[Visual Novel Review]: Rising Angels: Reborn

Rising Angels

Developer – IDHAS Studios

Publisher – IDHAS Studios and Sekai Project

Length – 2-10 Hours

Original English Language Visual Novels (OELVNs for short) are an up-and-coming group of titles that haven’t yet been able to really make their mark on the industry. A lack of funding makes it tough to compete with the quality visual novel readers are used to seeing. While Rising Angels: Reborn isn’t the OELVN to end that trend it is one of the better examples I’ve read. It suffers from some of the same problems I’ve seen in the genre before but it’s also a refreshing example of what a good Western visual novel can be like. Given its short length and low, low price of free, I don’t hesitate to recommend it.

A Special Investigations and Tactics Officer (SITO) in the Katajian Directorship, Natalie Puccile has spent her career to date on a backwater space station in the middle of nowhere. Now with a chance to prove herself on a new ship and with a new crew, she’s understandably excited to find out what’s in store. Despite her enthusiasm, however, getting everyone on the K.S.S. Nimross to work together is going to be tricky. Perhaps it would be easier if her fellow officer wasn’t horribly racist, her commander didn’t hate SITOs and the ship’s doctor didn’t ooze sleaze, but she’ll probably get there in the end. Unfortunately, she may not have the time she needs before something goes horribly wrong.

Rising Angels2

The first thing that struck me about Rising Angels was that the writing style was wonderful. Both the narration and character dialogue flow as well as I’d expect from a commercial novel, which hasn’t always been the case with my previous OELVN experiences. Without being a comedy, the novel works in humor without throwing it in your face and without trying to copy common Japanese tropes. All in all, the whole package comes across as a well-written Western-style visual novel. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that English VNs shouldn’t try to mimic Japanese ones – it’s just refreshing to read a production that goes its own way. Having said all of that, Rising Angels doesn’t do anything new in the story department. While it does a good job of maturely exploring themes and getting you involved in the story, it’s not a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression. The story lacks an emotional impact and is too short for that to happen. Still, I can appreciate the experience for how enjoyable it was overall.

Again, given the length of the story, it’s hard to develop truly deep characters, though I think Rising Angels does a good job with what it has to work with. Some characters get a little shafted but the main two have a decent amount of story behind them that gets explored and it’s easy to follow their thoughts and empathize with them. As with my opinion of the plot, I’m not dying to see any more of the characters while still being able to recognise the quality of thought behind them. I could complain that some of the individuals involved are used more as plot devices than characters themselves but with the time allotted to them and the size of the cast I’m willing to forgive that point.

Rising Angels3

As with many OELVNs, Rising Angels’ visual assets aren’t fantastic. They’re a lot better than some of the other examples I’ve seen, especially in terms of backgrounds and sprites, but they still leave much to be desired. Once again, they’re fine but they’re not going to wow you. When it comes to the sound track though, I was pleasantly surprised by how fitting each track was and even how catchy some of them were. My only complaint here is that the visual novel as a whole would have benefited from more music, as some scenes that deserve a track didn’t have one (and there’s no voice acting, which doesn’t help). Additionally, there were a few too many grammatical errors and typos than would have been acceptable in a full commercial release, which I’m hoping will be fixed up in the future.

Summary – Rising Angels: Reborn is one of the first OELVNs I’ve played that has really shown what Western visual novels can accomplish. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, suffering from the same budget constraints as its fellows, but the quality of writing and limited but good characterization make for an overall enjoyable experience that I’m happy to recommend. If it means anything at all, there’s a sequel novel that has recently been Kickstarted, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what IDHAS Studios comes up with.

Score: 7/10 – Enjoyable

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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8 Responses to [Visual Novel Review]: Rising Angels: Reborn

  1. Overlord-G says:

    Ah yes, Rising Angels. I’m waiting for the games to be 100% complete before tackling. If adding Otome routes is all that’s missing then I will “plread” them sooner.

    • Silvachief says:

      At the time of plreading (i’m not entirely sure that will catch on XD) I wasn’t aware there were more novels in the works, so unfortunately that avenue is closed to me.
      I’ll be interested to see what you think about it; the content has a very different feel to other visual novels or anime.

      • Overlord-G says:

        The word’s an OG original so nobody would be foolish enough to copy it, just like yupperscotch.
        It has yuri routes so of course I’ll cover it at some point.

  2. fire says:

    In general, what do you think of OELVNs? I’ve only ever tried Katawa Shoujo, and while I liked it, KS seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. Most OELVNs seem simply badly written? Still, I would read Fault – Milestone One – just for the art. I’ve checked out the opening sequence, and I swear, the graphics and production values are stratospheric – orders of magnitude beyond any other visual novel I’ve seen.

    SubaHibi’s translation has been completed, and so has its editing – there’s only a 2nd editing run-through and quality control left, which should take about a month. Still on track for the 20th July release date. The last few days have been amazing, seeing the translation/editing progress go up by the hour. Salvation is near.

    • Silvachief says:

      I’m not quite at the point where i’m ready to judge them. The problem is that the visual novel has been part of Japanese entertainment for a long time – there’s money to be had in the medium and so they have a number of experienced companies, writers and artists pumping them out. OELVNs don’t have that kind of background and are just starting to find their feet. In general, they don’t have the funding or experience to stand up to their Japanese counterparts and so i’m not comfortable with writing them off quite yet. Once we get some decent-sized projects that attract good writers I think we’ll start to see a breed of visual novel that’s just different rather than worse. I’ll be interested to see whether Western VNs and Eastern VNs are significantly different when the dust settles.

      Fault was pretty decent and has some good visual design behind it but I wouldn’t get my hopes up for either the art or the story. I suspect you’ve seen the best of all of the pieces and can only go down from here =P I mean, having played it, i’ve seen art that’s leaps and bounds better and we’ve played many of the same VNs. For the record, too, Fault is not an OELVN.

      I can only imagine what reaching the end of such a monumental project would feel like. I’m pretty excited for the VN!

    • fire says:

      Yeah, that’s true – it’s simply that there are better writers working in the Japanese VN industry. A vicious circle, then – OELVNs will never get good enough unless the fanbase/market is big enough, but the fanbase/market will never grow to critical mass unless OEVLNs were popular enough in the first place.

      Regarding Fault – ha, that’s true. Looking at the in-game screenshots… is underwhelming. It seems like Fault basically spent all its money on the opening sequence.

      How do you intend to keep yourself entertained during placement? VNs are usually a good way to burn time, but Narcissu and Hanachirasu are both pretty short. I’m surprised you’ve not read Narcissu before, though – it’s one of older, and more well-known VNs. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it – it’s quite interesting, actually, in that the author made an effort to keep the story accurate, medically.

      • Silvachief says:

        I think that it will take time, but eventually we’ll get a writer that knows their stuff and has good ideas. Then there’s the question of whether they can hook up with a decent artist and programmer. Will they ever become as big as in Japan? I doubt it. Heck, manga and anime are major contributors to their culture and visual novels follow along after them. Still, it’s not impossible and i’m going to continue giving them a chance whenever I see one that piques my interest (or I am sent a review copy).

        Speaking of review copies (and OELVNs), I was given one for Sunrider Academy quite a while ago so my next read will be Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius followed by that. Afterwards i’ll move to SubaHibi if it’s out and if not i’ll bridge the gap with Narcissu. It’s actually pretty fun determining how accurate medical details are in media; Monster (the anime), for example, was fairly impressive with what it got right. I’ll be sure to mention that detail in the inevitable review!

        I’ve also got a selection of brand new Steam Sale goodies to try out and i’ve been playing a bit of XCOM lately. Oh, and there’s study…

      • Silvachief says:

        Also, now finished with the first 5 volumes of HakoMari. Throw me an email if you want to talk about it. I’ll warn you though, my opinion’s not pretty XD

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