Hello, world [Nitroplus]

Foreword: With script size of around 4.5Mb Hello, World is one of the largest visual novels ever created. Cyberpunk, Nitroplus and positive reviews (1 2 3 4) all promised a great time. However...
Title: Hello, world
Developer: Nitroplus
Date: 2002-09-27
VNDB link: https://vndb.org/v431
Youtube walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsNedut_3eE&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv-KYrXbyAGXRCg720guyMwo
Synopsis: Set in Akihabara in the near future, "Hello, world." is a hearty, feature-length, cyber battle-action/campus-life story about a robot boy and the girls that surround him.
Tremendous progress has been made in technical advances. Various networks have taken strongholds with each new generation. Though not nearly advanced as humans, two-legged robots are utilized in many practical areas throughout the world. Amid worldwide peace, the human race remains unchanged.
Kazuki Tomonaga is a robot made by an entity called "HIKARI" for the purpose of "GLOBAL ILLUMINATION". He's created with ingenuity as precise as that of a human being. Kazuki is commanded to research the concepts of "human emotion". Along the way he meets various girls and has exchanges with them. In their "exchanges" his "curiosity" gradually turns into "affection" and his mission becomes more intense. He gradually starts to build his own philosophy, not knowing he will be forced to make crucially important decisions in the near future.

Structure: Days from October 1st to October 30th
Length: 100+ hours
Game type: Cyberpunk android adventure
Difficulty: Relatively easy, most of choices are just about picking the same girl all the time
Character Design rating: 3/10
Protagonist rating: 6/10
Story rating: 6/10
Game quality: 6/10
Overall rating: 5/10
What? How can "Hello, world" not be a masterpiece - are you even sane? That would be my initial reaction as well, but I have my argumentation. All in its due time.

First of all, I was shocked by trash rating of the game in the most notable Japanese reviewer blog of old games ADVGAMER (1). The reasons for that are quite vague: overextendent, confusing in the second part and as a result a really boring game. But of course I just considered reviewer a weakling who could not understand the gist of the game - and bravely dived into the action.

The first half of the game is surprisingly orthodox despite the fact that protagonist as an android. He explores the world and the girls close to him. There are over 10 events with each girl to pursue with its romantic resolution. Pace is really bad, but curious side-characters and unfamiliar futuristic setting make it tolerable.
But then happens second part which is a set of action episodes with a bit of romance in-between. And it all comes to very simplistic story. There are five girls who have relatives suffered from a certain "evil" corporation. Hacker incidents start to happen breaking out into a full-scale machine rebellion. That's it! There's no sophistication in the plot at all. Of course, there are much more side-characters, every girl has her own circumstances, and there is a series of incidents leading to the culmination, but it does not change the fact that it's all done just to show action scenes, not to really move the plot. But the greatest tragedy of the game is that it lasts for 30 hours on initial playthrough, and subsequent routes need to go through absolutely the same plot, just with different romance events and the very ending. As ADVGAMER puts it, game either must have an unusual setting and take time to describe its details or have a common setting and then adhere to compact structure. But Hello, world tries to present a common setting like something new, and then prolongs it to insane lengths putting reader in the state of the ultimate boredom.

One of the flaws of the game is tasteless character design. Who said that green hair girl should have green eyes, violet hair girl - violet eyes, blue hair - blue eyes and red hair girl - red eyes?! That looks absolutely stupid. Character designs are trashy, and artist work manages to catch such poor angles at times that result looks super-ugly. There is just one girl with the design I like - that's Junko. Cool white long hair with really nice haircut, great black and red suit, mini-skirt and always carrying a gun. Just perfect! But she's not one of the heroines! She's just a side-character to help fight baddies in action scenes! Why-y-y???
The second disappointing feature is "partial voicing", but don't be misguided here, it's actually NO VOICING. We barely manage to hear how each heroine should sound during the first hour of play, then there are 30 hours of NO VOICING. Not in action scenes, not in culmination romantic scenes - just never. That's something really disappointing.

Game really the best of 3D rendering from Phantom of Inferno (close-ups on weapons) and Vjedogonia (moving vehicles), but action scenes remain confusing. The air battle between three aircrafts on one side and one modified air fighter on the other side left me really disappointed. Action scenes end with some sudden development rather than being one logical performance.
Routes are composed in one of the worst possible ways. Story is absolutely the same with just romance events changing from heroine to heroine. Then each heroine has her individual end where only she and hero survive as well as the true end where everyone survives. There is just a bit of fresh air in the individual endings of each heroine, but True ending of each heroine is absolutely the same... save for the last 5 minutes that describe heroine 6 years after the main events of the story. That's a real crime to make people try to grasp something new in 30-hour long route and not even giving anything really new. It's the same story, but we hope you have 150 hours to read them all - a horrible move.

The biggest problem with "Hello, world" is the aftertaste and lack of satisfaction. It's not that bad while it lasts for the first time even though pace is terrible, but each new "route" only brings anger and despair. I look back and only see dozens of hours of wasted time. What did I get in return? Nothing. Not a good story, not a good romance. Some flashy action scenes and some nice side-characters are the only things that I look back to without irritation. Game does not respect its readers. Readers should not respect such a disintegrated game.

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Anonymous said...

Did you play the updated re-release?

kivandopulus said...

It was DVD release. Pretty sure I was unlucky with voice file since there definitely must be more voicing.

Anonymous said...

Do you read VNs using machine translation or is it just a gimmick you add to the videos?

kivandopulus said...

For the last two year I use machine translation since it's the only way to present a video. My first channel is gone and with it almost 2,000 of videos. Checking words with a dictionary is a no go for a video.

Anonymous said...

A matter of presenting a video aside, do you yourself read the VNs through MT or just happen to keep it for the sake of recording?
In fact, I am rather baffled by you review of Shoin, to which I believe you should have paid a more deliberate attention than you did. The review sounds like a sick joke towards one of the best VN experiences you can possibly have. If you indeed read it using MT, then you should have thought better than to put up such a treavesty of a review. But then again, I don't know what is worse: MT'ing through Shoin without getting anything about the plot at all, or reading it normally but to the same avail.
I implore you to reconsider your view on Shoin and maybe reread it later.

kivandopulus said...

I have a long history of reading with mecab/edict. MT was play horrible till 2017, anyway - you can see examples just choosing auto-translate option at asenheim. Those guys never answered my pleas to apply modern Google/Bing MT.
My dissatisfaction with Shoin has many reasons - poor hooking with lots of trash symbols, poor graphical presentation and - most importantly - the "mystery". I absolutely can't stand titles that put emphasis on "mystery" like Umineko, Higurashi, Dangan Ronpa etc. I'm assured that all these mystery/suspense titles bear nothing but scenario impotence.
I've trashed such a huge number of acclaimed games so far that I've made pretty much everyone my enemy already - be sure that I loathe half of games everyone loves including you.
I definitely won't play Shoin ever again since those dozens of bad endings still enrage me, but I don't deny possibility of rewatching my videos without bad endings after things settle. At least a year must pass.

Anonymous said...

My point is, did you even get what Shoin was about? You told in your review that there was no plot whatsoever with possibly nothing to actually spoil, but that's a total BS. Some points you made on protagonist, heroines and the composition lead me to think that you didn't exactly get the plot. I agree that there is emphasis on mystery throughout the most part of the game, but the story itself takes a psychological turn towards the latter quarter and extrapolates it on the whole composition of the VN. I believe that someone who came to appreciate, say, Kusarihime or any other such distinguished psychological VNs is just BOUND to like Shoin.
Man, I might sound annoying, but I believe you shall appreciate Shoin if you care to read it with enough thought and attention put into understanding of the text.

Ricky Nguyen said...

So, what are the individual endings for each heroine about? We know that the chosen heroine and the protagonist survive in them, but what does happen in them? Also, the True Endings have the protagonist always die, right?

kivandopulus said...

In normal heroine endings only protagonist and chosen heroine survive. Those are romantic endings just to capture some nice moment, but not necessarily good ones. If I remember correct, there are even such endings where population dies, and only two lovers remain. The true ending is absolutely the same for each heroine - protagonist goes for them one by one and saves everyone. What only changes is epilogue that shows family life of the two people. Very generic and cheap endings. Only Haruka does not have a True ending, because she's an antagonist of the story who can't really leave in peace with the other girls.

Ricky Nguyen said...

So, in the normal heroine endings, only Kazuki (the protagonist) and the chosen heroine (that Kazuki chose to save; he can only save one, which is always the chosen heroine) survive the apolcalypse? The other heroines are either dead or missing during the apocalypse?

Yeah, the heroine normal endings are romantic endings just to capture some nice moment (which is idiotic to me), but these aren't necessarily good ones? What do you mean that they aren't necessarily good ones? They aren't interesting or something? By the normal endings where the population died off, leaving only Kazuki and the chose heroine remaining, I think there're about two that fit this: Haruka and Natsumi's normal endings.

There are six normal heroine endings. Do you still remember them? Haruka and Natsumi's normal endings are the only ones that have both Kazuki and Haruka or Natsumi alive. The other normal endings either have Kazuki die, the heroine physically dying, or both he and the chosen heroine about to die. Can I discuss witb you about these normal endings?

Of course, the true ending. It is absolutely the same for each heroine with the only difference being the different narration and POV for each heroine in the epilogue six years later (to see how she and the other heroines are doing for their future) if their 'route' is chosen. The True Ending has Kazuki bring each heroine to safety while he saves everyone by doing something I don't understand. What did he do to save everyone? Kazuki sacrifices his own life to save everyone? Basically, he is always fated to die in the True Ending?

About Haruka, she's the only heroine who doesn't have a True Ending since she's an antagonist of the story who doesn't join with the other heroines in peace? Is there a good reason why Haruka is an antagonist in the first place, and why she doesn't leave in peace with the other girls? Is it due to Osiris controlling her, it giving her a mission that she can't turn down no matter what? So that would mean that Haruka is fated to always die in the True Ending? So, how did she die in the True Ending? Additionally, this means that Haruka only has one ending, her normal heroine ending (which for some reason, the VN labels it as her True End after the credits, which is strange as hell). I would love to discuss the True Ending with you along with the normal heroine endings.

Anyway, would you actually recommend "Hello, World" to anyone? I hope not, considering the numerous flaws that it has and the little payoff to show for reading through the whole damn thing.

Seriously, is it even worth trying to get the normal individual heroine endings and the True Endings for said heroines through this whole long and repetitive experience? I doubt it since the payoff is very low from this. Sure, the normal endings for each heroine is a bit of fresh air since they're somewhat different, but that doesn't mean that they're good or make this VN better, especially if it's very repetitive and boring. It's still not worth trying to read through the 'routes' to get the endings.

I hope to hear from you soon! One last question: "Hello, world" isn't going to be translated into English ever, correct?

kivandopulus said...

In personal route the other heroines are shown attacked and probably killed one by one. It's the consequence of choice to save just one heroine instead of everyone.

Endings are not necessarily good ones, because the Osiris organization is not destroyed, and it's only a matter of time when it strikes back.

Can't really discuss normal endings as they all feel the same to me. The heroines are too bleak to really care. I just needed to see the range of madness each normal ending possesses, so just pushed it to each ending by inertia.

Haruka is hacked and controlled by Osiris. Basically protagonist needs to side with Osiris in order to stay with Haruka. No other girl can agree with that, so these positions are opposite.

I would never recommend "Hello, World" to anyone even though cyberpunk is my favorite genre. This game has nothing to do with cyberpunk. It's just a long and painful depiction of an android investigating surrounding reality. Game has zero interesting characters to actually play it.

"Hello, world" will never get translated, because it's too huge, repeating and boring. There is not a single reason to actually attempt to translate it.

Ricky Nguyen said...

"In personal route the other heroines are shown attacked and probably killed one by one. It's the consequence of choice to save just one heroine instead of everyone."

I think I get what you're saying, since I did see some of the other heroines getting attacked and probably killed one-by-one. In Natsumi's normal ending, we see Chieri's plane being attacked, but she was saved and she was fine after that. She was safe in her last appearance in Natsumi's normal ending. It's very likely that in Natsumi's normal ending, with the exception of Natsumi, the other heroines (Chieri included) are probably killed by the apocalypse. We don't know since it's not clear.

"Endings are not necessarily good ones, because the Osiris organization is not destroyed, and it's only a matter of time when it strikes back."

So, that would mean that in all of the heroines' normal endings, Osiris is not destroyed, and in the near future, it will strike back to kill Kazuki and the chosen heroine? That would mean in all six normal endings, Kazuki and the chosen heroine will eventually be killed by Osiris, if either one isn't already dead by the end of said normal endings. That would mean in Natsumi's normal ending, both she and Kazuki are very likely to be killed by Osiris in the future. It's only in the True Ending that Osiris is destroyed for good, with Kazuki killing himself in the process to do that, saving all of the heroines (except Haruka since she's controlled by Osiris, so she needs to die in order for Kazuki to help everyone) and the whole world. Miyako will always be killed by Haruka in the True Ending, correct?

"Can't really discuss normal endings as they all feel the same to me. The heroines are too bleak to really care. I just needed to see the range of madness each normal ending possesses, so just pushed it to each ending by inertia."

Don't you mean that the heroines are too bland to really care, not bleak? I agree, I feel that the normal endings, though different, still end with the same results. Kazuki saves only one of the heroines and the both of them survive, will die soon, or one of them dies and the other survive; the other heroines will probably die off. Of course, from what you said, none of this matters since Kazuki and the chosen heroine will still be killed by the still-active Osiris, which will strike back in the future. In Haruka's normal ending (her only ending), Osiris was still active, correct? While it's true that Kazuki was able to bring her back from Osiris's control by force, it's still active. So, won't Kazuki and Haruka be kill in the future by Osiris, even though the Earth is a barren wasteland? For Chieri's normal ending, it's pretty much fated that both Kazuki and Chieri will be killed by Osiris via a robot army led by Haruka. How would you rate each of the six normal endings in terms of madness they possess? Pushing them by inertia, huh?

Ricky Nguyen said...

"Haruka is hacked and controlled by Osiris. Basically protagonist needs to side with Osiris in order to stay with Haruka. No other girl can agree with that, so these positions are opposite."

I see, so in Haruka's normal ending, Kazuki sides with Osiris to be with Haruka? Didn't he free Haruka from Osiris's control in her normal ending though? We know that Osiris will now try to kill Kazuki and Haruka in the future (despite the apocalypse happening) now that they've gone rogue in its eyes. The two of them were traveling in a desert at the end of her normal ending. Osiris will still try to kill them at this situation? But yeah, I think that Kazuki and Haruka will be killed by Osiris in the future (once it comes back) in the latter's (Haruka's) normal ending.

In the True Ending, Kazuki had no choice but to kill the Osiris-controlled Haruka. This means tbat Haruka has no True Ending, and will always die no matter what in said True Ending for the other heroines (the other five) since she's the antagonist and the other heroines will never agree with Kazuki siding with Osiris. Of course, Haruka will always kill Miyako in the True Ending, right? Couldn't they just remake Haruka though after Kazuki killed himself (he'll always die in the True Ending for every heroine except Haruka) to save everyone and destroy Osiris? However, I doubt the others have the capability or resources to do that, considering how advanced both she and Kazuki are. Looking at Mika's True Ending, that's likely the reason.

"I would never recommend "Hello, World" to anyone even though cyberpunk is my favorite genre. This game has nothing to do with cyberpunk. It's just a long and painful depiction of an android investigating surrounding reality. Game has zero interesting characters to actually play it."

I agree. Why do you think there's possible reviews of the game? Nostalgia? The game unfortunately has little to no interesting characters to bother playing it, and its story is long and painful in telling an android interacting with his surroundings. Boring.

""Hello, world" will never get translated, because it's too huge, repeating and boring. There is not a single reason to actually attempt to translate it."

Hah, that's true. "Hello, world" is very long with complicated wording. I mean, who in their right mind would want to translate that kind of a monster?

Jesus, "Hello, world" is a train wreck, and in a bad way. So many things are wrong with its story, characters, endings, pacing, and execution. Not to mention that there's no voice acting in the majority of the game! Wonder why? I never want to look at it again because if I do, I'll cringe in irritation and disgust.

Anyway, "Hello, world" is hopefully not something we'll have to experience again. I'll let you know if I have more questions about it. Can I talk to you about Paradise Lost by light? Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon!

kivandopulus said...

All the normal endings are united by some negative factor and unclear future while the true ending is almost entirely positive and clear good future.

The positive reviews try to focus on good sides of the game - music, side characters, long main story line divided into three big sections. The concept of the game is bad, but the process - text and action scenes - are totally fine. There aren't many cyberpunk theme games, so people encountering such game for the first time are bound to over valuate it.

Game actually has voice during the whole game unlike on my video. I had some problem either with the disk or the operation system. With voice it would be much more appealing. I'm very sorry for failing to reproduce voice properly. The example of video with voice is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft9NMI1TmBM&list=PLcETwoMH25C-EatAEUQ3GO8tti7eTjdvH&index=13

And, finally, not all the reviews are positive. moogy0 at reddit rates this game as 5/10 and describes it as a "huge disappointment". By coincidence, my score is also 5/10. moogy0 describes his experience in very harsh words, so we can see different opinions about this game.

Ricky Nguyen said...

"All the normal endings are united by some negative factor and unclear future while the true ending is almost entirely positive and clear good future."

Ah, that makes sense. All six normal endings are united by some negative factor (that brings the apocalypse) and unclear future (what will the future hold for Kazuki and the chosen heroine? Most likely death or something else, we don't know. The future is not clear, and it's certainly not good). The true ending, however, is practically entirely positive and the future is clear, good, and happy despite Kazuki dying to make that future happen. The True Ending is the only one that matters. The normal endings are okay, but they don't matter overall. Unfortunately, not even the true ending (or the normal endings for that matter) is WORTH reading through this very long, boring, and repetitive VN that gives little payoff for you wasting a lot of your time on this VN.

The music and side characters are good, the text and action scenes are fine, but they can't save "Hello, world" from its numerous flaws. Even the main storyline has problems to it in its pacing and concepts, and how it's executed. I believe the VN was overhyped and overrated by those who like cyberpunk, don't you think?

I looked at the Youtube link you gave me, and the videos do have voice, but they are only a few videos about the VN. It's a good example though, and I can see that it would make the game more appealing to read through. Alas, that still doesn't excuse the uninteresting main characters who lack any sort of interesting trait or personality.

Also, about those negative reviews like moogy0, what did they say about the things that are bad in "Hello, world"? I'm curious. Hope to hear from you soon.

kivandopulus said...

Those who like cyberpunk need more dark and serious stories. But people who only read normal love stories might be thrilled by the unusual setting of "Hello, world".

The full moogy0 comment can be accessed here https://old.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/3zfu9l/what_are_you_reading_untranslated_edition/cylyhu2/

Ricky Nguyen said...

"Those who like cyberpunk need more dark and serious stories. But people who only read normal love stories might be thrilled by the unusual setting of "Hello, world"."

Yeah, that's true. Those who like cyberpunk need to see darker and more serious stories since this VN is NOT cyberpunk. People who only read normal love stories might be thrilled by the unusual setting of "Hello, world" since it does have some romance in it, but it's not even the focus, unfortunately. Still not worth playing though due to the repetitiveness and zero interesting main characters.

I read the full comment, and I think I agree with him. The VN has a decent plot, though not good and the concepts are bad, and the action scenes are good. Side characters are nice as well. However, there are things left unexplained, the main characters are boring, and the plot is more popcorn entertainment than a serious story. Not to mention how weak and unclear the endings are (the normal endings); the true ending is the same for all the five heroines (Haruka is a villain, so she doesn't count at all), so it's repetitive as hell. Like what the hell is happening here? Do you agree with some of what moogy0 says in his comment? Hope to hear from you soon.

kivandopulus said...

Two his points feel especially close to my impression. First is that writing lacks any strong sense of self. The second one is that author is afraid to dig deep, so he only scratches the surface. As a reader I feel betrayed by this lack of depth behind the entertainment facade.

Ricky Nguyen said...

I agree, the writing lacks any strong sense of self and identity. It doesn't know what it wants to be, and stick to it. Cyberpunk? Soul-searching? Slice of life? It's all over the place. Not only that, it lacks depth, possibly because the writers are afraid of thinking outside the box and experiment with something different. Thr surface is not worth anything. Seriously, why should we care about the characters if the writing itself is terrible and lacking in depth?

Don't forget about the zero-interesting main characters as well. Some of the sidr characters are okay, but they suffer from lack of presence and screen-time.

What do you think? Hope to hear from you soon.

kivandopulus said...

I totally agree. Wonder why we even discuss this game for so long.

Ricky Nguyen said...

I think it's because it received a very high score on VNDB by a lot of people. Those same problem likely and completely ignore the very bad parts and issues with this VN. Even those positive reviews are fishy, especially when you find out how repetitive and boring the story is. The score should be brought down due to these issues. Hell, we're still talking about it now, yes?

kivandopulus said...

Yes, it strikes me in the positive reviews how they try to find even the smallest things that can be described as good like great music, "unique" graphics, good action scenes, some nice side characters. At the same time these factors are insignificant on the large scale compared to dozens of hours of super boring narration with lots of useless fillers, weak character personalities and way too simple story compared to the time needed to gather all this crumbling mass together (one reviewer spent 105 hours overall including skipping). Maybe in 2002 there were not enough good visual novels to read yet, so "Hello, World" could take some place in the backlog. But nowadays there are thousands of visual novels that are much better. There should be no place for "Hello, World" in anyone's backlog.

Ricky Nguyen said...

Yeah, that's true. I agree with you. It may be revolutionary in the year it was released, but now, there are numerous VNs that do what "Hello, world" did, but better. No one wants to spend over 100 hours trying to read this crap, and most of it is filler and not even that great. Do you know any VNs that are far better than this repetitive garbage?

kivandopulus said...

Everything I rate as masterpiece is better. There are on average 20 masterpieces given in each VN of the Year post - that's at least 200 games that are better.

Ricky Nguyen said...

I see. Can you name one of them? It's not MinDead Blood, is it?

kivandopulus said...

I should probably give a list of my masterpieces arranged by scores someday. But the easiest to do is to pick 10/10 masterpieces (sorted by date):
Eve: Burst Error
Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO
Luv Wave
EVE Zero
Kusarihime ~Euthanasia~
Paradise Lost
Saihate no Ima
Dies irae

Ricky Nguyen said...

I see. The top is the earliest of the VNs listed and the bottom is the latest of the VNs listed? Dies Irae is one of the few that has an official English translation.

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