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.