Top 10 Best Rated Visual Novels Translated in 2018

Although I’m a big fan of Island and Evenicle, this year has been nowhere near as kind to translated visual novels as the previous one with the top of this year not even coming close to the top five of the 2017’s list.

A lot of moege can be seen on the list this year, indicating where the market is heading to lately. I haven’t checked most of them as they didn’t fall within my area of interest, but if you’ve been following my reviews, you may remember I didn’t have the highest opinion of Sabbat of the Witch or Hapymaher (some people say it’s not a moege, but it shares all the worst parts with one as far as I’m concerned).

At least Sorcery Jokers made it to the list to represent the only chuuni release that I know this year. I wonder if we’ll see any next year.

I probably should check Maitetsu out since I’ve heard it’s actually a pretty entertaining read behind the excruciatingly cutesy exterior. And I’ll probably be checking Fureraba sooner or later too, as SMEE’s Pure x Connect was one of the few moege I actually enjoyed.

All in all, it was a pretty underwhelming year. I wish we could have released Damekoi this year as it was a good chance for it to contend for the top spot. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it’s released now. And I hope 2019 will be a more exciting year in general.

EDIT: Oh snap, I had to update the video because I missed a few things. First, one of my favorite visual novels Baldr Force was actually randomly translated and no one was talking about it. I’m flabbergasted it’s not on top of the list, but maybe it does look a bit outdated by today’s standards and not many people have gotten past the first two boring routes yet. I personally enjoyed it more than Baldr Sky, so now I’m starting to wonder how that game is going to do.

Tsujidou-san was also something I had in my to-read list for a while as it seems one of the few visual novels not written by Takahiro to successfully capture the charm of Tsuyokiss and Majikoi.

I also added a few special mentions I forgot. Namely, Chuusotsu, which I definitely expected to see higher on the list. I wonder if that’s because it’s only the first game in the series or that the west isn’t really into the old-fashioned philosophical visual novels in the vein of Cross†Channel and Subahibi.

And speaking of the first in the series, I Walk Among Zombies was also released this year to much lower ratings than I expected (it was pretty high up on egs and in my to-read list). I originally delayed reading it because I was waiting for the rest of the volumes be released, but it’s definitely one of the VNs I’m really looking forward to.

Finally, If My Heart Had Wings has been finally retranslated, so people can finally read the actual game and not the garbled mess shat out by moenovel. I thought it was pretty boring when I read it in Japanese, but it still deserved to be coherently translated at least.

It turns out this year wasn’t as bad as I thought with low-key fan translations surprisingly getting us some of the more interesting titles.

Advertisements

[Novel] Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Céline)

journey to the end of the night

book

A fantastic adventure through early 20th century France, USA, and the African colonies with one of the most entertaining protagonists ever.

Every sentence in this novel is brimming with savage and painfully poignant cynicism that will either make you cry or roll on the floor laughing… or both.

I don’t think I’ve been this entertained by a novel since Catch-22.

Positive:
Negative:
Sarcastic, entertaining prose
Multiple interesting and exotic settings
Fantastic profound, likable, entertaining characters
Involving, relatively fast-paced plot with not a single boring passage
A story that encompasses everything that is wrong with mankind
Genuinely funny and savage cynical humor
Enlightening on the life in early 20th century France, USA, and the African colonies
Thought-provoking on life and human culture

 

[Game] A Way Out

a way out

game

A story focused two-player adventure that’s kind of innovative, but never really succeeds at blowing your mind.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals
The story is nothing special in retrospect
Likable, relatively profound characters
The ending feels a bit forced, with the most intuitive option not available
A surprising, and relatively emotional twist in the end
Doesn’t really do anything particularly outstanding
Innovative two-player only game-play
A couple of pretty awesome action sequences

 

[Novel] Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

norwegian wood

book

Norwegian Wood is a bit more grounded in reality than the rest of Haruki Murakami’s works, but it still offers a bunch of quirky but profound characters, and a surprisingly involving plot despite not that much actually happening in the story.

Positive:
Negative:
Pleasant, fast-paced, easy-to-digest prose
Nothing that much memorable actually happens in the story
Likable, quirky, profound characters
A surprisingly involving plot
Enlightening on Japanese culture
Thought-provoking on the meaning of life

[Game] Assassin’s Creed: Origins

assassin's creed origins

game

Assassin’s Creed Origins introduces a lot of interesting changes to the Assassin’s Creed formula, making it more of an exploration focused RPG than an action adventure.

And that’s actually exactly what I wanted from this breathtakingly beautiful series.

Positive:
Negative:
A vast and breathtaking world of Ptolemaic Egypt to explore
The leveling up system is too simplistic for an RPG
Lots of actually well-scripted side-quests do a good job at fleshing out the world
The fighting system is too simplistic for an RPG
Provides you with a feeling of adventure
Too little variety in enemies for an RPG
Most of the annoying “features” that bloated the previous games removed
There’s some bloat with random forts all of which start feeling the same

[Novel] Duma Key (Stephen King)

duma key

book

A solid horror story you’d expect from Stephen King.

Positive:
Negative:
Simple, but immersing prose
Slow pace
Exotic, pleasant-to-visit setting
Doesn’t offer anything particularly special
Cool, ominous atmosphere
Doesn’t stand out from the rest of Stephen King’s books
Likable, relatively profound characters