If you have a horror story to tell, a visual novel might not be your perfect first stop. Other media are just being set up to do it better. Horror movies are a roller coaster, tying you up and forcing you through its growing fear and gruesome gains. Horror novels take root in your imagination, creating things that aren’t there. And horror games immerse you in the background, making it clear that these things happen to you. A visual horror novel does not have any of these things. They tend to be too stop-start to be a roller coaster, too visual to manipulate your imagination, too out of touch to be immersive.
The letter: a visual horror novel aims to prove that our assumptions are wrong. He wants to convince us that creeping terror is absolutely possible within the confines of a visual novel. Rather than being the poor cousin of all these other proven horrors, he wants to make the most of them. Visual novels are, after all, the center of this Venn diagram of movies, novels, and games, so why can’t it have all of their perks?
To get there, The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel has a big gun: it’s the most beautiful visual novel that we had the pleasure of playing. It’s not even close. Where other visual novels will clearly cut corners, contorting the plot so they can reuse backgrounds, or trying to settle for three character poses, The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is brimming with works of art. ‘art. There are hundreds of locations, just about all of the talking characters are pictured, and they each have dozens of poses. The characters even come alive, blink and lip-sync with the all-vocal dialogue.
With so many individual pieces of art to create, you’d think The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel would be sketchy, but it’s gorgeous. The style falls somewhere between anime and realism, and the characters absolutely sing. There are a few issues when the artist changes – one character, Hannah, looks very slightly different in her vignette, conversation, and cutscene states – but it’s usually of the highest caliber, and it consistently stays there. during his twenty hours.
The artwork gives storytellers the confidence to dwell on its story. It’s the story of a haunted mansion being renovated and sold by local real estate agents. They make it available for an open house where one of the agents – Isabella – discovers a hidden room. There she finds a letter with the words “Help” repeated in the blood, as well as a request to forward it to five other people. She has no problem doing so, as the letter falls out of her hands not once but twice, exposing it to six other people. We have the impression that she is doing it on purpose. Each of the victims – including a wealthy couple who buy the mansion – begin to have visions of a ghost, and these visions become more and more manifest and deadly.
It’s an extremely familiar story, as the letter is reminiscent of Ringu’s video, and the ghost looks a lot like Ringu’s ghost. The Creepy Mansion, too, has been a mainstay of horror for as long as the genre has existed. It’s derivative over time, but hey, it gets the story going.
The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel takes inspiration from Pulp Fiction’s book and decides to see the same events from seven different perspectives. You start with Isabella, a smiley real estate agent, who watches her come undone for two hours. Once you’ve sealed his fate, you travel back in time to Hannah, half the wealthy couple, then Zachary, a photographer, all the way through the Seven Individuals to the unbearable Luke, the other half of the powerful couple. Once you’re done with The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel, you’ll know its timeline intimately.
We loved and hated The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel in equal measure. There are so many peaks and valleys that we had a whiplash.
Something he just gets is horror. If he was trying to prove that visual novels can be a vector of psychological horror, then – congratulations – he has served his purpose. Sporadically, the world of The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel will make a Silent Hill, switching to an alternate version of the blood-soaked world that signals the ghost is near. It works a treat. You know how to be careful. The soundtrack creaks and hisses, the frame is filled with blood, and you start looking for the ghost in the shadows of the picture. And then it’s in your face, wide eyes and teeth, and you have every right to shiver. The horror sections are the best parts of the game.
But then a hollow hits. In an attempt to convey your character’s desperation, The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel drops to QTE. You may need to stifle your breath by pressing A while a slider bounces up and down on a golf-like power bar. You may need to spam a button to get away. These little Wario Ware games are a drag: they are rarely tutorial, so you have to guess what they want, and they have an insanely prickly difficulty. One in an elevator and another in an office are so strangely difficult that we had to skip them after a few dozen tries. Credit to The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel for at least including the functionality, but you wonder why it was so patchy. Regardless, even when QTEs seemed achievable, they were an unnecessary immersion break.
Seeing the world through different eyes feels good at first. When we went from Isabella to Hannah, the contrast was stark: it was great to go from poverty to excess, from realism to some kind of fantasy world. As Isabella, you serve Hannah and then play as Hannah to see the other half of the power dynamic. The situations also become clearer, as you see them from two points of view.
But The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel massively overplay the card. He repeats conversations that you have already had. It takes you to a party you’ve been to five times before. There’s not much to make these events interesting: you don’t learn anything new about them, and you could probably have guessed how each person felt. It made the second half of the game – the second ten hours, remember – incredibly heavy, and the boredom was real.
While the voice acting can be good, mostly around the main characters, it can also be horrible. It normally corresponds to regional accents. The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is set in a fictional version of England, and the naughty Dick-Van-Dyke cockneys make their way through the script. An Irish character falls into a bizarre mix of D&D references and Celtic dialect, creating an extremely incredible character. A young character is clearly played by an older person who is pretending to be a child.
The script is correct, but it is stretched too far. He’s plagued with the wrong-paced visual novel problem, letting his characters speak – slowly and precisely – about their feelings, causing a sort of stasis where nothing happens for long periods of time. As the saying goes, you should show and not tell, but The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is an eight-hour confessional, so it’s all on the ‘telling’ side. And you can’t help but think that everything would have been worked out if people were openly talking about what was happening to them, rather than trying to suppress it and hide it.
In general, for every moment of authentic quality, where you marvel at the art or the script, there is a long, winding path to get there. You’ve taken this route a few times with other characters as well, so the boredom is sustained by the repetition. It’s a bad combination.
The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is a mind-boggling but uneven visual novel. It’s at its best when it gets on your nerves, threatening to scare you and increasing tension. It’s at its worst when it shifts attention to your heart, trying to generate empathy for its broad cast. Stretched for twenty hours and seen from multiple angles, these worst aspects are magnified.
There are a few pleasant hours in The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel. In our case, spending seventeen extra hours to reach them was too much of a demand.
You can purchase The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel from Xbox Store
If you have a horror story to tell, a visual novel might not be your perfect first stop. Other media are just being set up to do it better. Horror movies are a roller coaster, tying you up and forcing you through its growing fear and gruesome gains. Horror novels take root in your imagination, creating things that aren’t there. And horror games immerse you in the background, making it clear that these things are happening to you. A visual horror novel does not have any of these things. They tend to be too stop-start to be a roller coaster, too visual to manipulate your imagination too …
The Letter: A Visual Horror Novel Review
The Letter: A Visual Horror Novel Review
- Absolutely magnificent work
- Fully animated and dubbing
- Horror sequences work well
- QTEs are disastrous
- Runs way too long
- Continuously repeats
- Thank you very much for the free copy of the game go to – Eastasiasoft
- Formats – Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Switch
- Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
- Release date – Dec. 15 2021
- Introductory price from – Â£ 16.74