"The unknown is weaved through time like a song."
Game Title: Norn9: Var Commons
Genre: Otome-Visual Novel Game
Publisher: Aksys Games
Product ID: PCSE-00762
Price: $39.99 (Digital)
PlayStation Network Page: Norn9: Var CommonsRelease Date: November 3, 2015 (R1.US/Digital)
Norn9: Var Commons is an Otome game. The game puts you through an unforgettable experience complete with branching story paths that leads to 24 possible endings, with gorgeous visuals along with properly accentuated background music, and additional content never before seen in it's predecessor. Showcasing it's overarching plot and fits of comedy, it's a visual novel game that's worth your time.
It is a enhanced port of Norn9 Norn+Nonett for the PlayStation Portable. It's developed by Otomate, a subsidiary of Idea Factory that develops Otome games and well known for their Hakuouki series, and is published by Aksys Games. The game blooms through it's additional contents such as but not limited to; a revved-up Gallery Mode, a point system where you collect points through playing the game and reaching endings for use on the Norn9 Store, and a mini-game called "Norn9 Quest" where you can gather up points.
As with all Otome games, you are presented with a visual novel-type of experience and you play as a female protagonist interacting with male characters throughout the story. But don't get the wrong idea, an Otome game as it is, it is not by far a dating sim where you build up your relationship with the characters but instead you are presented with choices, choices that will decide who will be, who will be your partner, and how will you handle your relationship in an entire storyline. There's also the HiYoKo Channel that features Hiyoko's running a TV program, which I particularly like.
One great feature that they've added is that the story has been expanded, the prologue is now an entire chapters worth of play time as well as the others. The games character development is pretty decent, not great but the game takes relational development of it's cast with keen precision. The narrative might feel disjointed at first but Norn9: Var Commons tends to rejoin these stories at the right time. It has one of the best translations that I've seen, we'll save a really few of 'em *insert blue-screen,* and that the translation is very faithful to the original script which is one of the things that I'm very glad about.
The visuals are also one of the best there is that this game showcases, each background image and image stills have such great detail on them. Akiba Mioru, well known for his work on the Pokémon Movie series, is the one responsible for bringing the images to life. With the PlayStation Vita's highly-definitive resolution, the game brings out the colors with such lush detail and precision.
The voice acting is perfect if not then really perfect, each character draws distinction from one another giving them a unique element to remember with, and what more can you complain about if Sugita Tomokazu, a well known voice actor of Gintama fame, is one of the voice actors in the game. With Uematsu Nobuo bringing his pieces in, one can only say that it's excellent. Each track played while in the playing perfectly matches the mood of the current scene, hands down. Let's also not forget the Opening Movie, called "melee", and the Ending Movie, called "Sunadokei Wa Karanokara" literally translated as "The Hourglass is the Futility of Futilities", both performed by Yanagi Nagi we're awesome.
I know that a lot, by that I mean really, of gamers pretty much avoid the Visual Novel genre and to add fire into the fray, more so for it's sub-genre Otome games. But, I would like to recommend this game for it's mild mannered plot and great presentation, it would be a great start for beginners and also a great title for seasoned Visual Novel players.
We would like to thank Aksys Games for providing us a copy for review.
Norn9: Var Commons brings out a mild and well executed romance-feel into the PlayStation Vita. With two well known artists that helped made the game, it is undeniable that the quality is amazing, the story might arrive to you as lackluster and disjointed but I advice you to delve in deeper into the game and see that the game will shine. Norn9: Var Commons is an Otome game worth the time and investment that those whom are interested in visual novel games and on the otome genre should experience.