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A custom trading platform, xStation 5, and MetaTrader 4 were available for the desktop along with mobile applications. However, with a "pro" account, costs for some forex pairs and indexes were even further below average.
Traders should evaluate XTB's actual costs based on the instruments or markets that they focus on. Investors can use guaranteed stops in the "basic" account level, which could increase trading costs but may be valuable for investors looking for that kind of protection. XTB offers negative balance protection, guaranteed stop-loss, industry average security, and account insurance.
Some brokerages have websites that are not very forthcoming about their commissions and fees. Some of these sites feel as if they are trying to avoid giving away their pricing scheme until the visitor has created an account.
XTB abstains from this secretive practice by placing their pricing in a prominent location on their site and having an in-depth pricing chart for all of the assets they provide. The platform launched quickly and in our experience seemed to have fast execution. Screening tools, heatmaps, and sentiment indicators were easy to find and provided helpful information. The standard MT4 platform was also available for traders already familiar with the application and its features.
XTBs xStation 5 platform had great functionality for its users. Entering trades, building watchlists and modifying charts all seemed simple and intuitive. That being said, there were downsides. The ability to create custom indicators was not an option.
Traders can access XTB's trading instruments, complex order types, account details, and charting from the Android or iPhone apps. The news feed is also streamable through the mobile app. Some security features, like a pin to prevent the app from showing on watches or widgets, were customizable on the mobile app. The app's functionality was the perfect amount to compliment the desktop version. The recently added feature of biometric security functions, like a fingerprint unlock feature, made it a good mobile experience.
They don't offer social or "copy" trading, money manager accounts or a free VPS service. However, there were a few unique offerings that may be worth a second look by some investors. These include trading from the Apple watch, a trader sentiment tool, and a stock screener. Overall, XTB had no truly unique features to their platform. During our tests, we found that support was very responsive on the phone. Our chat experience was more erratic.
It wasn't uncommon, for example, for our chat requests to be redirected to an email form instead, but in the end, we were given support and it proved its functionality. Phone and chat support could be launched from the trading platform. FAQs and educational resources could also be launched from within the trading application.
With 48 currency pairs, over 20 indexes over the world, major commodities and more than 1, global stock CFDs, they seem to have it all. They also provide access to ETF CFDs and even cryptocurrency, but, where they do fall short is their lack of spread betting. House took a fucking laser beam pass to the to the face.
Two black eyes builds character though. We can work through it though. The fourth play from scrimmage was undoubtedly the best, and worst football play in the history of Iraq football. Fuck punting. We were going for it. It would have been easy to confuse Tony, our quarterback for Michael Vick from the shotgun.
Tony evaded numerous rushers and then superbly delivered a fifty yard completion to Ryan. It was beautiful to watch, until it wasn't. Ryan thought he was all alone and started a leisurely stroll to the end-zone. The he got fucking nuked from the top and bottom, in fucking reverse directions. Sure, Ryan broke a finger and required "some" stitches. Oh and they broke three sets of NVGs in one play, but damn that was a glorious fucking hit. It was first-and-ten, but our Platoon Sergeant was less than happy.
Game off Wayne! We were now bored again. There was another unit on the FOB with us, but they were not fans of us. The only real interaction we had was when their full-bird Colonel told us to, "stay the fuck away from his Soldiers. We did our best to keep our reverse schedule, but it was just so boring during the evenings we were not working.
The majority of us resorted to playing Spades or Echure, and others read. Hawk and a handful of others would take nightly showers and then seemed to vanish. I knew better than to ever let that retarded bird spread his wings and fly solo. I didn't see any reason to worry though.
The other people Hawk was with were far smarter than Hawk woud ever be. Furthermore, with football now off the table, there was really no way for anyone to get in trouble at this FOB. Imagine Hawk in a cattle chute. If I put a box labeled "commonsense" on the opposite end, Hawk would never fucking find it. However, if I had a box labeled "worst decision ever" and dropped it in the ocean, Hawk would fucking somehow stumble upon the lost city of Atlantis.
I had never really got my ass chewed before I became Hawk's leader, but that trend went out the window when I inherited him. We lived on the second floor, and my bunk was closest to the door that rotation. Thankfully too. I was woken up when I heard, " I want to talk to one of your leaders. I didn't even wait to see if I would get to sit on the Green Army Weenie, I just spit in my hand and readied my o-ring for maximal insertion.
It was too early for the sun to even be out, and I was already willingly walking to my execution. My how things had changed so quickly. COL: Are you their leader? OP: I am one of them. How can I help you Sir?
COL: Do you know where I caught them? This is where I would typically say something stupid, but this guy didn't look happy, and I didn't want to give him a reason to wake up someone who "may" have gave a shit as to why he was irate. OP: No Sir. I don't. I was now pissed. There was a large shower tent in the middle of large open courtyard. One half was male and the other was female. These fucking morons were spying on naked females? I want to kill them for listening to Hawk.
Well, I assumed it was a Hawk idea. Like Hawk's brain, I was putting the cart before the horse. I assume it was Hawk, but I had questions. OP: How in the fuck did you guys get on top the shower tent? I was working myself into a frenzy. My brain does not operate like normal people brains. I was pretty pissed considering they violated the privacy of the beautiful ladies at the FOB, but I was actually more pissed they got on top of a fucking tent.
They seemingly forgot everything about military tactics and got caught; that was the foremost reason for my anger. The spying on deployment 1's binary thingy was second. Considerably a far worse offense, but second at the point in time. COL: NO. Not the shower tent. On my personal shower. This guy was so special, he had a personal shower. What, he was too good to use the pallet floored showers like the rest of us?
So maybe the Romanians We think anyways occasionally shit on the pallets and waffle-stomped the poop through the pallets, but the water pressure was phenomenal. OP: You have a personal shower Sir, and they were on top? I caught them in my water tank. Well, back to being puzzled. I don't judge. I personally don't care if penis gazing is your hobby, but there are five of you?
Why don't you just unleash your hogs and stare at each others? Anyways, how in the fuck did they all fit into the water tank? What the fuck did they do when they got inside? My god, my brain was running wild with unsightly pictures. OP: My apologies Sir, but how did they all fit into your water tank? OP: You mother fuckers can wait for me in, the front-leaning-rest Push-up position.
I still wasn't certain I entirely cared, but I thought this would may demonstrate that I showed concern about his fucking one-person shower. COL Prick then lead me around the side of the building and showed me his water tank. It was fucking huge. It was one of the typical hard plastic tanks, but the entire top had been cut off.
God knows why, not like it was ever dusty in Iraq, but the top was no-more. It all made sense now. They weren't gay; they were chilling in a makeshift hot tub! Well, the gayness thing is up in the air, but I guess they were too loud while he was showering!?!
I apologized profusely, but COL Prick had me locked up at the position of attention for at least ten minutes just dressing me down. I was a "really poor leader, and you're not going to go anywhere in the Army. COL: This is why nobody likes "cool guys. You'd better do something about this, words, words, words. My penis is too small to shower with the big boys, words, words, words.
I returned to the Soldiers, whom were still all in the front-leaning-rest. Out of sight and out of mind. I will use "Group" unless Hawk is the person talking. Too many useless names otherwise. OP: That fucking dickhead has his own fucking shower! What the fuck? OP: What the fuck were you guys thinking? I would expect this from at least one of you, but I won't point elbows. I then just fucking stare at Hawk. We had never seen anyone go into the room, and the room looked empty. We saw the water tank on top, and just figured we would check it out.
OP: How the fuck did you even get up there? Well, the courtyard side. OP: So you guys just sneak out and hang out in this guys shower water? We would not have used it otherwise. OP:You fucking dip-shits think this was just a randomly placed unused water tank? You fucking idiots just stand in this guys shower water for hours? HAWK: No. We are not dumb Sergeant. OP: We have been here for five days now!
I will fucking kill you if I get yelled at again over this. The only thing that makes me smile is the fact that he is showering with your ball funk. Whats Hawk? Hawk: Smirk We made a promise that, "nobody pisses in the hot tub" OP: This is why your mother should have swallowed you Hawk.
Why the fuck would that make me happy? Hawk: Laughing Because I broke that rule every night. Most nights more than once! We have been lounging in your piss? What the fuck dude! Hawk: I know. I lied to you though! Cheer up Sergeant. I peed on him for you!
For the record, Hawk did not find the hot tub. He just peed in it, a lot. I don't think any of us paid attention because they came back from wet and with towels. I merely assumed they went to the showers. I suppose I should have kept better track of time. Also, I apologize if this was not as funny as the other Hawk tales. I realized it when I reread it, but it was certainly funny being on-the-ground and witnessing it.
Can't laugh at them all I suppose. Lastly, some of my stories are a result of me being in the military, but not military. I am not ever going to compete with this page, but I do need a place to post other stories and have little fear they will be taken down. The mod may be a huge prick, but at least I know the guy. What is there to show?
Not shit, that's why I made this pretty 4K desktop background instead: 4K On the real: I've been developing this project like 6 months now, what's up? Where's that video update I promised, showing off the Bot Builder? Is an end in sight? Yes sort of. I had gotten so focused on keeping the project pretty and making a video update that I was putting off major, breaking changes that I needed to make.
If you could, you'd be loading your Lambo onto your Yacht right now instead of reading this autistic shit. The End Goal 1. It's a stupidly ambitious goal. My strategy to pull it off is actually pretty simple. If you look at charts for the best performing stocks over the past 10 years, you'll find that good companies move in the same general trajectory more often than they don't. This means the stock market moves with momentum.
See the problem there? The returns were good but they were based on a biased model. The model would pick the most efficient plays on the market if it didn't take a severe downturn. But if it did, the strategy would stop working. I needed to extrapolate my strategy into a multi-model approach that could profit on momentum during all different types of market movement. And so I bought 16 years of option chain data and started studying the concept of momentum based quantitative analysis.
As I spent more and more weeks thinking about it, I identified more aspects of the problem and more ways to solve it. But no matter how I might think to design algorithms to fundamentally achieve a quantitative approach, I knew that my arbitrary weights and variables and values and decisions could not possibly be the best ones. Why Retard Bot Might Work So I approached the problem from all angles, every conceivable way to glean reliably useful quantitative information about a stock's movement and combine it all into a single outcome of trade decisions, and every variable, every decision, every model was a fluid variable that machine learning, via the process of Evolution could randomly mutate until perfection.
And in doing so, I had to fundamentally avoid any method of testing my results that could be based on a bias. Improbable, but for a strategy outcome that can be trusted to perform consistently, we have to assume nothing. So that's how Retard Bot works.
It assumes absolutely nothing about anything that can't be proven as a fundamental, statistical truth. It uses rigorous machine learning to develop fundamental concepts into reliable, fine tuned decision layers that make models which are controlled by a market-environment-aware Genius layer that allocates resources accordingly, and ultimately through a very complex 18 step process of iterative ML produces a top contender through the process of Evolution, avoiding all possible bias.
And then it starts over and does it again, and again, continuing for eternity, recording improved models when it discovers them. The Current Development Phase Or That's how it would work, in theory, if my program wasn't severely limited by the inadequate infrastructure I built it with. When I bought 16 years of data, 2TB compressed to its most efficient binary representation, I thought I could use a traditional database like MongoDB to store and load the option chains.
It's way too slow. So here's where I've ended up this past week: It was time to rip off the bandaid and rebuild some performance infrastructure the database and decision stack that was seriously holding me back from testing the project properly. Using MongoDB, which has to pack and unpack data up and down the 7 layer OSI model , it took an hour to test one model for one year.
I need to test millions of models for 16 years, thousands of times over. I knew how to do that, so instead of focusing on keeping things stable so I could show you guys some pretty graphs n shit, I broke down the beast and started rebuilding with a pure memory caching approach that will load the options chains thousands of times faster than MongoDB queries.
And instead of running one model, one decision layer at a time on the CPU, the new GPU accelerated decision stack design will let me run hundreds of decision layers on millions of models in a handful of milliseconds. Many, many orders of magnitude better performance, and I can finally make the project as powerful as it was supposed to be. I'll work this goddamn problem for a year if I have to.
I have, in the process of trying to become an entrepreneur, planned project after project and given up half way through when it got too hard, or a partner quit, or someone else launched something better. I will not give up on this one, if it takes the rest of the year or five more. But I don't think it'll come to that. Just to give you guys a realistic perspective of what a project like Retard Bot really is up against, and the difficulty of printing free money This shit is really really really realy hard.
I've been coding every day non-stop for three four? I'm 26, lines of code into this and probably half way done. You have to be prepared to code your own ultra fast localized GPU accelerated database that outperforms everything else because traditional databases are way too slow to crunch through this much historical data the hundreds of millions of times needed to train the machine.
If you hope to have any chance of succeeding "taming the beast" you have to be an actual autist, obsessed with problem solving to the point of doing it months on end without stepping outside. They hire the most glorious cases of asperger genius autist godlords who never leave the basement except when their minifridge runs out of mtn dew and they have to go put more on mom's grocery list.
The autists that figure this shit out are the type that squeal REEEE bc they've had too much human interaction when they see the mailman walk past a fucking window. As someone once told me, you're up against companies that blow holes in the sides of mountains to route their fiber optic cables on a little shorter of a path so they can access trades with latency a tiny fraction of a millisecond faster than the next autist. Communication at the speed of light is something these quants get annoyed waiting for.
Many of these companies waterboard their quants with mtn dew to force harder work, compiling research and IP over decades. These autists are chained to desks in dungeons with a steady drip of cocaine and coffee driving their little binary crunching brains to squeeze out one more hundredth of a percent yearly return. It's either prove you're a genius or fail with this game. I don't underestimate how unlikely it is that my attempt would work. But I'm crazy enough to try and obsessed enough to follow through.
I'm obviously autistic enough to put this much thought into a single post on Reddit Maybe I can pull it off. The results are looking promising right now but it's too early to say for sure. Just know what you guys are getting into if you're going to try something like this. I know what you're thinking. Don't lie to yourself autist. And if you succeed in something like this, don't fucking dance. For every one of us who makes it, 99 others just threw away their mom's retirement fund on PRPL calls.
TL;DR I review the novel without talking about the plot. To recount the whole conversation would take pages and wouldn't be entirely relevant to this review but i'd like to summarize two key points he expressed to me that informed his opinion. The first is that Japanese society, and even American society, is not supportive of a man having multiple partners.
While I was able to get him to admit that recent years have seen a rise in polyamory in the United States he remained adamant that any form of harem was unrealistic for the culture. Secondly, he expressed an opinion that mechanically and from a game design perspective harem routs were a "copout" because they are very rarely the true route or most naturally feeling resolution to a story and only exist for people who quote "Feel bad for the girls they rejected even though most of the time that would be better for them and they're okay with it!
I feel like VNs portray an idealized version of Japanese culture just like American media does and just like I wouldn't say someone who was seen every episode of any three american sitcoms knows American culture I would not say I know Japanese culture from reading VNs. Out of respect for his privacy I'm not going to name him here but if by some chance you're reading this stranger I spoke to this review will serve as my response to the summery of your points.
While I know you're aware I disagree with you, I want to provide a better example then simply listing novels I though were good as I did in our original discussion. As I am well aware however that providing my response like this, if it were to miraculously reach you, is somewhat unfair since you have no good platform to respond with outside of a comment below please feel free to DM me and I will gladly respond.
This review will be addressed to a wider audience obviously but I think it will be easy to tell what parts I have drawn from the information you gave me. That plot synopsis may have drawn up some negative connotations for you but I encourage you to judge this story on its own merits because I was also skeptical but pleasantly surprised with the quality of the work presented. The novel is split in three parts. A lengthy prologue that takes somewhere between an hour and two hours to read.
A common route of about fifteen hours, and then individual romance paths for each heroine that are about three hours long apiece. This clocks the total novel read time at about thirty hours but I would imagine a fast reader could finish it in twenty if they choose to. My personal time to completion is skewed slightly longer as I'm a masochist who wouldn't feel satisfied without being certain I've seen every possible line of dialog but I can't imagine this novel taking more the forty or forty five hours for the slowest reader.
While their are a number of gimmicks in this novel I will discuss below without the H-patch the game makes the bold choice to provide the player with only a single meaningful choice and thereby creates a unique atmosphere I can't say I've ever experienced before. Anyone who has read more then one or two visual novels will know that commonly the narrative choices are less then open to a reader pursuing more then one heroine.
I hesitate to say common structure punishes readers for choosing options favorable to more then one romance route but it certainly discourages it. To explain what I mean lets take a look at a few examples. Muv-Luv , specifically Muv-Luv Extra, has a difficult to unlock "Bad" ending where if the reader favors a specific heroine but fails to choose her options in one of a few specific scenes the game ends abruptly without satisfyingly concluding.
Their is also a second "Bad" end which occurs only if the player makes two specific choices, both of which are little more then rejections of the branch path to romance routes. Effectively, failure to fully pursue one of the game's heroines results in the game ending in its second act, but paradoxically while the game has two dozen or so choices any combination of those options will result in a romance route and "good" end so long as the reader chooses the appropriate option at one of the deciding points.
IMHHW by contrast has a failure route you can only trigger by selecting one specific option in one specific scene that is obviously the wrong choice and then locks you into a route shortly after. I actually think one of the most enjoyable jokes I can find in a VN is finding the path that lets you spend the least amount of time with a heroine but still puts you on her romance path, then watching as P-kun trips over himself to explain how he fell in love with her instead of the girl he spent most of the last week with.
Unfortunately though I can rarely do this without failing out before the final act because of this exact type of choice structure. Some novels are more subtle about this lack of choice. Katawa Shoujo comes to mind as even at its worse you do have SOME free will to jump ship to a different heroine mid act but the binary choice between Lilly and Shizune never sat well with me and Emi being a one choice lock is just disappointing.
While not every novel is blatant enough to go the Muv-Luv route and literally name the heroines in the choices so its impossible to miss who you're siding with its a rare treat to find a novel that doesn't spell out which options are the "right" ones to some degree. This brings me back to IxST because the design choice to make only one choice truly relevant, which I would call a weakness in any other novel, but replacing "Best Hair" choices with a gold star reward system opens the narrative and allows for a more natural and less pressured experience.
Honestly, while I know it wouldn't fit every novel I think future VNs would benefit greatly from this example. So the common route in IxST is divided into 5 subsections the novel labels as "days" but are probably better thought of as plot beats. Each subsection allows the reader to assign up to ten "hearts" in any combination to the five girls pursuing P-kun and with one major exception allows this to happen at any time. In the words of the games tutorial paraphrased, if a girl does something you like you can reward her with a heart.
You're under no obligation to hand out hearts and can ignore the system all together if you choose but regardless at the end of each plot event you are prompted to select a girl for an extra scene and are then moved to the next plot beat with a new allotment of hearts. At the end of the last subsection if you overwhelmingly favored one girl with hearts over the others P-kun falls for that girl and you have the option to accept her confession.
But even at this point you have the option to change your mind and pick another girl who will give you one final pitch about why you should choose them before giving you yet ANOTHER chance to back out and commit to the girl you favored. Maybe the weight of how much this changes the feel of reading a VN isn't clear so lets do a comparison. Muv-Luv Extra isn't a great novel, certainly not terrible but it's about as average as I could hope to find.
Placing it beside IxST both games have a prologue introducing their respective flavors of P-kun and follow it with an intro movie. I know i'm vastly oversimplifying things as the prologues to these two stories are nothing alike but mechanically they have no difference so the important part is that when the common route starts the reader is mentally in the same place.
In IxST the player is almost immediately presented with all the choice mechanic they will be interacting with for the next three or so hours of the novel in the form of the heart system. Muv-Luv by contrast spends its opening to the common route with one of the five heroins and less then half an hour into the experience presents the first choice which is a binary question of if you enjoyed yourself with her.
Unless you are brand new to visual novels you will know immediately that Muv-Luv's choice should give you pause because without even letting you meet four of the five romance options you are already having to make a choice that you have no way of knowing the significance of. While not all novels do this it's not uncommon for a visual novel to soft lock out of a route when you don't get every choice for a heroine correct and so this small moment to a first time reader can feel needlessly stressful because choosing one option may lock you on one path for the narrative and the other may permanently lock you out of it without telling you either result for HOURS.
In roughly the same time a reader will make their way through IxST's first section of common route to the extra scene choice that same reader in Muv-Luv will likely have to make two additional choices if not more all of which are binary "Best Hair" choices encouraging the reader to pursue one of the five heroines hours before the common route ends. This almost makes the choices irrelevant as the reader is primed to select whichever option continues the path their on and discourages them from picking the option they would prefer over the option that is more likely to result in a "good" end.
Now to be fair IxST does not communicate to the reader that who they pick for the extra scene is not a soft lock but even if we assume the reader is ignoring the hearts and has already selected which romance route they want to shoot for the hearts system tutorial screen and the extra scene tutorial are definitely geared toward the opposite priming.
Every girl is available to be chosen no mater how few hearts you gave her and this ties neatly into the games presentation. The cross view system that temporarily takes away the hearts counters and allows the reader to experience short scenes with each girl further primes the reader to the idea that no matter their choice at this stage the narrative will continue without soft locking. To summarize Muv-Luv and its traditional use of choices makes its narrative feel like the choices exist as a quiz of "what would this girl like me to do?
Everyone knows their are certain types of characters that feature heavily in visual novels and to an extent has their preferences. Class Representatives, lolis, little sisters etc are all common starting points for heroines. I personally tend to dislike Tsunderes and have a preference for childhood friends but that's just me.
Common routes ideally should follow four basic rules but often fail to uphold them. The common route should introduce but NOT develop characters only important in one or two romance routes and should involve background characters as much as possible while developing the heroines. The common route should develop each heroine equally and if possible should provide them with as close to equal screen time as feasible.
The common route should have a reason for existing outside of developing characters and this reason should not be resolved before the romance routes begin unless those routes have their own conflict. The common route should have just as many CGs as the individual romance routes if not more and showcase each heroine evenly in them.
I came up with these rules because the entire reason a common route exists is to allow the reader to familiarize themselves with the world and characters and specifically the heroines. If it fails to accomplish that then what was the point of having it? Let me know in the comments if you're interested in that review and I'll push it up the list.
However before I explain why IxST does so well by following these guidelines let me explain my reasoning for each. Rule one recognizes that visual novels need characters other then the protagonist and heroines to feel believable, otherwise the world feels empty and flat. These characters come in three flavors.
Background, Side, and Spriteless. Background characters are things like the protagonists best friend or their teacher, definitely important people with a role in the narrative but not romance options. Ideally background characters should be introduced in the prologue to establish their personality and due to their development typically remaining static involved as much as possible with the character in the common route so that by the time the romance routes are reached they can serve their narrative purpose without taking away from the heroine.
We should know everything important about them before the half way mark so they can be used and referenced easily as needed. A perfect example is Mikoto in Muv-Luv Extra, who is introduced about a quarter of the way through the game and has basically finished his development by the half way point.
Side characters are the opposite, and should be developed in romance routes after being introduced in the common route. A good example here is if a heroine has a little sister, although not every little sister character is like this in general this example works. Ideally, the reader should know the heroine has a little sister and be introduced to her sprite but this is only to allow her to be expanded on in the romance route later so that each run of the game feels unique.
Just like in real life growing closer to people means your circle of friends shifts and its more interesting to a reader to have to work to know every character in the game then to always have that information from the beginning. The last category of Spriteless are small time or single use characters that well, don't have a sprite.
I might come back in a future review and talk about this group but they don't bear much relevance to the current topic so I'm going to move on. The second rule is pretty self explanatory but to be thorough one of the greatest sins a common route can commit is focusing on one character over the others.
Yes, I am aware that some novels have "true" ends that are meant to advance a larger story. Yes, I am also aware that in real life it is very unlikely people you only see at school or work or whatever will have an equal amount of exposure to you as people you've been friends with for years or who you have class with.
None of those things matter in a novel. The author has the ability to portray each character evenly even if the protagonist does not have an even amount of interaction with each character. The thing about real life and realism is that life is often incredibly boring. I have yet to see a novel that forced me to sit through every class period the protagonist experienced, because that would be excruciating.
I also don't have to wait six hours for the protagonist to wake up after going to sleep nor witness every bite of breakfast every day. This isn't a question of what is realistic this is a question of allowing the reader to get a decent understanding of the characters.
This doesn't always mean they are given literally to the second the same amount of dialogue and screen time, but a good common route will let each heroine have an equal time to shine without favoring any of them. The third rule is the one I most often see broken and as such has become my personal most important of the four.
I am far more willing to forgive a novel that can follow this rule, even if it isn't for every run, then i am a novel that can not. I have no problems with slice of life narratives. It can sometimes be incredibly cathartic to just drop into the shoes of someone else and pretend to be them for a day.
But stories do not exist without conflict and no, choosing which girl you like is not sufficient conflict for the story unless the protagonist is just as concerned about it as you are. Ideally, a novel's conflict should involve all the characters though that's rather difficult so settling for just the protagonist and heroins is fine.
The conflict should also have enough leeway to be solved in multiple ways so that each heroines route can provide their own solution. How a heroine uniquely resolves conflict or avoids it is a huge opportunity to squander by ignoring the inclusion of a story. The fourth rule is most concerned with creating a balanced feeling to the novel and has less to do with the common route specifically then it does with the novel as a whole but I tend to include it here because well, it just makes since.
Obviously the romance routes are going to have a higher density of CGs then the common route. If you include extra scenes and optional scenes as part of a heroine's run rather then common route content that rule is doubly true. However this doesn't mean that the common route is totally devoid of CGs because that is obviously not the case. Most VNs use the prologue as an excuse to give each heroine an opening CG but the common route is where the majority of group shots and for lack of a better term "casual" scenes allow the artists to showcase each heroine outside of their static sprites.
If you've read the other rules explanations you may have noticed that I haven't elaborated on the notion that the common route's main goal is to make the heroine's interesting to the reader and I've saved that point for this moment because outside of their sprites, which are a vital part of a heroine's ability to express themselves, CGs are the most important facet to letting these characters "breath.
Maybe we don't often think about it but this genre is not just tied to its visual element it is at this point utterly undivorcable from it because it has come to rely on tropes and ideas that repeat themselves so often they tend to blur. How many visual novels have heroines that are constantly getting "shy" or "flustered?
The entire reason for CGs even existing is to play off established tropes and the story to give the reader a snapshot of why the moment they are currently reading is significant and unique, and in a romance novel that more often then not translates to why the heroine is significant and unique. Neglecting this visual element therefore is a huge disservice to the the reader.
This novel could have so easily been nothing more then a self insert fantasy about being pursued by multiple women but because it encourages you to engage with every line of dialogue and spread your focus between all of the characters the story feels fresh and different. The last major choice mechanic I have to mention in IxST, the cross view system, is the epitome of this because while I do have problems with some of the scenes I'll talk about in part 2 of this review the fact it's the only time you can't access the hearts menu was a stroke of genius.
Cross view occurrences are once per subsection of the common route and present you with six to nine short scenes involving characters not in P-kun's immediate vicinity talking about or thinking about him. Their is always one scene for each of the heroines but most of the background characters get one each go around as well as usually a scene from the perspective of a random nameless classmate.
I think you'd really miss out if you skipped them. What elevates them for me though is the fact that since you can't access the hearts menu you're forced to think about the scenes for a longer period of time before immediately rewarding the heroines with a heart. By the time you get the menu back you may feel compelled to hand out two or three of your ten points and that choice is a really good moment to sit and consider how you actually feel about each of the characters. If you haven't been interested in one of the girls but their inner thoughts persuaded you they mean well or vise versa then these moments of returned choice can really shake up who you favor for the eventual act three.
It feels like i'm praising this game for taking away my options during these sections, because I am, but that's only because you have such freedom everywhere else you become hyper aware and observant when it's scaled back. Going back to the common route rules above this altered mindset falls perfectly in line with fulfilling those goals.
Because the reader also cross views background characters to get their perspective they get to relegate development in the main story away from interactions with the protagonist and still fulfill the requirement they be showcased. Because each heroine always has a cross fade section each of them gets a roughly equal amount of time to win over a reader and because they have this extra time they can have more interesting personal conflicts that carry over to their romance routes while the main plot focuses on P-kun's struggles.
IxST would not have worked as a story if the protagonist had been the one to confess to the heroines. I don't mean it would have just been different I mean the structure of this game and what made it so interesting and special would have been worthless if that one detail were changed. The choice system of IxST only works because all options are treated equally and never pull the reader too far in one direction. The mindset of someone who is balancing a relationship with five people is fundamentally different from pursuing one out of five.
I can't make it any clearer then that, reading this VN is just fundamentally different because the atmosphere is different. Am I saying ALL harem games are like this? Absolutely not. Especially those that have the harem route as an option but clearly do not focus on it or worse work like Harem Party where harem means nothing more then the Echii scenes keep changing girls.
But I am saying its easier to break out of the mindset visual novels often fall into where you can only pursue one girl at a time and regardless of what the context of the situation is you should always pick the option that girl will like or be punished for it. The quote that really stuck with me from my conversation referenced in the intro above was "I can never get invested in the characters because they treat everyone the same.
Do you WANT the characters to be inherently unequal? Everyone has their kinks and this is a kinky kinky genre you're allowed to pick favorites based upon what you like but doesn't it stand to reason that if you're reading a novel and one character is favored over another that the person who likes that unfavored character is going to wish they had been treated more equally? That's to say nothing about the fact that every novel is someones first and if a brand new VN reader gets hold of this story don't you want them to have a fair representation of the different character types?
Isn't the entire point of having options to be able to explore them unbiased? If you really wanted to pursue just one type of character then their are dozens of novels with only one heroine, admittedly far less then their are with several choices but it's not like they don't exist! Now if the novel is poorly written and the characters have to all share two or three personality traits then yeah fine you have a point there but that's not the harems fault that's just a bad novel in general.
I can't say I'm a "fan" of harem VNs, I think I own maybe five total that could even plausibly count out of a sizable collection but I can't deny that problems I constantly complain about in other VNs are at worse absent in the sub-genre and at worst have active solutions like in IxST that I feel NEED to be praised.
I don't feel comfortable writing off these stories because "One man can't possibly satisfy five girls. I'll be clear and say I do like IxST, in fact it might crack my top 15, but I have a lot more to say about its narrative then I do about this topic so I decided it would be best to segregate the two ideas. Next week I'll be posting my views on the story, characters, music, art, and my overall opinion with a few extras thrown in. I expect it will end up being even longer then part 1 so be prepared for that I guess.
I'm interested to see which of these two parts do better overall so if you liked what you read consider showing some support. I'll consider your updoot to be a substitute for a heart. This is my fourth review in this series so I'm still full of ideas but if these longer reviews do well I might consider moving to a slower release schedule to be sure I can be more detailed.
Let me know what you think and if you agree with my points or the stranger I argued against. Stay well everyone! I have to admit, I am a lot of a Naughty Dog fanboy. In terms of hours played, Uncharted is almost certainly my favorite franchise although none of those games are my absolute favorite of all time.
I also love PlayStation. I work all day in front of a computer, so the very last thing I want is to play PC games. I don't necessarily hate XBox, but I was staying at my brother's house a few years ago, and the Internet went down. I thought I would play some XBox while I waited for the Internet to come back online and it literally wouldn't let me play any games without an Internet connection.
I know Xbox doesn't do that these days but since I generally despise Microsoft anyway, it was enough for me to abandon their console forever. This includes Sony and Naughty Dog. I'm seriously considering not buying a PS5 and giving up gaming, if this is how they are going to carry on. The false advertising, the DMCA takedowns, the obvious shilling by the legacy gaming press.
It all adds up to a very bad picture. Not to mention virtue signalling " BlackLivesMatter" whilst buying cobalt from mines which literally use black children in near-slavery conditions in the "Democratic Republic" of the Congo. It's disgusting. I despise the "culture war" and so much of what Sony is doing these days is just a disaster. I don't want this shit in my games. I just don't want current-year politics in my video games.
I also want the worlds my games are set in to be logically consistent. For example, Abby makes no sense. I work out. Even given the abundance of resources we enjoy in our society, doing this is extremely difficult. I can only do this for a few weeks at a time because life gets in the way and I am not a professional athlete.
The idea that Abby can do this in an environment where there are no resources and every minute has to be spent foraging to survive is absolutely ridiculous. Many of us knew that Sony moving its HQ to California was going to end up a disaster and here we are.
I know that some people felt that Uncharted: The Last Legacy was a "woke" mess, but I don't feel that way, I genuinely thought that game was amazing. In fact, I think it's my second favorite Uncharted game, after Uncharted 2. I really want ND to succeed and continue to bring us amazing games. However, I don't believe this is a possibility anymore.
This is where before he got married we would choose a game to play for the Christmas Holiday and take turns to play. I hate zombie games, and with the exception of Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding, I'm not a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre either, unless it can offer something genuinely new, which I think those two titles did. I did appreciate the game for the cordyceps infection - it was something in nature I knew about before and I thought it was genius to incorporate it.
I also found the story to be excellent, however, TLOU is a game that I have never replayed, unlike all the Uncharted games that I have completed and Platinumed at least twice except Last legacy. I am not really bothered about TLOU that much. I liked it as a one-off experience, but I thought the actual gameplay was boring.
I know the story, so I don't really care to play the game ever again, as I know what happens. What characterizes these games is that they are FUN to play. Druckmann says "we don't talk about fun". I'm sorry, then what the F- is the point? While everyone was saying how un-fun TLOUII was, I was literally laughing every five seconds playing LA Noire, which is a dark game, but is also hilarious and a heap of fun at the same time.
I don't think so. Anyway, I hope you get an idea of where I am coming from in this very long preamble. My questions for you are: - Uncharted is likely dead - can it be revived? I would like to see a dedicated PS4 and therefore PS5 remake of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which would remove all the Vita -specific controls and bring back dedicated treasures. Get Bluepoint to do this. Obviously, this doesn't inject any new Nathan Drake, it's canon. This would at least win back some trust among fans.
Do you agree? Is it, after that, dead? Would a game with Cutter appease fans? I don't think this game needed a sequel. Unless you were going to tell a different story in the world they created, it just felt like a bad idea to me. I have the same concerns regarding the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel - I just don't know if you can write a sequel as good as the first one, and maybe it should be another story from a different perspective, e. It seems to me that TLOUII - despite the abysmal plot and writing, could probably have redeemed itself somewhat if the player at least had agency: punishing players for "choices" they were forced into is bollocks.
At least Spec Ops: The Line gave you a binary option, and even if both options were horrible, at least the game had a reason to make you live with the consequences of what you chose. Telling the player they are bad people for doing things the game MADE them do is just bad writing. The ND versions I have played are tedious and painful. I would be very interested to hear what you have to say. This sub seems to be quite open minded and I didn't know where else to put this.
Tldr; I am a massive ND and Sony fan, but their recent behaviour has me questioning my loyalty going forward. What on Earth do Naughty Dog do going forward, given that their two major IPs from the last decade or so are now effectively dead? I felt the need to talk about this because this one single character ruined the experience the game offered for me.
No one else seems to talk about the many logical inconsistencies in his backstory, ingame character and his questline and that really bothers me. He's a genius diplomat despite being delusional, unwise and a total arrogant cunt. Genius general despite never leaving his palace. Genius swordsman because he might as well be at this point.
He has built up all this notoritery, won all of his wars, from his couch. The world salivates over him despite all his negative traits, if it sounds like I'm describing a Mary Sue then I very well might be. He summoned demons to entertain himself, for whatever reason they considered him their "equal" and didn't kill him.
He says the boredom that caused this was because he lacked challenge, and not because he is a spoiled brat. A succubus who owes the Shadow Prince attacks him, he manages to kill her despite being overpowered because "Source magic". There's a contradiction in this story. He states that he needed to use Source to summon demons. On the other hand, he killed the succubus with Source magic as well and he said he didn't know he had that power. The Shadow Prince later states that this is when they found out that he is a godwoken, which implies his first use of Source ever as the Shadow Prince was keeping an eye on him all the time.
To quote him: "Miraculous what a Sourcerer can do with a little arcane lore. The methods of slavery the lizard empire uses are blatantly cruel. He is pro-slavery. I sincerely doubt people who live under the fear of being enslaved by the empire he used to rule would be amused by his casual suggestions that they become enslaved to him.
When Act 2 starts, with almost every conversation with him, you will only get binary choices. During the first meeting with the Red Princess, the only choices given to you are denying the event because you sense an ambush or allowing it. Denying it will result in the prince spitting on you and leaving despite the fact that your character is right about you getting ambushed regardless of which choice you choose.
Consider the fact that he is a genius tactician, standing in a prime ambush spot, ready to sacrifice you and your party just to bang his destined lover. The thing is, even if you don't do this part of his questline because you know the outcome, he will still know Sadha's name later despite them never meeting, and he will be just as much in love with her as if you did the quest. His character loses his composure and confidence if you are romancing him and you confront him about the way he treats you, or the fact that he's cheating on his lover with you or cheating on you with his lover.
This is a love triangle, not polyamorous because in a poly relationship people live together as a family where everyone is loved. Sadha dislikes your character from the start. This indecisiveness ends with the relationship not having a closure, except if you let him ascend to godhood.
He'll then tell you that he is intent on cheating on Sadha because "Gods have a rather large appetite". It is also implied that he is intent on bringing more people into the romance-pile. To quote him: "Remember all those dalliance filled myths I think I'll be creating many a myth myself. Many of her quotes suggest she's power hungry, and she is ready to send her own children to fight the gods. She is hellbent on this. I never thought I'd see a mother so ready to send their children to war, literal baby dragons.
Dragons are his destiny. Let him proudly show it! They're a danger to this world!
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