fault – milestone two side: above Switch Review

You don’t have to guess twice to realise that fault – milestone two side: above hails from the land of the used panty vending machine from the title alone. So let’s start by breaking down the title. This is the sequel to the widely successful doujin (hobbyist) game fault – milestone one; a “kinetic” novel where a princess and her bodyguard (both stunningly beautiful but gritty and cool anime girls) accidentally teleport to the other side of the world when their country is invaded and have an epic journey home. It’s easily the best visual novel I’ve read with no choices allowed. Scratch that, there was one choice that gave one different line of text, groundbreaking gameplay. Make no mistakes, this is not a game but a pure visual novel. In 2015 milestone two side: above launched on PC. It’s “side: above” because the story became too long for developer Alice in Dissonance to want to sell it for $15 and was split in two (above and below). Fair enough when it’s a game lovingly made by two people tirelessly working on them for years. Rather than chapter, “milestone” is used as it’s unique, more grandiose and hints that each milestone will be different in feel and narrative direction. Finally and I assume “fault” is because the world and all it’s people are full of faults and problems, such as the reoccurring theme of discrimination throughout the first two games. 

Our heroines return, one with a new hair do.

After a brief recap you jump straight into where the cliffhanger of milestone one left off. The only problem is with the time between milestone one and this, I’ve lost a lot of my attachment to characters which was amazingly well built up in the 5-6 hour original adventure. Then within the first few minutes there was an interesting mini twist that had my jaw dropped and my interest sucked right back in. fault does not disappoint when it comes to intrigue.

There’s some great bit of wisdom in milestone two.

Princess Selphine, her trusty guard Ritona and their new best bud from the first game: Rune continue their quest to return to their home country of Rughzenhaide from across the other side of the world. Soon the gang are back in the mana rich inner poll and don’t have to worry about being trapped away from home forever. However the focus of this chapter has a slightly different cast of characters for the most part, though I can’t give anything away without spoilers.

One of the two lines in the game making it utterly obvious fault is written by a man.

I’d advise revisiting some of the game world lore in the encyclopedia to give yourself a better understanding before starting as although this world is mana rich, a lot of the terminology isn’t your usual visual novel/JPG fluff.

Yummy…

As with milestone one, the sequel portrays an imperfect world full of discrimination and racism that you cannot escape from, no matter where you go. This time it features a colossal class divide between the neighbouring towns/countries of Neo Sasary and Viscanta, the corruption within and the takeaway that life isn’t always fair. If you become absorbed it’s quite hard hitting stuff and a refreshing change from friends can do anything. 

Most backgrounds are lovely but you do get a few black screens.

The story not so subtly hints that your party will get separated as one character keeps banging on about the importance of being able to stay in contact. Low and behold that’s exactly what happens with the whole story in general feeling far more scripted without the surprise twists and turns of the original. This time round things aren’t as epic even if they are still life and death situations, it just doesn’t feel so imminent and pressing as milestone one. On the whole this feels more like a side quest in an RPG that doesn’t progress the main story but you get some nice character growth. Even the group becoming separated becomes a side story in itself as the focus for side: above is on the struggle of the locals and the spark of change.

Some say sarcasm is actually the lowest firm of wit.

The already excellent character art of milestone one has been improved with characters displaying far more expression. Unfortunately interactions with bit characters happen with a black screen as a background which does ruin the immersion. Luckily for important scenes even minor one and done characters have artwork. 

I wouldn’t mess with Rune.

There’s no voice acting, just mouths that arbitrarily open and close which actually left me confused who was talking once as they were characters I didn’t remember from the first game. During reading you’ll experience a whole lot of almost silence, just some quiet background noises, though music kicks in adding to the more important scenes. 

I forgot these guys existed.

You can’t have a good Japanese game without some translation errors, one that really jarred me was “Why keep same with the world clearly isn’t?” Which is almost meme worthy. However I can forgive fault for this as it is a Japanese doujin (hobbyist) game and was originally crowdfunded to be translated with some translations being done by fans. 

Well you’re clearly not evil.

I found it really odd there’s no option to view controls so I pressed all buttons in turn to see what they did which to my surprise ended up crashing the game. The other that one crash, fault runs perfectly on Switch and it’s nice and handy to have touch controls implemented. 

Yes, he is talking about unmentionables, though this isn’t a fan service filled visual novel.

All in all fault – milestone two side: above is worthy of your time as it’s an interesting continuation of the story and good enough that I couldn’t help repeatedly wishing it was an anime instead of a visual novel. 

A huge thank you to Alice in Dissonance and publishers Pheonixx for providing the review code. fault – milestone two side: above is available now digitally on the eShop for £13.49/€14.99/$14.99.

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