- Platform: PlayStation 4
- PEGI Rating: Suitable for 16 years and over. Not for sale to persons under age 16. By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 16 years of age or over.
- Media: Video Game
Chaos: Child (PS4)
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- Discover A Darker Japan - Explore Shibuya in 2015, after an earthquake nearly levelled the city six years prior, and try to outsmart the puppet-master behind this New Generation Madness
- Track Down A Serial Killer - Play as Takuru, an arrogant senior and the newspaper club president, and discover the pattern in a series of bizarre deaths around you that the police can't seem to crack
- Unravel The Mystery - Investigate gruesome, supernatural murders with a team of uniquely talented friends
- Pick Your Delusions - Choose to explore disturbing nightmares or pleasurable daydreams to affect the different realities that Takuru perceives, and change your story
- See The Bigger Picture - Unlock SIX endings by changing the course of your team's investigations and relationships, and understand the characters and plot in depth
- Outstanding Artistic Value - Enjoy beautiful and etheral art work in this stunning visual novel from the Science Adventure series
- From The Creators Of SteinsGate - A stand-alone story with a brand new cast, extensive replayability and ties to the SteinsGate universe!
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From the creators of the critically acclaimed Steins; Gate comes a sensational new visual novel: CHAOS;CHILD. Set in Shibuya in 2015, a group of high school students who survived an earthquake six years ago find themselves at the centre of a new series of bizarre murders in the city. Play as Takuru, an arrogant senior, who is the first to notice a pattern in the supernatural deaths around him. With the help of his friends, he goes to the crime scenes and hopes to discover the killer's identity before the police, at his own risk...
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Chaos;child is a sequel to the visual novel Chaos;head, and follows a similar story premise - in Chaos;head, you try to solve a series of murders known as 'The New Generation Madness', whilst Chaos;child revolves around the members of Hekiho Academy's newspaper club as they try to solve a bizarre series of murders known as 'The Return of the New Generation Madness.' The reason for the name of these murders is because they occur on the same dates as the original incidents in Chaos;head.
Aside from that, there isn't much you need to know from Chaos;head - it's a sequel, but not one you need to play. It borrows elements and a few basic story points, but either re-explains them, or doesn't because no explanation is needed. The most you really miss out on is a couple of references, which is good because Chaos;head was never officially released in English. The big gameplay element brought over, which you don't need to play the prequel for, is that of 'Delusion triggers' - at certain points in the story, two delusion triggers will appear, and you can select neither, positive or negative. If you choose neither, the story will proceed as normal. If you choose positive, Takuru will imagine a scenario involving the current scene, that makes him happy. If you choose negative, the scenario will involve something that makes Takuru distressed or scared. The positive trigger's are normally funny, but often veer into sexual or juvenile content - for example, all the girl's skirts flying up, accompanied by a CG, which can understandly be offputting, especially if it's during a serious scene. The negative ones normally involve Takuru being killed, which the game will go into great, graphic detail with - there's a chance some of these might make people feel uncomfortable. However, some of the negative delusions are my favourite because they are so random - for example, your sister dropping her ice cream on a Yakuza, or Itou strangling Serika because he bought him the wrong sandwich.
As mentioned in the start of this review, the story in this game is excellent. Chaos;child takes place in the same universe as Steins;gate, which is a visual novel with an acclaimed story, and the plot in this game is as strong, if not better, than Steins;gate, which is a big statement considering it is one of my favourite games of all time. The pacing, notably, is a lot better than in Steins;gate - which was pretty much split into a slow first half, with most of the action in the second half. Chaos;head mixes the slow and fast a lot better, and it definitely improves the flow and tone of the story. The story itself is magnificent, with so many twists that are impossible to see coming, but work. As a murder mystery, you are constantly thinking of how it's going to go, what happened, and Chaos;child feeds you enough information to keep the solution tantalisingly out of reach, and crafts an incredibly strong and intricate mystery. And it's a mystery that gets quite dark - some of the CG's and scenes can get very disturbing, enhanced with some stellar voice action (Japanese only). Don't go into this game expecting some light-hearted, you won't get it.
Another area this game shines in is the characters. You control Takuru Miyashiro, the Chairman of the Hekiho Newspaper Club and self-proclaimed 'right sider', which means you are on the 'right side' of the information divide - Takuru believes he is smart, better than everyone else and not prone to gossip. Takuru is, to put it simply, one of the best protagonist's I have seen in a visual novel. His character is entirely believable, and he feels incredible relatable. The character development that he gets is very impressive, and he grows and develops in an impressively relistic way - his internal conflicts are personal, and believable - you share in his battles with himself and others.
The supporting characters are exceptionally written as well. Serika Onoe is Takuru's childhood, airheaded friend, who is surprisingly perceptive and strong. She is an example of the multi-dimensional characters this game includes - her personality isn't as simple as you might expect, and it creates a more realistic character. Others include Shinji Itou, Takuru's best friend, slightly perverted, but someone Takuru can trust, Nono Kurusu, Takuru's 'sister; a strong leader who constantly looks and supports everyone, but is constantly battling her emotions herself and Hinae Arimura, the strange, flamboyant girl who gets along with everyone, but harbours many weaknesses that she tries to battle alone. These characters and the ones that I haven't mentioned all have their demons, their battles, and the way the game constructs these into a compelling story, is impressive. Even when trying to solve the mysteries of the game, you want to learn more about these characters - this is a cast you really care about.
You will get a lot of time to learn about the characters, too - this game is extremely wrong, averaging around 60 hours of play time. I'm fine with this, as the time is well used, and it never outstays its welcome. However, you should be prepared for a significant time sink if you buy this, and it's something to be aware of, as you really need to see everything it has to offer. Other things that really impressed include the art direction, and the music - the sprites feel vibrant and alive, and the game includes side and back sprites, which many games fail to do, which adds to the immersion. Chaos;child game has a stellar soundtrack, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone who's played a previous game in the SciAdv series. Kanako Itou returns to perform the opening and closing themes, and these are some of her best songs, especially Silent Wind Bell, the theme to the true ending.
Yes, the game has a true ending - like most visual novels, the game features a common route, true ending, and vaarious character routes. Theh way the game does these routes is probably my favourite I've seen in a visual novel - in the first playthrough, you are locked to the common route - it creates a lot of questions, and answers some, but leaves most open. After which, you replay to view the four character routes, which add to the maian story whilst fleshing out the characters and creating there own sub mysteries. After viewing all four, you can select the true ending from the main menu.
Although I like the route system, it does raise my first negative - getting onto the character routes without using a guide is convoluted and virtually impossible without a guide. To get onto an ending, you need to pick specific delusions at certain points, but there's no clues as to which ones you need to press - SciAdv games all have this problem, and it's something that really needs to be addressed. My biggest complaint, however is to do with the translation - as in, at some points, there isn't one. After reaching the credits in all the routes, a characters will say something - I have no idea what, however, as there is no subtitle, and the voice acting is in Japanese. I can only hope it wasn't important. The most unexcusble thing for me, however, occurs in one of the character routes - you have to place pins on a map of Shibuya, however the map isn't translated, so unless you are familiar with Shibuya, or get EXTREMELY lucky, you will have to refer to a guide, or you get a bad ending - this is pretty unexcusable.
These. however, are my only complaints, and none of them are big. I finished this game with a wide range of emotions, all of them positive (except for the sadness that the game was over). This is a magnificent visual novel, with an exemplary cast, a great mystery and sublime character development. You owe it to yourself to give this one a try - you will not regret it.
HOWEVER, I would definitely say if you haven’t already, please go play Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate Zero (in that order), as I honestly preferred those. They are much more believable and immersive.
Chaos;Child is still amazing, but it’s a little wordy and I feel some of the filler could have been cut out at times.
The characters also aren’t as likeable as S;G, but it has a ton of positives too (much darker storyline, genuinely disturbing at times in a good way.)
I don’t want to spoil anything, so just go play (well, read) all these games!!