved the system they employed in this game. Anytime during the game you can access Garnet Chronicle, something that looked like a branching tree path which would show you where you were in the whole storyline, whose path you’re on, and you can view any of the scenes you’ve seen before. You can view any scene you’ve seen in the game. It’s awesome, as I have a few favourite scenes and it meant I didn’t need to create separate save files to see them.
My order of play: Sou -> Kiichi -> Rihito -> Touya -> Saariya
Favourites, from least to most: Sou/Kiichi -> Rihito -> Saariya -> Touya
One word description of each route (in my POV), in the order I played them:
Sou : angst
Kiichirou : fluff
Rihito : despair
Touya : moe
Saariya : drama
Next post should be my personal thoughts on the game, although I won’t be writing down any story summary since other people have done it, and done it better than I could 🙂 Check these out if you don’t mind spoilers.
- For character descriptions and review, read Chiisaki’s.
- For a brief summary of what happened in all the routes, go to Hinano’s.
- For more detailed story of what happened in all the routes, read Chocoholic’s.
- For a detail write-up on Saaliya’s route and an insight into the plot, head over to 26 Hours.