Gamertell Review: Jisei for PC, Mac and Linux

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Jisei Logo

Title: Jisei
Price: $15.00
System(s): Windows, Mac and Linux PCs
Release Date: June 11, 2010
Publisher (Developer): sakevisual (sakevisual)
ESRB Rating: N/A, I’d say probably 12+, since it’s a murder mystery.
Pros: Great art, menu layout fits with motif and is easy to navigate, interesting story and premise, extra unlockable features (like images and music), appropriate and fitting music, notes section to check what you’ve learned, lots of save slots, animated opening segment with music, good voice acting, characters have lots of facial expressions,
Cons: It’s a bit short, one ending and ends on a cliffhanger (which some people could see as good, since it sets the stage for more games).
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 90/100, A-, * * * * out of 5

Sakevisual first made its debut as an indie developer in February, 2010, with the release of the free visual novel and dating sim RE: Alistair. Now, a mere four months later, Sakevisual has returned with another story to tell, Jisei. Let me assure you that its first commercial game is every bit as good as its first free project. It’s a wonderful visual novel with a compelling story to tell.

Jisei Sakevisual

A boy must use his special gift to avoid being accused of murder.

Our hero is a nameless young man with the unique ability to see the final visions of the dead. He finds himself in a coffee shop in Edgewater, a city he’s been in for two days. For the past three years, he’s been lost in a fog with no memories of his past and drifting through places. He just woke up from a nap, and goes to get more coffee to hopefully wake himself up. When at the counter, he starts to feel strange, and the girl at the counter suggests he visit the bathrooms.

It turns out he gets this feeling whenever someone has recently died nearby. Sure enough, as he heads to the bathroom he sees the women’s is open and a fresh body is lying on the ground. He touches the woman’s arm and then experiences what she did right before she died. People see him do this though, and mistake him for the murderer. He then ends up taking part in the investigation to determine what happened.

Jisei Sakevisual

A supernatural murder mystery novel with adventure game elements.

Jisei proceeds in a fairly straightforward manner. You’ll experience some story segments (fully voice acted), setting the stage for the murder mystery. Then the hero will be able to start investigating the three other people in the coffee shop and surrounding area. You can talk to people, examine the vicinity, explore each area in the coffee shop and report your findings to the detective. Everything you learn is compiled in a notes section so you can keep track of your progress, you can save at any time and there are multiple decisions to make throughout the adventure.

In a way, Jisei sometimes feels more like an adventure or simulation game than a visual novel. This is good though, as it can help convince people who’ve never played a visual novel to take a chance on it. It’s very user friendly in terms of gameplay and controls, using the mouse to navigate everything, so both casual players and veteran players can easily adapt to it. It’s streamlined, interesting and smooth.

Most importantly, Jisei has an intriguing story. All of the major players are suspicious, and hiding secrets. Plus, the main character is quite a mystery himself. Add to that a number of other unusual and mysterious elements, and you have a story where you’re eager to keep investigating and questioning what’s going on in the hopes of discovering the truth. Too bad there’s only one true outcome.

Jisei Sakevisual

Jisei is a visual novel anyone can enjoy

Jisei is a wonderful surprise. Anyone who sampled Sakevisual’s free games RE: Alistair++ and Ripples would know the company creates high quality games, but Jisei goes above and beyond. It feels incredibly professional, and more like a major developer’s accomplishment than that of a fairly new independent developer. It’s a shame that it’s so short and pricey. The character art is wonderful, the voice acting appropriate, the story interesting and the general gameplay mechanics well executed. In addition to all that, there are even some unlockable extras. Whether you’re an ardent visual novel fan, or someone new to the genre, Jisei offers players a great supernatural, murder mystery to solve.

Site [Jisei]

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  • visualnovelfan

    This review fails to mention this game is only about ONE HOUR long, for full price. That's more than "a bit" short.

  • Jenni Lada

    It took me two hours to play. I didn't play it all in one sitting though.

  • Neo

    By far the worst reviewer I know.

  • Jenni Lada

    Jisei isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it.

    I also mentioned its failings, which were:
    + Fairly straightforward
    + Price
    + Length

    If you're looking for a longer visual novel with a bit more substance, then I suggest Date Warp by Hanako games. I finished Jisei in about two sittings (I'm guessing around 2 hours) and Date Warp took me slightly longer. (Still 2 sittings, but I think it was closer to 3 hours). It doesn't offer voice acting or any special features, but Date Warp does have more endings and characters.

  • Ayu

    How, exactly, does being eloquent and honest with her opinion make her a bad reviewer. O_o? You're free to disagree with her opinion, and even hate the game, but that doesn't make her a bad reviewer.

  • Neo

    "Two thumbs up" for a game this short, not even one "sideways"?
    You mention its failings then why aren't them influencing the overall score?
    This review is bad, as are most by you. Yeah you "liked it", seems it is the only criteria for you, but that does not make it automatically stellar material, you need to stop this kind of bias if you ever want to become a decent reviewer (not that you care, I'm sure).

  • Jenni Lada

    Jisei had many things that other indie visual novels didn't.

    The art style was consistent, professional and fit the scenario.
    It was challenging, since you actually had to find the correct clues to accuse the right person.
    It was well written.
    There was voice acting.
    There were special additional features, like an epilogue, music room and art gallery.
    It had an "opening," with a theme song and slight animation.

    It is short, yes, but depending on how you play Date Warp could be considered short as well. And Date Warp is $19.95 as opposed to $15.

  • Tycoon Games

    Actually Jenni is one of the best reviewers around IMHO.
    If you don't like the genre, that is different. But the review outlines pretty good what the game is about!

  • Nhu

    Agreed. For an indie game THIS professional, and for such a niche market (VNs are supremely obscure, you must admit), and from a developer who's clearly testing the waters for longer commercial projects, the price is not unreasonable.

    There are extras, voice acting, ect. which adds more value to the game.

    Oh, and did I mention the game is stunning to look at and even more stunning to see? Indeed, it's prettier than the rare imported VNs that makes its way here (I'm remembering Hirameki…)