Thank you for answering! I'm really surprised. I thought the final game will have about 150k words, but 300k is even better! I love long and complex stories. Also, happy to hear that the Speaker side story will be free. I'm really looking forward to know more about him and the rest of the characters.
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I really loved the extended demo. The first one looked already very professional and promising, but it was too short to get a full impression of the characters and the world. Now we learn a lot more about everyone and everything. I was particularly impressed by how complex the characters are. Even the side characters have their very own personality and motives. I'm so fascinated that I want to share some thoughts about it.
---The following part contains SPOILERS(!!!) and speculations---
From all the characters I've seen so far, Fawn turned out to be my favorite. I'm surprised how complex and deep he is. If you first see him, he seems rather shy and unsure and he has obvious difficulties with speaking. But if you get to know him better you start to recognize how brave and good with words he actually is and how far he would go to save the one he loves. It's no wonder he and Raen get along so well from the start. They're like soul twins. The connection between them is very deep and there's a natural bond they share with each other. I found it interesting how Fawn even felt wrath towards an enemy who threatened Raen in the forest at some point. This was another unexpected but very interesting side of him. He doesn't seem to enjoy violence naturally like Leos does, but he's so protective towards Raen, that he doesn't hesitate a second to stand by his side. And if someone threatens him, he instinctively feels wrath and rage. His love is so pure and strong. I even guess it was love at first sight. And I'm sure he knows very well that he loves Raen. He just doesn't want to say it out loud, because he's insecure and Raen doesn't seem to understand what love is. Fawn and Raen compliment each other very well. Raen shows Fawn what kind of strong person he really is and how confident he can be about himself, and Fawn shows Raen how deep love and friendhip can go and what hidden meanings the world has to offer - that there's more on this planet than what the eyes see.
Leos is my second favorite. He can be a bit snarky and annoying somtimes, but beneath his unapproachable facade it's obvious how insecure he really is and how much he needs someone to love. It's kinda fascinating if you think about it further. No matter how different they are (or maybe because they ARE so different), he and Raen depend on each other very much. Leos is a capable mercenary and good at protecting Raen. He also teaches him to be more careful towards others and to not believe everything they say. Raen, on the other hand, is very caring and always nice in front of other people. That's why he's usually easily loved by them. Compared to him, Leos doesn't let anyone get near him. He's like the typical lone wolf - always catious and suspecting the worst in others. Only Raen seems to get through to him, because he's so stubborn and able to see something nice even in the most unfriendly people. He teaches Leos what it feels like to be loved, no matter what you've done and what you will do. It's just a guess of course, but I think Leos is so snarky and spiteful towards others, because he's actually spiteful of himself and he hates the things he's done. So he probably thinks he's unworthy to be loved.
The only one I didn't become comfortable with was Cyne, but it's probably because we only met him at the end of the demo and I still have to get to know him better. We only saw the flirty/casual side of him so far. I'm sure there's something deeper behind his facade. Maybe he's afraid of love? I guess it's diffcult for someone of his social standing to love someone without serious conesquences. Maybe something tragic happened in his past, because of feelings he allowed himself to have. No matter what it is, I suppose he actually longs for someone who he can have a deeper connection with. Maybe that's the true reason why he joined Raen in the first place - even if he might not recognize it yet.
I'm also very interested in Illran and Veras. If I understand it correctly, Veras is the bird we've seen together with Illran, or rather he can turn into a bird. He has a mystical aura and I'm interested to find out the secrets he may hold. Illran seems rather protective of him. I had the feeling he feels more about him than just friendhsip, even if he didn't really mention it when Raen asked him about love. They seem to have a really special relationship that I'd like to uncover.
Lilas, Nikos, and the children are very likeable. Nox seemed kinda mysterious at first glance - desperate, but not really unfriendly. The atmosphere at the end of the game was so spooky, it sent chills down my spine (in a positive way, since I like horror elements in games). My guess at this point is that Nox is actually the monster who kills other people, but he doesn't do it wilfully. There's probably something more going on than meets the eye.
Apropos, I wonder how the Speaker turns out to be. So far we just know that he's not the kind of person he seems to be at the beginning. His motives are kinda dark, but I guess he has a good reason for the lies he created and for all the (gruesome) things he probably did. I'm really looking forward to the extra game with him. Is he responsible for the discarded bodies who lie in the forest and whose souls don't find peace? Although we don't know much about the story yet, elements of it remind me of the movies 'The Island' and 'The Village'. I'm very eager to find out the truth behind all of this. The story seems really interesting so far and I can't wait to unravel the mystery. Also, I'm really interested to find out why the love interests have the feeling to know Raen for so long even if they just have met. Maybe there's a hidden meaning behind it.
BTW, I love the diary you created. It adds more depth to the lore and makes it easier to remember things. That was a really good idea.
What else can I say? I love the artistic aspect of the game. The backgrounds, the sprites, the CG's, the music, the voices, the singers, the writing. Everything's just brilliant and adds lots of beauty and atmosphere to the world. "Fates Journey" is a very sweet song and brings this special Middle Age/tavern feeling with it. "The Forgotten" sounds very mysterious. I love the clear and soft voice in it. I whish more VNs had singing voices. It adds so much atmosphere to the game.
There's only one part in the game that maybe should be done differently. I'm talking about about the tavern scene where Fawn sings. The melody of the voice doesn't really go hand in hand with the melody of the background music (probably because you can determine the pace of the scene by yourself). Maybe it would be better to have a fix pace during the song, so the voice doesn't seem out of rhythm? That's the only thing I've noticed, though.
Finally, I have some questions, if you don't mind:
1) How many words will the final game have?
2) How many words will the extra game with the Speaker have?
3) If I understand it correctly, Aurelia Cavella is hidden by the outside world and can't be entered. How was Leos supposed to come back after killing Raen, then? Or is it different for him, because he's Aurelian himself?
4) I don't know how to activate the song "Spring Bloom" in the music box. What do I wrong? I have watched all scenes and yet, I can't find the song. Or have I overlooked something?
That's everything I wanted to say. Sorry for writing so much, but I really wanted to share my thoughts about this gem. Many thanks for creating this wonderful game and for giving us such a long and well done Demo.
Kudos! : )
Then I have to learn French. ^^" I hope it won't be necessary though. I had it in school, but forgot most of it again. It would be a pity if the vast majority of players don't get the chance to play this great game. Let's hope for the best!
In the worst case, perhaps it would be possible to first publish the game in French and then wait and see how it sells. If it sells well, maybe there is still the possibility of an English translation one day?
(The following text may include spoilers)
I’m really looking forward to this game! The demo was fun and interesting. After playing it several times, I’m still amazed at how professional it already is. Can’t believe the final game will have five routes and over 500.000 words! I think I’ve never played a VN with this length before. Most longer VN’s have about 100.000 words with all routes included. Here we have the same amount of words for 'each' route!
The characters, backgrounds, and cinematic graphics are simply amazing. I especially like the architecture of the capital. I am not an expert in this field, but the architectural style reminds me of a mix between the Gothic period with its pointed roofs and towers and the Baroque period with the round domes in between. Every aspect looks very detailed and atmospheric. You really feel like you’re part of the environment. This impression is reinforced by the fact that the game contains certain scenes in which the background camera moves. Those little moments give you the impression that Rave is really walking through the city or travelling through the forest as you read the text. The cold colors also go well with the rather cold, dark continent that the game takes place in. By the way, I like your idea of including the backgrounds in the gallery. In most VN’s you only have the CG’s contained. Since your backgrounds look very good, it was the right choice to add them.
I also like the music A LOT! The tunes are very memorable and beautiful and they fit perfectly to the historical fantasy setting. The tune that played when Rave travelled through the forest to leave his home town behind sounds very mystical and somewhat menacing. It reflects the emotions of the protagonist and his anxiety of the unknown very well. On the other hand, the melody that played during his arrival in the capital sounds more exciting and somewhat pompous - like the new big city that is so different from the little town which he came from. It’s like a whole new world, waiting to be explored. And the music reflects this aspect very well.
The characters are very interesting and different from each other. My favorite is Hyde at the moment. Of all the characters he seems to be most likable (although I suspect that he has another side of his personality that he just has not shown yet). But that’s what makes characters interesting, doesn’t it? It’s hard to say who the best character is, because everyone has such an eye-catching personality, even someone as unsympathetic as Renan, who I’m sure will turn out as a great romance option. My favorite scene in the demo was the conversation with Hyde in his room at night. He simply accepted Rave as his roommate without making fun of him or judging him. That was so pure and lovely. I hope for more intimate, emotional scenes like this.
I remember someone asked about the characters sexuality. My guess is Renan and Fenrir are bottoms, Ilyes and Kary are tops and Hyde is a switch. But I don’t know for certain. It’s just my gut feeling. lol
We don’t know much about the story yet, but it seems to get very interesting (and dark). I’m curious how being a student in the academy and the undead plague will work together in the further course on the game. I suspect that especially Ilyes and Fenrir will reveal a lot of background knowledge about the undead topic. Speaking of, I really love the idea of a journal in the game. It's good to have something to lookup, especially in games with a lot of background information, so you can always read about the world and its creatures/characters. I’m also glad the game has different scenes depending on your room mate choice instead of mini games. Mini games are often too easy in VN’s and don’t add anything interesting to the story. I'm curious how the scenes will differ depending on your room mate. It would be interesting to get him as your best friend (or rival), if he’s not your romance option. No matter what it is, I just hope we’ll have an interesting relationship with him too.
I don’t have much to criticize. Maybe two things:
1. The English translation still has a few errors (but those can be fixed easily).
2. The text size in the game is kinda small (except for the scenes with moving backgrounds. Those are fine). I understand that this will probably not change anymore. Nevertheless, I have to say that it is sometimes really exhausting for me to read the text, because I don’t have good eyesight.
But this is the only criticism I have.
I really - REALLY - hope this project gets funded. Please, everyone! When do we ever have the opportunity to play such a big and great yaoi game? I'm a bit worried because there’s not much progress at the moment, but fortunately there are still a few days left. So everything is still possible. Just out of curiosity: What will happen if the project doesn't get funded? I hope it will still be published. This could be one of the best VN's in the next years. I wish the developers all the best and hope for a great end result.
Please keep up your good work! : )
Thank you so much for answering and dispel my worries. I'm happy to hear that there'll be more choices during the course of the game. I really love choices. <3 Can't wait to play through all of it. I wish you the best of luck and hope your kickstarter campaign will be a great success! You'd deserve it.
It's been a while since I played the demo of The Divine Speaker, but since the game was so great, I finally decided to write down my feelings about it. English is not my first language, but I try my best to bring the message home.
The brilliance of the game starts right at the beginning with the opening scene. It’s not complete at this point, but already gives an idea of how extensive and detailed the finished sequence will be. Since only a few Visual Novels contain animations, this is a special feature that immediately catches your eye. Especially the body movements of the characters give the impression of watching an anime. It looks so professional it is hard to imagine that only a small team has done that. And it's their first VN! Kudos!
I also love the sprites and CG's. You can tell right away that the artists put a lot of effort into shaping the world. I especially love the frequency of the CG’s. This way, the world seems much more alive than it would be without them. The beautiful backgrounds impress me the most. In many visual novels, they are second thought or in need of improvement. Here, however, they look very detailed and atmospheric. It’s very easy to look at them and feel like a part of the world.
The same thing can be said about the wonderful music. I especially like the opening sequence, which is not only animated but also has an own song, which is very memorable. Both composer and vocal artist have done a really great job. But the other music pieces are also very melodic and atmospheric. I can’t wait to hear more of these beautiful pieces of art in the later course of game.
Also worth mentioning is the general atmosphere of the game. Funny scenes take turns with serious and sad scenes. It’s easy for the player to share many different feelings with the characters. I especially like the little horror elements that were included in the demo, for example the backpack scene. You really feel sorry for poor Raen at that moment.
Also a big THANK YOU for the many different languages the game has to offer. Usually I have to stay with English. But since English is not my native language and I don’t understand some words and therefore have to look them up, my flow of play is often disturbed at some points. It is a great bonus for me to be able to play in my own language.
The characters are also very intriguing, Leos for example is a fascinating guy. I wonder why he lied to Raen and got him into trouble. What’s his agenda? Why did he do such a thing to a person he doesn’t even know? I really want to find out. Plus his voice is hot as hell! Fawn already makes a very likeable impression. I especially like his wisdom and gentleness. I hope he shows more of these personality traits as the game progresses. It makes him so sweet and kind. I'm also curious about Cyne. Since he’s the only one we haven’t seen at this point, he’s kind of a mystery. But judging from his description, it could become a very interesting (and difficult) ‘ride’ with him. I'm curious. ; )
For the most part, the dialogues are very good and impressively show how different the characters talk and act. Especially The Speaker fascinates me. I really hope that the stretch goal with his background story will be reached. I would love to learn more about his past and, ideally, experience it first-hand.
Written language is the foundation of every story. That's why it's always very important to me that dialogues, inner monologues, and thoughts are plausible and make sense. They are crucial to whether or not you can relate to the characters in the course of the events. Without proper language, there’s no way to feel different emotions for them. I’m glad The Divine Speaker works so well at this point. It’s easy to understand how Raen and Fawn feel at various situations.
There are only few situations where I can’t understand or follow Rae’s way (or lack) of thinking. But please don’t take this personally, it’s just the way how I feel and reflects my subjective impression. I remember two situations that seemed a bit strange to me. At the beginning Raen told the orphan that bad guys and dangerous animals live in the forest around Aurelia Cavella. Shortly afterwards, the orphan asks him if really everyone lives in Aurelia Cavella and he says yes. But how can everyone live there if there are bad guys in the forest at the same time? I was also wondering why Raen is not surprised that there are so many human-made objects lying around the river in the forest, although allegedly everyone in the entire world lives in Aurelia Cavella? I mean, there were obviously a lot of things lying around there. It seems unlikely that the people in Aurelia Cavella threw all of them into the river and then they continued to flow to the forest. Especially the scrolls and books in Fawn's room would never have survived this way. Even someone as naive as Raen should be skeptical about the things they told him in Aurelia Cavella after seeing Fawns house and listening to his speech about other cities. I understand that he did not immediately have a clear head for those thoughts, but later he should have noticed that. I also wonder if he didn’t hear what the speaker said about his father when he chased Raen out into the forest, or if it just didn’t seem important enough to him at that moment? But if the latter is the case, why doesn’t he remember it afterwards? Why doesn’t he think that’s important? These are all little moments in which I wished Raen was a bit more thoughtful. He may be naive, but he is not stupid. And that's why it sometimes seems strange to me that he doesn’t question or wonder about various things at all… at least in situations where I think everyone would be skeptical. But as I said before, that's just my subjective impression.
The other thing that bothered me a bit was the long pauses between the interactive scenes. I would have wished for more choices, even if not all of them had long term consequences. It would give more individuality to a playthrough.
However, apart from these two points, I was very satisfied and can fully recommend the game at this stage. I'm really looking forward to the final product. You do a great job! Thank you so much. It was a great experience, and I’m sure I’ll play the demo again. : )
The game looks very interesting and I'm glad to hear it is still alive. The historical, Venezian setting is very atmospheric and the characters and music are beautiful. I also like the story with its mysterious, criminal undertone. You really want to discover the identity of the beast (if there is one).
I have some questions. Can you tell us more about the estimated hours of gameplay? How many words will the final game have approximately? And will it be divided into two separated story paths (Fosco/Giovanna) or one path with two different love interests?
Many thanks for the Demo. It is really promising. Please keep up the good work. : )
It’s been a while since I played Chess of Blades. But since I liked the game a lot and I’m on itch.io now, I‘d like to give my impression (possible spoilers included).
Overall, the game was a great experience. I was hooked since the first time I heard about it, because I’m a sucker for fantasy, romance and aristocratic themes. Moreover, the characters were very handsome and fascinated me at first sight. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the humor part because I usually don’t like comedy that much. But I have to say, it turned out to be very pleasant. It didn’t feel ‘over the top’, as it is often the case in games with comedic themes. And I had the feeling that it fitted very well with the noble setting and the puffed up little peacock boys and girls (as Sabre would say).
I also liked the characters, especially the cold-hearted Linnaeus and the passionate Franz. They were so different in their personality. I remember that one dinner scene when they sat at the table next to Rivian and looked at each other in such a malicious way. I already saw the cutlery flying through the room. : D Of course, Rivian was great as well. He was such a cutie with his unique sense of humor and his social allergy! I couldn’t have wished for a better protagonist. I also liked the supporting characters. Everyone had their own unique personality and was an important part of the story and the world.
The storytelling is very good, too. Each route had a different story to tell, so you didn’t get the feeling of having seen everything after completing one route. That motivated me to play through the game several times. I also liked the many secrets and plot twists. Especially Sabre’s route was a very interesting surprise. It wasn’t what I expected (in more than one way hehe). But I’m very happy how that turned out to be.
The art style is also very beautiful. The characters and backgrounds are carefully designed and a lot prettier than in Requiescence. The protagonist and his three love interests look very detailed and elegant and their appearance fits well with the setting. The same is true for the supporting and antagonistic characters.
But also the background characters are drawn with great care. That’s very important to me, because those minor characters are often involved in the events in one way or another, even if we often don’t know exactly, who of them is talking at a certain moment. Sometimes, you hear some voices whispering, talking, discussing, or cheering in the background, while seeing different faces. That gives me a feeling of immersion.
The only criticism I have is that some CG's were used for multiple scenes without adjusting the background. For example the identical kissing scene with Sabre in the cellar and in Rivian’s room, although Rivian’s room looks totally different.
I’m really thankful that the game has full voice acting! The voices fit so well with the characters they belong to. I must confess, I really fall for Franz. His voice was so deep and sexy, that I still have goosebumps while thinking about it. Only Sabre’s recording could be somewhat better. I sometimes had the feeling that his dubber’s microphone was of lesser quality. But maybe that's just my imagination. Overall, I liked his voice too.
The music is very memorable, cheerful and goes well with the aristocratic theme. I especially liked the opening tune and the melody that was played at the stalls. You really feel like you are part of the festival. As if you would stroll along and buy things yourself.
Another advantage is that the game is more interactive than Requiescence. I prefer to have lots of choices in a visual novel, so that I can feel more like a part of the fictive world around me. I also liked the way how there’s no obvious way to reach the good ending and therefore you could say something wrong and miss it by accident. When I play a game I want to be challenged and to think about what I'm saying to solve a situation satisfactorily. In this regard, I especially liked the courtroom scene in Linnaeus’ route.
Unfortunately, the bad endings felt more like a ‘game over’ to me. That was a pity, because I think that endings should be designed in such a way that you feel like you've come to an end, even if it's a negative one.
But that’s the only bigger point of criticism I have. I had much fun with the game. Next to story and characters, I especially liked the playing time. I prefer long visual novels (around 100,000 words ore more) because I often feel that shorter games leave to unresolved issues and open questions. Nonetheless, the Story has the potential to be continued. I wouldn’t mind another game, which is playing in this universe. But it can also be considered a completed work. Both things work.
Thanks again to Argent Games for this very good game. I had a lot of fun with it. Keep up the good work! : )
Now that I've finished all routes, I want to give my final impression of the game (SPOILERS included, so beware). All in all, I had a lot of fun with Red Embrace.
What I like best is the diversity of the characters. No one is like the other. Everyone has their own unique personality. I especially liked Luka and Isaac. Thanks again to the developers for the free Luka route! If now Bishop would get his own route, I would be completely satisfied. I like evil characters, so it would be great to have one as a love interest. Especially since we don’t really know how he became the leader of the vampires and what motivates him.
What’s also good is that even some of the negative endings feel like an end and not like a “game over”. In many games you have the impression that only the good endings count. In Luka’s and Isaak’s route, however, I had the feeling of having come to an end, even if it was a negative one.
I also like the changeable interests and personality of the MC. That motivated me to play through the game several times. The only criticism I have is that the interests should have more impact on the actual story line. They were a nice addition, but not nearly as important as the shapeable personality.
In addition to the changeable personality, I also like the way how some dialog options aren’t unlockable if you pick the ‘wrong’ choices and thus the endings can be influenced in one direction or the other. Some visual novels give me the feeling, that they aren’t really games in which you can make wrong decisions, because it is often clear from the beginning, which answer you must choose to reach the "perfect" ending. I am glad that this is not the case here. As a result, the game feels more like a real game. That’s something I really appreciate!
The music is pleasant, too. The tunes are decent, modern and fit well to the dark, urban setting. I especially liked the music that played when Bishop appeared. It was so threatening and dark and always left me with a bad feeling, as if something unpleasant would happen soon.
I also like the character sprites and the CG’s. The characters look very attractive - not too childish or too “cute”, as it is often the case with other BL games. I also like the mix of anime and western style. The backgrounds could be a bit more detailed, but that doesn’t bother me that much. The overall atmosphere is great and it doesn’t take long for you to feel part of the world.
Since English isn’t my native language, I can’t say much about the quality of the dialogues. However, I had the feeling that they were good. I could always understand everything and didn’t notice any mistakes (except for the one part at the beginning of the game, where Luka was being addressed as a “he”, although the MC thought of him as a woman at that point).
At some points I had the feeling that the game was too short. There are some unanswered questions I have. I also think some parts are a bit illogical. in Dominic’s and Rex's route, the protagonist is thinking of becoming a vampire without a single thought about what it means to drink blood forever and endanger other people's lives. Of all the thoughts he had at that moment, I found it odd that he haven’t had moral issues. It is also a bit weird, that in all those years, no vampire became aware of the protagonist, although he has such a particularly tasty blood.
But I don’t want to over-analyze those things, because, as I said before, the game is a lot of fun! So I can overlook such minor discrepancies. I recommend it to anyone who likes vampires, urban settings and BL games. Argent Games stands for quality and you can tell that for this game too. Unfortunately there are only few English written BL games in the western part of the world. So I’m very happy Argent Games exist. I’m really looking forward to their future projects.
Please keep up the good work! : )