Lamento ~Beyond the Void~: a visual novel review.
(Informal) review written 43 weeks ago.
Seeing Lamento english-translated and ready to download filled me with so much joy like you couldn’t imagine; I’ve been waiting for this for so long — I mean, catboys and BL, who wouldn’t?
But well, I got to say, the earlier parts left me a little disappointed. I guess I really shouldn’t have expected so much right off the bat, but it was just so…. dragging. And…. dull? Like, “start off in a boring unimportant town, go through literally the same dream sequence literally four nights in a row, then go wander aimlessly in some dull forest for an unreasonably big chunk of play time” kind of dull. It was a monologue-fest for the longest amount of time, with some cluttered fight scenes and (*clutches heart*) pain here and there. Things only started picking up when Konoe finally met Rai, and that was a pretty long way through.
While I had an issue with the starting dullness, I still don’t know how I feel about the “character cards” in lieu of the traditional character sprites that I expected. Although it sliiiiightly ruins the illusion of the characters being in the background rather than isolated from it, as well as the cards cutting some limbs off from view (giving a disappointingly incomplete view of the characters’ ~look~), I’d come to accept that having them as rectangular character cards gave the game some kind of unique, blocky, organized interface, which can be pretty refreshing once you get used to it.
Let’s talk about routes.
I don’t particularly believe in “recommended route orders” because I feel like visual novels are living things that should be breathed and experienced in the way you want to. But of course I have biases — really strong biases, lmao — and if I had to rate the routes from least favorite to daaaamn this the best, the ranking would have to be Asato, then Bardo, then Rai.
I thought I would love Asato‘s route the most because dark skin + black hair + innocent puppy from heaven = a killer combination, but I felt his route lacked in luster compared to the other routes. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be feeling through the route: should I be treating him as an equal, a protector, a pure child to be protected? I felt like what he was built up to be… contradicts what his route wanted to make him out to be. His complexities as a character, while nice in theory, might not have played out in the way they intended them to? (But Asato’s still a precious pure child to me. I want to pet his pretty black hair. Don’t touch him.)
Bardo‘s route was the last route I played. Asato and Rai’s routes were so similar, Bardo felt like a wildcard and was a nice way to culminate the playthrough. It is my personal opinion that Bardo’s route was structured in a way that would make you love Rai more than you love Bardo. Hence, I’d recommend playing Rai’s route right after Bardo’s…. or for a better playing experience– do Rai, then Bardo, then Rai again. 😉 Or that’s probably just me, since I’m not personally that fond of bearded daddy characters, haha. I loved the writing in this route though, specially in its philosophical sense. It was funny, realistic, and really feel-good as my last route.
Rai though. I honestly felt like I was in the Rai route way before the route actually started; after all, he was the one who discovered Konoe’s Sanga abilities, asserted himself as Konoe’s Touga, led Konoe to Ransen, led Konoe to his permanent inn at Ransen, even trained his singing and swordfighting skills aaaall within the confines of the common route. Honestly, this entire game was biased to Rai. He was even a secondary main character in Bardo’s route and a constant presence in Asato’s. The common route also flowed and transitioned the most realistically to his route, which, I vouch, had the best writing and pacing out of all three! His character development was simply the best, ridiculously outstanding and unforced and personally satisfying. It was an honor to witness it unravel right before my eyes. (Plus, his bushy fluffy white tail is the stuff of the sweetest dreams, I just want to hug it and smoosh my face in it and cuddle it to bed. And personally? Konoe and Rai had the best chemistry anyway. At least to me. Heh.)
While I’m still grieving over the severely disappointing lack of a Tokino route (WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT GIVE TOKINO A ROUTE. I AM HONESTLY DISAPPOINTED. I EXPECTED SO MUCH MORE FROM YOU. THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN THIS.), Lamento overall wasn’t bad at all. I definitely had fun. Even if I was here for the fluff and tail fetishes and not for aimless wandering through forests, I think everything held their own charm. The art was nice, specially when the CGs had really detailed and soothing backgrounds. The music, in particular, was exemplary. It held the mood in specific situations nicely, and two particular melodies were so good, I had to undergo a thorough internet search on a mission to add them to my playlist. No regrets.
Now while I wait for Sweet Pool to be fully translated, I declare a short break from BL games as I’ve realized I needed girls in my life. Heterosexual and yuri visual novels, here I come~