A couple of years ago, I was searching for some animes to cheer me up. I ended up watching Chaos; Head, and I had a mixed reaction: I thought the murder mystery was really exciting, however, after a couple of episodes, it turned into an anime about fighting with magic swords and super powers. In other words, it went from amazing to mediocre really fast. That's my opinion, though.
When I found out that it's sequel Chaos; Child was available to PC, and I was searching for Visual Novels, I decided to give it a try, even if my expectations were low.
That's what happened:
===A Chaotic Plot===
The story takes place in Shibuya, Japan.
Some years ago (Chaos; Head) a series of weird murders happened on Shibuya. The bodies were found like suicides. People called it "The New Generation Madness". A young boy managed to solve the crimes with the help of his friends, after being framed as the murderer himself. He cleaned up his name, and caught the real murderer.
However, something really strange is happening again: Two people died. and their bodies were intact, like a suicide. But since the deaths Oh my gosh, I can't spoil how they died, but boy, I really want to. ocurred at the same dates of the New Generation Madness years ago, people around the net are calling it "The Return of the New Generation Madness".
Since the New Generation Madness had seven murders, it's possible that more people will die. Takuru Miyashiro, a high-school boy and his friends from the Newspaper Club decide to investigate the case. But the more they discover, the more the case seems to follow them.
At the same time, a strange sticker called "Sumo Sticker" is appearing everywhere in Shibuya. At first, people ignored it, but they are slowly taking over the city. What's with this sticker? And why it appears at the crime scenes, as if observing the bodies?
Takuru Miyashiro: An average high-school boy. Takuro lost his parents after the Shibuya earthquake. He's a member of the newspaper club and has an obession with solving the Return of the New Generation Madness. Sometimes he has delusions when facing a situation. Don't have many friends because, to him, there's a lot of "wrong-siders" around him. He used to live with Nono, but he leaved after discovering the truth about his parents. Now he lives alone at a caravan trailer.
Serika Onoe: Takuru's Best friend. Serika is an innocent, and somewhat naive girl. She likes to mess with her Gero-Froggy phonestrap when things are getting complicated. Part of the newspaper club.
Shinji Itou: Takuru's other best friend. He is a regular boy who seems to agree with Takuru that most people around the school are "wrong-siders". He seems to enjoy talking about the crimes, but he has a "slight" perverted mind.
Nono Kurusu: Takuru's "sister". She also had a difficult life after the earthquake, and lives with her foster father, her little sister and her little brother at a clinic. She is very worried that Takuru is obsessed with the Return of the New Generation Madness. She seems to be very protective around her family.
Hana Kazuki: A very mysterious girl. She spends most of her time playing ESO 2 at the PC of the newspaper club. She also never spoke a word around her friends, even after joining the club. She also looks emotionless, even at critical moments.
Hinae Arimura: A girl that has some strange behaviors. She sometime is a very happy and energetic girl, but her personality can change to a very rude posture. Due to that, Takuru and the others can't tell what her true personality is.
Takeshi Shinjo: A young detective investigating the Return of the New Generation Madness. He wants to solve the case in order to revenge the death of another detective some years ago, who he admired. While investigating the case, he befriends the Newspaper Club, specially Takuru. He is somehow a second protagonist, since the game changes the focus from Takuru to Shinjo often.
Mio Kunosato: Shinjo's partner, and also a high-school girl. She is very rude to some people, including the Newspaper Club members. In fact, she seems to hate Takuru for some unknown reason. However, she's very serious about her work. Spends most of the time with Shinjo. Even if Shinjo thinks she is too young to endure some things around the case, (like examining corpses) she does everything she can to find the truth.
===A Visual Novel with Gameplay===
At first, I thought Chaos; Child would be a linear non-interactive Visual Novel, but I was really surprised when I found out the gameplay mechanics.
There are two different gameplay mechanics:
Delusion Trigger: When Takuru faces a embarassing situation, you will have three delusion options to choose: Positive, Negative, or None. As the name suggests, if you pick "Positive", Takuru will have a good delusion of what can happen in that situation, usually resulting in funny moments. If you pick "Negative", a bad delusion will dominate his thoughts and it can end really bad. However, if you choose none of the options, he will have no delusion at all. Remember that choosing Positive or Negative will not have impact on your first gameplay.
Mapping Mode: When Takuru is examining the board map where he keeps progress of the Return of the New Generation Madness, it's up to you to choose the correct options. For example, if he says: "This is the picture of the body", you will have to choose the right picture at the board. You will also need to pick right choices when he asks a question about the case. Remember: Sometimes, if you choose the wrong answer, you can either have to start over, or even worse, you'll get a Bad Ending (Game Over). Don't worry, the game creates an auto-save during these moments.
===A Perfect Visual Novel? No, but almost===
Since this game is a Visual Novel, almost everything I say about it sounds like spoiler, so I will try to be direct. Chaos; Child is not a perfect Visual Novel. It has flaws.
The biggest flaw is about what you need to do in order to see the True Ending. The first time you play the game you will get the regular ending. Then, you need to play it like three times again to see different routes and get more endings. Only after that you will get access to the True Ending. However, this game is almost 50 hours long, and if you really want to see the True Ending you will spend around 70 hours playing it.
Far from perfect, but if you love murder mysteries like me, this Visual Novel is for you. Maybe some scenes are predictable, but overall, the mysteries in Chaos; Child will have you hooked up.
This is it. See you guys around.