One month after I finished Shuuen no Virche, I’m finally ready to upload my review of the game!
This is my first-ever review, so if there’s anything you’d like me to focus more on, please let me know in the comments or via Twitter!
Title: Shuuen no Virche
Overall Rating: 8/10
Console: Nintendo Switch
“Arpecheur is a small country in western Europe. Surrounded by the sea and black flowers of misfortune called Licorise Nowargue, humans in this country are born with a “death curse” that leads to death by age 23.
It has come to be called Arpecheur, where death arrives equally unto all people. And a country possessed by the god of death.
The people of the country lament and oppose their short-lived fates. And after many years of research, a system was created—a “memory download” system where the body that dies by age 23 is discarded, and only the memories live on. Those who live forever through memory download are known as “relivers” and continue to resist their short lives.
Meanwhile, there was a girl known as the “god of death,” as everyone she was involved with ended up unhappy. Just as she is about to end her life in regret, a mysterious man who calls himself the “watchman of death” appears before her.
Under the watchman’s guidance, the girl will approach the truth of the “various mysteries of death” that haunts this country, whether she likes it or not… Without knowing that despair is the fate that awaits those possessed by the god of death.
Original Source: Gematsu, “Shuuen no Virche -ErroR: salvation- launches October 7 in Japan”
In July 2022, Aksys Games announced they would be localizing the popular Japanese otome game title, Shuuen no Virche: Error Salvation, for the western market, to the delight of many otome game fans (like myself). That being said, I am not a patient person when it comes to waiting for game releases. If I see a game trailer that looks enticing, I want it ASAP. And that’s why I bought the Japanese version and used my trusty Google Translate app to play the game.
I also have to clarify that I usually translate Japanese otome games into Chinese and English, so my understanding of the game may not be 100% accurate — I’d say in the 70 to 80 percentile range. Usually, I’ll message friends who’ve already played the game (who’re fluent in Japanese) to help explain the game further in detail to me. And thanks to them, I can appreciate the game more deeply.
For people who haven’t played Shuuen no Virche, you all probably know it as an otome game filled with triggers that are beyond depressing to play, and the truth is…it is. But that being said, it also features five beautiful love stories that ramp up in intensity. Even though I’ve only played three or four otome games to completion, I’ve never cried harder than when I played Shuuen no Virche. After finishing the final route, my eyes were so swollen from crying that my friends thought I had an allergic reaction to something (it wasn’t cute).
And I want to emphasize that before SnV, I hated playing bad ends. But SnV changed that. Initially, I was not too fond of the story’s progression design requiring players to finish bad ends before getting the ultimate good ends. Still, I realized that the storytelling strategy delivered core background information more efficiently, resulting in more gratifying good ends!
Character Route Reviews:
Mathis Claude: 9/10
Mathis’ route is the suggested first LI route because his storyline provides a decent amount of foundational knowledge about relivers, what the technology is capable of, and what people’s initial attitudes toward mortality and artificial life are. For me, it was an excellent continuation of the Common Route sprinkled with information about Mathis’ background.
His route was brutal, not because of the amount of violence (Trust me, his route is tame.), but for a first-time dark otome game player like myself, I had no idea how sadistic the story writing could be. There were definitely moments where I had to sit back and ask myself if I was playing an otome game or if I was playing a seinen horror VN.
While the story gives us a lot of developments in Mathis’ story, I felt his character development left more to be desired. That’s not to say that his character development was terrible (because it wasn’t); I just felt that the good route could have wrapped on such a higher note. But that’s also where the FD comes into play, so…yay!
Also, I can wholeheartedly say that his route was the most wholesome in terms of romance. His route is probably the most “cliche” otome game romance storyline, but being SnV, it’s anything but cliche.
Lucas Proust: 10/10
Now Lucas’ route left me SCREAMING…SCREAMING! The amount of twists and turns his route gives you is unbelievable, especially the major plot twist that happens early into his route…you will be left speechless. I mean, technically, there’s a tell in the common route, but no hints from me; you’ll have to play and see. Okay, fine, here’s a TINY HINT…poses, poses, and poses!
Lucas’s character development is probably the most satisfying out of all the LIs. There’s drama, internal conflicts, internal monologues, social pressure vs. personal desire, family vs. the world, and so much more — Lucas’ route could have easily been its otome game title.
Forewarning: All of Lucas’ endings are somewhat tragic, but they feel fitting for the story SnV gives us. There’s one happy ending apart from his happy end that’s sweet, but it’s not what you’re probably expecting, especially if you’re mid-game. Also, be prepared to cry—a lot.
Scien Brofiise: 7/10 (*But 10/10 for great food CGs!!!!)
Is it controversial that I didn’t give Scien a higher ranking? Maybe. But I have my reasons.
First, I thought Scien’s storyline was a bit predictable: A work-obsessed scientist meets a beautiful girl. However, that alone gives you a good idea of how the storyline will progress. Early into his route, you understand what Ceres and Scien’s dynamic will be, and frankly, it doesn’t change even later in the game. His route felt very much designed for fanservice, which, trust me, I love, but after more than 20 hours into SnV, I expected more.
Character development-wise, Scien’s was satisfying but to be expected. I appreciated that the writers emphasized his emotional growth throughout the story, but it felt a touch rushed near the end.
Honestly, I don’t have too much to say about his route. You learn a lot of information about the side characters (especially Salome), reliver technology is further broken down, and you start to understand the gravity of Ceres’ reputation as the Grim Reaper.
Yves: 9/10 — This could have been 10/10, but one side character got on my nerves
Oh, Yves. The game’s poster boy (That spot actually went to Adolphe.). I don’t even know where to begin, but I do. I WISH THE WRITERS ENTWINED HIS STORYLINE WITH ANKOU MORE RATHER THAN ADOLPHE!!! That’s all I’m going to say. DM me on Twitter to discuss if you’ve played the game.
Yves’ route features some light BL, though I won’t say with character. It’s more implied, but it is a cute detour from the main storyline, had it been that I couldn’t stand the side character. Okay, that’s all I’m saying.
CG wise, his are second most beautiful compared to Adolphe and Ankou’s. The final CG in the happy end will make you cry the minute it pops on screen, and you’ll be so satisfied that you endured hours of onscreen torture for it.
Trigger warning: There’s a lot of death in his route, and none of it is avoidable. If you’re sensitive to violent stories, I highly suggest you take a break from the game after his route.
Yves’ character development is heartbreakingly romantic, but sadly, it’s also a tad cliche. But you’ll quickly overlook this when you see how deep his love for Ceres’ runs, and once you do, you’ll forget all the typical animanga character tropes his route throws at you.
During his route, you’ll also get an even fuller picture of who Ceres is. Not the entire picture, but a much fuller picture.
I didn’t like Adolphe. I loved his route, but as a character, I wasn’t a fan of Adolphe at all.
He was just an ordinary LI, which once you begin his route, you’ll see that that was the point, but I felt that the game robbed us of another character by having all the focus be on who Adolphe is during the present game. I can’t say any more; otherwise, spoilers.
His route does reveal some hidden villains and elaborates on the royal family, but other than that, I wasn’t very impressed by his character design.
I’m not going to say anything more. He wasn’t my favorite.
Ankou: 20/10, BEST. MAN. EVER.
Ankou was the initial reason I bought SnV, and Ankou is the reason I will eventually buy the FD.
Ankou’s storyline is probably the most heartbreaking one I’ve ever seen, and I was not emotionally ready for it. When it came to all his ends, which are entwined with Adolphe’s, I cried for hours after each one. And don’t get me started on his good end…I couldn’t go outside without somebody asking if I was okay. After all, I began crying in public mid-errands because I kept thinking about his plot.
Character development-wise, there’s no comparison. His character alone is reason enough to buy the game. Like Lucas’ route, I would have purchased an SnV FD that exclusively focused on Ankou.
I also loved his route because all plot holes were cleaned up neatly. You finish his route by understanding what the story was ultimately about.
While Olympia Soiree made me fall in love with otome games, Shuuen no Virche made me fall in love with bad ends.
I played the game for about two months, and I still look back on that period with fondness. And when the English localization comes out, I’ll be replaying it. That said, if you’re not a fan of games with heavy topics, SnV probably isn’t for you. There’s a lot of gore and despair, and you’ll finish the bad ends feeling depressed. But for those of you who don’t mind dark storytelling, the payoff is incredible.
If you’ve played SnV, tweet this article, tag me, and let’s discuss it!
I’m looking forward to hearing all your thoughts.