One of the opening lines in ‘Our World Is Ended’ poses questions over the reality of the world we live in – how do we know that what we see is what everyone else can see? A thought-provoking and potentially unsettling remark, it is one that I had hoped would set the tone for this visual novel. Oh, how wrong I was…
Based around an alternate reality, ‘Our World Is Ended’ focuses on a protagonist who is a member of an eclectic group of misfits known as Judgement 7. A game development team comprising of seven members, they are working on the use of an A.R. helmet when suddenly disturbing images are displayed to the protagonist, Reiji Gozen. For fear of sharing more of the story than one would like, I will refrain from including any more details. It is fair to say, however, that all is not as it seems.
The same can be said for the ‘game’ as a whole. My initial play of ‘Our World Is Ended’ was one that ended in embarrassment. Sat on a plane right in amongst the passengers, I decided to start up the novel to pass the time. No sooner had I started, I had to abruptly close the game…a pair of lady’s creatively named ‘mammary weapons’ appeared on-screen in a skin-tight costume. Unashamedly, the developers had chosen to portray a lewd and crass opening after such early promise. Unfortunately, this continued for much of my time with ‘Our World Is Ended’, and soured what could have been a fantastic experience.
When the content is as subjectively humorous as this, it is somewhat difficult to identify who the intended audience is. Furthermore, when you confirm that you yourself are definitely not the intended audience, objectively reviewing the title becomes even more of a challenge. Personally, I found the content within ‘Our World Is Ended’ to be in poor taste and no longer relevant in modern society.
Outside of the storyline itself, ‘Our World Is Ended’ does have some redeeming features. It is at its best when showcasing its wonderful art style. Not too dissimilar to manga and the like, the story is told through on-screen characters who appear and disappear as the dialogue is displayed. During moments of description or advancement of the story, the backdrop remains on the screen which sets the scene – albeit a rather static one. The vibrancy and level of detail is excellent and offers that little bit more than a physical book. Setting the story to play on ‘Auto’ meant that I could watch the visual novel play out and take in the oftentimes creative and interesting visuals.
What also sets this apart from your standard hardback book is the inclusion of on-screen choices. Representing ample reason to replay for different endings, you can make decisions that alter the storyline during tense moments for the protagonist. This is initiated when multiple sentences appear on the screen at a rapid rate and you must choose the one you would like to say in response. This was a feature I felt was a welcome inclusion, however I had played for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes before the first one appeared.
Although I have not been an avid consumer of visual novels in the past, I can appreciate the art form and the reason why there is a market for them. That being said, I find the price discrepancy between said visual novels and a book from a bookshop to be too disproportionate to be considered value for money. Retailing at £39.99, ‘Our World Is Ended’ is a steep investment that I believe you will either love or hate, and this is something I believe most would already be able to identify. I also feel that, although in keeping with the aesthetic and setting, the option for English voiceovers would have been a great addition. The Japanese voiceovers are lively and interesting, but meant there was a disconnect at times that could have been overcome.
I wanted to like ‘Our World Is Ended’, and was keen to see its storyline unfold. Unfortunately, it was marred by cheap shots and poorly placed humour. It will have a fanbase, and I can understand some of the reasons why, however it is not a title for the masses. A sale and some research into the content itself is my advice before making a purchase.