Visual Novel Review: Taarradhin [NaNoRenO 2014]


As with all my other reviews, please take this with a grain of salt.

I say this because, well, simply put, my views might not be the views of the majority of those who have played this game.

Cyanide Tea is one of the popular OELVN teams out there. Their games are known to be of high-quality, especially art-wise.

Of course, if were talking about art, then you won't be disappointed. Taarradhin was an artistic masterpiece.

But if we're talking about the writing... well, I'd have to disagree. (Listen to me first before you react, haha.)

taarradhin visual novel review

A seven-year drought plagues the entire region surrounding the country of Nishtif, leading people to wonder if their goddess Scheknt has abandoned them. In contrast, young noblewoman Neqtia has lived a comfortable life insulated from hardship and suffering. One of the poorer surrounding countries, Djedi, sends their usual tribute of natural resources and livestock to Nishtif in exchange for the larger country’s aid and protection. Rumors that two attractive slaves are among the cargo intrigue Neqtia. What lies in store for her after the slaves are brought to live at her family estate…?

First of all, I have to say that, at first, I found the characters to be so bland and uninteresting that I almost couldn't believe I was reading a romance visual novel. Relationships were way too rushed and I couldn't relate to the main character, Neqtia, at all. At first, she seemed like the usual princess, and I thought I could even like her. But no. As the story progressed, she just turned out to be a spoiled daddy's girl who gets everything she wants. Plus, she doesn't seem to think too much about what she says to other people. I felt like her "good" qualities was just being forced unto me, because everything was being said. Stuff such as, "You are a strong woman" "as beautiful and wonderful as you are" "I treat my servants with kindness" were in the dialogue, but I never actually saw those qualities in her. Also, she seemed so heartless at one point, when she was talking about how her slave should feel honored to be sacrificed. Oh. Wow. How classy, miss protagonist. I just didn't know how I could relate to something like that.

Sure, the script is well-written, but the story, for me, is lacking in so many ways. For one, relationships weren't established well. I still don't understand how Jyrik and Neqtia fell in love, when the only romantic thing I saw is the garden where they kissed after just three days. Like, seriously?! I don't believe for one second that Neqtia is actually in love. Okay, fine. Maybe I wouldn't have reacted so strongly if they had shown some parts where the two characters actually showed love for each other. But, no. Everything was too shallow for me. All Neqtia actually said about Jyrik was that he was so "intelligent and handsome" and a couple of other adjectives that just tell me about him. Just that? I know that people do fall in love because of those reasons but, come on. Show us the reasons; don't just say them (or have the characters say them) because it's gonna sound so shallow, just like the two female characters.

Ah! Also, I didn't like how she treated Araerda in her route. Yes, I do know that Araerda is a slave and doesn't know much about how the nobles live. But you don't have to sound so condescending about it. And then you suddenly praise her out of the blue. What? Something about Neqtia just strikes me wrong, and I can't understand why exactly Araerda would fall in love with somebody like her. Although, hey, the former seems to think that everything that Neqtia says is correct or agreeable, so what can I do? *shrugs*

However... these three paragraphs just stand for the bad endings. (Story-wise, they're just as bad, though.) But if you get the true ending, you'll see that things do change for the better. In the true end, you'll get more background for these characters, and I'm happy to say that it does make us understand the characters more. Still, this doesn't make all the other endings less absurd, though, so that's that. To justify all these, I suppose we can just say that everything happens for a reason. It sure did in the true end. I know Camille is a very talented writer, and it definitely shows with most of her games. Heck, that's why I love Cyanide Tea games in the first place! Art draws me in, but it's the story that hooks me.

The best thing about this game is the art, like I've said above. The art is simply wonderful. Well, what else can you expect from Auro-Cyanide? I always love her art. She makes everything look so alive. Also, she did the GUI for this one, and as expected, it's totally awesome. I have to admit that their games do give my laptop problems sometimes (I have an i5 w/ 8GB RAM yet their recent games have always lagged for me) and I suspect that it's because of the fancy GUI. Still, I'm not complaining!

As for the writing itself, there were a couple of errors, like repeating words, missing spaces, and a typo here and there, but they weren't big enough to actually distract me from the game. All writers make typos sometimes, anyway, so I was alright with that. The good thing was that it was quite nicely written, although some parts did feel rushed.

The soundtracks were stock music, but I liked the choices. I think they were quite fitting for the scenes.

All in all, this game was quite decent. Magnificent art and pretty decent writing overall. I guess it just lacked in some of the story factor, which, as some of you may know, is very important to me. I'm not the perfect writer either, but of course, as a reader, people do have a say on these things, I suppose. The main problem with this game is that it broke one important rule in storytelling: Show, don't tell. I understand if they were aiming for a shorter VN, since this was a NaNoRenO release after all, but I feel like it could've been done in some other way without sacrificing the story quality. 

Anyway, I give it 7 out of 10. You might be wondering, 7? After all the things you said you didn't like? Well, see, the true ending justifies all that, like I said. And I truly recommend that guys try this game out as well. At the start, you may be pissed, or you may even want to give up on the absurdity of the story. But I promise you, it definitely gets better. The true ending is worth it, guys. And frankly, that's the only thing that saved this story from being a "pretentious" visual novel. Pretty on the outside, but super shallow on the inside.

For more information and the download link, please go here.

(This is a scheduled post.)

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