Nearly forgot to write this shit, Higanbana was too engaging.
Da Capo VS Dal Segno – Which is Better?
Dal Segno. Easily.
When I say easily, I mean about two points higher on a scale out of ten. However, the two games are still very similar. Of course, when I say “Da Capo”, I mean just the first one, but it would surprise me if Da Capo 2 or 3 were more similar to the original in terms of themes or even concept than Dal Segno is. Dal Segno is just Da Capo but good.
This is reflected in every aspect of Dal Segno. To name an example of this without spoiling anything, the Dal Segno character Noeri is just the Da Capo character Nemu, but without the passive-aggressive bullshit – they’re the same, except that Noeri is actually a good character. The execution, the pacing, the characterization, the pacing, the setting, the pacing, all are better in Dal Segno. Did I mention the pacing by the way? At the very least Dal Segno isn’t mind-numbingly boring until the last five minutes when they introduce and resolve the complication. Not to mention the common route of Da Capo was just frivolous, with choosing the alarm time and map locations every damn day, but in Dal Segno, you can just enjoy it. In fact, I was very impressed with the common route of Dal Segno, not necessarily in content, but in the way that it ended just as I was starting to get sick of it.
I couldn’t tell you when it was exactly, but there was a certain point in time when interest shifted from the magic of the supernatural to the magic of science, and this is very clearly reflected in the differences between Da Capo and Dal Segno. To not say anything about which is better or which I like more, I just thought it was interesting to see.
The homie character in Dal Segno is actually a character,
not a Kitagawa. You could actually remove the only other male character in Da Capo completely and it would change nothing. And while I wouldn’t compare the guy from Dal Segno to the Key homies, he’s probably the next best thing.
The biggest problem between the games is definitely the protagonist. I wonder if Circus is even capable of writing a protagonist who isn’t a whiny little bitch. Neither of them have any deep character, they’re not funny or even witty, they just have nothing to offer. To talk about them individually, Da Capo’s MC completely lacks the ability to put two and two together – and whenever he tries he gets a hundred. On the other hand, Dal Segno’s MC just arbitrarily decides that for the equation 0>X>100, X = 69, without explaining why, and his explanations are awful even if he does try to explain. tl;dr: the MC’s are both whiny, have no major redeeming qualities, and have incomprehensible thought processes.
Neither game has much depth to be honest, but to be fair, if you’re looking for depth, you should probably read something by Key or 07th Expansion, not Circus. They do both get emotional at some points, but neither gets too heavy. Though, I guess someone might cry during Dal Segno.
Dal Segno honestly did a better imitation of the Key formula than I would ever expect from a company that’s not Key. Da Capo actually had this too - same ideas and everything - but Da Capo was so poorly executed that I didn’t really notice it.
The art. Here we goooooooooooooooooo. This is the aspect of Dal Segno that sends people alarm bells, but I’m here to say not to worry about it. I personally prefer the more anime-style of drawing used in Dal Segno to the pencil-sketch-style used in Da Capo. Obviously, this is a matter of preference, but if you prefer pngs over jpgs, then you’ll probably like the Dal Segno art better either way.
Soundtrack is probably the front where Da Capo can compete most closely with Dal Segno, but even in this Dal Segno is, in my opinion, clearly superior. And actually, the thing about Dal Segno that made it so memorable to me, were the vocal tracks. I might even go so far as to say that Dal Segno has the best vocal tracks of any VN I’ve ever played – for sure if you don’t count Key VNs. The backgrounds music tracks are comparable I suppose, but once you consider the vocal tracks it stops being a competition once again.
The engine of Da Capo is so bad, please kill it, burn it with fire, ensure nothing remains. And while the engine of Dal Segno isn’t perfect either, it at least has the bare minimum you would expect, and there’s certainly no real reason to complain about it.
Overall, Da Capo starts painfully slowly, rushed the ending, had a bad MC, poor art, a decent soundtrack and a terrible engine. I give it anywhere between 5.9-6.1/10. It seems better than that looking back on it, but nothing that I have to force down my own throat to finish should be rated too highly.
Overall, Dal Segno has good pacing, a bad MC, good art, a good soundtrack, great vocal tracks, and a more-than-passable engine. I give it an 8.1-8.2/10. Nothing to write home about, but it was a fun VN that was easy to get in to and easy to read with good qualities all around.
So, my recommendation? Read Dal Segno and not Da Capo. Or at the very least, read Dal Segno first. To be completely honest, reading Da Capo actually ruined Dal Segno a little for me. Knowing the origin behind some of the references, and the inspiration for the story, actually lowered my opinion of Dal Segno rather than the other way around.
I mean of course Eiichi.