Parallel universes

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
Author and references

Explaining Muv-Luv is not very easy. Above all, doing it while avoiding huge plot previews is an epic undertaking. We will try to succeed, but in some cases we will necessarily have to make references to history to make it clear what we are talking about.

Muv-Luv also has sequences drawn in the chibi style

If you are already familiar with âge's visual novel trilogy, you'll know why, while others are warned. Muv-Luv is published for the first time on a PC on CD-Rom, in an eroge version, ie with contents for adults. It was 2003 and the success was such that in 2006, after a reissue on DVD of the first version, the edition for all ages was released, which also had a port for Xbox 360 in 2011. However, until the publication on Steam took place As of July 2016, the only way to play it in English was to purchase the 2004 PC DVD edition and install an amateur translation patch made by the Amaterasu group. Fortunately, it is now accessible to everyone, even if the new edition could have been better curated. We will see later why. The initial screen asks you to choose between one of the two episodes that make up the adventure: Extra and Unlimited. Our advice, if you decide to buy it, is to start with Extra and then proceed with Unlimited. The third episode, Alternative, must be purchased separately and concludes the very strange trilogy. Alternative is not yet available on Steam, but when it is, avoid using it without having first concluded the other two, because you would lose many references and, above all, you would not be able to understand the peculiar composition of the entire work.




We reviewed the first two episodes of Muv-Luv with their very intricate story. Discover them!


Extras

The episode "Extra" tells the story of Shirogane Takeru, the character whose point of view is embraced for the entire trilogy, and her relationship with a group of girls who will do everything to seduce him, starting with her friend. childhood Kagami Sumika, a sunny little girl with whom Takeru has a splendid but somewhat conflicted relationship.

The episode "Extra" makes Muv-Luv look like a romantic visual novel
There is also a video game with mechs in the middle, but you don't have direct control of the robots

After a chapter of presentation dedicated to the two, the troubles begin: Takeru finds himself in bed Mitsurugi Meiya, a young heiress who wants to marry him at all costs. From here a whole series of funny and embarrassing situations will start, which will become more and more intricate as we get to know the other characters, almost all attending the school of Takeru and Sumika. Extra is a very long and decidedly articulated episode, in which you can reach twenty different endings depending on the choices made. In reality, the interactions during the adventure are very limited and only require you to make decisions to advance the story. Will we eat Sumika's lunch or Meiya's? Will we walk home or will we accompany one of the girls? Nothing exceptionally busy, in short, and nothing strange for a visual novel. Extra, however, has a unique feature compared to the other two episodes: it is completely autonomous. In what sense? Well, by reading it you live a story with light tones, sometimes a little superficial, but still self-contained. Of course, there are references to Unlimited and Alternatives, but they can only be grasped after trying the latter (for example the video game with mech fights). In short, you get to conclude it thinking you are faced with a simple erotic visual novel transformed into a romantic story (apparently a patch is in the works to restore the sex scenes, but nothing is known about it yet). Surely it is a big production for the genre, given the very high number of animations, the countless poses of the characters and the duration of more than thirty hours. The fact remains that after finishing extra it's really hard to tell what's exceptional about Muv-Luv, to the point that it prompted fans to put it on a pedestal alongside sacred monsters like Clannad or Grinsia.



Unlimited

Shirogane Takeru wakes up very late amazed that neither Sumika nor Meiya woke him up. Worried, he leaves the house and discovers that the city he lives in is in ruins. Believing he is in a dream, he decides to let go and joins a group of military men who recruit him to drive a mech (technically a Senjutsuhokousentouki, but we will never repeat this word again).

A few hints of the erotic contents of the 2003 edition remained. More than a few hints.

Apparently planet Earth is at war with an alien race called BETA, which by 2001 had already massacred more than a billion people. If you're in disbelief at the developments in Muv-Luv's story, you're in the mood to understand Takeru's mood at the start of Unlimited. What happened to his world, the one we met in Extra? What happened to Sumika, who will only appear in flashbacks throughout the episode? Why did a story of school loves converge in a story of war against aliens with unexpected developments? But above all, why do some of Extra's characters not recognize him and have completely different lives than the previous episode? It is with Unlimited that the Muv-Luv trilogy blossoms and is completely transformed, revealing itself much deeper than it seemed with Extra: the situations become more dramatic, the tones become harsher, the characters become deeper and reveal unthinkable facets. Extra remains in the background, always present, as if to contrast with the new story. We cannot reveal the various twists, but in the end it is really hard to sum up and understand what the dream is and what the reality is. However, to get the complete view of the situation you must also read Alternative, the often mentioned third episode, hoping that Degica will launch it soon (we will not talk about it here, of course).



Technical Problems

As we mentioned, Muv-Luv is a very rich visual novel in terms of quantity and quality of the drawings, as well as animations. There are so many, and when the action isn't animated, the developers have been masters at using static elements to give a strong sense of movement to the scene, for example, they change the position of the characters on the screen, or quickly alternate their poses to create situations that seem alive.

Extra / Unlimited: many characters in common, completely different stories, even in tones
The backdrops are very beautiful, shame about the resizing

Obviously the technical and artistic values ​​of Muv-Luv are also present in the Steam version, but the adaptation is overall mediocre and in many ways questionable. The choice to re-proportion the images was very annoying. It must be said that those who are not familiar with how visual novels work has often complained about the 4: 3 aspect ratio, used by many classic titles. Of course, those who speak to simply give air to the mouth do not remember that in past years 4: 3 were the standard of monitors and, above all, do not understand that if a 2D image was drawn with those proportions, the only ways to adapt it to proportions different, for example 16: 9, are to cut it or deform it. For Muv-Luv Degica he chose the worst solution, that of cutting. Like this, to meet those who can't bear to see black bands on the screen, we find a visual novel with the backdrops cut with an ax, especially in the upper part. In some cases, when characters are spread across the entire screen (for example when there are five at the same time), the cuts extend to them as well. The faces are always clearly visible, fortunately, but sometimes there are cuts in the final part of the hair that are not exactly pleasant. Always to meet modernity, it was decided to enlarge some images. Graphics Manual, page 2: What happens when we stretch a bitmap image too much? Well done: we fill it with jagged edges. Here we are only interested in reporting that the result is not exactly beautiful and, above all, a quality has not been obtained that makes it preferable to the original one. Fortunately the dubbing has remained intact, so we can hear the original Japanese voices while reading the English lyrics. Were it not for the adaptation work, Muv-Luv would be considered a small masterpiece among the visual novels.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Intel Core i7-4770 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card
  • Windows 10 operating system

Minimum requirements

  • Windows 7/8.1/10 operating system
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 3 GB

Comment

Digital Delivery Steam Price 31,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

8.5

Readers (6)

8.2

Your vote

Muv-Luv is a great visual novel, as long as you accept the particular nature of the story it tells and are ready to read the Alternative episode when it is released, so as to conclude it and fully understand it. For the rest there is little to add to what has been said in the review, including the notes on the mediocre adaptation, which will turn up their noses especially to purists. Not compromising, but certain shortcuts and certain violence against the original could have been avoided.

PRO

  • Very special and unpredictable story
  • Gorgeous designs and excellent animations
  • Each of the two episodes has multiple endings
AGAINST
  • Mediocre fit
  • Extra displaces if used alone
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