What is a man?
- Jun 5, 2010
Thats right folks, today I'm reviewing Katawa Shoujo a visual-novel game by Four Leaf Studios, firstly though. When I said a game made by 4chan, what did you imagine? A creepy meme-filled piece of garbage that should be cast into a fire? Probably. Well this is not that game, and I'll be happy to explain why.
You may be wondering "But Psychotic you marvelous madman what in the world is this game like?" Simple, it's a bishoujo visual novel that takes place in a school for disabled students, Katawa Shoujo literally translates into Disability Girls. If you're unfamiliar with Visual-Novels it's a lot like reading an interactive book,you go through the Dialogue making certain story altering choices along the way.If you only like games for the aspect of shooting and mindless violence this really isn't the game or review for you. If you enjoy a game with a colorful cast and a story that is both heart warming and in places comedic,you will want to at least give this overlooked gem a chance. But yes it's a game about Disabled girls "Is it offencive?" you may be inclined to ask,well I'll be getting back to that in a bit. Another thing,this is only act 1,meaning not the whole game,the full game is still being developed as we speak, Think of this like a demo. I'll review the full game when it is released. It's a unique premise and I rather admire it.
You take the role of Hisao Nakai, an average everyday ordinary student. This is where things get interesting, Hisao soon discovers he has a terminal heart condition and nearly dies, he is infirmed for around four months and after he is told he must attend a special school. He is of course reluctant to leave his old life and expects the worst to happen, but decides he has to go, There Hisao meets several other characters each unique and colorful in their own way.From there you take control of hisao and as the story and dialogue progress you of course make decisions that alter and add to the story, whether you help girl x with something,or side with girl y in an argument, every action has an equal and opposite reaction,and each of the five girls has a distinctive personality and condition. The story flows well enough and most decisions play out the way they should, but some choices are a bit confusing, so it isn't perfect.
From left to right, Lily, Hanako, Rin, Shizune and Emi.
Lily Sato: Blind since birth Lily is a Caring, responcible,and highly intellectual girl who is close friends with Hanako, and is Shizune's rival. She is polite and is very well mannered but she and Shizune apparently dislike eachother for some reason.
Hanako Ikezawa: My personal favorite of the five, Hanako was in a house fire that left her severly traumatized, and with burns over the rightside of her body, she is shy,and self concious and most likely sought Lily as a friend due to her blindness, they both help eachother.
Rin Tezuka: Since Rin?s arms are tiny stumps due to a severe birth defect and subsequent surgery, she uses her feet and occasionally her mouth to do everything, which includes painting. Because of her disability, using skirts is tough, so Rin is wearing a boy?s uniform at school. Her creativity is matched by her philosophical streak: Rin is fond of occasionally getting lost in thought and giving voice to abstract ideas about man, the universe, and other things that thoroughly confuse people.
Shizune Hakamichi: Strong willed and forceful, Shizune is definitely the leader type. She?s been the class rep, despite being deaf and mute, for as long as her class has had one, and generally takes charge in just about any situation she?s placed in. Shizune is known around the school as a fearsome taskmaster, and skilled manipulator, but also as a fair and just leader.
Emi Ibarakiespite being left with legs amputated below the knee, Emi is perhaps one of the most cheery, happy-go-lucky girls on the entire globe, let alone the school. Not one to be left in despair even after the accident that claimed her legs, Emi views her disability more as a blessing, her prosthetic legs having brought her to the heights of her ability on the track team rather than becoming a permanent obstacle.
The characters aren't Stereotypes and actually have personality and life to them, each one is easy to relate to in one way or another and they rarely feel flat or unlikeable.(Except a few side characters. Except for Kenji, I'll let you see Kenji for yourselves though, because He's that awesome.)
In my opinion this is a wonderful and charming game,Katawa Shoujo is surprisingly enthralling. Despite being created by the "Internet Hate Machine", it's deep, almost poetic at points. The characters are honestly intriguing and the story is beautifully written.
Dismissing this games solely due to the fact that it is made by 4Channers is ignorant. This is a piece of art. It is the first push in the industry to make this content acceptable. These characters aren't "cripples" in the player's eyes, they're people.
After playing the demo, I can say with the utmost assurance that I will never look at a disabled individual as I previously have, again. That alone is the sign of an excellent game.I highly recommend this game,and I give it a 8.5/10 just for those of you who like number systems.
If you want the free download,or are at least slightly curious,Heres the official site :http://katawa-shoujo.com/