Viridescent Dragon Chapter 1 Review by TennisHero on deviantART
First Impressions: Like many visual novels I've seen, it feels like it jumped straight from the pages of a popular manga. The characters wear their anime tropes on their sleeves (Charlotte is the tsundere, and Seleste is sort of the yandere). The story follows the hero’s quest formula, but it also contains elements of film noir. I would compare Viridescent Dragon favorably to the works of Quentin Tarantino, with its nonlinear storytelling, cynical attitudes and (to a lesser extent) its overexaggerated use of violence. Charlotte, (who I keep mistaking for a boy) wakes up in an enchanted forest with no explanation as to why. Giving your lead character amnesia is an easy and effective way to introduce plot elements to readers, while adding to the overall mystery of your novel. However, the exposition isn’t revealed until the end of the first chapter. In a way, that’s smart because it forces people, who normally wouldn’t read these types of stories, to keep reading. But I’ve seen pilot episodes of animes that give just enough information about the series’ universe to get audiences hooked. Again, the way you have it is fine, but it’s just something to think about. And unless it’s explained later, I felt that Charlotte had no real reason to want to join Seleste, other than indifference.
The positives: The sound effects are good, the music is solid and the GUI looks very polished. The background art looked like watercolor paintings, which goes well with every area you visit. As far as the writing goes, the sections within the first chapter feel episodic and have a clear break as to when a story arc begins and ends. The episodes have very strong continuity with little to no filler. Characters like the doctor, who seem to appear out of nowhere, actually return later and move the plot forward.
The negatives: Like I stated in my first impressions, I think the nonlinear narrative is a good choice for a story like this, but there are some plot elements you that could kill any suspense your story might have. For instance, Charlotte is already a good enough fighter, who took down the first monster like it was nothing. This breaks any tension the story might have because the reader is left with the feeling that the two characters are never in any real danger. I also mentioned that some of the scenes seemed to happen out of nowhere, and even though most of the initially random occurrences had a payoff later in the story, I still found a few inconsistencies.
The Magic Show: Looking back on it now, I think the magic show scene could’ve used the most work. It had a lot going for it at the start: It’s where you finally get to see Seleste show off her magic skills and there’s a lot riding on this show to be good, considering the amount of gems that are on the line. It’s later revealed that the royal family generally frown upon magic users, so I didn’t get why the bank president would consider paying her to perform, unless his intentions are revealed in a later chapter. It’s where a pivotal scene takes place, which changes the course of the story: The scene where Charlotte nearly murdered Alexander. It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it should’ve been. Charlotte doesn’t show remorse, nor some kind of sick joy. Even Seleste wasn’t that shocked at the sight of blood, considering she was more freaked out by the very mention of blood. Charlotte later has the realization that her memories are triggered by hearing certain words/phrases. At this point, we know she’s quick to draw her blades when provoked, but Charlotte never acted on those impulses until a memory was triggered.
I thought it would be a cool subversion of the hero’s story if every time Charlotte remembered something, she would have a psychological or mental collapse. Every new encounter would bring her just one step closer to lashing out in fits of rage, like Michael Douglas’ character in the movie “Falling Down”. So far, given the language, violence and minor sexual themes, the story is very “PG-13”, when I think it would work better as an “R”. But that’s just a suggestion.
Oversights: After replaying the game in preparation for this review, I noticed two scenes that might have been overlooked, or maybe just an oversight on my part.
1. It was said that Seleste is a vegan. However, one line of dialogue almost contradicted that. It might have just been an oversight, or I might have read it wrong. Here’s the line:
Charlotte: Ahh, I can’t get over that last restaurant’s steaks… All their meat is deeelicious~!
Seleste: Ugh… Yeah, as opposed to the other five…I feel like I’m about to burst!
2. The scene where the player is introduced to Kindle and Fiametta. Kindle utters the line “…Hmph”, when I think it should’ve been Fiametta that said it.
BOTTOM LINE: Viridescent Dragon is an aesthetically pleasing kinetic visual novel, which combines fantasy, fairy tale, and neo-noir stories. Its nonlinear narrative might leave some readers confused, while others will want to read it until the end just to unravel the mystery. And while I think the magic show scene needed to be stronger, I feel like the discrepancies I mentioned will be addressed in the upcoming chapters.
"Viridescent Dragon is an aesthetically pleasing kinetic visual novel, which combines fantasy, fairy tale, and neo-noir stories."