[Arch.] Saya No Uta (10/1/2011)

I used to be part of a crew that called themselves "AugReal". Back then when had a little thing we liked to call "Augtober Fest"... basically a parody on the name October Fest. I did a review of the horror visual novel Saya no Uta (song of saya). It was a game that thoroughly creeped me out while causing nightmares for a good week. After I got over this week long period, I thought back at how incredibly good the game was. ). Anyways! Here's the review I did for AugReal back in the day... maybe if I ever play the game again I'll write up a new one....

WARNING: Augmented Reality is somewhat of a family friendly blog but this entry specifically is not for kids. I am reviewing a hentai game even though I played a version that had the sex scenes censored. So I am not responsible if any kids read this because I did put a warning.

October is a month to scare people and dress up as what ever you'd like (slut-tastic versions of your favorite characters included). It's also a month to be extremely grossed out. While I'm no fan of horror films, one thing I am a fan of is a little something called guro, not to be confused with ero-guro. Over here in the states, guro has been incorrectly used to mean gore when in all actuality it's a term that implies malformation, unnatural or horrific situations. A lot of guro that has come out recently is pornographic, but I'm a fan of ones that aren't and a few that are (Tokyo Akazukin for example). For today's review, I'll be going over a visual novel called Saya no Uta (Song of Saya) that was recently acquired by Jast USA for a north America localization. I played a fan translation of the game... only to be unable to sleep for a few days due to my dumb self choosing to play the uncensored version, but I'll go over that in a bit.

Saya no Uta was created by Nitro+ based on Lovecraftian horror elements, which makes sense when you think about how Japanese like their hentai- with tentacles. The game itself isn't really for your average H-game (adult visual novels with hentai scenes) player because it is a game that is hard to stomach due to the main characters "meat vision". I shouldn't have even played this game. It ended up making me stay up for a few nights without sleep or food because of how gruesome the backgrounds are >.> but I could more than likely stomach it now.

Studio- Nitro+
Platform- PC
Release Date- December 2003 (Japanese)
Rating- 18+
Mode- single player
Genre- horror
Fuminori Sakisaka is a young medical student, whose life is changed when he gets in a traffic accident which kills his parents and leaves him heavily injured. Fuminori undergoes experimental brain surgery to save his life, but the surgery has an unintended side-effect - it creates a form of agnosia, causing his senses to become "warped". He perceives the world as a hellish nightmare with a black sky and buildings covered in pulsating flesh, where all the streets and building interiors are splattered with blood, giant organs and cartilage. Ordinary people appear to him as grotesque, giant grub-like monsters with a hideous stench, and even food that he used to like now tastes utterly disgusting. [wiki]

I had planned on making this a review, but it'll probably be more of me ranting about how creepy yet endearing this game is. Almost every review you will read online will say what I need to say in regards to if it is a worth playing game or not so here is a review I'd recommend if you need some internet word of mouth to decide if it is a game you should play.

You may be wondering what this "meat vision" I spoke of earlier was. WELL you see that picture of Saya? Ya, the background is how you would see the world if you had the form of agnosia the main character has due to that surgery he had; this is what I call "meat vision." I can only imagine how horrifying seeing the world in such a way would be. Heck, just playing the game made me depressed enough to be unable to eat and sleep for a few days. If I could actually feel the world as he did (you know, walls pulsating being all slimy. my good friends smelling like rotting flesh), I'd probably have committed suicide or gone back to the hospital and said "check me into a psych ward." Now I'm not the main character, and he didn't check himself back into a hospital 'cause of one thing- Saya.

While other humans appear as slimy monsters to the main character, Saya appears as an innocent little girl- the only one who looks human in this world of pulsating flesh, organs and a sense that the world will never be the same again. Saya is pretty much the only thing keeping the main character "sane," if that's what you could call it considering Saya isn't who she appears to be; her mysterious identity is the driving premise for this game and it is one creepy premise at that. Nitro+ is known for making creepy games (they made Chaos;HEAD which has an anime adaptation that I really love) and they didn't hold back with this one.

One thing this game does very well (besides some very tight knit writing) is with music. Some of the songs are painful to listen too while not playing the game, and almost as painful while playing. They create this sense of trying to survive in this messed up world as well as the innocence of Saya who if it wasn't for you wouldn't really have a companion to call her own. SCHIZOPHRENIA in particular has that fingernails on a chalkboard effect on the ears, and it's used very appropriately during the game. On the opposite side of the musical spectrum is SABBATH which creates a calming feeling as opposed to that creepy one SCHIZOPHERINA created. Shoes of Glass in particular is one of my personal favorites.

Saya no Uta can easily be played through in as little as 5 hours, which was really cool in my opinion considering I'm still trying to get through Fate/Stay Night... but that's a topic for another blog entry down the line.

While Saya no Uta is possibly the creepiest visual novel I've ever played through, it's still sweet and endearing in the end. While this VN has a medical theme like almost all tragic VNs, it isn't about some teenage girls getting a disease and dieing- it's about a male protagonist being given a warped view on the world and how a little girl named Saya helped him deal with it.

There are 3 endings, two of which could be considered bad ends so this game does lead itself to being replayed. I only got one of the endings and YouTubed the others as I didn't feel like making myself more depressed than I was. This is not a game for everyone. The gore content alone is reason enough not to play this game, but there is an option to blur out the content so it won't look as gorey so if that's the only reason you don't want to play this one I recommended using the bluring option because it is a great game. It has a really good linear story and is well worth the read so please give it a chance!

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