Hate Plus is the sequel to Analogue: A Hate Story. I played Hate Story on the recommendation of a good friend and I rather enjoyed it. I didn’t write a blog post review on it though because… I don’t know why. I wasn’t really in the habit of blogging at that point. But to put it simple, it’s a bit of a visual novel. You have some degree of interaction in the story, but overall you’ll be reading the same story every time. There are some options that are available throughout the story that change some dialogue, change some endings (I think the first game had 5 or 6?) and the joy is in the core story as well as how the character endings change. Fun stuff. Personally I tend to read visual novels for the
women plot and while I tend to be bothered by adding clicks between me and the women plot I generally enjoy these.
I give this game(?) a VERY tentative thumbs up.
Hate Plus… is arguably a visual novel. It’s a visual novel in that you will be reading a story and it’s actually a pretty good story. The story is presented through decrypted diary entries which is great as a narrative device. Even though you’ll probably read the entries out of order, it’s actually somewhat engaging. It actually feels like the diary entries are more fun to read out of order because then we can piece together the visual novel ourselves. The stories are short enough (there’s one main story and a couple of sub-stories) that it’s actually possible to use this narrative style. This method doesn’t scale up well unless you’re really good at tying threads together with skill on the order of George R. R. Martin. These stories are only tangentially related, in A Song of Ice and Fire I don’t think there’s a single unimportant set of details. Yes, even the food scenes.
The characters are all fairly interesting with realistic interactions. I like how the character design is really thought out. There’s not so much on character development (the game is too short) but that’s fine, that’s not the point. These diary entries are just about… life. I guess it makes sense considering that the purpose of diaries is to write about life but I don’t really know any other way to put it.
The biggest flaw in the game is execution. The core of the game’s story is *Mute, the character depicted on the title art (seen at the top of this page). The *Mute of the past doesn’t quite seem to be the *Mute of the present so you get to dig around figuring out what happened, ultimately uncovering the beginning of the totalitarian regime that died out from the first game.
This game has a lot of fluff. That’s to be expected since it’s a diary game; but the amount of fluff in this game seems exceedingly so. In the prequel it took you maybe one to three minutes to read each diary entry. This game takes around five minutes an entry and while that may not seem like much, that’s an increase of close to 100%. The rule is not “Longer is better” but rather “Be as long as you need to be”. Unfortunately, from my point of view, some of these entries are too long. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are legitimately great reads, but they can drag on when you’re in “get to the point” mode.
I think that by far, the worst addition to this game though, is the time restricted setup. Yes, you can change your computer clock to skip it. No, I don’t care. Why was a mechanic like that put into the game in the first place? The rule is, you need to wait 12 hours after reading the day’s worth of diary entries (usually 12-18 entries). Why was this unnecessary barrier to content added? I paid for the whole game today. I didn’t pay for 1/3 of the game today, 1/3 tomorrow, and 1/3 the day after that. This is unreasonable and severely hurt my opinion of the game. There are also several sections of the game where you are literally forced to wait twenty minutes to an hour to proceed. This. Is. Frustrating. Design.
I’m actually going to sit on the fence here. It’s not a game that you can recommend to anyone. I personally found it to be… acceptable. But you have to remember that I’m a little bit weird. I liked the fluff even if it dragged on a little longer than it should’ve. I found the way the totalitarian regime began to be interesting. I like the characters. So while the time delay execution style is retarded, I tried to not let it get in my way. So my last word will be a conditional. If you enjoy fluff and reading about things entirely unrelated to the content at hand (even if only briefly) and you want to learn about the rise of a Confucian society, maybe catch this game on sale. If you need the linear path or even a mostly linear path to progress through your games, maybe give this one a pass. As always, thanks for reading.