CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition PC Review
There are a ton of visual novel games out in the world that compete for the attention of the normal Otaku. Some of them are classics, like When They Cry, and will receive an anime spin off and go down in history as one of the most important pieces of media in a very long time. Then you have forgettable sludge that falls between the cracks. You need those games because they prevent gaming droughts for the dedicated fans, and let people know that there are things to point to and say “don’t do that.” Sadly, Cross Channel ends up being one of those games.
The problem with this visual novel is noticeable within the first five minutes of play when it becomes apparent that the game wasn’t localized very well. The issue is that the descriptor of the genre itself, visual novel, means that half of the game is reading text and when that task is made into a chore the rest of the game quickly takes a giant and insufferable nose dive into the realm of “why even bother.”
It isn’t even that the game was toned down for the western release, although more on that later, it is that the entire thing reads like a middle schooler’s attempt at erotic fiction. Entire sections of the game read like they were never even proof read, as if one pass was simply good enough. This is compounded by the fact that an uncensored version of the game, via fan localization, has been out for some time and is in no way nearly as laborious to sift through. So, when choices are given to progress the story it is almost always a difficult call to even continue, or just call it quits and find anything else to do.
The other half of the equation, the visual part of the novel, is fine. There isn’t anything to complain about with the artwork; although it did receive the standard “family friendly” removal of all the sex that was in the original game. For a game that is about a perverted main character going through a school and sexually harassing all of the female students to be toned down to this level sort of makes the game feel more unintentionally sad than anything. Although sitting through scores of the dialog to not be rewarding is added punishment.
If there are fans of visual novels out there who are looking for a game to pick up, look elsewhere. This game was hampered in several areas that simply didn’t need to be touched. Most fans can turn out a product faster than a company, but the entire point of waiting for the official work and purchasing it is for a quality product. That point is defeated when any effort made would have been better than what had shown up.