From Mages, 5pb, and Spike Chunsoft comes this remake of a Sega Saturn visual novel released exclusively in Japan. YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World is about a high school student named Takuya whose esteemed historian father is killed in an accident. However, after receiving a mysterious package from his deceased father, his entire world is turned upside down. With old school point-and-click adventure game mechanics, YU-NO is a blast from the past. This YUNO PS4 review will cover the story, graphics, soundtrack, gameplay, and more.
Game title variations: YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, YU-NO, YUNO, Yuno
Warning: This story overview will include minor spoilers.
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World follows Takuya Arima, the son of a famous historian. Early on in the game, we learn that Takuya’s father passed away in an accident. The accident occurred while he was working at a research site. Takuya seems incredibly nonchalant about it, as he makes it clear that he and his father didn’t have the best relationship.
Takuya lives at home with his young and attractive stepmother, who is a high ranking official of Geo Technics. Within the city, Geo Technics is a company running a sketchy research project along the coast. Unexplainedly, random lightning strikes occur at the project site which have killed numerous staff.
Despite the strange occurrences happening in his city, Takuya spends most of his days skipping his high school classes and annoying girls with his playboy antics.
However, his seemingly carefree life abruptly comes to an end when he receives a package from his late father. Within the package is a letter and a strange device. In the letter, Takuya’s father tells him that he is alive, but in a place that he can never be found. Furthermore, the mysterious device in the package allows the user to travel through time.
It is obvious that the game has a high production quality in terms of audio and music. YU-NO has a high-quality soundtrack, and well-crafted sound effects all throughout the game.
Furthermore, one of the best aspects of the game is the voice acting. Many games offer sparse amounts of voice acting normally at the beginning of conversations. This is often enough to get the voice of the character in the player’s head. However, it is even better to have voice acting for every piece of dialogue. Every spoken piece of dialogue in the game comes with the accompanying Japanese voice acting.
For those trying to learn Japanese through games, YU-NO is a great game to practice your listening ability. Since there is an enormous amount of dialogue (sometimes unnecessarily), there are plenty of spoken Japanese phrases to learn and pick up through this game.
Compared to the Sega Saturn version, YU-NO has had a major graphics enhancement. Throughout our YUNO PS4 review, the graphics were one of the main elements that captured us. For example, the images below show the same opening scene from the Sega Saturn version and the new PS4 remake.
As you can see, the scenes are incredibly vibrant and clear. The game has been completely redone with modern graphics fitting of the PS4’s hardware capabilities. Also, menus and overlays are very sleek in their designs.
Furthermore, during conversations, the characters mouths will move while they speak. They also change their facial expressions to adjust to the conversation. Many visual novels stick to a static background image and completely change the character sprites to show shifts in mood during conversation. YU-NO goes the extra mile in terms of character animations.
YUNO PS4 Review – Gameplay
With an interesting scenario, beautiful graphics, and a strong soundtrack and sound effects, YU-NO seems to have all the elements in place for a wonderful visual novel.
However, the gameplay is where YU-NO seems to fall apart in some ways. While the story is interesting, it takes around 2 hours of gameplay before it actually starts to get interesting. What happens during those first 2 hours of the game? Takuya looks up women’s skirts, goes home, has dinner, and talks to a few friends.
In YU-NO, the gameplay is unnecessarily complicated. Players are given multiple (normally 6-8) areas to click in every scene. Whether you are in school, at home, or talking to a character, you have six different points of interest.
However, when you are speaking to a character (usually a woman), what are those points of interest? Well, you can speak to her by clicking on her mouth. You can also click on her chest, cleavage, legs, stomach, hair, and other areas of her body. If you do so, you will be blessed with Takuya’s inner thoughts about that part of the character. Believe me when I say they are far from classy thoughts.
What’s worse is that you often have to click on multiple points of interest before the scene will progress. You cannot simply keep talking to move the story forward. Instead, you are forced to listen to uninteresting, and sometimes downright boring thoughts from this pubescent high school protagonist.
One particular scene stood out. In this scene, the character answers the phone.
Scene from YU-NO:
THE PHONE RINGS
Right, I wanted to answer the phone.
All right, I’ll pick up the phone.
I can’t just answer the phone.
I have to push the answer button on the cordless.
I’ll just “Press” the button now.
What the hell am I talking about?
Just, click and…
Hello, this is Arima.
Did we really need nine lines of pointless text just for the character to answer the phone? Did the story really require an explanation of how phones work? This kind of useless text really hurts the game.
One blessing is that you have two options to help speed things up “AUTO” and “SKIP”. These options allow you to skip through entire conversations in a matter of seconds. However, if you’re skipping through most of the dialogue, there is an argument that such text doesn’t need to be in the game in the first place.
Much later on in the game, you are able to pick up items and use those items to interact with areas in the scene. In this sense, the game employs point-and-click adventure gameplay as opposed to simply reading. However, again I have to say that comes much too late in the game. I fear that many players may get frustrated a couple hours in and not even make it to the point where things start to pick up.
At the same time, it is important to touch on the history of the genre. In the past, the visual novel market was filled with pornographic dating sims. Compared to countless titles that came before it, YU-NO is rather tame in its naughty scenes.The original YU-NO game has been praised as one of the first games that proved that visual novels could be a powerful storytelling medium. As such, it inspired many amazing visual novels that came after it. However, the dating sim aspects distract too much from the story.
YUNO PS4 Review – A.D.M.S
Another great thing about YU-NO is its revolutionary A.D.M.S. story system. Basically, the system shows you the path you are currently on in the game and allows you to jump back in time to change decisions you’ve made. This part of the game really adds a lot of replay value and is a system that has been used in many modern visual novels and adventure games.