Intrigued by this horror RPG and its storyline, I tried out Angels of Death. The game was made by Stardust KRNKRN (Makoto Sanada) and he was the creator of “Krisame ga furu mori” (Forest of Drizzling Rain). While I’ve never played that game, Sanada’s involvement sounded very promising from the get go.
In Angels of Death, you start off playing as Rachel Gardner, a 13-year-old who wakes up and finds herself in a hospital. Not recalling why she’s here, she goes around trying to pick up clues on how to leave this place and go back to her mom and dad. You soon learn that this whole place is some sort of game and you’ll need to use your brain in order to solve puzzles and escape. It also turns out that everyone is out to kill you.
You start off on floor B6, and have to work your way up to the ground floor of the building. Each floor has a resident who’s not supposed to leave their floor, but will try to kill whoever passes by. They usually have traps and puzzles set up on their floor to hinder your way out.
However, none of the challenges are hard—you literally cannot fail at any of them. You’re prompted to save right before doing anything that might potentially cause you to die, which kind of ruins the mood and is a huge spoiler. During the “puzzles”, if you choose a wrong option, you’ll usually be guided to choose the right one as choosing the wrong one triggers nothing to happen. So you’ll try it again until you finally can proceed with the right choice.
There’s also some inconsistency with which items you’ll have to actually go into your bag, select, then use on something, or when things get auto-used for you. For example, I’d sometimes be required to take out my key before it gets used on a door, but sometimes when I click on a different door, it’ll tell me that I used my key on it. This led me to moments where I’d just be standing there wondering why the door didn’t automatically use up my key until I realized I should go and select it.
There’s also times where you have to choose between different dialogue options, but again, choosing the “wrong” ones sometimes just trigger nothing, so you’ll have to redo it and choose an alternate dialogue. And in the end, no matter what you choose, you don’t really affect the ending and outcome in any real way.
The story itself is interesting and I really like the idea of the different floors that are themed towards the different killers. The dynamic between Rachel and one of the killers who becomes her ally is really interesting. As the game sells: one of them wants to die, and the other wants to get out alive. If they work together, they both promise to get one another to their goals. These two goals is very much what drives most of the story.
I enjoyed the ending, and that’s all I can really say about it without giving anything away. But a word of warning is that you should not go into the game thinking you’ll be doing very much gameplay per se. It’s really more of a visual novel where a story is told with minor interactive elements. If you go into it with this mindset, and end up getting the game purely because of the story, you’ll be good. I thought there would be more of a gaming aspect, so I was a little disappointed.
Perhaps I should have been tipped off that this game’s almost purely story based on the fact that it’s separated into episodes. It really did give it a TV show kind of feel. It took a total of 7 hours for me to get to the end.
I know that the game was translated from Japanese to English and I think the dialogue and the story is perhaps more beautiful and poetic in Japanese? The English sometimes felt clunky, and towards the end, there were minor grammatical errors which pulled me out of the story. At times, the sentences seemed to repeat themselves (with slightly different wording), and it got a little tedious to read. Again, I think this is because perhaps the original Japanese version was written artistically with floral language that didn’t quite translate properly into English? Not quite sure, but I got a little tired of it.
One last note is that I picked up this RPG thinking it would be horror. If that’s what you’re looking for, I don’t think you’ll be very satisfied. Sure, the game is gory, but I was literally never scared. I was definitely a little concerned about the characters, and it’s evident they’re not mentally sound, but I was never scared. I do appreciate that they don’t use jumpscares to amp up the horror though.
Angels of Death has a good story, wrapped up in a game that sometimes makes my suspension of disbelief dissipate due to inconsistencies (in mechanics), and language ( I cannot stress how annoyed I got at the word “peepers” which was used instead of “eyes” throughout the game).
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