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Sunday, June 28, 2009

[insani] LEAVEs Review


Rating: A-

In its very core, LEAVEs is a story about the lives of a bunch of immature teenagers living with reckless abandon, giving no respect to themselves, acting tough, feeling like they're up against the world. Their arrogant and "fuck you" attitude which I take as a gesture against what they perceive as society's two-facedness serves as a somewhat ineffective facade of their true selves, pathethic little cockroaches, who without the things they cling onto, won't stand a chance of surviving even five minutes. Yet this story is also about maturity and how the characters eventually pick themselves up from their self-made hole and recover, albeit not until a heavy price is paid, something that will continue to tax them for a long time. But can they be blamed? All characters except one were unwanted people thrown away from birth. With no formative influence, can anyone expect them to be more mature than they were? Whatever lessons learned, they learned the hard way.

I have mixed feelings for everyone. While I admire Tomohiro's take no bullshit approach to other people, it's obvious that all his misanthropy is just adolescent rage. Uh huh. Adolescent rage. We all had it once. Those times when we thought saying fuck you to the world was the cool thing to do. Yes, he had the words. Surely, he could "talk the talk" but as an adolescent, he didn't really have the capability to "walk the walk", to live by what he said, his convictions. This made him look like a hypocrite. At the end of the day, talk is indeed cheap. Touka was weak, and the creators didn't even mask her weakness. She takes drugs, sells her body (to both men and women), couldn't live alone, She always needed Tomohiro to reassure her that she's his. She was like a stray dog, looking for love from all the wrong places. and couldn't live without it. But there's something unique in her. Her resilience is her saving grace. Never did I see Touka sink. Even after she hit rock bottom, her spirit was still there. On the other hand, Matsuri's just weird. She reminds me of this maid in Tsukihime, hiding behind a mask of formality and callousness. By supressing her emotions and her true feelings, she never really had the chance to deal with them. IMHO, she's the weakest of the three.

If this was a rookie work, I must say that this is outstanding, but as with all rookie works, they all have rough edges. I would compare this to music. The writers had the melody pinned down, yes. And the story (melody) was indeed very catchy. However, the harmony leaves something to be desired. While the issues the creators dealt with must take balls to execute, at some points in the game I felt as if certain elements of the story felt forced to follow the melody. I must mention the portrayal of both female heroes as nymphos when it came to Tomohiro. Especially Matsuri, whose lustful desire for him came out of nowhere and was totally unesscary. I mean, did they really have to have sex when Touka was in critical condition? It's a case of bad timing at best, but if it was done in order to press in the fact that Matsuri had been supressing such desire for that long, then I find it less than satisfactory.

In terms of emotional appeal, the only strong emotion I felt was anger towards Hikari the drug dealer. Once again, this is a case of badly blended elements. It would've been perfectly understandable if Tomohiro just said nothing, hunted her down and beat the shit out of her (I would've done the same), but instead, for some reason, he chose to engage in a yelling match with her while screaming out his ideals even when she's already laughing at him/his words. To me, it just seemed unnatural/awkward. That, or the creators just want to press in the fact that Tomohiro had ideals.

Anyway, this is a great rookie game if it's one. It was worth my time. Very ballsy to contain a story this "mature-themed".


This game is freeware, download at
http://altogether.insani.org/2008/6.html

Stay tuned.



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