Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DOPPELGANGER: DAWN OF THE INVERTED SOUL


After her sister Bertha's death, Lucia Nicol is struggling to follow her footsteps. She becomes a self-centered person who will do anything to replace Bertha's position in her family. Her actions made her schoolmates to loathe and bully her, thus leading to an unexpected event. One by one, the schoolmates who bullied her were attacked and suddenly she became the main suspect. After those events, she found out that she was able to see people who can’t be seen by “normal” people, and uncover the dark, insane truth of an entity called “Doppelganger”. Her life is suddenly in danger, and those people she normally trusts suddenly don’t look so kind any more…

Play as Lucia as you struggle to escape your fate; dying or living a life where you will certainly wish you are dead…

Developers(s): Memento Mori Productions
Rating: 16+

~*~Click Here For Download~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Doppelganger: Dawn of The Inverted Soul, 10 out of 10!)

COMMENTS

"Why don't you wish for it?"

Doppelganger: Dawn Of The Inverted Soul has been a long awaited OELVN by azureXTwilight, the creator of the Fantasia otome series (Realm of Thanos, Requiem of The Abyss) and Re:Set. It's a supernatural, mystery, psychological thriller that will take you on a wild ride.

You take the role of Lucia Nicol, a bright young girl who attends Valudeto High School. She's a bit snooty and self-centered, however, this is due to the burden of trying to be like Bertha, her deceased older sister who was tragically murdered in an unusual way. Every character plays some kind of important role in the story; they aren't just there. What causes Lucia to get mixed up in the Doppelganger business in the first place is when she was locked in the bathroom by Anatasia and her gang. Feeling severe hatred, a voice asks her to tell her her wish. And that's when...she wishes for Anatasia and the rest of them to know misery, and to become like Bertha. Bu she soon sees that she gets more than she bargained, after Anatasia is brutally injured, she is suspected, and now she's even seeing people who no one else can see! Not to mention some of her closest friends are starting to look suspicious as well. And even more so, there is some other strange guy who seems to know things, but what are his intentions? You'll also soon learn you're not the only victim of these weird entities, but it seems to be spreading like an epidemic within the city...

This game is so intricately written, that I cannot say much without spoiling the story. It's a mystery, after all. Sometimes you survive, sometimes you live, sometimes you even become crazed. You'll get pieces of information that seem to tell you everything, then another path shows you otherwise. This game is fairly good at screwing with your head. But the overall goal is for Lucia to find strength, to overcome her weakness. This game isn't just some blood fest with a supernatural mystery involved; it's so much deeper than that. You'll learn so much about the other characters and why they are the way they are. What I liked most about the story is it made some really good, in depth points that were really meaningful. The "doppelgangers" are basically the dark side of yourself, those unrealized dark wishes that pass through our minds manifested into a solid form. It sorta makes you think about what really dwells in your heart and if you can overcome it. "Doppelgangers" are the you that you want to be, but it's the worst way to achieve it. Seeing those creatures is when you truly realize what's wrong, but how do you defeat it? This certainly gives new meaning to "be careful what you wish for".

The gameplay was amazing. It may just be a choice-based game, but each choice affects not only the path you've taken, but also will affect your ending, so tread carefully. I also loved the bonus material. You get a music room, video room, ending gallery (to know what endings you got and have left), and the CG gallery (which includes 3 pieces of fanart). The CGs were pretty amazing, there's 80+ of them, the most I've EVER seen in a free game. Admittedly, a few of the CGs are drawn slightly awkward, but most of them are well thought out and really shows azure's improvement. It's almost hard to believe this ISN'T a commercial game, considering how long it is, how many endings, the detailed writing (practically up to commercial standards), and the showers of CGs. This seriously is THE LARGEST free VN I have ever played, and I wouldn't be shocked if IT IS the largest; once installed, it's like 600MB (that's huge for a visual novel without voice acting). The game also has TWO opening videos AND ending. The first one is really good and gives you that mysterious feel, BUT the second one is the best, which is unlocked and replaces the original opening when you unlock the "True" path. The ending video is also really cool, full of CGs and the tones and textures used really match the game, you could tell azure put a lot of work into making this.

My only real complaint is a few of the endings are kinda same-ish, just on a different path and she has a few different final thoughts (you'll see), so it was a tad bit annoying to kind of see the same thing, but sometimes it was important to see it that way I guess. There's also some typos scattered here and there, but I give it kind of a pass since due to the size of this game, the proofreaders could only do so much, plus the grammer and spelling was A LOT better compared to her previous games. There's also a few minor errors, such as one path's game menu showing up instead when it should be another game menu when you complete the path (you get Ralph's menu after completing Blake). And there are 2 CGs that remains locked, even when it was suppose to be unlocked. To be honest, I didn't appreciate too much of the use of some harsh language, but surprisingly it was done tastefully and considering the situation, I can't blame them really for cursing. I was glad it wasn't overdone and was only used when the situation called for it.

Overall, I was completely satisfied with this game. Lucia is an amazing heroine and people can relate to (as someone who has self-loathed herself, I was happy to follow her and this game has even got to me, in a good way!) I remember the first ending I got, even though it was an ending that explain very little, was even so still satisfying. The deeper you get into the game, the more truths and even lies you'll discover. Each path gives you only fragments, and it's your job to piece them together. You'll come up with many theories, until the "final" path is unlocked, which I feel serves as "the answer arc" (and is, hands down, the BEST PATH, you'll see). This is a game of survival, but mere instincts aren't going to save you.

RECOMMENDED?
I recommend this to ANYONE who loves mysteries and psychological thrillers. This weill take you on a wild ride and is VERY ADDICTING. The deeper you get, the more you'll want to know THE TRUTH. You may or may not have seen it coming.

I certify this *VISUAL NOVEL NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's not based in Japan (so you don't need to get used to certain terminology if you're new to anime) and much easier to follow than Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (but that doesn't mean it won't confuse you; trust me, it will...sometimes to a frustrating level).

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
PERFECT MUSICAL SCORE! There are no songs that are out of place and they fit the mood of their chosen scenes really well. There's simple songs, creepy songs, intense songs, even some emotional songs which a few are very beautiful pieces. I also liked the two opening themes and end theme.

[ARTWORK]:
I LOVED the artwork this time around! If you ever played the original demo for this game and compared the completed version with the demo that contained older art, it's amazing the jump of improvement (seriously, watch some of the original playthrough previews on azure's YouTube channel). It's obvious azureXtwilight improves really fast and will only continue to get better. The sprites look really good, nearing commercial quality, and I like the coloring. The CGs were gorgeous as well. A few of them did looked drawn a little weird, admittedly.


[INTERACTION]:
This is a choice-based VN, so every so often you are presented with choices that could possibly alter the game's path. And amazingly enough, some choices that may not seem to affect anything right away really does play an important role for what ending you'll get, so it's a little tricky. Most of the time, every choice you make plays a great importance to whether or not you'll survive or save someone. I think I got about half amount of the 29 endings (or almost) playing it straight through myself, no skipping before I went to the walkthrough. As you play, when you get to certain endings, there are two unlockable paths and one "final" path that you unlock (aka the true path). Once you unlock the "final path" more scenes in the main story will suddenly appear, explaining and replacing some of the mystery scenes that were present before unlocking.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Moderate use of language. The typical "a", "b" (both kinds), "s", "d", "h", and even sometimes the "f" word but thankfully it isn't used a million times...most of the harsh words are just sprinkled here and there.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
One character used to be a heavy smoker, and you'll see that in flashbacks. Anatasia smokes, but that's only in one scene. There is also a scene where a couple of cops are at a bar. There's almost mentions about being drunk.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Lucia first meets Yuri, and if you "Reject" giving his letter, to make him go away she yells "Help, help, this guy's trying to rape me!" There are a few innuendo type jokes, but they thankfully don't go too far. *SPOILERS* You learn that when Clifford's body was taken over, his dopplelganger does as he pleases with it such as being a high priced prostitute. One character has Klinefetter and was also mentioned to have been born with both private parts (He just describe it as "having that thing and that thing, but Dad removed the girly part"). He developed feelings a crush on a "boy" in his childhood, but in truth this "boy" was a girl, whom he still loves (they kind of balance each other out). A certain doppelganger mentions how he can do whatever he wants to a couple characters (he even licks one of their faces) and when he kicks Shuang around he says "Why don't you strip? People tend to feel pity towards naked girls".


[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Oh my...where to start? Well, as seen from the screenshot, this game is 16+ for a reason. There's descriptions such as eyeballs being sliced, noses being smashed and twisted, and stabbing knives directly into the heart (more described then shown, but there are some bloody CGs, such as Anatasia curled up and blood where her eyes used to be but her hair covers that area, so you just see the blood). It is mentioned hos Bertha was kidnapped and tortured, found dead with two holes in her chest and forehead. In Death endings, there's scenes like stabbing (shown with CGs, but thankfully not utterly gruesome), holding someone who was killed, and sometimes even suicide (one particular shows a CG where he fell of a building, and you see blood splatter underneath his head). There's lots of fighting with swords, gun, and the like. Sometimes you'll see the sprites covered in blood, dying, or even crazed. There is even a scene described where someone takes revenge on the person who hit them with their car; it is described to have been beaten to death with a bat (you see only the aftermath in CG form, where he is covered in blood). There are more violent descriptions than there are actually shown in CG form, BUT it does the job to paint a pretty red picture in your mind. The violence isn't as vicious as, say, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, but sometimes it can get pretty close.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
After a friend is sent to the hospital after being hit by a car, Lucia ends up calling Yuri (when you're on his path) to tell why she'll be late for tutoring, and when Yuri says he will be OK since his father is operating on him, Lucia yells "How do you know? Your father's not God!" Yuri replies "if god existed I wouldn't be like this"( though considering what he's been through, it's understandable why he says that). On Blake's path, he calms down Lucia saying that they should pray for him. Another character says something similar "all we can do is pray for him". In some death scenes, there are visions of going to the afterlife peacefully. The doppelgangers are evil entities that, by "wishing" they take form into what you want to be, and once your wish has been satisfied, they BECOME you. Once your body is taken over, you become a "lost one", kinda like a ghost and they can only be seen by certain hunters and others with Doppelgangers. *SPOILERS* We learn that doppelgangers are demons summoned long ago by someone from the Lee family, and they all ended up getting doppelgangers, but one Lee member was able to stop the craze, thus began how a certain family became doppel-slayers. There is some magic use by said family. One character keeps saying people who conjure up doppelgangers are trash, but another character says otherwise, destroying his point. Chunxiang uses a story from the Bible to illustrate her point, mentioning how Eve ate the apple and was thrown from the garden. I think another Bible story was mentioned somewhere else in the game to illustrate a point (Samson, maybe?).

3 comments:

  1. i also really liked the game and this review got me 2 play it. Thanks!
    However although there is a walkthrough attached 2 the game it only explains how 2 get 2 of the 'end of inverted souls' path endings. I've managed to obtain most of the ends on my own but i can't seem to find how 2 get ending 5 of end of the inverted souls. it's the only one i'm missing :(
    i understand if u dont remembr how2get it but it'd b helpful if u point me 2 a walkthrough that does have the full explanation of it.

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  2. I might remember how to get to it; I think I may have helped someone else find this, so if I can find what I wrote, I'll let you know how to get it~

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  3. Hey, anyone help me get the "Final Present" ending in the "End of the inverted soul" path? :/ I've tried everything and I just can't seem to get it, I followed AzureTwilight's advice that I found online, but I just got the "Sister's Chains" ending :/ It's the only ending I'm missing...

    ReplyDelete