Totem Force [Released!]

Well I maintain that given both his intellect and his attitude my mc probably knows the principal quite well, albeit in his professional capacity only. :wink:

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I just remembered! It’s after the bombs, right? I chose Lani, because who else would know the whereabouts of a crime boss other than the shifty rich girl who tried to out you and has connections with the mob?

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Yeah, I can see how they’d be different, but unless I force people to choose Anara at the start, it’s not really going to go that way for everyone.

And he still won’t meet him until the island. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (A shame; he’d have had choice things to say about your MC if they’d met at the festival… :innocent:)

That’s the one! Well, it is a choice game, isn’t it? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I don’t really feel bad for her? To me it felt like she used her son just like the government used the pregnant mothers. She already knew what she was doing but at the end it’s pretty messed up what she did to Chi.

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Fair enough, I was talking more about the human aspect to her character that really made me feel wrong about myself. I know that the bottomline is she’s done some horrible things, but of all the horrible people in this CoG, she’s the only one to express real regret in an emotionally charged way. Which again, makes her far more interesting than Arana’s father, up until the island.

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I don’t think you need to force Anara on anyone. You just need to make her and her father more prominent in the background even though they’re not considered vital until the island depending on the choice. And from there develop her father’s character in a way that can convince me he is or isn’t a bad guy so the reveal can yield a larger impact.

I assume for picking Chi earlier on, Anara is the one who gets kidnapped. Now to me, that makes significantly less sense without a connection between her father and the army.

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On the plus side it probably wouldn’t be anything he hasn’t tried to say to my mc before, right?
Besides my poor mc will probably get an earful for abusing his poor car now anyway. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what happens.

Then she’ll likely discover my mc is surprisingly up to date with local politics for someone his age. :grin:
Though more as a corollary of having few friends outside of Kay and Sammy, mostly being bored by most of his classes (while also not being into some of the more geeky stuff like Sammy is) and being left alone for long periods of time by dear old dad, so he’d have acquired the more adult habit of fixing his own breakfast and reading or browsing the news relatively early on.

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I made an account just to reply to this thread because this game got me real bad.

I played through twice and, like the savescum I am, went through most of the choices to see the immediate results (e.g. all the different date options, seeing what raised and lowered affinity with different characters, seeing the resulting dialogue, etc. etc.). I really enjoyed it. All of it. The level of detail, when it’s there, is already really impressive from a storytelling perspective. I do have some criticism, naturally, and I think I’m going to just streamline it for now because I don’t have the time to be as detailed as I want to be.

First of all, as some folks have already said, some of the reactions after really dramatic moments or scenes are very lackluster. Kay getting shot is the most obvious example (I didn’t read the whole thread so if there’s a fix coming for this, I apologize for beating a dead horse), but there’s others, too: when the bird monster flies into the city and you stop it with Kay, I chose to talk it down and on that page, it’s something like “the bird nods and flies away” and then it just moves on? Like, are we not going to talk about this unprecedented ability to calm and communicate with these monsters? That’s a pretty big gamechanger, but it’s not even acknowledged. If you choose to kill it instead, it’s a bit less jarring because the whole routine has become rather…well, routine, but I was disappointed by the lack of reaction. I do think that most instances of this could be fixed with just a few lines that amount to “we acknowledge this upsetting thing happened but there’s nothing we can do except go on with our lives right now” (adjusted to the circumstances and better-phrased, of course), so things like that shouldn’t be all that demanding to fix, once you’re aware of where they are. I will gladly go through in a few days when I have time and find every instance that I can of this for you. I’ve got no qualms with an excuse to replay.

I do think that the characters could benefit from a few added interactions. I had Chi as crush/love interest for my first playthrough, and while it was cute (and I might’ve missed something because I didn’t really savescum the first time), it ultimately felt a bit flat. I assume that the characters will get more attention further into the story, too, but adding some acknowledgment for the fact that you are dating Chi/Anara early on would really make it feel like an actual choice. (Also, personally, I feel that Chi could do with a little more work to make him engaging; I like him, but comparing the sum of all the interactions I could get with them, Anara is significantly more endearing in my opinion. Clive definitely helped, lol. I have a few tentative ideas on how you might do that for Chi, but that would probably be better saved for a PM.)

That being said, for most of the characters, I think it’s really cool that there is a lot of interesting content available for each of them; it’s just a matter of whether or not you make the decisions to access that content. And I think that almost all of it is really good and satisfying, apart from the aforementioned issues. Ryu and Akira’s stuff in the most recent episode may seem abrupt if you don’t choose to bond with them in any way… I can offer some subtle ways that you might be able to make things like Ryu saving you (I don’t know if he always does this, I think I had my bond with him pretty high in both playthroughs at that point) seem less abrupt. From a storytelling standpoint, acknowledging that it is abrupt (if you didn’t get most of Ryu and Akira’s scenes) would help at least make it clear that it’s not just an oversight on the writer’s part.

Basically, overall, I think the story is great as it currently stands, but would benefit from refinement in a few areas that seemed a little overlooked. Personally, I think that adding a few interactions with family members, or acknowledgment of family, would be great, but making it optional content that you can get or not get based on your choices would be best. It would make sense for MC to know Sammy and Kay’s family life roughly (since they live in the same area and have been friends for so long). But with Chi and Anara, you might have an option of them wanting you to meet their parents, or bumping into or avoiding them (e.g. an option of “Anara, is that your dad, oh no we’re handcuffed together, this looks really weird, let’s sneak away instead”). Or you might not even run into them at all if you choose to go a different direction in an earlier choice (literally turn left instead of right or something like that).

Very good work on this. You’ve done a really nice job of making it engaging to play and giving a lot of control of the character to the player and including interesting consequences for choices. And it’s really, really nice to see that you’re so willing to listen to feedback and redraft this pretty monstrous amount of writing. I will try to compile some more specific criticisms/bits of writing that could be improved when I’ve got time to help you do that, if you choose to make these changes. Also, I really love editing, so if you ever want help with that, I’d be glad to do it. That’s entirely up to you, though.

On a note unrelated to critique… I’m a huge tokusatsu fan (more Kamen Rider and GARO than Sentai/PR, but still), and I feel like I’ve got to commend you for making a loving homage to the genre while still having your own very fresh and interesting spin on it. This is a really good deconstruction of the genre and of its tropes, and you’ve managed to do it without making it feel overly forced, or edgy for the sake of edginess (which is the problem I find with most deconstructions). It also doesn’t feel like it’s criticizing the genre for being what it is, which I really appreciate; the last thing anyone wants to see in a story is indirectly putting down another story just for the sake of being subversive. I’ve really enjoyed seeing a more serious and nuanced take on the genre that still clearly respects the material that inspired it. So thank you for all of that. Tokusatsu is really, really important to me as a genre and the fashion in which you wrote this story means a lot to me.

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Wow. That’s another big comment. I’m not entirely sure how to respond to all of it, but you do make a lot of good points.

I guess one problem is that when I wrote the first five or so episodes, I didn’t have an organised structure for the plot, just a bunch of scenes that I wanted to occur later. Consequently, some things I set up (like talking the bird down) never get any payoff, although in this case, I could certainly add more empathy-based methods to get around monsters… :thinking: Kay being shot was another of these things; originally it would have kickstarted her own abilities… only then I changed the story, making the scene pretty pointless (I’ve even been thinking of cutting it).

A problem with Chi is that originally, he was always supposed to be the later addition, while Anara was the early character, who would join the team pretty quickly. Looking back now, I do regret choosing to double up the two characters, rather than just having him as the distant sports captain for the first half, until he became important (although that would have made romancing him rather harder). I guess it doesn’t help that my interest in sports is pretty non-existent, so I have a hard time trying to get into his mind… (but octopuses are awesome :octopus:).

Re the families, I am planning meetings with Anara/Chi’s parent (although I like the idea of trying to avoid them, too). I want to do something with Sammy’s mothers, but I’m not sure where to put it. I kinda want to leave the initial appearance of Kay’s mother until the one she already has, though. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(And I don’t think I had Ryu save you unless you did have a high relationship with him.)


Okay, this is directed at everyone: I’ve decided I probably need to make a list of all the things I’ve yet to do, so I don’t forget. Currently, we have:

  • Conversation with Chi/Anara’s parent at the festival.
  • Conversation with Chi/Anara about said parent after you find out about them.
  • Add in more “communing with the monsters” options.
  • Try to make Chi more interesting :confounded: (poor guy has too much competition).
  • Try to write some more realistic reactions to the insanity.
  • Maybe try to make the Ryu stuff more built-up for people who hadn’t been close to them.
  • Plus finish the rest of the story, obviously. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  • EDIT: Team names, too.

If anyone has any more (or can remind me about any earlier comments I’ve missed), please let me know. :smile:

Oh, and thanks to everyone who has already commented on the game.

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Chi and anara’s parent’s… I hope it shall be awkward

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Earlier I pointed out that you get a much higher rel boost for starting a relationship with Anara based on a crush than based on your friendship, is it possible to have fixing that added to the list?

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I’m on the fence about that one. It’s not enough of a difference to wreck the relationship, and trying to figure out the ins and outs of the Chi/Anara relationship stat just hurt my head… :confounded: I guess I could see if I can give an extra boost somewhere… :thinking:

The big boost that’s missing from the rival path is the cherry blossom (? some kinda romantic tree) scene that you can get when you confess your crush–the main reason I notice it is because without that extra boost, Anara won’t return the MC’s feelings during the love confession–I mean, not a rejection, but an “I hope I also feel in love some day but not quite yet” way. It felt off when theoretically a friendly rival MC should have more of a relationship and whatnot with her, but you can only get the extra romance if you were admiring her from afar.

I mean most of this was already said so apologies for the repeating myself, and I get that it’s not that big of a fuss, but it is something I notice in a bad way when I’m playing through

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Okay; I didn’t realise that. I’ll see if there’s somewhere else I can put an extra boost in that path, then.

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I guess that could have worked too, maybe even better as it would have allowed their personalities to shine more, though for my mc while it is easy to see him having that friendly rivalry with Chi centered around who is the better actor/leading man I can’t see him having a really hateful rivalry with Anara and I struggle to see what a friendly rivalry between those two could be based around.

Hmmm…I suppose to alleviate his boredom he could be deliberately “challenging” miss perfect student intellectually, provoking her and some of the teacher’s with some of the more controversial scholarship of the day on certain topics.

Still take it as a sign of how much you’ve grown as a writer, which is, again, readily apparent to anyone around here who has also read your other, later, WIP. :+1:

Or you could try to return to the original vision, though it would mean less Chi time. But the too much competition part is definitely true, even absent Phil, who I still like most of the guys, yay! My mc would have romanced, or at least gone for friend with benefits with Sammy instead.

Anara’s father definitely would have been awkward for my mc, meeting the mayor is more fascinating than awkward for my mc though.
Besides my mc here always has a snarky comeback! Always! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I like the way Chi is so I honestly don’t see him as boring or anything. He’s like the only guy I like as in romance. :astonished: Or should I say the only person that I would romance in the game :slightly_smiling_face:

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You could just look at the code you know…

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Yeah… some of us don’t know how to do that exactly…

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I think soothing the savage beast in an early interaction foreshadows the revelation that they were human very effectively, and works well. A nice way to integrate it might be to have it unlock the option to do that with monsters in the future (though there aren’t very many of those afterward and I don’t think it would always be effective, especially with the later versions that appeared in the takeover). Mainly the immediate reaction is what threw me off, though acknowledging it later would be great.

As for Kay getting shot, the biggest payoff I could think of with that is showcasing that as a power the MC has (since it hasn’t appeared again, this isn’t strictly necessary), and the dream, demonstrating what the world might have been like if the MC never awakened their powers. This could be swapped for something like MC being quick enough to take a bullet for her with their armor instead of her getting shot, and in the dream,
they can’t manage that and she dies as a result.
Either way, I do think it would be easier for you to write it and maintain an escalation in drama and severity without something as extreme as a near-death so early on. It feels out of place in the narrative right now, so I would be in favor of cutting or altering it to fit the tone better.

I feel that the story would benefit from being mapped out. It sounds like you’re doing that now, but it might be good to go back through the early episodes, map those out, and really carefully examine how they compare to later ones and how they work structurally. Figure out what scenes have payoff and what don’t, and where you could add more intrigue to lead up to revelations later.

I think Chi and Anara being separate options is interesting; I do feel that you would be able to write less and write the characters more effectively if you took away that option, but it seems a lot of people really enjoy that option, and I kinda think more control over the character’s personality and life is better. Though I do think it’d be best if they weren’t strictly interchangeable because they do feel kind of like they can be swapped out and it doesn’t really matter ultimately, which makes them less engaging than Ryu, Akira, etc., in my opinion.

Cheater! I like putting in the work and actually experiencing the game (e.g. I went through and played up to episode 3 several times to beat Ryu because I wanted to figure out how to do it myself). Also I didn’t know how to do it… But shhh.

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