Narcissu comes to PSP!
There’s be a spoilerly review (well more like rough analysis?) later, so for now make do with this one.
Narcissus ~ Moshimo ashita ga aru nara ~ (“Narcissus ~ If there is a tomorrow ~”) for the PSP is currently the omnibus that encompasses all the existing versions of Narcissu created.
Inside, the game contains:
- Chapter 1 ~ Silver Coupe – the new name for Narcissu 1
- Chapter 2 – Red Roadster – the new name for Narcissu Side 2nd
- Final Chapter ~ Doughnut – the newest PSP exclusive scenario.
- Narcissu Side stories – the four stories that were in Narcissu Die Dritte Welt (aka Narcissu 3)
- Various epilogues – Epilogues for Makie, Himeko, Yuu, some are from previous games, some are new
- Classic mode Narcissu 1 and 2 once you clear through everything else
In all there is a TON of content. As of this writing, I’ve spent 20 hours reading the game, and have cleared through all the stories that Tomo Kataoka had written, so all the Narcissu chapters, prologues, epilogues. This leaves the 3 guest scenario writers in Die Dritte Welt, and the Classic Mode versions.
Despite reading all that time spent the game indicates that I’ve only read about 40% of all the script text. Even considering that I stop and listen to all the voice clips while playing and that adds significantly to the time, there is seriously a huge amount of text to read.
I had bought a PSP specifically to play this game, and had also ordered the DX package of the game, which comes with a big map documenting the route taken in Narcissu 1, a cute little cell phone screen cleaner with Setsumi on it, and a small hardcover book with art and comments and such.
Inside the game itself, there is a music mode that doubles as a music player. It handles repeat/repeat one/shuffle and contains all the music in the games. As you play through and hear them, they unlock in the player for your enjoyment. Tracks from all the versions of the games are included of course, as is many new tracks, and even ones that aren’t on the Vocal Album that came out around the same time as the game.
Differences from the original games
One of the major reasons I went and bought a PSP to play this game was because all the voice acting had been re-recorded for this version. Also, since ther are two sets of voice clips, I’ve heard that the best clip out of both versions were picked out for use in the final game. The differences in Setsumi’s lines are very apparent, typically being slightly softer and gentler. Other character’s acting also differed in places if you listen more carefully, all for the better.
The most obvious change to everyone is that the art has been replaced. The character art is now handled by the artist that handled all of Narcissu 3 and there are many more CG showing the various characters. I’m not particularly fond of the particular art style, but it’s not horrible by any stretch of the imagination.
The black bars on the top and bottom of the screen have been removed, in favor of art filling the whole screen. You can get the original artwork back when you go to the Classic Modes for Narcissu 1 and 2.
The scripts themselves have changed slightly. The most obvious was the purging of all direct references to brand names and companies and institutions in the script. The Eunos is now simply the ‘roadster’, Himeko doesn’t call herself a “fake Catholic” any more, but “fake believer/faithful.” There’s other very small things that sane people probably wouldn’t normally notice.
Narcissu 1 had a few more material changes added to it, the character Makie from the light novel version is introduced, and Yuka makes a brief appearance as well. Their appearance adds a few scenes here and there, but ultimately their addition doesn’t change how the story unfolds, they merely add connections to the other stories in the series.
Narcissu DDW’s scenarios don’t appear to have been changed, but I’m not nearly as familiar with them as with the other games. There might have been the same light editing to blot out references. I know that “Chiisa na Iris” had at least 1 CG changed slightly for reasons I can’t discuss due to spoilers.
The new scenario
The newest and supposedly final chapter of the Narcissu series, Doughnut, is a story set in the past, before the 7F hospice even existed. From there, it introduces us to Makie Hiroshi and Kusaka Youko and tells of how the 7F came into being, as well as how the tradition of the rules started.
Overall, I liked the scenario. It tries to come to some answers to the various questions raised in the previous games. Is it true that the ones leaving and the ones left behind shall never meet? Just thoughts and emotions were behind the rules. What is it that those leaving want? And so on. There’s no right answer to these questions, but the characters come to their own answers to them for us to watch.
I’ve mentioned that the voices had been re-recorded, but it’s also true that every last speaking character in the game have voices now. This includes the random old ladies on the 7F, the nurses with 2 lines, the various protagonists, everyone.
Speaking as someone who loves voice acting, Yanase Natsumi’s acting as Himeko in her final days were brilliant. That particular epilogue scene was exactly the same as the version in the C75 mini novel (see the Other Works section), and was later included in unvoiced form in Narcissu 3. I have to admit that I bought the game (and a PSP…) just to hear this particular epilogue acted out, and am completely satisfied with it.
Tomonaga Akane got to play a role she doesn’t normally get and did a wonderful job with Youko. The updated voices of Setsumi are very nice, just slightly softer and more “rounded” than in the originals. Thanks to the re-recording, Setsumi sounds more consistent through the entire series, (the originals were recorded about 2 years apart after all).
Many epilogues had been written for the series as time went by, and they’ve all been gathered here, as well as many new ones added. Setsumi’s Mother, Makie, Himeko, Yuka, Yuu, Setsumi, they all get a bit of time in the various epilogues that flesh out a bit more of what happens after the main stories end. Nothing very concrete, but just enough to lift your spirits a bit.
If you are able to read the text and are a fan of the series, I highly recommend people get the PSP version. There is just so much wonderful content to experience.
For those who don’t know the language but are fans… I probably can’t recommend it. it is a huge amount of text, and aside from the music mode, there’s not much in the way of content for it. If it’s any consolation, at least all the speaking parts are voiced, I guess.
Still, it runs fine on my US PSP, and the DX pack might still be available on amazon.jp. Whoever wants it can go ahead and get it still.
For those who can’t find a copy of Narcissu 3 any more to play, this is the only way to get access to those stories.
My only gripes with the game is that the voice clips make the PSP spin up the UMD every so often to load the voice files, and it’s slightly distracting if you’re in the middle of a good scenes. It’s okay if you’re playing in a noisy environment like a subway on the way to work, but then you have other reasons for not wanting to hit a climatic scene on a crowded train.