Saturday, July 7, 2018

Lamento -BEYOND THE VOID- Review

Even if the world killed you, I would not forget you
In celebration of Lamento's localization announcement, here's my review on the game! ヽ(。ゝω・。)ノ It's been a few years since I played this game, so please forgive me if I'm spotty on some details.
Long ago, a union between the cat-like goddess Ribika and the god Two Canes led to the creation of the land of Sisa and the species known as Ribika. Currently, a recent epidemic known as the Sickness has spread throughout Sisa, killing off a large portion of the female population and causing fevers and missing limbs in others. At the same time, a food shortage is caused by a phenomenon known as the Void, since vegetation rejects any cat that touches it. This can lead to death if severe enough, and this is why many have turned to cannibalism as a last resort. Throughout the lands there are also special cats known as Sanga that power fighter Touga cats through the power of song. 
The protagonist Konoe (CV: Hatano Kazutoshi) is an orphan living in the starving village of Karou. He begins to have nightmares, and strange marks appearing on his body leads him to believe he's the cursed cat legends speak of. Konoe decides to flee Karou in hopes of finding a way to dispel the curse. Throughout his journey he discovers his abilities, teams up with unique individuals, and discovers his own past.
As usual, many spoilers below. Skip to "Final Thoughts" if you want to be spoiler free.

Asato (CV: Hatano Wataru)
Asato is your shy and adorkable character who is also ride or die for love and loyalty for Konoe. ( ◞・౪・) Due to his black ears and form during birth, Asato is often referred to as a demon child in his village, Kira. Although he was originally under orders to Konoe, he opens up after seeing they both have similar ears and markings. If you're looking for lots of fluff, Asato's route is the way to go.
In his bad end, he's unable to overcome his monster form, and thus mauls Konoe to death. Also tentacles. In the good end, Konoe and Asato travel back to the void-free Kira to live out their days there.

Bardo (CV: Nomura Kenji)
On the surface, Bardo is your typical pervy and playful ossan, thus making his route the most comedic one. He cooks and runs an inn in the city of Ransen. Bardo used to be a bounty hunter (I think?) and often mentored Rai. His jealousy of Rai's bloodlust and power is what lead him to make a deal with Verg, which he later regrets. His other big regret was his inability to save Rai's parents.
In Bardo's bad end, Rai goes into bloodlust and Bardo's curse overtakes him, resulting in nothing but a carnal desire to fight. Leaks overtakes Konoe's body and watches as Rai and Bardo fight forever. In his good end, Konoe stays with Bardo and together they run the inn.

Rai (CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki)
Rai is your cool and icy tsundere, and he travels the lands of Sisa as a bounty hunter. Sometimes he's overcome by an intense bloodlust, mowing down anyone in his way.

If there was a "true route" to this game then it would definitely be Rai because his route is the longest.... It's EXTREMELY long and filled with lots of tsundere goodness. Also lots of ero scenes.
In Rai's bad end, his bloodlust overcomes him and he becomes Froud's successor. To keep his promise, Konoe charges at Rai... In Rai's good end, the two defeat successfully defeat Leaks and Konoe becomes a bounty hunter alongside Rai, their Sanga/Touga connection making them a formidable duo.

While the devils are not romanceable, there are bad ends that can be achieved with most of them.

Razel's bad end is probably the shortest of the devil bad ends. Basically he turns Konoe into a devil to be used for his pleasure, and together they watch the world burn. Fun! ( ᐛ )و

Verg is the devil of lust and associated with Bardo. In his bad end, Verg tricks Konoe into coming with him in exchange for removing Bardo's curse... But since he never specified when, he spends his pleasure-filled days with Konoe.

Froud is the devil of joy and associated with Rai... and wow you're in for a long ride with his ending. Basically Froud takes Konoe and has his way with him while a pinned-down Rai is forced to watch. Lots of kinks here folks.

Shui & Leaks
I won't say too much here regarding them, but they are hugely relevant to the plot and they make me emotional haha.
Final Thoughts

Music & Voice Acting: I LOVE the BGM to Lamento. It's so gorgeous and really gives it that fantasy mood as well as that oomph when needed. I would list my favorite tracks but then I would practically be listing the whole ost. 😂 All the seiyuus of course did an excellent job, and it's always nice to have a voiced protagonist.

Lore & Story: I'm a sucker for high fantasy genres, and Lamento does not disappoint in its worldbuilding. It was enjoyable to discover legends, etc. of the game and see how everything pieces together rather than generic lore. However, the explanation of lore does end up making the game longer... In fact, this game is a whopping 40-50 hours, making it N+C's longest BL game.

While I overall loved the story, it could sometimes be a drag to play with the occasional awkward pacing. There is also a lot of overlap between routes, which makes sense considering they all team up to beat the Big Bad Enemy™ at the end, but that also means it can be tiring reading the same stuff again and again. Bardo and Rai were the biggest offenders of this since leading up to their route is mostly the same until the split choice, if I remember right. On the other hand though, most of the plot will be revealed in their routes.

Art: Like the music, the art is also gorgeous throughout the game. Though it was really obvious there was a bias towards Rai lmao. The artist is Kurahana Chinatsu, who also drew the art for Togainu no Chi and Uta no Prince-Sama.

Characters: Each of the main characters had their own development throughout the game, and the supporting actually felt like... supporting characters, rather than throwaways to move the plot along. They were also integrated well into the backstories of the main characters. Regarding the romance, it was also nice to see different sides of Konoe depending on which route you were playing.

My favorite dateable characters are Asato and Bardo! ヾ(`ω` )/ They're very hard to not love imo. While I normally like tsuns, Rai overall felt kinda eh for me (mostly because of his arrogance I think), so the length of his route wasn't that exciting for me. For route order, I'd recommend Asato > Bardo > Rai.

Like any other Nitro+Chiral game, this deals with dark themes, so don't walk in expecting the Forest of Fluff. That said, I do think Lamento is the tamest of N+C's games regarding said dark themes. Even though it's a dark game, none of the routes use the "rape=love" that so many BLs love to use, thank. For a list of complete triggers, feel free to visit this link.

That being said, I still would definitely recommend this game (along with all of Nitro's games really). If catboys and saving the world fantasies with plenty of angst interest you, then definitely give this game a go. And if you like Lamento and want more backstory on the devils and The Poet & Leaks, then definitely check out the Rhapsody to the Past drama CD.

That's all for now. Until next time! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

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