CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition (PC) Review

By Athanasios 23.04.2018

Review for CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition on PC

CROSS†CHANNEL is widely considered to be one of the best visual novels ever - depending on who you ask, that is, as those who have played it are divided between those who have just enjoyed its somewhat unique premise, and those who have fallen absolutely in love with it. Moreover, up until now there was only a Japanese version available, as it took more than a decade for an English localisation to arrive. Was it worth the wait, though, or was this 20+ hour read made for just a selected few? Cubed3 tries answering that very question, as it delves into a world that has a very familiar... visual novel vibe, and yet gets surprisingly dark as you play, despite its generic look.

This starts in a pretty standard way, as the story seems like any other slice-of-life harem visual novel, with the typical anime perv, Kurosu Taichi, meeting with the, mainly female, cast, peeking at their panties, and so on and forth. After the first chapter reaches its end, however, players will get to know the truth about this bunch of youngsters. What's that? These folk have actually taken a test mandated by the government, which was designed to find and isolate those who would be less likely to adapt to society. What's interesting here is that CROSS†CHANNEL uses that very concept to, sort of, deconstruct the stereotypical characters of the genre.

Screenshot for CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition on PC

Yes, there's the clumsy girl, the coy one, the cold one, and so on, but they aren't exactly cute anymore. Taichi, in particular, is not the funny pervert one would expect him to be, either. Sure, he starts this way, but the more you play, the closer you get to realising why this charming fellow who gets aroused (and violent) by blood has actually scored the highest on a test that was designed to spot societal pariahs. The surprises don't end with the way the cast is handled, however.

These people are the sole survivors of an unexplained event that wiped out all life, ironically leaving these problematic folk around. Moreover, it seems that time itself has entered a loop, which means that Taichi will relive the same couple of days again and again, trying to figure out what has happened, while also enjoying his life, and, as expected, get to know the characters of this tale. Despite the uniqueness of it all, though, this isn't the prestigious visual novel it's supposed to be.

Screenshot for CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition on PC

While this definitely tries something different, and, almost meta, it's still an eroge visual novel in disguise, where the "hero" is spending half his time ogling at panties, with the predominantly female cast soon falling in "love" with the protagonist, despite him being the most unlikeable of the bunch. The thing is that, in general, none of the characters are likeable, either. This problem kind of diminishes the closer one gets to the finale, but two decent hours can't redeem an 18-hour-long trip down boredom lane. Likewise, while there are lots of plot devices that are very good, little time is spent on those.

Screenshot for CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition on PC

Another thing worthy of mention is that, due to this time-loop aspect, there aren't really any routes to choose, as the player will eventually go through every path, get to know each and every girl (in the Biblical sense), and, yes, get to read the same filler text again and again - oh, and by the way, CROSS†CHANNEL is quite wordy; not the worst when it comes to that, but it's certainly not for those who like their visual novels to be a bit more laconic.

Storytelling put aside, the audio-visual aspect is nothing to write home about. The tunes are fine and all, despite their lack of originality, with the whimsical themes probably being the best in here; the voice-acting is... okay; the soft-coloured characters are so generic that anyone could easily mistake them for the cast of [insert visual novel name]; and, finally, the CG scenes are well-drawn, albeit, unimpressive, and, for such a long title, not exactly that abundant.

Screenshot for CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

No, this isn't as good as those who have fallen in love with it say it is. In fact, for something that's supposed to be one of the best visual novels in comparison to the thousands of titles out there, CROSS†CHANNEL: Steam Edition's not that original. Sure, the premise is kind of interesting, and this is far darker than it looks, but the execution follows the standard harem anime approach, sadly destroying what little value this seems to have every now and then.

Developer

MoeNovel

Publisher

MoeNovel

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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