Chocolat ~Maid Cafe "Curio"~

[1 post]

After Ripple, now Chocola(t).

They tried to improve the calendar system of Ripple. They failed. Instead of choosing actions for 3-4 days each time for 6 weeks, you have now more time and have to separately choose each action. Most of the time even two per day. 
Too much. 

The game's structure also suffers. In Ripple, you can just "stalk" who you want the route of. Not so much in Chocola. A character may need an event for them, even though the event is only marked with completely different characters. 

This makes the entire thing really awkward. Standard edition at least removes the calendar choice system from the last month. It's kinda coming with a price though, that you may not want to pay. (it at least enforces in which order you play the endings of a given route/character and perhaps even a little more)

Other than that, the game starts mostly fun. Basically Ripple v2. A little more fleshed out, but the weaknesses still remain the same. (i.e. somewhat disconnected scenes, relationships between heroines being lackluster, even though they aren't supposed to be..) 
The big issue here are the two new heroines. No matter if you play standard or re-order, they are there, with all their terribleness.

 You already see that something is wrong, when each of them gets a fanservice scene early on. (hands->tits or head->tits) The other girls may have something as well, but none of that involved touching or generally dumb scenarios to force them. A lot of the scenes focusing on these two characters are just bad, especially in comparison to the other stuff. Well, different writer. Still, feels like they didn't even try to keep the general idea of the original.

As for the routes... I'm frankly very disappointed. Standard forces "normal endings" first, which is very hit or miss. But given that the second endings sucked so far, I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad about it.

The second endings/routes are just not making any sense so far. The drama lacks any real root/base which you can believe. For example: The protagonist suddenly gets the message, that his dad remarried and the daughter of the new wife starts to live with him. He's becoming a brother. 

Obviously gets messed with by friends because of this and whatnot. And yet you get serious "incest drama" where the protagonist feels really bad about liking a girl he met 2months ago, is not related with him, and likes him a lot as well

. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I'm two routes in, and both routes have the exact same problem. The drama has no base to believe. It makes no sense to exist as it does. Feels like playing a shitty moege, that was just a lot less shitty than normal before the drama.

As for the first endings, Misato's was just nothing, basically her other route without the drama. Makes a LOT of sense, huh? Not. Suzu's was actually really good, if short and kinda rushed. It also made more sense than the other route she has and the drama works way better. Sad.

Ripple kinda had this problem in some routes as well, but it was just so short, it wasn't as bad if you ask me.

I hope the next routes/endings will be better. I really do. Next is Midori, best girl, who also has another male love interest. Of sorts. I'm actually quite interested, what's done with that, especially given the two routes/branches each heroine has.

[2 post]

I'm done with her route by now, and actually quite enjoyed it. I just like stories and characters like this. Only problem is to care about Kanako after all of that. It was a quite satisfying ending.

Didn't have any issues with her voice though. Not too surprising though, given that best girl of ripple was voiced by the same voice-actor... which I didn't even recognize till I checked just now. Heh. Anyway, had no problems there either. That said, I'm playing the royal versions (for chocolat, the standard version), so I have no idea if anything changed, like for example the sound quality.

[3 post]

And I'm done with Chocola. Kanako's route is probably best described as: Nice, but Midori exists, so it has no chance of being the best.

Ending-wise Midori's route was probably feeling the most complete. I don't know why her dream was just forgotten in Kanako's route. Devalued the ending there a lot in my opinion. We don't even need to talk about the other two major heroines. They pale. HARD. 

Misato could've been quite good, but she was underused. The final epilogue made this clear once more, even though she was only mentioned in passing there.

Aside of that, sometimes I feel that the characters don't talk enough with each other. As in, stuff that you see. In Midori's route it's clear how important Kanako is to her. But not because you get that shown.

 Because you get that told. Matter of fact wise. You never see any reason why these two are supposed to be good friends. That obviously hurts Kanako's route as well, where I feel like there was generally a lot more time on the past needed. 

Well, it was fun. Standard edition is very hit or miss though. They didn't even port the ps2 Midori final short story over. Which is extremely weird, given that the game otherwise IS the ps2 version, with all its changes in gameplay towards the end. (god was that change good. The calendar system was already shit enough for 2 months, I'm glad I didn't get another month of that shit..) 

Also apparently standard has a newer engine than re-order. I'm not sure how bad re-order is, hopefully not as bad as Ripple, but... yeah. In standard you have all you need, other than ctrl actually skipping everything while you have "skip only read text" set. You know, what ctrl actually does in every fucking VN, other than Giga ones. But yeah, it's normal in Giga stuff. As dumb as it is.