The Way We ALL GO
Gameplay 9
Graphics 5
Sound 8

Anyone looking for a well written visual novel where the focus is actually on the story and not any fan service will enjoy The Way We All Go. It offers a great combination of slice of life drama and horror which makes for quite a compelling experience. With more than 20 different endings the replay value is also very high considering the price tag. As long as you can look past the visuals there is plenty to enjoy about The Way We All Go.

Gameplay: The story starts off rather slow, but remains compelling and definitely ends with a bang.

Graphics: Decent, but a far cry from the best that the genre has to offer.

Sound: Good music and sound effects

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The Way We ALL GO

Developer: ebi-hime | Publisher: Sekai Project |Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Two years after moving to the big city with his parents, a young boy named Atcchan returns to the small Japanese village where he grew up. Atcchan took the seven hour journey by train to visit his grandparents, but he actually also has some unfinished business to attend to. Although Atcchan kept in touch with one of his childhood friends after leaving the village he neglected to even tell the other one about the move. Since his stay will only last three days, Atcchan has to decide who he wants to spend time with and whether or not to make amends before returning to the city.

The Way We All Go is a visual novel where you get to choose how and with who Atcchan spends his available time in the village. His one friend Amu is a loud and boisterous girl who takes please in embarrassing and teasing the rather timid protagonist, but there is also the shy and reserved Noelle who might be upset over him leaving without saying goodbye. The majority of the story is a slice of life tale where you are given plenty of choices about who Atcchan hangs out with and how he responds to what they say or ask. Despite the fact that the first part of the game deals with rather mundane things the writing is very good, which kept me engaged. Since there are plenty of choices to make it also ensures that the story remains interesting. However, although the tale is realistic things take a rather dark turn towards the end and things become very disturbing very fast. The first time it happened it caught me completely by surprise and I could only shake my head in disbelief about what transpired.

Unlike most visual or kinetic novels, The Way We All Go doesn’t just feature a couple of different endings, but there are a whopping 21 possible outcomes to the story. After most of the endings I reached involved murder, double murders, gruesome accidents and even suicides I started losing hope of anything remotely happy occurring, but thankfully there were a few outcomes that didn’t involve bloodshed. This gives the game plenty of replay value and it is definitely worth the effort of seeking out all the endings. You can skip text that you have already seen which speeds up the process, but even after completing the game multiple times I still discovered new paths that suddenly put a whole new spin on things. In fact, I even encountered paths that introduced brand new characters and scenarios which is really neat.

While the writing is excellent the visuals of The Way We All Go definitely shows that the developers didn’t have a very large budget to work with. There are only a couple of different character sprites and all the backgrounds look like simple photographs with filters applied to make them look painted. Although not bad, compared to the polished visuals of other titles published by Sekai Project the art in The Way We All Go definitely looks a bit amateurish. This is especially noticeable in the CG scenes where characters look different from their normal sprites and some of the characters look like they were drawn in a completely different style. There are no options for the visuals beyond opting to play in full screen or windowed mode either, with the former resulting in black bars on the sides of the screen. The Way We All Go doesn’t have any sexual content, although there is a bit of fan service depending on certain choices you make. The text can be rather descriptive regarding the gorier elements, but visually the depiction of violence is rather mild.

The game does not feature any voice acting, but there are plenty of music tracks. Judging by the in-game music player, most of the tracks are free stock music, but this definitely doesn’t mean they are bad. Some of the tunes fit the atmosphere of the game to a T, especially the title track, Gone Beyond by Kevin Mcleod. With almost 30 tunes to listen to there are at least plenty of variety. The game also features a whole host of sound effects which is always great.

It would be easy to dismiss The Way We All Go because of the visuals, but I think that all fans of the genre should definitely check it out for the story. It shares some similarities with titles such as Higurashi, When They Cry, but without the mystery elements. Thanks to the low price tag and the numerous endings it is easy to recommend the game to anyone with an interest in the genre or who simply wants to read a good story. I would have liked to see better Steam integration, such as achievements for the different endings and maybe even trading cards, but as it is the game is still worth the asking price. Best of all it has a demo available, so you can check it out and decide for yourself.

System Requirements

  • OS: Win XP+
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated
  • OS: 10.6
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
  • OS: x86/x86_64
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space

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