Fading Hearts
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Fading Hearts was a pleasant surprise, more so when I discovered that it is not by a Japanese company. A nice combination of visual novel, dating sim and role playing that has plenty of things to discover. Definitely a title that you will want to complete more than once.

Gameplay: Much more to see and do than typical visual novels.
Graphics: Nice characters and backgrounds, pity about the monsters.
Sound: Very nice

Summary 8.0 Great
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

Fading Hearts

Developer: Sakura River Interactive | Publisher: Sakura River Interactive | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Format: CD-ROM / Digital Download

It is not often that I am surprised by a visual novel, well not in a good way in any case, but Fading Hearts definitely caught me off guard. It is a tale about Ryou, a seventeen year old high school student who is caught in a bit of a love triangle. Ryou is in love with his friend Claire, who unfortunately already has a boyfriend. In turn, his other friend Rina is in love with him but he cannot reciprocate her feelings because of his affection for Claire. This is all very ordinary until you mix in a mysterious park full of monsters, a magical girl, past lives and more.

The gameplay starts off pretty ordinary with Ryou spending his time at school or hanging out with his friends.  Then you discover that Ryou is actually a bit of a computer whizz and can make money by helping out companies online. This money can be used to buy books to improve his skills or manga which not only reveals a fascinating story but also bestows him with magical powers. Soon you find yourself having to balance money making with increasing your stats and managing your social life. Ryou receives a regular monthly income so you don’t have to work if you don’t want to and instead focus on other things but it might mean you won’t have enough cash for stuff like training weights or all the volumes of a particular manga.

Fading Hearts has multiple paths and endings, which means that to comprehend the full extent of what is going on, you are going to have to play the game more than once.  At first you might think it is just a simple visual novel where you have to woo the girls.

However, venture into the forest at night and some turn-based role playing game style battles await you. To survive these and discover the secret of the forest, you will need to arm yourself with some magical spells and train hard to increase your skills. You can of course ignore this part of the game completely but you will miss out on some interesting story elements and probably end up with an unhappy ending.

Fortunately, you have two characters, Alice and Mini who analyze your game upon completion and supply you with hints on what to do next time round. The game also has some built-in achievements for discovering certain plot elements. These, in conjunction with the interesting (if surreal) story made me replay the game until I got all of the achievements. The fact that I could fast forward through previously read dialogue helped a lot in later playthroughs though.

The artwork in the game is very nice and although there is only a limited amount of characters, they are drawn quite well. The monsters on the other hand look like hasty last minute additions and do not fit in with the overall art style at all. It really looks like the monster art was done by someone else entirely and then plastered with a heavy blur filter to hide their looks. The audio is also quite nice with some very fitting tunes but no voice acting.

The game is quite polished although I did discover a few glitches and spelling mistakes. Installing the patch cleaned things up a bit but there were still a few instances where the story didn’t quite line up as smoothly as it should have. I guess this is due to the branching paths that you can take but it is quite jarring. Overall, Fading Hearts is quite an impressive effort from a Canadian company and it certainly puts a lot of other visual novels to shame. It is refreshing to play a game in the genre that doesn’t use any adult content as a crutch for its poor plot.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Older Intel Integrated Graphics Chips are not supported
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.6+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Older Intel Integrated Graphics Chips are not supported

Related posts

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV

Its hard not to harbor some resentment for the delay and lesser port that PC owners have received with this game, but at the end of the day it's still a lot of fun to play and a great game. As long as you can look past the technical issues that is. Gameplay: The technical issues and more "mature" feel detracts a bit from the gameplay but it's still good. Graphics: With the right hardware this game looks stunning. Sound: Decent voice acting and loads of good tunes.

Crawlco Block Knockers

Crawlco Block Knockers

Crawlco Block Knockers is an addictive action/puzzle title that draws inspiration from a rather unusual source. The whole thing looks and plays like a sleazy nineties arcade game, but it's so much more than just a flimsy excuse to ogle a couple of lewd images. Not only is the game challenging, but it totally nails the audio and visual style of the era while still offering enough options to customize everything to your liking. If you are a fan of the genre, then CBK is more than worth the asking price. Gameplay: Challenging, addictive and great fun. Graphics: The visuals perfectly capture the weird and sleazy arcade era of the nineties. Sound: Decent sound effects and a great soundtrack by OSC.

Riptide GP2

Riptide GP2

Riptide GP2 has the feel of an old school arcade racer and it is easy to get sucked into the experience. The game features some good looking tracks and plenty of awesome stunts. Although originally a mobile title, the developers went the extra mile to make it look good on PC and have also removed all micro-transactions. It is quite an addictive title, but suffers a bit from repetition in the later stages of the game. Gameplay: Challenging and addictive, although it does become a bit of a grind. Graphics: Quite impressive considering the mobile roots of the game. Sound: The soundtrack fits the game, but might not be to everyone's taste.

Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden

Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden

Abyss: Wraiths of Eden is yet another very enjoyable hidden object game from one of the best developers in the genre. The setting might not be that original, but looks great and makes for an interesting story. Since it is a relatively easy title, it is a good starting point for newcomers, but it is polished enough that even veterans will enjoy the experience. Gameplay: Easy to complete but remains enjoyable throughout. Graphics: The hand-drawn visuals look great, but the close-up character animations are not the best. Sound: Nice music, but the voice acting could have been better.

The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom

The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom

Although The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom ditches the time traveling elements of the previous titles, it still offers some solid puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes. This time the adventures of Sarah Pennington take her to a legendary buried kingdom on a quest to save her friend from the sinister Dragon Clan. The setting for The Buried Kingdom is more fantasy themed than the fourth installment, but features the same imagination and attention to detail that has made this series such a hit with fans. The Buried Kingdom doesn’t really advance the overall plot of the series much, but since it is such a self-contained adventure, it is also more accessible to newcomers who are unfamiliar with previous installments. Gameplay: Plenty of puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes for players to sink their teeth into. Graphics: Lots of detailed hand-drawn locations that feature plenty of imaginative touches. Sound: The music is good and the voice acting is decent too.

DEATH STRANDING

DEATH STRANDING

Death Stranding is an open-world, third-person title where Hideo Kojima had free reign with his artistic vision. The result is a title that mixes complex story elements with rather straightforward gameplay. Simply carting packages from one point of the map to another might not sound like fun, and frequently it isn't, but somehow it ends up being very compelling. The story will also keep players guessing and just when you think the game can't get any stranger something new happens that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. It's not a game for everyone, but players who get hooked are in for the ride of their life. Gameplay: Bewildering and frustrating at times, but also addictive, rewarding, and unlike anything else. Graphics: The port from PS4 to PC has resulted in a game that looks even better than before. Sound: Great voice acting and an incredible soundtrack.

Leave a comment

two × four =