JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017
End of the Year Lists

JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017

3) Herald Books 1 and 2 (Wispfire)

‘What would it have actually been like living in a colonial empire?’

Tackling that question in fiction usually leads to one of two results: either you right from the point-of-view of the gilded aristocracy or from someone fighting for the cause of -insert indentured class here-. Rarely does it actually focus on day-to-day life: the cold, hard reality for people trying to make a living in imperial society and government. With that in mind, I started Herald with a great deal of trepidation. However, my fears were eased when I saw that life on the titular ship Herald was strict, often harsh; but not unfair.

That’s important to the story. To properly navigate his new position, the protagonist Devan Rensberg (and the player by default) has to decide what’s more important: crying foul over ever real and perceived injustice, or positioning himself so that he can make important decision when it matters. You see a lot in Herald, but most importantly you see who to trust and who to hold in suspicion is not black-and-white. Nothing is concrete and very rarely do you as the player feel 100% confident in your decision.

That is just good story-telling from where I sit. To say nothing of its presentation that reminds me of my childhood with Windows 95, Herald is a unique adventure determined to explore the most common element in even the most unfair of societies: the human element. And with a potential revolution and war on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see where the next chapter of Devan’s adventure will take us.

Written by JP3 - December 31, 2017

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  • P January 2, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Almost half of those aren’t even VN… Story rich isn’t doesn’t always mean VN you know. Some of this are way closer to a point & click or just and adventure game than a VN. Though there’s still debate over what a VN really is, I don’t think A Mortician’s Tale, Herald, Detention and Old Man’s Journey are even close to being visual novels. Maybe they’re great games, but not of the VN kind.

    • VNsNowGuy January 17, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hello! While I understand your point-of-view, I clearly disagree with it. If your argument is simply that there is more gameplay involved with those titles in particular than just a static image and narrative, I would remind you that the following games are marketed and accepted as visual novels that feature similar gameplay elements:

      – Danganronpa
      – 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
      – Hotel Dusk: Room 215
      – The Silver Case
      – Symphonic Rain
      – Policenauts
      – Sakura Wars

      Now, outside of that, all I can tell you is that on this site, we have seen both Japanese and English creators evolve the formula. You may not see them as VNs and that is fair enough. However, none of them are without precedent and, if anything, should be commended for not sticking to a strict formula and giving us something still in the visual novel medium, but also uniquely their own thing.