Title: Higurashi When They Cry Hou - Ch.7 Minagoroshi
Developer: 07th Expansion
Release Date: July 19, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
I’ve been following the Higurashi When They Cry Hou series ever since MangaGamer released the first chapter Onikakushi and to be honest, despite how strong the series has been in the previous chapters, I was a bit afraid that my expectations would be way too high for this chapter. Thankfully, this entry in the series expands on the everyday life of Keiichi Maebara and his friends and I was happy to be a part of it. Those who heard of the anime before, know that Higurashi When They Cry Hou has plenty of horror themes, yet I feel like it’s much more than this. The series definitely sets itself apart from other horror visual novels by taking its time with its character development.
I would like to mention here, that this review will contain heavy spoilers as it’s the seventh chapter out of eight and therefore you might want to be careful if you didn’t get around to play the previous chapters yet.
Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.7 Minagoroshi takes place following the events from the Tsumihoroboshi chapter after a miracle happened and Keiichi was able to remember something about his past lives. With this, even though this world ended in a disaster, Rika finally got the motivation to change her fate and thus, another loop starts in a new world. With this chapter, a new character, Hanyuu, gets introduced, although nobody can actually see her beside Rika. While Rika is trying to survive that’s not her only goal, as she also wants to be happy with all of her friends.
As aforementioned, Higurashi When They Cry Hou is by no means just a horror game. Something I really love about the game is that it actually takes its time to build up its characters, making the reader get immersed with the author’s world before the frighting things start to happen. Like in the previous chapters, this game starts off light-hearted showing the club’s activities. In that regard, it’s tough to read through the opening events because you can’t help but love the character’s relationship with each other, which makes it tough as the reader to think that some of them won’t get a happy ending.
As usual, there is the option to switch between the original sprites and the updated ones from MangaGamer. It’s clear by now, that Higurashi When They Cry Hou is held to a pretty high standard when it comes to its writing. This might be due to how the original sprites don’t look very appealing even for their age. I can definitely confirm that this is an emotional game which managed to make me tear up, which is a testament to the high level of quality the writing has.
Sometimes in the story, a few events are repeated, but I never got bored reading through them. I found the message behind this game really touching as it teaches you to never give up, even if everything seems hopeless. When everyone is believing, and working together, a miracle will happen and after all, fate is only as thin as a sheet of paper which you can easily destroy. All it takes is just to be determined enough in order to make it happen. I really love that Higurashi When They Cry Hou works with a lot of sensitive topics we all can relate to in real life so it’s not uncommon to reflect about your own life while reading.
Minagoroshi might be considered as an answer sheet which will explain a lot of the mysterious that happened previously. Although the mystery and the cute characters are what kept me going back with each chapter, I was satisfied with the reveals as they were totally unexpected and something I never saw coming. This chapter feels like the climax of the game which will have you impatiently waiting for the next and final chapter in this series.
Higurashi When They Cry Hou is a kinetic novel through and through. Although I was surprised when I found a choice in this game, the decision didn’t change anything besides a couple of dialogues, but the intention and message were clear here. No matter what you do, never give up. The decision felt really meaningful and emotional which, evidently, left such a big impression on me. Despite usually not being a fan of meaningless choices, I really liked the way it was implemented, so the reader was eager for Rika to change her mind as well.
The only thing I could kind of count as a downside is that, sadly, MangaGamer didn’t get the rights for the artwork and voices of the PS2 version, which is a remake of the original game. Instead, they redid the backgrounds and sprites, which are good to an extent, but the backgrounds are often blurry and don’t match with the theme sometimes. The story can also become a little confusing since the text is displayed on the screen without the name of the speaker actually mentioned. Thankfully, most of the time, it was clear, thanks to the moving sprites, but when a lot of people are participating in the conversation it tired me out constantly thinking about whose turn it was to talk. The good thing here is that MangaGamer made the game moddable on purpose so it’s only a matter of time until there will be a patch for this chapter as well, like for the previous ones.
Like in the previous games, there is a message left from the author after completing this game and I could really feel how much this series meant to them. I think it’s a beautiful way to end a game and something I honestly don’t see a lot of. Although the message is quite old by now, I could really relate to his fans and I felt the hype for the last chapter. After all, we still have to wait patiently for the localization, which takes a little bit too long for my taste, but who am I fooling, I can never get enough of the Higurashi series anyway.
After my long journey with Higurashi When They Cry Hou, I can’t believe it slowly but surely came to an end. While the backgrounds weren’t really my taste, I think it’s a good compromise that this game is moddable. Even with the visual change, this title has some of the best writing that I have ever played, which continues to be something I find in every chapter. With its strong character development and horror themes, this is a great visual novel series for anyone wanting to read a solid story. This series still finds ways to surprise me and I can’t wait to be able to experience the final chapter.
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