11 Eyes Review

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#1 by warfoki
2018-10-29 at 00:57
So, I wasn't quite sure where to fit a full blown review, so I figured I'll make a new thread for this. Been a while since I've written a review or, well, since I've played a proper VN really, so let's see just how rusty I am at this...

--Story--

The basic premise isn't that original, but had potential: a bunch of seemingly random people get drawn into a monster filled world where they have to survive with any means necessary. The only thing is, this world can descend and just finish at random, and then they get back to "normal" reality. Eventually we get more and more info on how this mysterious "Red Night" works, stronger monsters to fight and more serious conflicts, the whole package. That is nice and all.

However, as the story progresses, is also makes less and less sense. Now that I'm done with the entire thing, I cannot avoid realizing that the only reason for protagonist and co not getting massacred on day one, is that the antagonists, despite being full of themselves and talking big, are dumb and incompetent as shit. The entire plot, especially the ending is held together by cheap copouts and plot conveniences. We literally have an omnipotent god character out of fucking nowhere going back in time to make the entire plot not happen, so everyone could have nice, cozy happy endings, completely undermining all the effort, tension, plot, character development, etc.

Aside of that, there's also the issue of the lack of proper routes and the godawful pacing. The first and last third of the VN are quite well done (plot conveniences notwithstanding), pacing is fine, there's character introduction / development, the mystery aspect is built, and so on. The middle third however, is terribly dragged on and just plain boring honestly. Like, if you just let the autoplay function go and not skip, then there's like a 40 minute scene at some point where the cast gathers at Yuka's home and the girls bake cakes, while the idiot friend gets his ass kicked by the local token loli in games. Nothing actually happens. No character development, not plot progression, just lukewarm, bland slice of life comedy. If that scene wasn't there I wouldn't have realized that it was cut. And it is not the only scene like that, far from it. It's basically filler.

As for the routes, well, I wouldn't call them routes honestly: once you pick a love interest, you have like 2 short scenes with them before the final fight, and then a kinda epilogue with a medium length scene and 1-2 long H-scene. The hentai scenes are longer, than the rest of the scenes unique to the heroines. All of their character development and background stories are told during the main storyline. It's almost as if making individual routes was a last minute addition.

--Characters--

Probably the strongest suit of VN honestly (the plot sure isn't...). So we have 4 heroines to choose from.

Yuka - The protagonist's childhood friend. She obviously has a crush on the protagonist, and the protagonist obviously deeply cares for her. It makes going for other heroines awkward, as the entire Vn up till then tunnels you into a romance with her. It probably doesn't help that she is the worst character in the damn game. Obnoxious and annoying. Like at one point the protagonist practices with a wooden sword with Misuzu when the Red Night falls. Misuzu hands him a real sword as a real sword. Yuka's reaction: "That a real sword right? Isn't that too dangerous?" Like, bitch please, we are doing a life-and-death struggle against overwhelmingly powerful enemies and you are worried that you precious love interest is actually armed for once and might just be able to at least defend himself somewhat?! Also, that's a regular sword with no magic powers. He isn't exactly handling nitroglycerin here... God, she was annoying...

Yukiko - Energetic, bubbly genki girl. Up until her glasses comes off, at which point she turns into a cold blooded killer. Fun times! Honestly, she doesn't have much of a chemistry with the protagonist. Their entire romance feels awkward and forced. This is compounded by the fact that if you don't go on her route, she gets together with another character, and quite frankly they have about ten times the chemistry between them. I felt doubly awkward going for her route, because had to turn down Yuka and then I essentially stole a side character's love interest. She was a cool character, but the romance just did not work.

Misuzu - Best girl and best fighter. She is pretty much the reason why the team doesn't get slaughtered. She is by far the most likeable of the cast: coodere without annoying antics, strict but kind, helps the protagonist to overcome his own weakness and low self esteem, saves everyone else in the red night even if she has to risk her life in the process. And she is just adorable in "dere" mode, I really wished she would have a proper route, not just this epilogue-nonsense. She deserved to be in a better VN...

Kukuri - The last heroine, for her "route" you have to get all other main endings. Well, I think the author wrote himself in a corner with her. See, she is mute. She communicates via her sketchbook. Which means she has very few lines, all of which are condensed. She is in the background in almost all scenes, very rarely is the attention centered on her. Thanks to that, her personality seems undeveloped and that makes her uninteresting. And then there's the absolute mindboggling bullshit that is the "true end" attached to her. She is not a terrible character, just... a huge wasted potential.

--Audio & visuals--

Not much to say here, the visuals are a bit outdated by today's standards, but it's serviceable. Nothing to write home about, but no glaring issues either. I would like to commend most of the music, for the most part it did a great job at setting up the atmosphere. The only exception was the loop playing during slice of life comedy sequences, god that track was bloody annoying. Or maybe I'm just associating it with the annoying slice of life parts too much...

--Closing words--

Overall this VN is the epitome of wasted potential. The setup is good, the characters are good, the premise is ripe for high tension, epic fights and the last third delivers some truly emotional scenes and all out fights. But then the incredibly rushed ending with its glaring plotholes and the lack of actual routes ruins the experience. When I first reached the end credits after the final fight, before the "route" / epilogue, I wanted to rate this about 8.5. I really liked it and if that would have been the ending, it would have left a lasting impression. But then it only went downhill from there. Still, it was an overall enjoyable, if somewhat forgettable read and I don't regret sticking with it.

7/10Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 04:29
#2 by kiru
2018-10-29 at 08:58
You did not mention the beginning of the VN, which is one of the utmost worst VN beginnings in existence. At least it's so bad it's funny, but still didn't actually make me play the rest. How the heck can you write the first hour of your story in a way, that any decent adaption would completely ignore it and just start after it?
#3 by warfoki
2018-10-29 at 12:47
I disagree with you there. What works in a (visual) novel it might not work elsewhere. Lisette's background is a crucial part of the plot. And by starting the VN there, it actually raised my interest and curiosity. Much more so than the brooding protagonist on the rooftop. And it also blatantly foreshadowed that there gonna be more here than just highschool slice of life comedy here with some occasional use of superpowers.

As for adaptations skipping it, well, yeah. I expect adaptations to skip Lisettes origin story altogether for the most part with all the genocide and rape. Aside of giving it an otherwise unnecessary adult only rating, it's also orders of magnitude more grimdark than anything else in the VN...
#4 by asaki
2018-10-30 at 03:35
Well back at 2012 11eyes here one of most requested VN to translate, so I admit that it did have some Seinfeld is Unfunny treatment there now that we have Tokyo Babel, Dies Irae, Ayakashibito, and Comyu translated. That said I believe that this is still worth to recommend to the beginner though, and I like that Denwalts manage to subvert the apathy in regard of his 2nd project back at 2016 end (At least in my opinion here).

PS - I agree that the route did have some issue though, because of the structure.Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 03:36
#5 by xg70d
2018-10-30 at 04:01
Now that you mentioned it, your first spoiler covered text reminds me a lot of MLA's ending, except 11eyes' didn't feel as bad as MLA's. Maybe it's because MLA built up my expectations really high, so the nosedive its ending took really disappointed me.

Pretty much agree with all your points, especially with Misuzu being best girl. She's the reason why I read this in the first place, since I didn't like how the anime treated her, so I thought I gotta see her happy end. And yea, it was enjoyable but quite disappointing that I only enjoyed the VN because of Misuzu and not the plot itself.
#6 by warfoki
2018-10-30 at 04:02
As a starting VN, maybe, but honestly, there are stronger contenders there. Also, the translation is... not exactly stellar. Even i, despite my almost nonexistent Japanese knowledge, could pick up that they took some serious liberties with the translation. Plus the entire thing is full to the brim with typos, it's blatantly obvious that nobody bothered to do a QC on it once the initial translation was done.

I mean, overall it's readable English and get the story across just fine, and it's a free fantl, etc. and it allowed me to read a VN, so it's obviously better to have this than nothing, but still... maybe not the best introduction, just as early MG releases were... finicky.Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 04:21
#7 by asaki
2018-10-30 at 04:10
I didn't mind with the liberties though, considering that I find that DS2 star name for Mizusu's weapons (Mizar, Merak, Alioth) was quite cool to me and besides Wallachia is sounds cooler compared to Drasuvania (It's just my preference though). That said, the typo was pretty serious though and it came from me who didn't care much about the translation in the first place.
#8 by warfoki
2018-10-30 at 04:18
@5 Okay, so I've never read MLA. I know, I know it's a quintessential VN, highest ranked on VNDB and all. But, well... my friend went on and on about it years ago when he first read it. he praised the entire thing to high heaven. Problem is he killed the tension of Muv Luv itself, since his description basically told me that the routes in the first, slice of life segment has no relevance and that the second part will always end with the aliens winning and everybody getting killed, and MLA is basically the events of the second part all over again, except now the protagonist knows what'll happen and this way they do have a fighting chance. I'm... VERY sensitive to spoilers, so this killed 2/3 of the VN for me. And then I heard that people were disliking the ending. I jumped to the conclusion that this must mean that the VN got a full tragic ending with most if not all the cast getting wiped out to stop the aliens. As I HATE tragic endings (especially if I know that they'll be like that from the get go), I couldn't bring myself to read it. But with what you have said (which by the way probably should be put into spoiler tags), I think I get it now. Let me guess: after some epic struggles, character deaths and all that, MLA ends with yet another world reset, the protagonist gets thrown back into his original timeline with the normal high school life and nobody but him remembers anything happening at all. Well, that or maybe the main characters retain their memories. Am I right on the money with this one? I might read it if that's the case. While it IS a cheap copout, it's a lot less alienating than the entire "everybody dies, the end" thing. Although, well, not sure how much I'd enjoy that now that I have the end for all three parts revealed to me, knowing the ending of a story usually kills any and all enthusiasm for it on my end...

On the note of the anime adaptation, I usually give the anime adaptation a try after I read a VN. This one managed to lose me in about 10 seconds, as it literally started out with Kukuri killing the protag and committing suicide. I'm like "well, that's no right...". Like, I can't imagine the rest not being butchered if they didn't get such a fundamental scene right and started out the entire thing on a wholly butchered premise...Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 04:31
#9 by kominarachromer
2018-10-30 at 04:24
#8 Most of the stuff you put in the spoiler tag isn't really spoilers; it's all revealed in the first chapter or so of Alternative. I will admit that I wasn't able to finish Alternative (too many infodumps), but I'm pretty sure that it pretty much ends how you think it does. I'd still recommend trying it out; MLA is certainly more about the journey than about the destination.Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 04:25
#10 by warfoki
2018-10-30 at 04:26
It's not spoilers for MLA, but it is spoilers for ML, hence why I hid it.Last modified on 2018-10-30 at 04:27
#11 by kominarachromer
2018-10-30 at 04:32
#10 The whole mecha plot twist is so infamous at this point that I'm not entirely sure what the point of trying to keep it secret is. The marketing for later entries sure as hell doesn't try to hide it, that's for sure. And I don't think it really ruins your experience with the game; though, to be fair, I doubt anything can ruin your experience with Muv-Luv more than reading Muv-Luv will.
#12 by xg70d
2018-10-30 at 07:14
@8 Your guess with the ending was almost spot on, except MC also forgot everything. Would have liked it better if MC alone remembered everything. I think it would have made a better impact that way.

I honestly forgot about how the anime handled things, but I do remember that they actually made Yuka a lot more annoying than she actually is in the VN. That's why I was genuinely surprised when I finished Yuka's route, because she is not that annoying compared to the anime.
#13 by kiru
2018-10-30 at 08:08
@3: I'm not sure what you are talking about. The first hour had no content. That's the issue. You can cut it, and nothing is lost.
#14 by warfoki
2018-10-30 at 11:33
Again, the VN has a lot of content that could be cut, the first hour isn't among them. It has the sack of Besirés, Lisette origins, Yuka and the protagonist's relationship and his sister's suicide. All of that is relevant.
#15 by bobjr2000
2018-10-30 at 14:57
You could cut the first hour and be okay but it makes less sense that way.

In star wars you cut long opening scene and ship being attack and jump straight to planet and story would work fine but would be missing out.

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