Little Busters Ecstacy review

A bunch of friends try to win a baseball game, and 2 of them end up falling in love in a comedic setting. Cue the tragic back story for the girl, some mystical symbolism pretending to be plot, a lot of stuff about the power of family and friendship, and you’ve got Little busters in a nutshell.

The story was quite similar to other games that Key has turned out over the years. The slapstick comedy involving stupid friends, the overly long and complicated branches that changes with each play through, the main character that’s a complete moron at times but quite intelligent at others, etc etc etc. The one major difference was that I didn’t really like any of the characters this time around. I’ve had posts about the characters here and here. Refrain, which is the true ending which must be unlocked (like Air in Air or the After story in Clannad), was really similar to Cross Channel, in that the writers behave as if the plot is only an excuse to have the characters show a reaction, therefore the plot doesn’t have to make sense. That works in Cross channel. It doesn’t work here.

Another problem is that the different parts of the game feels too detached. There was almost nothing to Rin’s path, as the focus was wholly on her brother, Kyousuke. most of the little that is to her story is in a completely different setting than the rest, giving a jolted feeling. In fact, everything Jun Maeda wrote feels detached from what the other 2 wrote, making the entire thing feel like 3 games rather than 1. It certainly felt as long as three games, especially with all the skipping I had to do trying to get to the character paths.

The Art…hohoho…the art…

Many images, such as the CG above, are quite nice. You have your very Key-esque backgrounds, which blend quite well with the character art. The female characters all get 2 poses each, with a few head and arm variations to each pose. Now, let me start on the problems.

1) The bodies are inconsistent

Flat loli

Non-flat loli

I don't know what to call this.... But the h-scene CGs are even worse

2) The poses are inconsistent

Normal pose

Other pose, in which the character looks 5 years younger

3) The anatomy is horrible

There are many problems, but I can't talk about them because I'm so distracted by those hands...

Eww…just…eww…

I don't think I need to say anything here

I'm sure that if you calculated it, the girl would be at a ridiculous height, that hand makes me feel awed, and that lighting is way off, but what I want to focus on is that green thing in her hand. It's a book. With how small it is it might as well be a cellphone. Yes, there are small books, but this one just feels awkward to me.

...

There's absolutely no way that her boobs can possibly be like that, her arms are like 2 wooden sticks with a joint, it's so wrong. I know that hair is supposed to be ridiculous and all, but this is just a bit too much for me.

Again, those arms are completely ridiculous. Plus cloth under no conditions would ever look like that.

These aren’t even the worse of it. I’ve avoided some because of spoiler reasons (such as Kyousuke’s scene with the bus), and don’t get me started on the h-scenes, most of the images are so awful I’m speechless. The promotional art is also a mixed bag, with some good, some bad, and some awful. Then there’s the mysterious circumstances involving Komari’s ribbons (and why Itaru Hinoue draw the same pose twice is beyond me)…

The BGM gets really tiring over the course of the game, and I can’t say they don’t feel generic, but they always fit the mood. Mio’s theme is fantastic and all the vocal tracks are nice.

The programming has 2 sides to it. On the novel side, we have all the basic stuff and a few extras, including some nice semi animation in Saya’s route and an excellent credits roll. On the other side, there are some mini games embedded into the story. Near the beginning of the game you’ll be asked whether certain mini games will be turned on or off. That decision can’t be changed for the rest of the play through. I’ll be using Chinese screen shots for them.

1) The battles

Every character has their own stats, and there’s a small tournament between the characters. At the beginning of each match, the crowd throws in random things, which the characters use as weapons. The reader does nothing to affect the outcome of battles other than a very small amount of control over which weapons to get. At times during the day, you may choose to wander around the school in search of opponents to fight or trade items with. This can be turned off. Another part of the battle system is Sasami’s fights with Rin. For some reason or another, Rin always gets Sasami mad, and Rin fights Sasami’s underlings, then Sasami herself if she wins.

The battles has no effect on the story. Character stats can be boosted through baseball training.

2) Baseball

When the screen changes and the maplestory music comes up, you know you’re in baseball training. Basically, Rin throws balls at you and you attempt to hit it toward characters you want to train and hopefully get a chain of hits. This increases character stats and affects the outcome of the baseball match. The match itself is like a battle, with the batter going against the pitcher and the difference in stats controlling the outcome. You can also control your own team (steal, bunt, etc).

3) Saya’s shooting

Saya’s story involved going around an underground maze with 8 levels shooting at things and solving puzzles. After completing the maze once, you have to go through it again through Saya’s perspective, where you have to die many times. Apparently, when Saya loses enough times, she turns M and the game switches to Ecstasy mode, with more hits and more life. But I failed in activating it after many frustrating and mind-numbing hours and eventually game up.

The minigames, like many of the jokes, proved to be amusing for all of 10 minutes, after which they were incredibly annoying. With these things, and also the fact that the flowchart is incredibly complicated with the script changing slightly at each play through, I have to say that I wish they didn’t waste the time on this.

Story:7×5=35/50

Art:6×3=18/30

Music: 8/10

Programming: 5/10

Total: 66/100 C

It had its moments, but unfortunately, I can’t say that Little busters was great in any part. Too bad, it could have been fantastic.

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14 thoughts on “Little Busters Ecstacy review

  1. Some of the screens you posted sure are so bad it’s funny.
    I hope you will find better VNs to read through.

  2. That’s kind of sad…since I still want to play this, ha ha. But eh, Na-Ga/Itaru Hinoue art simply isn’t great.

  3. stop being picky dammit .. it’s like u r denying the characters just because of some bad art , deal with it. god dammit , i dont even have time to go nitpick , just enjoy the characters and the story .

  4. i laughed so hard at your art critique…..LMFAOOOO

    honestly i don’t understand why key doesn’t fire their current artist, EVERYONE HATES THE ART. Andddd there are so many other talented artists that would want the job….

    LIKE MEH

  5. I personally loved Little Busters! (yes i mean the OG All-Ages version, NOT EX) and I thought it was the best VN from Key I have played through so far (Kanon through to Little Busters!)

  6. I like little busters very much so i wanted to understand more about the story so can anyone please give me a download link for the game and an english patch download i beg you i really wanted to play the game please reply

    • If you really liked it, you wouldn’t be leaving a comment here. The English patch is literally the first thing that comes up when you google “little busters english patch”, and if you really cared about the series you would go and buy the game, not ask for a download link. The standard edition of little busters is called リトルバスターズ! 通常版. You can even find it on amazon.

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