School Days is a rather infamous visual novel that was recently re-released in what seems to be a remastered version, thanks to places like Jast USA. Most everyone has heard of School Days, even in passing, due to the intense violence and gore of the various endings.
Given that, and having secured a copy of the digital download version from Jast, let’s review this thing!
The first thing you may be asking is why this is called Judging A Book By Its Cover and not Review, and that is due to several issues with the digital edition.
Using my download code, I got a website with about 14 files for the game, along with a setup/installer that took all the 600-700 mb files and turned them into the game. Well, you have five downloads from the website (which does seem to be a third party fulfillment place) so in theory, you can install the game on five different computers.
In practice, I could only download the first six on the list (they are not in numerical order) while the rest would refuse to download, but would still dock an attempt from my number of available tries. Then, after a couple hours of downloading the first few files, the download speed to them all went to 0 bytes per second. Trying again and again resulted in the same issue.
I have enough bandwidth on my home network, a fast enough computer, and a large enough bandwidth connection that I should be able to download all of those at once. In fact, the computer I was installing it on was brand new, fresh out of the box, and the downloads still failed. Using a gigibit wired connection straight to the DSL router, and running pingtest and netest to verify a good connection, the downloads still repeated the same behavior.
Needless to say, I’m fairly sure the issue is not on my end.
So what you should do is buy the physical edition on CD or DVD, whichever it is. That way, no matter how badly it installs, you can try again and again as many times as you want without suddenly being unable to install your game.
And not only that, but if you spend a while trying to fix problems, the downloader site will actually run a countdown timer for when the links expire. needless to say, that last attempt I was saving expired. Well, now I cannot get the digital version downloaded again.
Just buy the physical copy.
Right. In School Days, you are a kid who gets into a romantic triangle with two female classmates, and you must get to the end of either storyline without breaking the hearts of either of the girls, or people will die. If you see one girl on the side, the other kills her with a hacksaw. If you break up with the first girl to date the second one, the first one jumps off a bridge and lands headfirst in front of you and the other girl. Stick with the first girl and ignore the second? Well, she pushes the other girl in front of a train. Right in front of you.
This game somehow even managed to get made into a Playstation2 game, with no adult scenes and more blood and gore.
My concerns are twofold. If the characters are characterized as normal and well-adjusted throughout the game, then the violence at the endings is inconsistent with character development. Knowing the end, and somehow being successful at the game or even starting another playthrough is creepy, as you know that either way, you are dating and romancing a potential murderer.
But, as I have not played the game, I cannot say one way or another if the above concern is accurate or not.
My second concern is the fact that game is so well known for the endings. In other words, I am worried that it will detract from the story. Players will metagame, as they know things that the character shouldn’t or doesn’t. Choices won’t be made based on what fits in the story or what they think they need to do to get one girl, choices will be made with the express intent of getting a specific gore ending or avoiding the bad endings. The result of the infamy in the endings is people know what causes the gore endings, and will play specifically around that knowledge.
The final concern is that the game is known specifically for being violent. it isn’t known for a memorable story, or great characters, or emotional depth. It is known simply for the violence in the endings. I myself am not sure that is a good thing. This one element of the game is either the one memorable thing about the game, or just so overshadows everything else. If it is the only memorable thing about the game, then it would seem like the developers wanted to make a game with gore and violence, and sacrificed story and characters to have the death. the other alternative means it is likely that they did try to make a story, but to also shock the player, but that the shock was so over-the-top, it became the only thing that people took away from the game.
In the end, as this is not an actual review, I’m not giving any advice on what kind of person should buy it or any of those other things I do. if you want it and don’t have it, get the physical copy is my only advice.
Stars are only given to reviews, not to Judging A Book By Its Cover.