Saturday, February 28, 2009

Starting Watanagashi; thoughts on DS game

Hi all,

We hope you're enjoying Onikakushi! I've done a rough translation of the first few days of the next arc, Watanagashi, but there's still plenty left to the story, since it's even longer than Onikakushi. Not to mention the cleanup and adaptation so it makes sense and doesn't look like something run through Babelfish. Since we're planning to do just 2 or 3 total releases for the game, instead of one for each chapter, it'll be a while until the next release, but we'll keep you guys posted on how it's coming.

Along the way, I've also taken the opportunity to try out the Nintendo DS version of the game: "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kizuna". NOTE: we are NOT translating the DS games, just the PC games; I only mentioned the DS Kizuna game because I tried it out for fun, sorry if there was any confusion. The first game, called "Tatari", treats the first three original arcs as branches from a common 'dating game'-type scenario. One fun part of this are the 'emotion points', where you click on a wheel that has you react to the situation on a scale from 'serious' to 'joking' and 'passionate' to 'calm', leading to 2-4 different possible outcomes. They don't usually affect how the story goes, and often end up with you (Keiichi) losing badly in four different ways, but I had fun using the scenario tree to go back and find all the different possibilities. Once you get more into each story proper, you don't get any more choice points, but there are more voiced lines, which makes up for that.

I discovered that quite a few lines were changed from the original PC game for Alchemist's DS release (and PS2 release too, apparently). And I'm not talking about the alternative outcomes - I mean the exact same scene, just different lines. The first instance happens pretty early, when you first meet Mion. In the PC game, she talks about how Keiichi's even growing a beard... but she's not looking at his face, and it's followed by some crude banter that leads to him 'almost' opening his zipper. In the DS & PS2 game, she says she saw Keiichi buy a razor, and asserts that she knows everything, from what he had for breakfast to Rena's measurements. It's also funny banter, but definitely toned down. The same went for other instances of semi-crude humor in the PC game. They also cut the more blatant cultural references, one of which cracked me up in Watanagashi but comes off a bit, well, lamer in the DS game (you'll recognize it when you get to see it I'm sure.) But I can understand it as a requirement when doing a commercial game release instead of an independent doujinshi production.

Another thing I noticed was that, although it's interesting how they managed to fit the different scenes from the three games into different paths of the same timeline, this often results in you finding things out in a different order than in the original games, which I think lessens their impact somewhat. Still, when you already know the story, it's fun to try this version and see the different permutations. I'm not planning to get any more of the DS games, since all the other arcs apparently just run as straight read-throughs, and we've got our hands full with translating the PC material so I'm not really interested in the extra arcs yet either.

I ordered this from, which has free shipping to the USA for orders of more than $39, so this game qualified by itself. I've also been inspired to order the drama CD's for Onikakushi and Watanagashi from there as well, since they have the same voice actors as the anime and games, and I'm curious to see whether the CDs stick closer to the original script *heh*.

Anyway, time to help resolve a tense stand-off with a biker gang. Later!