Fans of CLANNAD will definitely want to get their hands on CLANNAD Side Stories. You will not find these stories in the anime or visual novel. In CLANNAD Side Stories you will explore and experience new sides and twists to your favorite characters from the little town of Hikarizaka. This Steam release features 16 new side story chapters, translated into English, and features high-resolution 1280×960. Originally released on the PlayStation Portable in 2010, it combines the text of the respective novel published in 2005 and audio from the drama CD that was published in 2007
CLANNAD Side Stories is different in a number of ways from the visual novel. The visual novel focused on the main character Tomoya Okazaki. Whereas in side stories the focus is on all the cast. This time Tomoya takes a step back and we get to see more of the rest of the cast such as Nagisa, Koukou, Fuko, Fujibayashi twins, Akio, Misae, and more. We get more of a glimpse into their everyday lives. It’s refreshing to see things from their point of view and not the main character. Another way side stories is different from the visual novel is that these stories are more lighthearted. Unlike the main visual novel the side stories do not focus on routes nor are they an extension of them. I was expecting that at first and was disappointed when I found that they weren’t.
These stories are more humorous and easy-going. In the visual novel as the reader you got to explore many different routes for Tomoya. The choice was up to you as to who he ended up with or how his story ended. Side stories is not like that. You aren’t picking a route for any of the cast nor are you choosing how their story’s end. Each story is a different chapter. You click which chapter you want to read and enjoy. You do not have to read each chapter in order either. Each chapter stands on its own. You don’t even have to read them all either. You can pick and choose which story you want to see. As I stated before as the reader you will not have to make any choices once you pick a chapter. You basically sit back and just enjoy the story.
Each chapter doesn’t really take long to complete. You don’t have to worry about sitting there all day to read one chapter. You could probably read all 16 chapters in less than a day. There are some stories that were just hilarious and others that had a sweeter tone. People of all ages can read it. There isn’t any objectionable content in any of the stories. Once you start a story the text automatically scrolls and there isn’t any way to save a story once it’s started. You can pause it by clicking your right mouse button. I have read some visual novels where it is only text with no voice acting. It usually just makes the story less boring. I loved that you get the same voice actors in side stories as the visual novel. Having the voice-overs helps to make each story more entertaining.
The stories take place at different points in the main story. You really get a better idea of who the characters are and what their lives are like. Some stories take place during the main story, others after, or after a certain route. The background music is the same as in CLANNAD. The art style is slightly different from the main visual novel. The art style is done by a different character designer. The character and backgrounds still remain true to the main visual novel. This time around I felt that the character design was more polished. The backgrounds are more streamlined too. The character art is just beautiful but it is hard to appreciate it when for most of the stories all you see is a background and dialogue. I would have loved to have seen more of the characters. I kind of got bored for the most part just seeing a background most of the time.
CLANNAD Side Stories was somewhat disappointing for me. I was expecting to see more of the characters, and these stories do not extend the main story either. These stories were more filler than anything. I think it would have been better if Key/Visual Arts turned these stories into OVA’s. They would have captured my attention more. I want the complete package, story, nice backgrounds, and characters. I didn’t get that from CLANNAD Side Stories. While it is nice to see more of the rest of the cast besides Tomoya and see things from their point of view I think not seeing more of them in each story just detracts from the experience. Not having more to do besides just read dialogue bored me as well. It would have been nice if these stories were an extension of the routes from the main visual novel. If you are a hardcore fan of the CLANNAD series then side stories is right up your alley. If not you will just get bored and feel like you wasted your money.
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