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 I’m flabbergasted it’s not on top of the list, but maybe it does look a bit outdated by today’s standards and not many people have gotten past the first two boring routes yet.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.

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[Game] Persona 5

Perosna 5

Game

It didn’t quite live up to its predecessors, but Persona 5 is still the best JRPG I’ve played in years.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals, both on technical and artistic sides
Less background music variation than in the previous installments
Awesome soundtrack that oozes style
Underwhelming (and kind of stupid) human villains
Great, funky atmosphere
The story up until the very end feels like a collection of set pieces
Likable characters
Characters pale in comparison to the previous installments
Enthralling plot
Story feels a lot more simplistic compared to previous installments
Awesome culmination (once human villains are out of the way)
Thought-provoking on society
Fantastic challenging but fair game-play
The social sim parts are absolutely addicting

[Game] Into the Breach

Into the Breach

Game

An insanely addicting and satisfying turn-based strategy game that’s a bit bare-bones on the narrative and way too short for how good it is (I ended up beating the game with all teams because I just couldn’t let it end so soon).

Positive:
Negative:
Good atmospheric soundtrack
Bare-bones narrative
Fantastic, super addicting and super satisfying game-play
Too short

[Novel] The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

the-pillars-of-the-earth

A fascinating journey to the Middle Ages that follows an ambitious architectural project of a cathedral and the lives and adventures of many people — both historical and fictional — that end up involved with it.

Positive: Negative:
Interesting, likable characters A few historical inaccuracies here and there
Surprisingly captivating plot Not really the deepest book you’ll ever read
Multilayered, epic story
Enlightening on 12th century England

 

[Novel] The Portrait of the Lady (Henry James)

the-portrait-of-a-lady

The Portrait of the Lady lacks the wit of Jane Austen and the profundity of Marcel Proust, ending up as a fine, but ultimately forgettable depiction of the life of aristocracy in 19th century England, and their clashes with American culture.

I can’t help but visualize this being something equivalent to a 19th century telenovela that happened to be ascribed literary merit just because of how old it was.

Positive: Negative:
Provides some insight on the life of 19th century British aristocracy Dim-witted, annoying protagonist
Relatively profound characters Characters aren’t all that interesting
Nothing much really ever happens in the plot