Individual routes having bearing on main story: significant or not?

F/SN is supposed to be read as one big story, split up into 3 parts (routes). I’m not sure if you knew/know this but there is an order you’re supposed to read them in, and Sakura is last. No wonder it would have been confusing.

Yeah, I know~ But after getting all the Taiga Dojo things I couldn’t really be bothered to continue, so I just beelined for the end. As I said…

(I could have sworn I wrote “and sets it’s self apart” after “on it’s own” though @.@)

But yeah, most of the time I’ll just go for what the people around me consider the best route. Having to go through a bunch of sub-par routes before it is just a pain.

Ah, I see the difference between us. I am a completionist, you just want to read the best parts. If there are routes I don’t think I’m going to like, I read them first and save the best for last. So for me, those routes being important to the main story make them much more interesting, and for you, its a pain.

…How did you skip to Heaven’s Feel? The route is literally locked until you complete the first two, and for good reason.

See, my notion of a good VN is one where there are no “sub-par” routes, haha.

The PC version of Realta Nua released the routes separately so you can technically play them in any order, even though thats a really bad idea

I moved 7 posts to an existing topic: General Visual Novel Thread

Sorry for the late reply on this topic :stuck_out_tongue:

How so? Care to refresh my memory?

Well I didn’t exactly mean a true end. Kanon has a true end (which is the Ayu route) and that doesn’t need the other routes to have any bearing. When you have a “true” end, that also implies that you can have “false” ends.
The example I want to try to point out here is that there is a main story. Neither true end nor false end, but all routes are part of the main story… Or not, in the case of AIR >_<

But yeah let’s set things straight:
True end: a specific character’s route which is supposedly the correct canonical ending.
Main story: a separate story from any specific character’s route, which is also the correct canonical ending.

Both can have bearing on the main story. Ever17 doesn’t have a main story, but the alternate routes have a bearing. (or it could be argues that Coco route is the main story… This is starting to get confusing hahaha)

They were all outcomes that Kagari had gone through in order to find as close to a happy ending as possible.

And yeah, this main route thing is getting confusing. If you mean a main story, like the whole girl in the sky thing from Air, then the other routes could be considered part of the story… Even in things like G-Senjou, the routes that completely drop the main plot can still be considered part of the main story.

But she did find that happy ending, and that kind of invalidates the other routes, doesn’t it? Of course their value as standalone stories still have meaning, but on the main story, they don’t

And I guess I’m not the best person to talk about AIR as I haven’t even played the VN >_< I am honestly not sure how the Air route works

Here are my thoughts.

The routes in a game do not need to contribute to a “main story” in order to be good, I think. All of the routes usually share some theme.

Kanon: The central theme is miracles, promises, and wishes as power

AIR: All of the routes have to do with motherly love in different forms. Kano’s older sister acts as her mother, Minagi’s arc centers around her mother, Yukito is sent on a quest because of his mother, Kanna’s arc is about her meeting her mother, and the AIR route is about Misuzu and her aunt Haruko. They don’t form one narrative, but they are a collection of stories that explores a certain theme.

CLANNAD: This is sort of the same way. All of the arcs either focus on family, or community as family. Those are the central themes of the VN. The light orbs unify them in canon.
The anime sort of leaves out the parts about “community” but it’s there in the VN: how Nagisa’s health is tied to Akio’s special place, how the wishes of the town contribute to the light orbs for Tomoya, and special side arcs like Koumura’s IIRC.

Little Busters!: The arcs don’t have a central theme besides maybe friendship? But they are tied together by Refrain.

Rewrite I think is the weakest in this regard since there’s no real connection besides "lol Kagari needed to see the routes happen to make Terra route happen, no central themes, and the tone is all over the place

TL;DR: I don’t think the unity of canon of the story is quite as important as the exploration of the themes in the work as a whole


Thank you. You put into words what I could not. lol

I would say not just the the community but even more the town that encompasses that community, which encompasses the families. At the beginning, Tomoya hates his family, which makes him hate the town. Through the story, he learns to love the community and about how special the town is, which makes him learn to love his family.

(Wasn’t sure how much to put in spoiler since you put all yours in spoiler)

But yeah, totally agree, themes. However, consistent and even exceptional themes do not make up for bad routes, so yeah, I’m sticking to:

In Clannad it actually didn’t bother me at all. I consider Nagisa + After Story essentially separate from all others, even if there is a loose connection. And even accepting the connection, it does make the other arcs feel significant.

Little Busters did this really well. At least I thought so. The way completing the routes affected the common route was a stroke of genius, and made everything you did in previous arcs feel meaningful.

Now with Rewrite it actually did bother me. When the whole possibility tree thing is shown I felt like what I played was just one in uncountably many scenarios, that ultimately boil down to not much more than a failed experiment. At least in the grand scheme of things. Individually most of the routes were great, and Lucia’s is one of my absolute favorites (Ryukishi07 <3).

As a follow up to the Clannad thing, while not an individual route as such, in Tomoyo After after Tomoya passes, Tomoyo goes on to help people find the treasure of life. This is important because TA is in the Clannad universe. Once she grants enough wishes, she too will have gathered enough light orbs to unknowingly reset everything. I think that’s a nice little connection.

My favorite heroine route. The ending was annoying, but the rest was perfect~

Holy crap I didn’t even make that connection, but I love it. Makes me less annoyed that they changed the ending in the rereleases.

Yeah, I feel exactly the same way with Rewrite. Although I guess it has been established that those failed experiments, along with many others, were needed to find the true ending, it still doesn’t give the other routes much… significance

The idea of multiple endings and a ‘true route’ is a concept that only truly exists in games. It’s based on the thought that the player deserves a reward for playing especially well and exploring the game more than he actually needed to in order technically “complete” it by reaching an ending.
The same logic applies to the idea of “unlocking” content by completing certain tasks and mastering challenges.
VNs are not the only games with multiple endings. Many other games also have them. For example, there’s the “Suikoden” RPG series. In that game, you can recruit OVER 100 CHARACTERS for your cause and freely choose party members from that pool. But in order to complete the game, you don’t need all of them. If you just go straight down the storyline, you’ll barely encounter even 40 of them. But the ending you’ll receive depends on the number of recruited characters. The normal endings always feel a bit sad and you can’t help but wish you could have do something about it. And indeed, if you manage to recruit all recruitable characters, you’ll get the perfect ending.

Aside from the function of a task you need to complete in order to unlock the true route, side routes in VNs also have the purpose of expanding the universe of the game, giving more depth to characters and develop them individually. If a game only had one route, it would have to skip over certain characters and events, making them shallow and less significant. Key does an especially good job here because their strategy is based on getting the reader emotionally attached to the characters. Therefore, side routes are supposed to make the game better as a whole and make various preparations for the “true” or “main” route.

To me, “good” side routes are those that have either a canonical or emotional bearing on the final route and/or make you feel better about the game as a whole while the “not so good” ones are just “more stuff to read”. This also means that I also like side routes that don’t contribute to the plot of the main route if they are pleasant to read and especially if I didn’t like the main route in the first place.
The “not so good” side routes would be those of “G-Senjou no Maou” where neither the side heroines nor their stories contribute much to the main route and their emotionial impact and plot is nowhere near the main route’s one.
“Good” side stories would be those of Little Busters, because they make you grow attached to all its characters and the main story introduces a conflict that involves ALL of those characters.
A somewhat weird example of side routes I consider “good” are those of Rewrite. Why? Because they do a wonderful job of introducing the characters and establish the setting in detail (and they’re pleasant to read) while I dislike the main route, partially for not letting those characters play any meaningful roles in it.

Therefore I’d say what matters most is whether the individual routes contribute positively to your overall experience of the game or not.

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I agreed with you up until the examples~ ^^;

In G-Senjou I liked the side routes. Sure, they pretty much abandoned all connection with the main story, but that doesn’t matter to me, because the side routes had their own stories that were great. It’s nice to see how everything could end up, and at the end of the VN, I felt like the memories of the side routes came back to impact me during the final scenes.

As for Litbus I felt that the side routes were it’s downfall. Just stepping stones on the way to the ending. It didn’t make me care for characters more than before I read the VN (it actually made me dislike most of them) and the heroines were tossed aside as an afterthought in Refrain. Refrain probably wouldn’t have been as good without the side routes, but with the way it was done, the side routes actually made me think less of it overall.

Wow, lots of differing opinions here. Makes for a pretty interesting read!

I like how @naoki_saten views it as a game reward; VNs are games after all. But in games, isn’t it kind of troublesome sometimes to go through sidequests to get the true ending?

I think we all agree though that if those sidequests are great stories, they are their own reward

If you’re going the extra trouble of playing sidequests, then you’re either a perfectionist who won’t consider the game completed until he’s seen all of it (or at least the true ending), or you enjoy the game so much you just want to keep playing it as long as there are new things to discover, so you normally wouldn’t mind it. The trick to creating a good game, however, is to not let the player get the feeling “ah, this is a sidequest” in the first place. They, too, need to be enjoyable. If you’re only making them to stall for time, you’re doing it wrong.

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