Every player has their own taste and opinion about a game. Whether it is by genre or subgenre, each of them will have their own favorite games. Just like me, I’m a die-hard fan of RPG but I also enjoy playing visual novel games because of its different gameplay experience with RPG. So this time we have these 5 best visual novel games according to Metacritic (including their metascore) you must play.
1. Clannad (Score: 83)
Clannad is a Japanese visual novel developed by Key and released in 2004 for PC. While both of Key’s previous creations, Kanon and Air, had been released first as adult games (later been censored for younger market), Clannad was released for a rating for all ages. The game was later ported to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
The story follows the life of Tomoya Okazaki, an average high school student who meets many people in his last year at school, including five girls, and helps resolves their individual problems. The gameplay follows a branching plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the five female main characters by the player character.
2. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Score: 83)
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel adventure game developed by Spike Chunsoft. It is the second game in the Danganronpa franchise following 2010’s Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. It was first released in Japan for PlayStation Portable in 2012, with a port released for PlayStation Vita in 2013. A bundle containing the first Danganronpa called Danganronpa 1-2 Reload was released for PlayStation 4 in 2017.
The story follows a group of high school students who are trapped on a tropical island by their high schools’ headmaster Monokuma, a sentient stuffed bear, along with his relative Monomi, a sentient stuffed rabbit. Similar to the first game, students are told to kill one of their peers and not be caught in the subsequent investigation and trial in order to leave the island.
3. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies (Score: 85)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a visual novel adventure video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the fifth main entry in the Ace Attorney series, and was originally released for Nintendo 3DS in 2013, with iOS and Android version following in 2014 and 2017.
The game is set around a year after the previous game Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, in a time where the court system has entered a dark era of false charges and fabricated evidence, caused in part by the event that led Phoenix being unjustly disbarred. The player takes the role of three defense attorneys: Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and Athena Cykes who try to restore confidence in the courts.
4. Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth (Score: 86)
Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth is an otome visual novel game developed by Otomate for PlayStation Vita in 2014. The game features a steampunk aesthetic and a cast of literary and historical figures, including Arsene Lupin, Abraham Val Helsing, Victor Frankenstein, Impey Barbicane, and Count Saint-Germain.
The story tells about a girl named Cardia who lives day to day isolated from the world in a restricted, abandoned mansion due to a deadly poison that rots or melts anything that her skin touches. One day, her quiet solitude is interrupted when the Royal Guards break in to capture her. That is when she meets the chivalrous thief Arsene Lupin who helps her break free and sets out on a journey to find her father.
5. Steins;Gate (Score: 87)
Steins;Gate is a visual novel game developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus. Released in 2009, it became the second game in the Science Adventure series (the first was entitled Chaos;Head). This game was actually released for Xbox, but later it was ported to almost all platforms including smartphone. In 2015, PQube released the North America/Europe version for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
The story revolves around the life of a self-proclaimed mad scientist called Rintaro Okabe. He is the founder of Future Gadget Laboratory in Akihabara, where he spends most of his time. What is unique about this game is the use of time travel theme, which we usually found only in movies. This game shows good character development of the protagonists, along with the unexpected plot twists.
Read also: 5 Best Visual Novel Games So Far (Part 1)
If you never played visual novel games before, those titles are a good start since you will not have the chance to complain. And I have more than one favorite here: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies for the plot twists, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for the survival theme, and I think Steins;Gate will be a worth one to try since it has the highest metascore among the others.
Which one do you think is the best visual novel games? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.