Teen Game Review: “CLANNAD Side Stories” PC

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Hello everyone and welcome to….every time I type these out it sounds more and more, that I’m a teacher or something. Whatever. Anyways, today I got CLANNAD Side Stories, a game that was released in Japan in the year 2010, by VisualArts. The game originally was released for the PSP and stayed that way until, only 25 days ago actually (June 2nd, 2016). I was so pumped when I realized this was coming out, and then I flat out hadn’t realized WHEN it was coming out. It was like a week after the fact I noticed it was fully out. I don’t know HOW I missed it, but I couldn’t wait to play it!

2nd

Now I want to point out firstly, I did a review of CLANNAD, which you can view HERE if you’d like. I WOULD suggest it, not so much as I want you to look at my previous work, which I would very much like that, but for more description. I’m going to briefly, EXTREMELY briefly, talk about the characters in comparison to what I said about CLANNAD. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you understand the Clannad universe and shouldn’t have any troubles. If that isn’t the case, *insert_highly_suggest* you should REALLY consider playing CLANNAD, learning about it more or watching the show. I suggest all the above of course. With that being said, CLANNAD Side Stories follows our main character in the previously mentioned stories, Tomoya Okazaki. Okazaki hasn’t had the best of luck in his life up to this point. His mother passed away when he was quite young, and his relationship with his father is nothing short of terrible. He’s still trying to pick up those pieces. Thankfully, in his senior year at the Hikarizaka High School, he’s got a BUNCH of, to say the least, crazy friends and acquaintances. CLANNAD Side Stories fills in the blanks of what CLANNAD, and it’s show, didn’t explain. For instance, one of the characters, Kyou Fujibayashi, has a pet boar named Botan. (Yes, a pet boar. She’s adorable!) It never was explained HOW she found Botan or anything like that, and there is a part in this game that has a path JUST about Botan. You’re probably thinking, a story about a boar would be boring, but it’s truly not. That’s not the entire game either. Erm, right, game, speak.

Compared to CLANNAD, the gameplay is quite a bit different. It’s not so much a PROBLEM, but it almost handles like a show. It has an auto-read feature that you cannot turn off. I should say, I haven’t found a way to turn it off, and I didn’t see anyone say how to. It honestly is like you’re watching a show, which isn’t terrible, it’s just not so much a game is what I’m trying to say, especially compared to CLANNAD. With comparisons also, the run time is much smaller to that of CLANNAD, running at around 6-10 hours. You can get through it within 6 if you set the text to go faster, but if you take your time like I do, and pause sometimes, it would be 10 hours. Realistically, it WAS a PSP game, it’s incredible considering it had THAT much content, albeit REALLY GOOD content. The demographic for this game is OBVIOUSLY for fans of Clannad, in no offense to others, but it’s not as important to Joe off the street who’s never watched a single clip of Anime in his life.

3rd

There are 16 different “episodes” (deeming them episodes since I think it’s pretty close to correct) ranging from Nagisa, to Kyou and Ryou, even Botan like I mentioned earlier. Each episode is about 20-30 minutes long, I’ve seen people say 20-25 or 25-30, and I myself believe it’s a mix of both. If you just sit there and never pause it, they’re 20 minutes. To me, since I paused it or missed something, 30 minutes if not more. I have to say also, which does stink, but you cannot “rewind” the game. You have to go out and choose which “chapter” to read off of again, and then wait til you return to what point you were searching for. You cannot fast-forward either, so you have to wait it out like I said. It’s not like the previous game where you can click, well, basically go back. Every main character and a couple of side characters all have their own stories, and it’s great really. I enjoyed every second of each one, they’re very nice to watch and they keep the same sort of pace the show goes at. Like I said earlier, since it’s basically set so you just sit back, relax and enjoy the show, the sound flows almost perfectly. The music and imagery is all used again from the CLANNAD game, and some other different images as well. For a PSP game being ported over to a computer, it’s awesome what Sekai Project did, it really is. They updated the graphics to 1280 x 960 and, just like CLANNAD, translated it to English, otherwise I wouldn’t be making this review. Well, I mean I guess I could’ve made it, but I don’t know how many people would’ve understood Japanese, nor do I know how to write or speak. I would’ve been lost in translation for sure at that point.

Last

This review is short compared to a lot of previous ones, but I mean no harm when I say, I can only say so much. If I said like “Oh yeah, in Kyou’s episode, blah blah blah happens and I was like ‘SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAT!?,” I can’t do that. I COULD, but that would be me just telling you what the game said and it would be worthless for you to go and see it for yourself. I’m not one to complain, however, I regretfully have to point out two things that I saw as problems for myself. The first one being that Tomoya Okazaki’s voice actor is different. If you didn’t watch Clannad, this will be NO PROBLEM. You only played the game and it’s the first time you’re hearing his voice anyways. For myself, watching the entire series before playing, it bothered me for the first couple of episodes. Not so much that I would even consider dropping a single percent off a rating of the game, but still disappointing to me. The 2nd one is, there is a certain episode that I myself, would call “inappropriate.” I don’t want to bash the entire game because it’s honestly less than 10 minutes, it doesn’t ruin anything, it’s just uncalled for in my eyes. Clannad is very family-friendly, and the game still is, but for some reason, that ONE episode isn’t. I’d STILL say you are probably good, if you’re reading this, and you’re 14, or you’re a parent, a 14 year old could still play, understand and enjoy it. I suggest to just be wary of episode 15. You might not even see it as bad. Everyone’s opinion about things is different. I felt like I needed to warn you JUST in case because I don’t want to say, “Oh yeah, it’s fine, let your 8 year old play it,” and they stumble upon something they maybe shouldn’t be seeing. I’ll finish this by saying, I cannot describe it for various reasons, but it’s still family-friendly. That particular episode just takes it WAY OVER THE TOP, to which shocked me very much.

All-in-all, a great amount of content still. All of them, still, even what I just said, I enjoyed all of them very much. A TON of humor in it again, a couple of sad moments, but most of those sad moments are “sad but happy” moments, which are the best. If you’re a Clannad fan, or are considering becoming one (which you should if you aren’t), then you do have to get this game. It’s worth it, for all of the in between little moments you’ve never seen before, it’s worth it.

Disclosure: We received a copy of this game for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

9.4

Visuals

10.0/10

Music/Sound Effects

10.0/10

Gameplay

8.0/10

Replay Value

9.0/10

Value

10.0/10

Pros

  • It fills in the blanks of A LOT of nice little things you should know about, that you previously didn't really think about.
  • A bunch of added memories that'll last a lifetime.
  • Each story is different from the previous and they're all special in their own way.

Cons

  • Tomoya's voice is different to that of the show.
  • Episode 15 is, somewhat uncalled for in lots of ways.

Clayton Crooks III

Clayton Crooks III (aka Ghost) is a regular contributor to the game section of Dis411. He enjoys watching his favorite teams (Lakers, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and TN Volunteers), playing video games, traveling to Walt Disney World and playing with his two cats: Cassie and Sylvester.

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