So, I had been deathly curious about Yu-No since the 1990s (when it hit the Saturn). It was considered (as I understood it at the time and now recall to the best of my ability) to be a top-tier, revolutionary take on the visual novel genre, which was really underserved by US publishers at the time. I never really expected to play it.

A few years ago I finally broke down and read a spoilery synopsis of the game because I figured it would never be localized.

Now, there's the current PC/Switch/PS4 port out, and I've given it a few hours of a spin...and I find myself really struggling to be interested.

  • -

    The new graphics are IMO crazy bland. Looks like a budget anime for otaku. Slick but cheap and characterless.

  • -

    The protagonist is very edgy in a '90s kinda way. Constantly making gross comments about/toward the female characters. I realize this started life as an ero-ge but it's a little much to put up with.

  • -

    The game design seems really awkward/overly complicated to me. I just don't "get" it yet. (Speaking here about the multiple routes/timelines.) I figure if I put in more time, I will, but... It strikes me as something people would have seen as incredibly innovative and cool in the '90s but which just seems unnecessarily complicated in reality.

    Basically, posting here because I've really wanted to play this game for a long-ass time but it's bumming me out.

    OTOH, the soundtrack is amazing, and the new release has an option to listen to the original PC98 synths instead of the new arrangements.

    Anyway, I don't mean to put anybody who really likes this game on the defensive, as I would be totally happy to be into it, but I am ... not feeling it! I will go back to it, though, I am sure, whether or not anybody here encourages me. Just curious if anyone else here has put in the time and what they think about it -- whether you're coming to it fresh in 2020 or have experience with prior version(s).

  • Yahhhhhhhhhhh I've been having the exact same pre-response to it. It feels like something that might not hold up in 2020 especially in English somehow?

    I am still super curious to play through some of those C's Ware saturn games that have the amazing FMV though, just to... see what that FMV looks like on a high end CRT through component. I watched the intro to one and was pretty blown away actually. It's described here as being "like alien technology" here by lowscoreboy:


    I feel like it's possible Yu-No is one of those series whose innovations got supplanted by later games maybe??

    [edit I wonder if @PasokonDeacon has anything to say about this]

    I actually started playing this last month, specifically the spruced up patched version of the Windows release which features enhanced music that's closer to the quality of the PC-9801 release, and all the VO from the Saturn version.

    Really having a hard time getting into myself as well. There are definitely some characters I like, like Eriko Takeda. She doesn't take any of what you're dishing out, but plays a long in a fun way:

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/ebtZOhU.png]

    Also Mio Shimazu, since she hates the main character on about the same level as myself.

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/K2vz229.png]

    Your weird friend, Masakatsu Yuki, gets a full makeover in the modern version, as he looked the most 90s out of everyone I've seen so far. Kinda like both designs.

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/G2je07W.png]

    Honestly the things that are keeping me going in this are the sweet Ryu Umemoto tracks, and the original PC-9801 look. I was apprehensive about getting the modern version on the Switch, and now even more so after seeing the art, which kind of drains a lot of its style, and in turn most of the appeal to me.

    What's also making it difficult is how much of a horn dog the protagonist is for his step mother, much less practically every other woman that literally runs into him, but very specifically step mom. It doesn't help that every time she's on screen, _every time_, he has to say something about it.

    The gameplay is also kind of unclear, even with the game attempting to explain it. It's basically "Let's make save states a core mechanic." Which, that's cool, but it's still unclear to me how it works. I just ran out of the two orbs I had in my current playthrough, and now I find out that without those orbs I can't even access the timeline map at all now? Flying blindly for the rest of it, I guess.

    One running gag I really do enjoy and have been taking note of while playing is that the character profiles abruptly pop up on screen if they're around. The game is a little self aware about it, so the protagonist is often spooked by the sudden appearance of another character (the screen shot of Mio and Masakatsu are instances of this). It's a good joke, and has yet to get old to me.


    The gameplay is also kind of unclear, even with the game attempting to explain it. It’s basically “Let’s make save states a core mechanic.” Which, that’s cool, but it’s still unclear to me how it works.

    Yeah, it's a really weird mechanic, because it's difficult to understand or see how it even works when it's actually introduced. It's not something a modern game would do: "here's the important core mechanic and narrative conceit of the game -- you can't really do anything with it yet, but you CAN screw it up!" So my feeling is that what it's for and why it matters is something that will be revealed over time. Even in the remake, it's not explained well nor is it clear **why** it is even a thing. I'm willing to withhold judgment on this for awhile. I mean, there doesn't seem to be any other choice. I have some faith it'll become clear.

    My general opinion is that if people consider something a classic and it means a lot to them, there's probably something there! MAGES didn't just port this thing to modern platforms because they thought it would make money. They did it because this game really matters to the genre, at least to Japanese players of a certain vintage. The whole reason I first got interested in this game is because in the late '90s when it came out on the Saturn a Japanese-speaking acquaintance was playing through it and explained to me both why he thought it was really interesting (his genuine enthusiasm came through) but also the reputation of Kanno as a writer/game designer among Japanese players at the time. That stuck with me (obviously).

    And as far as the writing goes, there is depth to it. The main character feels pretty well-realized for where I am in the game. I don't think that even a few hours in that I've done more than scratch the surface, and the fact that I have that impression gives me some hope about what I have yet to see.

    It's so much easier to complain about what I don't like about the game than talk about what I do like since there are so many obvious things to point out but so much about what I think I might like about it rests in the realm of the potential rather than actual at the moment, so I think I'll avoid making more complaints for the moment.

    Talking about it makes me want to give it another try, though. If I do, I'll update a bit about how I'm feeling.

    I‘d say it’s worth it. I‘m taking a little break from it, but want to finish it just to see where or if there’s an “Aha!” moment, since I feel like the shift to the “real game” once you get the time travelling device didn't quite do it (though I did love that the UI and how you interact with things changed in the PC98/Win98 version).

    I also agree, the personalities for most of the characters feel pretty good, they seem to have well defined voices and some depth to them that I've enjoyed, so far, and it did manage to get me invested in learning more about some of them. The VO for the Saturn/Win98 version is really good, too. Did they change it, or just remaster the VO tracks for the remake?

    I‘m pretty sure it has all-new VO. ’90s VO with modern artwork would be really incongruous, since acting styles have changed a lot since that time.

    Yep, it's full of all new voice actors: