Wow… less than a month ago, I never would have thought completing the Da Capo series would seem like a significant event to me. To be fair, I never thought it would be an event at all after reading the first one, because I had no intention of continuing. I feel the need to thank @Takafumi and @Naoki_Saten for convincing me to read the rest of the series despite the bad impression the original left on me. What a wild ride.
After reading through their main series’ games, I still have to give uncontested best to D.C.2. D.C.3 and D.S were both solid, but D.C.2 was just on another level. (And that’s enough about D.S from me - I’ve been overrating it too much.)
D.C.3, to me, suffered from several of the problems that made the original so bad (though again, that’s not to say D.C.3 is itself bad). The main issue: it just dragged on and on, despite not a whole lot happening in the end. At least, unlike the original, it managed to be entertaining when doing so, but it’s still a pretty big flaw to me.
It’s pretty weird that they were so daring in the concept for this one, but they played the actual heroine routes unbelievably safe. Despite them dragging on so much, nothing really happens and nothing is resolved in any of them. I realise that it’s an unfortunate side-effect of the overarching story, but it’s not unavoidable. Sara’s route - of the original four - managed to pull it off, and for that reason ended up being by far my favourite, even though I didn’t like Sara herself as much as Charles or Ricca.
The way the story was written was unbelievably messy… How it was fragmented during the prologue followed by a complete shift where everything introduced in the prologue becomes all but pointless fluff, and then they revisit the original setting for thirty seconds at the end… it was just too random to be cogent.
The amount of fan service or whatever the fuck you want to call it was unbelievable, especially near the beginning. I’m glad they toned it down, but for the love of god… And the main character’s incompetence and lack of self control didn’t help either.
As for the characters, Himeno pulled the same passive-aggressive bullshit act that Nemu from the original was all about, so there was never any chance of me liking her. Sara was pretty inconsistent, she got better at times, like in the mid-late parts of her route, but for a lot of the time she was just being a bitch for no reason. I liked Charles I suppose, but she kind of felt like a caricature rather than a real character. I feel like more could have been done with Ricca, but I can’t really complain about her, so she’d be my favourite of the heroines. Aoi was by far the most developed, but she didn’t really have much of a personality, so she doesn’t quite reach Ricca’s level despite that, for me. As far as characters go though, the best were the supporting cast. Mary, Ian, Mikoto, etc.
Aoi’s route and the following true route, while not anything special, were solid enough to carry the rest of the VN a bit. They still fail to really resolve/conclude a lot of stuff previously introduced, but it was still the best part of the main story.
The side episodes were pretty pointless, aside from the last one with the D.C.2 characters. In fact, I wish I hadn’t read the first one, because it just ruined my impressions of Sara and Himeno more, and didn’t do wonders for Kousuke either. I guess it built Ricca’s character a little though.
The last side episode was by far the most outstanding part of D.C.3. The welcoming party for Sakura turned into the perfect farewell party for the Da Capo series. Even after being left feeling a little disappointed after the other side episodes, I was at least able to send of the series with a smile after that.
Still, once all is said and done, it was fun, and a little different… Ultimately, I’d have to give it a pretty good score, even if it wasn’t on the level of D.C.2, that by no means makes it bad. Something like 8/10.