fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE Review – A Work of Art

    Title: fault - StP - LIGHTKRAVTE
    Developer: ALICE IN DISSONANCE
    Release Date: May 27, 2022
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Phoenixx
    Genre: Visual Novel

Alice in Dissonance is a rather off-the-cuff indie group who developed the visual novel series fault, which are self-professed “cinematic visual novels that tell gripping tales of human drama in a world where science fiction has melded with fantasy”.

First off, that instantly sells me on playing these titles and leaves me annoyed that I hadn’t noticed them earlier. Their newest title, fault – Silence the Pedant – LIGHTKRAVTE, which I will refer to as Lightkravte from here on due to space and time reasons, is supposed to serve as a point that anyone can jump into the series from. Sign me up.

Taking place in a fantasy world’s kingdom of Rughzenahaide, Lightkravte is a prequel story to the upcoming Fault – Silence the Pedant, set in a universe of swords with a fairly hard magic system. However, this is not a story that involves our MC becoming an incredibly powerful mage or a fierce warrior who will also be able to woo over half a dozen different anime girls, despite ours being a strongly puberty-influenced teenager.

Our protagonist, Khaji, son of a fruit farmer, has far less lofty goals. He wants to be a fantastic painter, one who paints portraits of beautiful women (that’s all of them by his standards) and also can earn money out of it. Ignoring how difficult that is in our own reality alone, Khaji has one slight road bump. He’s an awful painter.

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He’s also running into the point in life where people need to start looking into what kind of job they’re going to pursue, for the rest of their life! Time is of the essence as Khaji looks into what he can do to improve his abilities before it’s too late.

Right off the bat, this game is visually a masterclass. These backgrounds are fantastic in their own right, and then you watch them get used in a segmented fashion, with zooms and layers which can incorporate the background into the scene itself. The character sprites look extremely good, and whilst some of the animations are a little stilted, I enjoy them immensely.

It’s especially impressive coming from a smaller dev team. There’s also a fun little, I’d hazard to call it a gimmick, but the player can alter the perspective of the scene and shift the angle using the mouse which really takes advantage of the layered backgrounds to make them and the characters even more engrossing. And when you combine these factors along with an absurd amount of layered CGs to work with this style?

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How many compliments can I even dole out about the visuals before I run out of positive adjectives? Far too many. And the visuals are also supported by a really good score, and some especially good ambient noises to really sell certain scenes.

The menus look nice, but one thing that sticks out is the lack of an Extras menu. Obviously, this isn’t necessary, but things like a CG gallery are commonplace here, and the art in this title was exemplary, so I wanted to go back and take a look at the gallery after I was done. Good thing I saved frequently with multiple slots.

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Something you’ll notice quickly is that this story’s copious amounts of lingo, lore, and world-building. This is simultaneously very important and also not at all. It’s not terribly important for this story, in particular, but it seems that this story is very definitely a springboard for future entries for newcomers, though it does this in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve been lore dumped for the sake of it when it comes to how the magic system works.

However, when it comes to some other world-building, particularly in regards to how the country works, what feels like a more important ‘conspiracy’ plotline seems to be introduced to hang in the background to be dealt with later. But before it manages to get anywhere, the story ends.

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Whilst it isn’t relevant to the overall tale being told here, the fact that it was set up and then goes very largely unaddressed, ends with that feeling like it was something of a waste of time and I thought the story was about to pivot to this narrative thread a whole five seconds before the end credits started. Outside of the background plot threads, is, however, our main narrative.

This doesn’t offer the strongest start, thanks to our protagonist’s very self-serving motivation, but curves around thanks to some fantastic character writing and an extremely solid cast of characters. You can knock this one out in just seven hours, leaving me wanting so much more in a good way. Besides that political conspiracy plotline. I really want to see more of that main cast. It’s a fun group of friends I’d love to hang out with.

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fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE is one of the most visually impressive titles I have read in a good while, to a staggering degree. With a technically impressive background score and a solid story, I have been entirely sold on this series and want to read the rest of it very soon. I just need to find the time.

Score:
8.5/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jacob Kavanagh

Staff Writer - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter