Review by Eric Kelly

Game Review: Cartagra: The Affliction of the Soul (PC)

Game Review: Cartagra: The Affliction of the Soul (PC)

Well, this is perhaps the first review on this site that is for an adult visual novel. Adult visual novel does describe Cartagra best though. As it's more than just straight up porn. The game has a much larger story to tell, and it's a pretty interesting one. 

Cartagra's setting takes place in Japan during the 1950's, post World War II. Japan is still recovering, but there are still many towns and cities that are poor, while the rich seemingly do nothing but get wealthier. Poor people get poorer and struggle to deal with making it in this environment. Takashiro Shugo is one such individual. He is a former soldier who used to be a police detective following the war, now he is doing a bunch of odd jobs for money. His former Chief asks him to perform an investigation at the request of an important man. This takes him to the city of Ueno. His task is to search for a missing person. Soon after beginning the investigation, a series of grisly murders take place. Of course Shugo agrees to investigating this as well, thinking the other case might have ties to his missing person. 

Of course, this game also has sex scenes that Shugo takes part in. Although it's not really the main focus of the game. There's only about a handful of scenes to view depending on the path you take through the game. There are multiple endings, although there are more bad endings than good ones, with the true path unlocking upon receiving the normal ending. The sex scenes in particular are very detailed in their descriptions, and thankfully are written in such a way that it shouldn't feel embarrassing to readers. The voice work also sounds convincing. If the sex doesn't bother you. You should be pleased to know that it does a good job at being titillating. 

The core story is good, and I don't think it's possible for a non-sex version to exist, as the themes of adult relationships are tied closely to the game's narrative. The story in essence is largely about how people's desires and obsessions can turn them into the worst monsters. The soundtrack is decent, but the artwork is terrific. The murder scenes are pretty gory and unsettling. While most visual novels use static imagery to keep costs down, this one is no exception. However, there are some scenes where there is a interactive like comic book feeling. This brings a sense of movement usually not seen in most visual novels. The only real negatives are that there is no spoken dialog for Shugo, instead there only being one instance where he does have dialog. As you are actually experiencing that scene from another person's perspective. Makes me wonder why they didn't have him completely voiced elsewhere though. Another negative is that while there is an auto-text advance option it's to fast to read the dialog. This is even on the slowest setting. While fast readers might be able to read every line, this isn't true of Shugo's. If almost as if it were timed to match his planned voiced dialog, yet he doesn't have any, so it zooms by quickly. The only way to really counteract this is to slow down the text speed(separate from auto) to about half or lower. Kind of a pain. The visual novel is great beyond those niggling issues though. Recommended for fans of the genre, and those who don't mind a bit of sex. 

Acquisition Method: Digital code provided by Mangagamer. $34.95 Retail (PC)

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Really great story that has a little bit of horror, mystery and sexy.
  • Beautiful artwork brings great visuals.
The Bad:
  • Lack of spoken dialogue for the Protagonist.
  • The auto text scrolling speed is too fast even on the lowest setting, especially when Shugo's dialog comes up.

Eric is one of the co-hosts of the RPGrinders podcast, as well as a freelance video game writer. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRPG .

Review by - 12/17/2014 11:21 AM1948 views

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