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Game Info:

CLANNAD Side Stories
Developed By: VisualArts/Key
Published By: Sekai Project
Release Date: June 2, 2016
Available On: Windows
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Visual Novel
Mode: Single Player
MSRP: $19.99

Thank you Sekai Project for sending us this game to review!

CLANNAD Side Stories is a relatively short set of additional stories that expands on what CLANNAD already showed you.  Several stories take place during the high school arc, with others taking place in other side arcs, and a few canonical ones also.  It’s a nice set of stories for those who have already played CLANNAD and are looking for more.

Half of the stories take place before the story of CLANNAD.  They help set up background information to help you get to know the characters better.  With one exception (I’m not a fan of the first story), they are all wonderful.  After all, who wouldn’t love a story told from the perspective of a baby boar?

CLANNAD Side Stories
Highlights:

Strong Points: If you love CLANNAD, there are more stories here, and almost all original ones; voice for Tomoya; new sound effects; widescreen; nice art
Weak Points: Kind of short (6-7 hours); no gameplay choices (it’s more like a DVD with a menu); no choice to manually forward or skip text, and no scrollback (if you miss a line, you need to restart the chapter); no way to save progress; no controller support
Moral Warnings: Spirituality similar to CLANNAD (town spirits) and a character is summoned by saying her name; fortune telling (with playing cards); magic spells cast using a spellbook; words like ‘h*ll’ and ‘t*ts’ used; alcohol is consumed by main character and father in law (legally); some jokes include innuendo with some homosexual; dirty books mentioned; phrases ‘bumping uglies’ and ‘grow a pair’ used; a couple of different bath scenes, where females are shown undressed, with steam covering the necessary parts; silly ‘girl talk’ comparing breast sizes; a ‘pretty’ guy is confused for a girl; an angry girl is accused of being on her period

 

 

 

 

The other stories take place during or after the main scenario of CLANNAD.  I really liked these; some were very funny, and a few were really touching.  It was also really nice to see a story that takes place after the true ending in CLANNAD After Story.  I felt like the final ending in that novel was a bit short, and this expands on it in a nice, heartwarming way.  It is good to see how the main character Tomoya has grown, also.

On a technical level, the visual novel engine is improved, with nicer, widescreen graphics, and sound effects that corroborate what is happening on screen and in the text.  The character art is slightly different, and mostly for the better.  Tomoya is voiced for the first time, which is a nice touch.  There are some really nice still shots that appear to be hand drawn, and look great.  The music is pretty much the same as the base game, not that it’s a bad thing.

While the game looks better, I was disappointed to find that you have no control over the progress at all.  Voices and text automatically continue with no input. You can’t save, and once you start a story, it simply continues at its own pace until it completes.  Honestly, this could easily have been a DVD with a menu – that’s exactly what it plays like.  The only difference is you can access a menu to pause or quit – which you can also do with DVDs.  You don’t even get an icon saying what you already played.  Despite that, it’s not the end of the world, as each episode is about twenty to thirty minutes, so it’s not too hard to get through them.

Like CLANNAD, there are some appropriateness issues to be aware of.  There is actually less language, as I only noted ‘h*ll’ and ‘t*ts’ as far as individual words go.  There is still present the spirituality issues, like the town spirits, and magic spells out of a spellbook.  Alcohol is consumed by both the main character and his father-in-law, but they are both of legal age.  The phrases ‘bumping uglies’ and ‘grow a pair’ are used.

CLANNAD Side Stories
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 76%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

 

The sexual content as described isn’t much different than CLANNAD, though there is a bit more visually.  Like CLANNAD, there is occasional perverted or suggestive talk, mentions of dirty books, and ‘girl talk’ about breasts.  (There's 'guy talk' and fantasizing about them, too.)  There is a scene with shopping in a lingerie store. Also, it appears that a girl wants her much older sister to be in love with her, but it’s hard to tell if it is serious because of the character saying it.  

Unlike CLANNAD, there are a couple of visual things that are inappropriate.  There are two bath scenes that are drawn.  Naturally the important parts are covered by steam or other things, but you can see girls in each scene (there is a male one also) and breasts are visible either from behind, or frontally at an angle, with steam covering them up as needed.

CLANNAD Side Stories is a nice companion to CLANNAD for fans of the series.  There are sixteen mini episodes, each focusing on a different character, and all of them (except maybe one) are enjoyable.  Having seen them, I would recommend playing them in the order listed in the game.  Do not watch the last three out of order.  Of course, please consider appropriateness issues from the start; other than the two bath scenes, they are nothing out of the ordinary for existing fans of CLANNAD.  Given the length, waiting for a sale does seem reasonable.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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