One of the things I love about visual novels is that they can do far more than a typical video game since the story is paramount. That is especially true in Isuna Hasekura’s World End Economica trilogy: three visual novels that are, essentially, about monetary policy, the role of central government, capitalism and the stock market. Just on that it’s heady stuff, but then it doubles-down by having the majority of its cast filled in by some of the most Machiavellian cutthroats in gaming as a whole: spending the entire series in a rush to satiate their ambitions.
The best thing about the series is that because of various time skips, you can pick up any episode and not miss a beat. It’s why I want to recommend my personal favorite in the trilogy: Episode 2. Set some time after the dramatic and traumatic end of Episode 1, our protagonist Haru is still trying to recover from his failures. His depression is shaken when Eleanor Schweitzer, a wealthy girl from an aristocratic European family on Earth, arrives on the Moon and asks for his help getting revenge against a Lunar corporation that slighted her family. This opportunity to return to the world of high-stakes stock investing not only unlocks a great financial thriller, but also allows us to explore both Haru and Eleanor’s psychology and why they do what they do. It’s fully recommended from me, as well as the other entries in the trilogy.