Pluck my heartstrings, crush my heart but break me into tiny little pieces? What other game has ever done that to me? From the stereotypical branching stories of EXTRA that makes your heart aflutter as you enjoy the ever cliché anime school life to a completely polar opposite reality over the next chapter of the trilogy, I simply can’t find any breathing room to get my mind at ease with the over-the-top and crazy scenes the game is trying to depict.
While the game itself has three different stories spanned in two separate games, it doesn’t feel fair to make separate reviews when they all function as a whole and a definitive jewel to how the story unfolds and pieces itself together in the weirdest of ways yet most satisfying conclusion. Although it is to say while the first two had to branch stories to meet each ending and the only ALTERNATIVE having its own linear yet lengthy story it does make it a very satisfying yet having dragged out scenes that makes you want to pull the R Trigger to fast forward.
Starting off let’s first meet the characters that defined the game as a masterpiece before dismantling the bits and pieces of the story. Shirogane Takeru, the main protagonist and overall, the love nucleus so to speak that attracts the main heroines in shaping up the story. The average lucky pervert and dense as fog when it comes to girls and love. He starts off as being the clueless guy that can never get a hint but eventually goes through some sheer hardships that makes him dependable yet still breakable at times considering how the story went forward. Kagami Sumika, a childhood friend and the average girl-next-door. A klutz and comedy-starter so to speak that has hidden feelings for him. Mitsurugi Meiya, the rich and all-powerful girl to which she claims that is destined for Takeru that started off by waking up in the same bed with him. With her over-the-top decisions, the first chapter of the trilogy can never find anything normal to keep me sane even for a second. Sakaki Chizuru, the Class Rep with glasses, the typical honor student-type that does things very seriously and always reprimands Takeru for his behavior. Ayamine Kei, a free spirit that goes off by skipping classes and talking in fragmented sentences that confuses people especially Takeru. Due to her bad habits, she has a bad relationship with the Class Rep. Tamase Miki, the class mascot that has cat-like ears in the form of her hairstyle and spear-like hair tips. She’s very cheerful and always tries to stop every conflict between her friends. Yoroi Mikoto, the Valgern-On buddy which always gets kidnapped by her father to take trips with him across the world which led to being your survival guru that knows everything about the wild. Jinguuji Marimo and Kouzuki Yuuko, the homeroom and physics teacher respectively and best friends with each other. Marimo being the ditzy and unreliable teacher and Yuuko is the genius physics teacher who loves manipulating people through different circumstances that shape up the entire series. While there are still many others that make up the whole series let’s skip that as its better to let you figure them out for yourselves.
The game starts off at a quick glance over the childhood life of both Takeru and Sumika which afterwards was replaced by a soft sensation as the sleeping Takeru wakes up while touching Sumika’s chest when she went up to wake him up as her daily routine. After a few exchanges of words and excuses, he then flies off to the stars with a superheroine punch before they set off to go shopping.
Meanwhile, the next day while waking up from a shouting Sumika, he then realizes an unknown woman was sleeping beside her in bed. With no idea of what was going on, the childhood friend with her superheroine strength manages to undo the chain lock from the door and goes up the stairs to see the two hiding beneath the covers. But after a few excuses, flies off he goes before they went to school only to realize that…
Not to spoil much of the story, this is where I fall off in the narrative as those next parts where pretty predictable as like any other rom-coms that I’ve played or watched through anime over the past few years. The EXTRA chapter was a mere introduction yet also a gamble that could either make or break the gamer’s interest in the entirety of everything that’s going to happen. While I can’t particularly understand or at the very least say that I felt interested in the first game, I wouldn’t want it to be done any other way either. As it makes a whole lot of sense and gave me much appreciation to it after completing the full trilogy. The game is comedic and full of quirkiness but also too cliché with the usual high school events being thrown in so it’s hard to keep myself entertained for long.
Now, this is where we drift off to the next chapter and if you don’t want SPOILERS, best to skip to the end until you’ve started this chapter in the trilogy. Although if I’m being really honest, it’s a game that would be much more enjoyable while going blindly and taking as little knowledge as possible.
After spending much time in your average high school setting, living the life of an ordinary high schooler but in the face of tons of oppai, it’s time to wake into your new reality. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the world as you know it has changed and there you are waking up in your room without Sumika to wake you up or Meiya sleeping beside you. Without spending much time to think about it you practically walk out of your home only to see nothing in plain sight aside from a broken-down humanoid machine next to your house. And while you’re convinced of the idea that it is nothing but a dream you try to walk around ‘til you get to school only to realize that it is now turned into a military base training cadets to fight off unknown forces. With a bit of exchange of words with the guards, you get thrown off in jail only to meet a familiar face which led you to become one of cadets-in-training.
It’s a very straightforward game. Much like the first, you have your branching stories and character endings to complete but unlike the previous you’re in a school turned military base trying to learn the basic combat mechanics, tactics and training to be a pilot of a TSF a human-like machine designed to battle the unknown forces that are trying to devour Earth. While it does feel like a real military-type VN it does still, however, get voided by the usual small talk and events with the heroines. Something that I really enjoyed despite the world being torn apart.
Probably the most defining moment to which the game set its sight on from the very beginning. A game set as a linear one-ending type of story that is lengthy and provides some meat while also giving some fat that ends up dragging on for an unusually long playthrough.
As the title suggests, this game starts off as the ALTERNATIVE reality to which Takeru, from a hard-boiled military veteran, suddenly wakes up back in time on the same day like any of the other titles, October 22. Where he tries to relive his past, a war-torn land filled with the same forces as the other while keeping his military-trained self. Fixated on trying to set a better outcome than the previous, he tries to change the past with the hazy and jumbled memories he kept.
This is the part of the game where he tries to undo his mistakes yet gets bombarded with other consequences that could eventually put him in despair. A game that mixes both EXTRA and UNLIMITED timelines in place and putting in the relation between them. Despite being linear, it does give that sort of intrigue and hook-factor to keep myself glued to the screen despite the long line of texts that just keeps dragging on and on. It makes you want to cheer him on as he tries to save what he’s trying to protect.
This is the point in time where I also felt that I’ve taken for granted how the first chapter of the trilogy played out and wished that I could just go back to the first, appreciate what I had and never let it go again. EVER!
As a trilogy game, it was a bit hard to cope with all of the events that are taking place as well as the long line of texts that makes you want to pull the trigger. With EXTRA being a bit of a stereotypical setting that may or may not attract you as much, however, it is a masterpiece as a whole and one that I cannot stress enough to put into words. The characters development from something as cubs into a fierce yet charming nature of life. While the characters had drastic changes in their lifestyle for the span of the trilogy, it is one that I find endearing as all of them fit well in the next chapters while also maintaining their unique traits and personalities. While the art style shows some age, it still manages to make a very good impression and with the combat scenes that doesn’t feel stiff. Providing action and excitement that no other game I’ve played has done before. Pair it with some voice acting, sound effects and background music that doesn’t feel forced, it made such great impact and made me cry – a lot!
Definitely a worthy purchase and since it’s in a handheld form it’s something you can play anytime and anywhere. Just keep in mind that it’s not a game catered to kids because of some adult-content that even I, in my mid-20’s, find the revelations in the final part of UNLIMITED to be one that I can’t swallow. Something that may take a day or a week to get off my system because of how absurd it played out.