Muv Luv Alternative: Reply to Tsukuru Review
This is a review by Moogy. Courtesy of Lala, a commenter that linked it here. Now I comment on it.
There are a couple of things I disagree with in the review, simply because two people always should have different conclusions or at least different ways of arriving at the same conclusion, unless they think they’re telepathic personalities of the same mind, that is.
Two primary disagreements are the artwork and the pacing. Moogy noted that the character designs weren’t high quality, compared to the good looking TSFs. Moogy also mentioned that the pacing had issues, rated it 33/100.
“Personally, I approached Alternative expecting to enjoy it quite a bit – and indeed I did. However, I enjoyed it for nearly wholly different reasons than I had imagined I would. I suppose that basic concept is what I’m attempting to express with this section.
To put it simply, Alternative will probably betray your expectations in interesting ways – it’s most likely not about anything that you think it is. (I’d like to note that I’m speaking to the western fandom here; more specifically, the people who will be playing it in some months from now when Ammy finishes translating it. And if you weren’t planning on playing it, you really should!)
Ed.: Once again, the translation is available now.
Well, now that we have my likely misguided rambling out of the way, let’s move on to something more concrete.
Voice Acting: 80/100
Overall score: 95/100
Standard disclaimer: This section generally has little impact upon the final score I assign to a game. It is included simply for completion’s sake.
In a word, the character art in Alternative is mediocre. It accomplishes its task, but does little beyond that. The designs themselves are fairly funky as well. Also, it doesn’t help that the majority of tachi-e are reused from the original Muvluv – making the new ones they drew for Alternative stick out like collective sore thumbs. That said, I’ll give it a 60 because the mecha designs are attractive and all of the artwork for them is very polished indeed.”
Personally, I found the character designs to be surreal and very charismatic, charming, but also military and disciplined. None of the character’s hair styles or what not changed from Extra to UL to MA. But at the same time, wearing a uniform (which looks good on the women and men), and the introduction of a far more edgy atmosphere, changes them. It really feels like you’re in an alternative dimension, where people look the same but have different personalities underneath. It’s kind of freaky, if you, like me, paid extra attention in… Extra and Unlimited. If they had changed the designs too much, it would have been easy for me to differentiate the personalities from Extra, from Unlimited. And the ones in Unlimited, from Alternative. It wouldn’t have given me that “edgy” queer, unsettling feeling at times.
Now, that’s mostly a superficial issue concerning aesthetics or beauty. Not surprising people have disagreements on that. Now unto something more substantial: pacing and the plot development.
“The story is frequently interrupted by mostly uninteresting briefings and (quite literal) lectures about things that aren’t even very important in the long run.”
I’ll address that first, since it seems to be a central or common concept behind this issue. My viewpoint is that a lot of the briefings are basically what people need to understand about the war with the BETA. If the reader doesn’t pay attention to this, then they aren’t going to understand… about 50 or 80% of what goes in the battles in terms of tactics or military strategy. I think people just got excited by the action, and say they like the action scenes, but they don’t understand what the heck was going on in terms of operational planning. A lot of the more emotional moments required you to understand the decisions being made, why they were being made, and what it cost to make those decisions. Takeru was also supposed to understand this, and when he understands, he doesn’t explain it to you. You were supposed to have learned it with him, combining the info in the briefings with experience of the plot and events. Those that found the briefings boring, missed out on a substantial chunk of MLA’s military substance, so to speak. Of course, I’ve heard those briefings around 2-3 times already, so I find them boring because I already know the info. I have them memorized, essentially.
There was at least one spoiler in the review concerning relationships, but for those of average analysis ability or the uncurious, it shouldn’t be too bad. For someone that likes to analyze and reverse engineer words, ideas, concepts, and information, it’s very easy to figure out some of MLAlternative’s plot surprises with just that one line in Moogy’s review, however. This falls under the category of counter-espionage or data mining, where piecing together seemingly innoculous pieces of information allows one to read the enemy and thus defeat them. Again, something of a military vogue that civilians or those lacking in curiosity or analysis ability, don’t need to know, but it would benefit them if they did.
Moogy mentioned that the character development for Meiya and the squad, stopped in MLA because the focus was on other things and Extra/Unlimited were the ones to focus on them. I agree in general, but disagree about MLA. I’ve played through MLA enough times to understand that they added in the character development for Meiya, Chizuru, Ayamine Kei, Tama, and Mikoto in two parts. When Takeru is stomped on by life, so to speak, he has a choice to choose one person to talk to out of those 5. That person he chooses now becomes the person that will send him a letter at the end of the game, explaining their view and observations of Takeru’s life in MLA. The letter was extremely important and explained many things that would have normally been left unchecked. These are spoilers, but since the game takes so long to even “re skip through”, I’ll describe some of them for you. Skip past the names if you don’t want to be “spoiled”.
Meiya’s ending is perhaps canon and she didn’t write a letter. Everyone knows the reasons, from the game. Don’t think about this one too much. She’s very straight forward, honest, and doesn’t hide much. Not much to “expose”.
Chizuru explains the things that made her insecure, her inflexibility, and how she changed in MLA. Chizuru noted that because of Takeru’s abilities and actions, she came to believe and rely on him. And that is what gave her the strength to take a position of leadership at the end, when the stakes were as high as one can get in life.
Ayamine=haven’t gotten her letter yet. Maybe it got lost in the yakisoba pan.
Tama is a pure and innocent spirit. She is someone that wants everyone to get along, and has ideals that are closest to what Takeru came to believe in at the end of Unlimited. She, however, has problems standing by her beliefs, because doing so causes friction. Her nervousness about shooting also comes into play, and often Tama worries more about not causing friction than making sure everyone gets along in a world of peace and mutual cooperation. Because of Takeru’s actions and abilities, Tama became more confident and tried to change herself to be as disciplined and strong as she saw Takeru to be.
Mikoto is the person (….) that always likes ignoring what people say, a common comedic act or theme in Japan. Mikoto is also a very genki, lively, type, and does much to bring humor and relaxation to the squad when morale is down. The changes are similar to the above.
The letter begins with “Dear Takeru-sama” (which can be hilarious if you don’t understand formal Japanese writing, plus who Takeru is) and often ends with a statement that they respect (sonken) him for what he has done and how he has changed them.
Also, another unique scene was on the carrier at night. Whoever you chose before, ends up coming to talk to you about things. Some of the topics are the same person to person, but some are very enlightening and worthwhile to read concerning the person in question.
END OF SPOILER FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE.
So there is the “character development” Moogy wanted, but didn’t see in MLA. It’s hidden. It’s like some easter egg put in because of lack of time and focus, but it’s there if you know where to look. When I first read MLA, I would have agreed with moogy, because I didn’t get ANY LETTER at the end. I didn’t even know it was there to be found. I found myself wanting Takeru to talk more to his squad mates about their various issues, but he never did. The letters, however, explained many curious behavior the squad mates engaged in. So after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reread. I was mostly satisfied. Found a lot of info that made a lot of stuff make more sense. That’s always nice.
And it’s sad. If people thought the other stuff was sad, this will make it even more sad: kanashi.
The other things in the review were mostly positive and I either agree or at least do not disagree. My original review and comments on this game can be found here
To read the review that this was all about, go here.