Title: Raging Loop
Release Date: October 18, 2019
Reviewed On: PS4
Genre: Horror Adventure
As a fan of board games, I could easily spot what developer Kemco was creating with their horror adventure Raging Loop. The game borrows elements from a popular game known as Werewolf, with a few twists thrown in. It’s these new gameplay elements attached to ever-growing desire to know who’s killing everyone that slingshots Raging Loop as a great adventure with systems that I’d like to see in more visual novels.
Raging Loop begins by introducing Haruaki Fusaishi, a 24-year-old trying to get over a break up by climbing on his motorcycle and driving into the night. After a few hours, he finds himself in the mountains and lost. If things weren’t bad enough, he ends up crashing his bike. Luckily, he meets a college student named Chiemi, who is strangely out late at night. She invites him to stay at her place, and they get drunk.
The next day is when things begin to get weird for Haruaki when he discovers that he’s actually in a village who doesn’t take kindly stranger. With his bike out of order, he must request the help of the elders and follow the rules so that he can get out there. However, things get even worse for Haruaki when a mist rolls in, and Chiemi tells him to hide out in an outhouse and stay quiet. Well, he doesn’t, and that’s when the hands of a werewolf murder him.
Following those events, we learn that this village is cursed. Throughout the village’s history, they’ve angered the wolf god with the help of the other gods to the point where the wolves want revenge. During a specific time, wolves will take the form of villagers, and each night they will kill someone. It’s up to the villagers to investigate alibies to gather enough evidence to hang one of the villagers in hopes that they are the werewolf. Thankfully, they are alone as the other gods lend specific villagers their powers, but some villagers don’t share their abilities in fear of the wolves killing them.
The lore of the opening three hours of the game is dense. The player will mostly sit back and relax as the game dumps it all on you. The good thing here is that it is rather exciting and also a little necessary to understand how everything works. However, characters can be chatty with redundant conversations and repetitive statements.
After the lore drop, players are in for a horrific adventure. The game doesn’t only focus on a few characters. Instead, we meet and get to know everyone through Haruaki. No one in this village is what you’d describe as normal, which ups the uneasy feeling you get when you’re in a conversation with them. There is also voice acting for each character, including Haruaki, which helps with the immersion in this world.
While the game’s opening heavily relies on its visual novel elements, players will have plenty of interaction with the game in the latter parts. Throughout the story, players will make choices for Haruaki, which can lead to his death, the death of an innocent villager, or (hopefully) the end of a werewolf. What’s important to note is that Haruaki will die in this adventure, but strangely, he doesn’t forget the events leading up to his death. You see, Haruaki doesn’t have to play by the rules of the other villagers and finds that through each repeated cycle, he gets closer to figuring out the truth.
Raging Loop features an excellent chart system that allows players to travel to different points of the story and make choices. It’s not as simple as figuring out the werewolf and then going back and killing that person, though. Due to the game’s true ending being reasonably linear as you make your way to discovering who the actual werewolf is. The reveal is pretty grand and pact full of even more lore, but the time you’ve invested to that point will sell the dramatization of it all.
However, the conclusion isn’t the best part about Raging Loop. After completing the true ending, a new Revalation Mode will unlock as a New Game +. This mode lets you play through the game, but this time with the power to see what other characters are thinking. This is an incredible feature that I wish was in other visual novels because it works so well. Jumping to keep scenes and genuinely understanding these character’s actions is impressive and also makes the scenes tenser because now you know the truth.
I enjoyed the character illustrations in the game and felt that they sold the experience of a rural village and setting. However, the background illustrations didn’t always do it for me, and I wished that there were more CG scenes in the game to visualize what was going on. For example, Haruaki spent an entire day working on his bike, but instead of showing a CG of him doing, it only shows an empty background illustration and text. However, the game does have some rather gory moments. Thankfully, it doesn’t cut too many corners there, especially with the high level of descriptions of the scenes.
Raging Loop plays on the Werewolf game formula but offers a new element where a character can endlessly run through this story and bring past experiences with them. It’s a feature that works so well and makes for some great moments of dialog as Haruaki attempts not to expose his secret to anyone, but still, offer insight where we can. While this game might seem like an average horror adventure with one true ending and multiple bad endings, the New Game+ is too good to pass up for fans of the genre. It’s these new features that the developer has added, which make this lore filled adventure a must-play title.
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