Monday, October 25, 2010

Re: Alistair

Author: ?
Availability: Free, Download
Format: Dating Sim
Rating: Teen
My Score: 3 out of 5

Re: Alistair is a stat-based dating sim. You play Merui, a gamer girl obsessed with a MMORPG called Rivenwell Online. Another player has stolen your kill and claimed your prize, and you've since discovered that this player is one of three people who goes to your school. The problem is, which one?
I definitely want to give the writing bonus points right off the bat for having Merui be a gamer. After all, the very reason this blog was started was because of the misconception that girls don't game, so this is a welcome aversion of that old tripe. More generally, though, I think the characters are decent; the story is solid, and I like the way the emails and the gaming sessions are handled.
The art is likewise very good. Once again, it's based on anime/manga stylings, so a heads up to those of you who aren't fans of the genre. Presonally, I like it, and I enjoy the style change between the real world and the game.
The gameplay itself is something I'm a bit more ambivalent about. First of all, let me applaud the fact that the mystery of Alistair's identity has only one correct answer. You can end up with any of the three boys, but who you end up with does not in anyway influence who Alistair turns out to be. As for ending up with the boys, though, therein lies the problem...
This is the first truly stat-based dating sim I've ever played; while Festival Days had some Stats, they mostly influenced how much money you could earn, and other things that more or less became irrelevant once you cracked the system. In Re: Alistair, though, your stats determine who you end up with...I think.
The fact is, I'm not quite sure how it works. At first, it seemed pretty obvious to me: You have stats for Social, Network, and Intelligence, and your suitors are a Popular Jock, a Computer Guy, and a Smart Classmate. I initially assumed a direct correlation, then, between each stat and each guy, but single-mindedly pursuing one stat/guy resulted in *nothing*. If there's a combination that needs to be reached, I'm not sure what it is. According to the forums, success apparently lies in buying many, many objects, but there's no real clues for which objects to purchase (Except for one item suggested by each guy, but that's apparently not enough). At some point, I actually *did* get a good ending for one of the characters, but frankly, I'm not sure how I got it!
That's what really bothers me: I don't know how I got that good ending. I'm completely baffled. Personally, I think that if the player doesn't know what they did right, then something is wrong.
To sum it all up, Re: Alistair is pretty, well-written, and I have no clue what it wants from the player. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, ALISTAIR? WHAT DO YOU WANT???!!!!
*Ahem* Sorry. Perhaps you'll have better luck with it, though. Feel free to try it out and share your experiences in the comments.


  1. I find your rating system rather uh.. inconsistent. And by "inconsistent" I mean "I don't agree with the score you gave". I found RE: Alistair as a whole experience waaaaay better than Requiem of the abyss, while your scoring suggests it was the opposite for you, which it might very well have been. So what I'm suggesting is that you maybe give the ratings several sub divisions: perhaps one for art, one for story, one for gameplay and one for romance. Seriously, for being about romance, I find none of these games very romantic at all. All I really want to say is that I hope you make a more proper rating system, as I found myself rather misled by the score you gave these games.
    Oh yeah, for further suggestions for reviewing you can have a go at Frozen Essence (, I liked the story, but found the gameplay boring. Okay, thanks...bye.

  2. Well, my system is very subjective, but what probably makes it misleading is that I'm actually giving an average: I rank Art, Writing, and Gameplay each on a scale from 1 to 5, and then add the scores and divide by 3 categories. As such, a game like Other Age which has exquisite art and writing gets its score dragged down by (what is to me) overly frustrating gameplay.

    And again, this is all subjective. I actually did prefer Abyss to Alistair, because I could get into the story and characters a bit better, and mostly because I felt Alistair's gameplay was too mystifying. If I had to choose one to play over again, I'd personally rather play Abyss.

    Thank you for your comment, though; I think I'll separate the ratings from here on out. (There's no way I'm going back and changing the scores for past reviews, though; I'm much too lazy for that.)

  3. One more thing while I'm feeling chatty:

    I don't think I'll add a Romance score, for two reason.

    1. Although this blog was born out of a desire to find more GxB dating sims, I actually don't have "romance" or "dating sim" as a criterion for what game's I'll review. Those are what I prioritize, but my only *official* list of criteria is basically "Does this game seem like it was made for girls/women to play?" As it is, I have a difficult enough time finding things to review. :( I'm afraid that narrowing the scope down will result in a blog that updates anually instead of bi-weekly. As it is, I've contemplated resorting to a post on dress-up games more than once.

    2. I wouldn't know romance if it bit me on the nose. Really. I don't consider myself an expert on what is/isn't romantic, sexy, or charming. Heck, my idea of romantic and sexy probably involves Batman somehow. So trust me, you don't want me talking about what games are/aren't romantic; you'll be writing back wondering why the poetic novel with the wine and cheese got a zero while the First Person Shooter game got a 7 out of 5.

  4. I do not think your score is wrong as we rate games differently. For alistair, the biggest plus is the art. I find the gameplay to be repetitive, and doesn't make much sense due to what you have to do. So my gameplay critique is the same as yours and I like dating sims. I played tokimenki memorial and a few other stat raising sims so I will have to lower alistair's score based on it's gameplay. I liked the beginning part of the story but I personally found the events a bit mediocre. This game gets a plus for being free too and a minus for being too short. The music choice is good but I have heard them before from other games, but it is understandable as it is a freeware game. Diving into the character's personalities, they were okay and could have been much much more. I agree with you that Fantasia appealed to me more due to the characters and story but of course the art could be better. AAlistait as a stat raising game could have been much more, and the art gives tithe biggest boost. 3/5 is what I would give it too. I added a fun factor score inky own average. :)