Arcadia of November, timely released in March 2015, is the first solo work of Ima Scenario. But while it shows that this relatively new author is at least interested in the story-driven narrative, and might have a promising career in the future, Arcadia, while not essentially bad, is, in the end, a disappointing experience.
It takes a fascinating idea of a guy insinuating himself in the community of what is, for all intents and purposes, a magic school to steal a special artifact, thus betraying and ruining the trust of all of the friends he had made in the long years of his venture. Unfortunately, the drama inherent to such a scenario is at best tepid here, as characters, while likable, lack depth and hardly ever break out of their predictable pattern, and the setting, having all the magical potential of Harry Potter, is blander than a gray wall; even the Halloween costumes, giving the visual novel’s cover a colorful feel, are damn phony, being nothing more than a misleading and completely irrelevant cosplay within the story.
Having said all that, there is little actually bad per se in this visual novel. Characters are likable enough to keep you somewhat entertained; the plot, while nowhere near as exciting as it could have been, is inherently engrossing as the protagonist is trying to balance between his goals and not ruining the lives of his friends too much; and the romance doesn’t make your eyes bleed, unlike some VNs I could name.
Nonetheless, Arcadia falls one step short of creating something actually significant at pretty much every single thing it attempts to do, delivering a competent but also very tepid experience. There is simply no reason to go out of your way to read it with all the better visual novels that attempt the same things, and do them infinitely better. *cough* G-Senjou no Maou *cough*
Also, please don’t fucking quote Muramasa when you’re doing an underwhelming moe-action game as it only makes you look like a dunce (and makes me want to re-read that game instead of playing yours).
|Attractive character designs||Bland setting (despite trying to trick you to the contrary)|
|Likable characters||Bland protagonist (despite his circumstances)|
|Interesting premise of betraying your friends||Heroines, while likable, lack depth when you come down to it|
|The story comes along well in the end, delivering a relatively heartfelt tale of friendship||Some things aren’t thought through and only work out because the plot says so|
|Heroine paths that split off the main path are boring as hell and feel superfluous|
|Lacks the punch overall, delivering a competent but lukewarm and underwhelming experience|