There are two ways in which life goes for visible novel protagonists. Both they get up in a world the place all their classmates are stunning anime women who wish to bounce their bones, or they discover themselves in a twisted supernatural homicide thriller. Sadly for Takumi Nishijou, the protagonist of Chaos;Head Noah, he’s caught within the latter. What performs out is an excellent, if narratively inconsistent, story that’s gripping and disturbing in equal measures.
Regardless of being the primary sport within the Science Journey sequence which incorporates the superb Steins;Gate, that is the primary time that Chaos;Head Noah has had an official English launch. Spike Chunsoft has finished the localisation work to deliver this sport and its oblique sequel Chaos;Baby to the remainder of the world. Chaos;Head Noah is a remaster of the unique, which incorporates HD upgraded visuals that look sharp and crisp both in docked or handheld mode. They fare barely higher in handheld, with the Change proving as soon as once more to be the right console for visible novels. Each video games can be found individually on eShop or bundled collectively in a single text-heavy bodily Double Pack.
There was some controversy round Chaos;Head Noah — the PC model was initially banned on Steam earlier than being instantly reinstated hours earlier than it went dwell on the platform. That is uncommon as a result of this isn’t a “attractive” visible novel; it accommodates graphic violence and intense horror themes, however nothing worse than you’d discover in lots of horror video games and even in different visible novels like Doki Doki Literature Membership. All the ladies preserve their garments on, even when they do typically discover themselves in uncommon poses and conditions because of Takumi’s delusional thoughts.
Talking of which, Takumi (the primary character) is the stereotyped otaku we’ve all seen earlier than in JRPGs and visible novels. He lives out his days in a storage container he’s transformed into his Base, taking part in on-line video games till the wee hours of the morning, and going to high school as little as he can. He has little curiosity in real-life relationships, as a substitute preferring the corporate of his a number of collectible figurines and the 2D ladies of his hentai video games. He’s moody, sullen, and insufferable to be round, however he’s surprisingly well-written.
Deep down, Takumi is only a child with PTSD who has been left to his personal units, making a delusional state the place he usually can’t inform fantasy from actuality. That kinds the core of Chaos;Head Noah’s gameplay — you’ll be able to select whether or not Takumi will expertise a constructive delusion, which can normally contain some comical or lightly-erotic end result, or a unfavorable delusion, which can result in a violent or painful scene. Alternatively, you’ll be able to let Takumi keep grounded in actuality and take care of the world as it’s, that means he will not have a delusional episode in any respect.
More often than not it doesn’t matter which you select, however what number of occasions you set off these delusions and which of them you decide at key moments within the sport can decide which of the a number of endings you see. Fortunately this launch has made it a lot simpler to see when delusions can be found than the unique sport, although it does depend on digging into the menu to see the way to management their end result. Contemplating that is the primary approach to entry the branching narrative of Chaos;Head Noah, it will have been higher to have this defined barely higher.
The story follows the “New Gen” murders, a string of weird and grotesque killings within the Shibuya district of Tokyo the place Takumi lives. By means of his on-line sport, he’s despatched photos of the third of those killings the day earlier than it occurs, triggering occasions the place he will get dragged, kicking and screaming and complaining the entire time, right into a world of supernatural homicide and chaos.
Like many video games within the Science Journey sequence, you’ll must play via a number of occasions to get all of the endings and absolutely unravel the thriller. Subsequent playthroughs allow you to skip via scenes you’ve already seen, dashing up what may have been an unbearably prolonged course of. Getting all of the endings will take you round 30 hours, relying on how lengthy it takes you to learn, however it’ll develop into more and more tough to place the story down as soon as it builds up momentum.
As a lot as we get pleasure from Chaos;Head Noah’s story, it isn’t almost as sturdy as later entries within the sequence. It by no means actually is sensible and takes some drastic leaps in logic at occasions, although it’s all the time entertaining and fascinating. You may clearly see the formulation that will make Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes so good, although it hasn’t fairly been perfected right here. Takumi is an unwilling — and unlikable — participant for many of the plot, serving extra as a springboard for different, higher characters to play their half than as a protagonist in his personal proper.
Nonetheless, for visible novel followers — and particularly these invested within the Science Journey sequence — that is just about a must-play, providing a style of the place the sequence got here from. The simple gameplay, centred across the Delusion Set off system, makes it extremely accessible to new followers of the style as nicely. The soundtrack is one other spotlight, each within the type of the ambient music and the occasional rock tracks that filter in at factors all through the story. Regardless of its age, each a part of Chaos;Head Noah holds up nicely. It simply is not nearly as good as different, later entries within the sequence.
Spike Chunsoft has finished some spectacular work to localise this sport for English audio system. There are mountains of textual content right here, not simply within the dialogue on the backside of the display but in addition within the TIPS function which explains some key slang that could be missed by trendy gamers. Chaos;Head was first launched in 2008 and dives closely into otaku tradition in Japan on the time, so the localisers did an ideal job of conserving the general really feel of the language comparable whereas making it make sense in English. The one visible hiccup we encountered was when textual content from the artwork would seem immediately behind the dialogue, making each laborious to learn — presumably an unavoidable concern when there’s this a lot data to get throughout in a number of languages.
This can be a nice remaster of an already strong visible novel. Chaos;Head Noah is a sport that may follow you lengthy after you place it down. It’s bizarre and haunting in equal measure, switching themes and tones so quick it offers you whiplash however you’ll wish to preserve taking part in to see what occurs subsequent.
Chaos;Head Noah isn’t one of the best sport within the Science Journey sequence, however it’s a nice level for gamers to leap in in the event that they’re new to the style. Visible novel veterans will discover a lot to get pleasure from right here as nicely, with a narrative that goes to some darkish and unsettling locations. The plot makes no try at making sense and there are occasions after we needed to strangle Takumi for being such a weirdo, however it stays participating and enjoyable all through. That is a simple one to suggest, both by itself or as a part of the bundle with its sequel.