It took me forever to finish Rewrite.
On that, I can blame a couple of things: the sheer length of this thing, unlikeable characters, the lack of communication between the writers leading to inconsistencies all across the story, etc etc, but I’d say that the main reason is that this doesn’t feel like a Key game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it throws you off when something is so different from what you expected. No matter what had happened, all of Key’s previous works fit inside a certain social frame. They didn’t touch upon religion, have high body counts, or have multiple, jarring, changes of setting. The story that Rewrite tries to tell is grand and complex, but the integration is rather badly done and at the end of it I’m really wondering about the point of most of it. If 3/4 of the stories were chopped out and the writers were more organized I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more. Then again, I’ve never really liked VNs that start out in the school setting then shift to another setting half way through (as much as I loved Clannad I had problems with the After Story), so feel free to take what I just said with a grain of salt.
Other things that made Rewrite different from what I expected was the sheer bleakness of the story. Key is known for their tear jerking stories, but other than Kotori’s path, the story mostly just felt depressing. Well, any story that delves into the morality of human existence is bound to be depressing, but the lack of closure involving the heroine paths really made my wish for something a little happier, even if it was a bit of a cop out.
Production wise there is very little to be picky about. The amount of images that look “off” has decreased from Little Busters, and the coloring team did a fantastic job. The soundtrack is extensive, the effects sleek, and people who have played Key’s games before will appreciate the large number of save slots and their signature reverse to the last option function. One thing of note is the mappie system, which is used for the user to explore the terrain. It really eats up a lot of time if you’re going for completion, and while there is a function which gets rid of most of the hassle, I really wish it could be turned off entirely.
In the end, I don’t really know what to think of Rewrite. Its world is certainly interesting, and various open plot threads invite the readers to draw their own conclusions. I can’t say that I hated it, but I’d certainly hesitate to recommend it to others.