CLANNAD
Gameplay 10
Graphics 8
Sound 10

At first glance CLANNAD appears to be a typical slice of life visual novel featuring the adventures of high school delinquent Tomoya Okazaki. However, its engrossing storylines and fascinating characters make it a title that is hard to put down. Completing the multiple storyline branches takes a long, long time, but the excellent writing and emotional impact makes it worthwhile. The game is a must have title for fans of the genre, but thanks to its compelling storylines will definitely appeal to other players as well.

Gameplay: CLANNAD features multiple routes that lead to different storylines based on your choices.

Graphics: The art style takes a while to get used to, but the overall quality is very good.

Sound: The game features a stellar selection of tracks and very good Japanese voice acting

Summary 9.3 Perfect
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

CLANNAD

Developer: VisualArts/Key | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

CLANNAD is the story of high school student Tomoyo Okazaki. Tomoya’s life spirals out of control after the death of his mother and his father’s subsequent alcoholism. When Tomoyo is injured during an altercation with his drunken father it puts an end to his basketball dreams and motivation to attend school. Due to his delinquent behavior Tomoyo has few friends, but one day on the way to school, he runs into a girl named Nagisa Furukawa. Having to repeat her last year due to a chronic illness means all Nagisa’s friends have moved on without her, but Tomoyo takes an uncharacteristic interest in the timid girl. When he finds out that her dream is to revive the defunct school drama club Tomoyo agrees to help her out, setting him on a path that will change his life again.

CLANNAD is perhaps one of most well-known and respected visual novels out there, so to say its arrival on Steam was highly anticipated would be an understatement. After a very successful Kickstarter, Sekai Project completed the mammoth task of translating the game and we could finally find out if all the hype was justified.

The most important element of a good visual novel is the story and simply put CLANNAD hits it out of the ballpark. The only other visual novel we’ve played that comes close to the same level of drama, intrigue and emotion is Steins;Gate. Although the story starts out a little slow CLANNAD is a very, very long game with plenty of choices. Most of these choices are quite meaningful too, and will branch the story off into different routes. Since the story is such a big element, it is hard to mention anything more than what we have already said without spoiling things, but suffice to say you will be shedding a tear or two along the way.

CLANNAD features a large cast of characters and while most of them are female it is not a dating sim. This is not to say that you won’t encounter any romance along the way, but many of the girls are going through personal heartaches or tragedies in which Tomoyo gets caught up. Some of the characters play only minor roles in certain routes, but are fleshed out much more in their own routes. It is definitely not a game for people who are short on time as each one of the major routes can be as long as a typical short visual novel. Considering that there are a bunch of major routes and you have to complete all of them to unlock the “After Story” you had better be prepared to set aside a large chuck of spare time to see everything through to the end. This shouldn’t be a problem though, as once you are sucked in by the story it is virtually impossible to stop until you have seen how it all ends.

Despite being a bit of a tearjerker there are plenty of lighthearted and humorous scenarios in the game too. Some of it is the usual slapstick antics that are common in the genre, but there are a couple of laugh out loud moments too. Depending on the route you take, you’ll also encounter a couple of supernatural elements and mixed in between the chapters there is also a mysterious sub story of a girl and her robot.

Sekai Project did a great job with the translation considering the enormous amount of text in the game. The initial release contained some spelling and grammar issues, but a subsequent patch took care of most of these. Although there is a large amount of text that feels like filler as it is not quite as interesting as the major plot elements the game never left us feeling bored. Sekai Project even added a new featured, called the “Dangopedia”, to explain words or phrases that are related to Japanese tradition or pop culture. This is great for informing players what certain things are without having to go into lengthy descriptions that would only bore those already familiar with the terms. Instead, these words or phrases are highlighted and players can then check them out in the Dangopedia if they want to.

Since CLANNAD was originally released in 2004 the visuals look a little dated compared to modern releases. The aspect ratio is restricted to 4:3, so unfortunately this means big, black borders on widescreen displays when maintaining the original aspect ratio or stretching when fitted to the screen. However, the resolution has been bumped up to 1280×960 for the Steam release, compared to the 640×480 of the original. Apart from the technical aspects the graphics also take a while to get used to due to the style used for the characters. Initially it feels like there is a something just a little off about all the characters, but as we became engrossed in the story we stopped noticing this. The backgrounds are quite detailed and also feature plenty of nice touches like the way the lighting changes to signify different times of the day. Like most older visual novels CLANNAD features very little in the way of animations, but the character sprites are moved around enough to prevent the game from feeling too static.

Unlike the visuals there is absolutely nothing that we can fault about the audio and CLANNAD features a phenomenal soundtrack. There are a ton of tunes to listen to, which is a good thing considering the length of the game. From upbeat tunes like “Like the Wind” and “Her Determination” to more somber tunes like “Existence” the CLANNAD soundtrack is one of the best in the genre. The game even features a few excellent vocal tracks. In addition, all the characters in the game are fully voiced, which is quite impressive considering the large cast.

CLANNAD is a must play title, whether you have watched the anime series based on the visual novel or not. It tells a compelling and engrossing story that is really hard to put down. There are some visual novels that are great for killing a few hours, but CLANNAD is one of the few that features a story that will stay with you for a long time. While it might not be cheap when it comes to its price the amount of content and the emotional impact ensures that it is money well spent.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista or higher
  • Processor: 1.2Ghz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 640×480
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Processor: 1.2Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280×960
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card

Related posts

Critical Point

Critical Point

I was expecting more from the story and less emphasis on the sex scenes considering the writer but this was not to be. The plot is still interesting and the location unique but the focus is firmly on the females and sexual content. Fans of the genre will enjoy it but others might not appreciate the mixture of sex and violence. Gameplay: Lots of reading and a few choices here and there. Graphics: Plenty of scenes and characters. Sound: Japanese voice acting and decent enough music.

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times offers more of what made the previous installments so much fun to play. It doesn’t make any drastic changes to the formula, but instead polished everything up a bit and switched to a more fantasy theme. It is still not perfect and probably won’t sway players who aren’t already fans of the genre, but once again provides a couple of hours of solid entertainment. Gameplay: Veterans might find it a bit easy, but there are some nice puzzles to solve. Graphics: More colorful and detailed than previous installments. Sound: The sound effects are a highlight, but the music and voice acting is mostly good as well.

Gundemonium Recollection

Gundemonium Recollection

If you like "bullet hell" shooters then you will have a blast with Gundemonium Recollection. Five levels might not sound like much but be prepared to spend a lot of time with this game if you truly want to master it. With a wealth of weapons and some really challenging gameplay you'll be coming back to this one again and again. Gameplay: Daunting if you are new to the genre, but loads of fun and very challenging. Graphics: Nowhere near cutting-edge but very stylish and cute. Sound: The new arranged soundtrack is excellent.

Pinball FX2 – Super League

Pinball FX2 - Super League

Zen Studios have been on a roll with great pinball table and Super League is no exception. Even if you are not a fan of football you'll appreciate the flow of the table and the multitude of scoring opportunities. The football theme has been expertly interwoven with the gameplay in a way that not only makes sense but is very addictive as well. Gameplay: A great table with nice ramps and an abundance of multi-ball opportunities. Graphics: The different designs for each football club looks excellent. Sound: Catchy music and nice sound effects recreate the atmosphere of a real football match.

Master Reboot

Master Reboot

I did not know what to expect when I entered the world of Master Reboot and the game delighted in surprising me around every turn. The way that the gameplay shifts depending on what memories you are reliving makes for a memorable experience and the creepy atmosphere will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you want to experience a game that is quite unlike anything else, do yourself a favor and check out Master Reboot. Gameplay: Each memory offers new surprises and ways to play. Graphics: The art style is very unique and features some breathtaking environments. Sound: The audio compliments the atmosphere of the game nicely.

Back To Bed

Back To Bed

The interesting visuals and surreal atmosphere of Back to Bed are definitely highlights, but the gameplay is also quite addictive. It is not as challenging as some other titles in the genre, but there is some added longevity in the form of a "Nightmare" mode. The puzzle solving is rather straightforward despite the odd landscapes, but overall the game is very enjoyable and well worth the very low asking price. Gameplay: Features some nice brainteasers. Graphics: Surrealistic to say the least. Sound: Fits the dreamlike atmosphere of the game perfectly.

4 Comments

  1. originaleyecorn January 25, 2016
    Reply

    Im just waiting for a price drop then Im going to nab it. Holding thumbs for Steins:Gate to come to Steam too. Would love a profile background for it.

  2. rocheckle January 25, 2016
    Reply

    Not interested in buying censored games on Steam. Will this be on mangagamer too?

    • GAMERamble January 25, 2016
      Reply

      Clannad was originally released with a rating for all ages, so there is nothing to censor in the Steam version.

      • rocheckle January 25, 2016
        Reply

        Sorry I was thinking of Kanon >.<

Leave a comment

17 − eleven =