ファタモルガーナの館 -COLLECTED EDITION-
Fata Morgana no Yakata -COLLECTED EDITION-
Fata Morgana no Yakata -Collected Edition– is a Playstation Vita port that includes the main game, the fandisc, –Another Episodes– Requiem for The Innocence, and the newly included modern age episode, –Reincarnation–. I’m sure everyone mainly looked forward to the Reincarnation episode — I know I did, and it’s one of the main reasons I got the game. Sure we get to see the characters in modern clothes, living a modern life, doing modern things, which seems like a side story, but Reincarnation is different; it’s certainly the last happy ending the series deserve.
Slight spoilers ahead so proceed at your own risk.
Before we begin, I must inform you that in order to unlock –Reincarnation–, you have to play through Fata Morgana no Yakata and –Requiem for The Innocence– OR we can skip that and go ahead to Password in the last option of the main game screen.
If you’re like me and have already played through the games, you can head straight to the Password option that allows you to skip through the main game and the fandisc and unlock the new modern episode. It’s really simple. All you have to do is answer three simple questions correctly and you can begin playing –Reincarnation– immediately. I’m really thankful for this option as I’ve mainly wanted to check out this episode in the port, thus making my life, and possibly many others lives easier. BUT the downside is that you still have to play through the main game and fandisc to unlock CGs, gallery images, music, and of course, achievements.
Oh, and check out the free Fata Morgana no Yakata Vita themes in the PlayStation Store. The first theme is dark and uses art from the main game and the promotional art for the fandisc with “The Maid (Piano)” track playing in the background. And just as I was writing this review, they released a second Vita theme, Reincarnation themed. It uses art in the new episode, particularly sprites of the characters illustrated by domco., same goes for the music, “Como O Bacelo Estende-se Grande,” composed by Mashima Kokoro. The bubbles and wallpaper has a butterfly theme, possibly to represent freedom.
Alright, let’s hurry to the good stuff, -Reincarnation- episode.
One of the first things I noticed is the new vibrant drawn backgrounds, which definitely pops out and has a nice aesthetic modern touch as opposed to the gloomy photographs in the previous games. And of course, the newly drawn modern sprites illustrated by domco., and voice acting. I wasn’t use to the art at first and it felt as if I was playing an entirely different game, though I eventually got use to it. As for the voice acting, since I’ve listened to the drama CDs before, I know what to expect from it so I’m not too surprised. (More on these two subjects later.) Let’s first focus on the story, because that’s what we’re all waiting for right? Even as there will be slight spoilers, I’m not going to full-blown spoil everything.
We begin in Paris, France with Michel and Giselle on a date, being all nervous and love-dovey, and talking about careers and their plans for the future. As the game progresses, the other characters appear, surprising the couple as they haven’t thought of seeing them so soon, and in France too. This is basically the prologue of the episode, which more or less began to feel like a side story to me since it was really, really happy and didn’t connect with the previous games that much until later on. Either way, it gives a good introduction to the characters after reincarnation and how they go about their daily lives.
The game proceeds in its previous manner, doors-like chapters, with the events that occurred after the ending of the main game. We begin with the Seeing Glass chapter with Mell and Nellie as the main focus. I was confused and suspicious on what the outcome would be after that ending in Fata Morgana. The Seeing Glass chapter expands on their trip to France, their family, and their affinity for each other.
Once Nellie appeared, and fully voiced, I felt like recoiling. Surprisingly, she FINALLY, and this time I mean it, finally grew up and gained some senses after this chapter. I’m glad Seeing Glass finally resolved all of their conflicts, how long have I waited for this to be finally over… As for Mell, he’s always the same as usual—calm, rational, prince-like, caring, and enjoys watching an anime of a cat as the protagonist. The parents are voiced in game, despite that, there are no sprites of them. Overall, this chapter ended well, and surprisingly, to my liking. The beginning was somewhat a bore since they did regular things like going to a café, running errands, etc., and it felt like the serious events were all too similar to the first door, yet it was still interesting to see what will unravel in this first chapter. I had hoped questions would be answered, and it finally did.
Next is Chains chapter with Yukimasa and Pauline as the focus. Although I did not know what to expect from them at all, it seems the events in the modern episode are also similar to the second door, just with less violence. I don’t know, it didn’t feel very interesting and the scenes seemed like a repeat of door two, but in modern times. Chains is probably the most tragic chapter in Reincarnation, well I guess it can be somewhat happy too since they are reincarnated. On a plus side, Kenichi Suzumura’s voice for Yukimasa is fairly good here though it’s not as good compared to the drama CD, but his voice does sound less static than the rest of the characters at times. Yukimasa is his usual self, a guy with an intimidating and mysterious look along with suspicious actions. After seeing Pauline in Fata Morgana and in Reincarnation, I’m starting to believe she has lost her mind; even she admits it and accepts the path no matter how long it lasts. To describe her, she seems blinded and probably has a similar case of Stockholm syndrome in my eyes (ah, the power of love). I anticipated more from this chapter and I was pretty disappointed once again. There’s not much resolve here, and no Habi too.
Door two didn’t explain much and I couldn’t understand the characters very well, the chapter based on door two in the novel was rushed, and to me, is possibly worse than the chapter in game, and now this modern episode of the two doesn’t even do much to fully solve the curse. Sure, the title of this chapter foretells the ending, but I don’t want Chains, I want Liberation. Ideally, I prefer an actual happy ending for the two (it could be considered happy for some people) and I also I don’t find this chapter as a pragmatic approach either. I really hoped these two could have obtained more backstory instead of living a surreptitious life, especially in this seemingly last game for the series. At least there’s backstory on Yukimasa in the short story booklet provided with the second drama CD. I do know there are reasons why he is tied down to his sword based on that short story, yet I desired a more favorable ending.
The River of Oblivion
Onward to the third chapter, The River of Oblivion. The River of Oblivion felt more like the main chapter in Reincarnation and spans a bit longer compared to the previous chapters. So what’s in here? Maria, Jacopo, and Morgana. Oh and quite a bit of fan service. The events in this chapter are more reminiscent of –Requiem for The Innocence- rather than Fata Morgana. Jacopo is a busy businessman and Morgana has trouble with her family, where she ostracized herself from them. One rainy night, Jacopo finds Morgana sitting alone on a bench in the park. Provoking an evocative setting as if her presence greatly attracts him to her, he approaches her after hesitation. After some chit chat and Jacopo repeatedly persuading Morgana to return home, he eventually offers her to… stay at his place?! What comes after that? Fan service, fan service everywhere.
This chapter is the most enjoyable to me as the dialogue between the characters here are fairly fun to read. I was interested in seeing what Morgana would do as a normal girl and how their modern conversations would be like, even if most of the time, it was mainly insults and bickering, it’s still pleasant to read. One thing to note, Morgana had very few lines in the drama CD, so in Reincarnation, I can finally hear her regular voice. Ami Koshimizu’s voice definitely suits Morgana, no singing though which is a shame. Being the same good old Morgana, she’s still apathetic as usual and is dubious of Jacopo’s intentions. Jacopo is still rude, yet benevolent, also somewhat penitent, however he opens up later on. As for Maria, she felt more like a sub character in this chapter since the main focus was on Jacopo and Morgana, nevertheless, Maria did appear often in all three chapters, so I guess that’s how she got enough backstory for herself. I greatly enjoyed this chapter, the three are just too charming and their conversations are heart warming. After these three chapters, the last chapter is the epilogue that concludes the game and possibly the series.
Reincarnation is a fun read that expands more on the short ending of Fata Morgana no Yakata. I’m glad everything, or most of everything, is finally resolved through this episode. I believe Reincarnation is the last episode to the Fata Morgana series as the characters finally have a happy ending, and there is almost nothing else to build up the main characters before the series drag on for too long. This episode took me around 4 hours to complete and would probably take 2-3 hours if I were to disabled the voices. Even so, I like how the ending was short with good pacing, and ended rather happily.
Reincarnation is fulfilling to a certain extent, however, is 6,000 yen to finally see the ending of the series worth it? Of course, the Collected Edition includes the whole package with everything, but for those who have already played through it, it’s quite expensive just to play a short episode. My opinion is biased as I have waited for a Vita port of Fata Morgana and didn’t expect it to actually come out for it. The only thing going for the Vita port is mainly this new episode, so I don’t know if it’ll ever get a separate release. Then again, if they do release Reincarnation separately, it may give customers buyer’s remorse, similar to how the customers who purchased the 3DS port felt after the Vita port announcement a few months later. As of now, there are probably no plans for a separate package, so buying the Vita port for the final episode is the only resort, which I personally don’t mind. For now.
Beside the new modern episode, let’s talk about what we get in the Vita port. To someone new to the series, are they in for a treat as the port includes the whole package, offering around 40 or more hours of gameplay, not to mention extras like short stories to read and music to leisurely listen to. As shown in the previous image, the Collected Edition includes the main game, Fata Morgana no Yakata, and an ending list which is basically a short prologue.
Next in the list is the fandisc, -Another Episodes- Requiem for The Innocence, which also includes the short chapters: Assento Dele, After Happy End, and Fragment. These are basically the same things that are offered in the PC game.
As for the Extra option, there’s several media to choose from.
The CGs in the port includes ones from Faga Morgana no Yakata, Another Episodes, and Reincarnation. Fata Morgana has 45 CGs, Another Episodes with 13, and Reincarnation with 15. Speaking of CGs, I still can’t find the CG with Ceren under the blue skies. Is it just me? Also, I wanted to see sprites of the characters that appeared in Michel’s childhood, but guess they are forever monotone.
In Reincarnation, each chapter consists of 4 CGs, while Michel and Giselle combined only has 2. It’s a bit unfair, still they had their fair share of CGs in the main game. domco.’s art certainly has a cartoonish look that didn’t fit with the melancholic series, so it definitely took me a while to accept it. The sprites do fit in with the overall happy modern atmosphere. The artwork for Reincarnation is pretty consistent with no weird faces or awkward poses and even though the art is nothing breathtaking, it’ll do for this short episode.
The Collected Edition offers numerous tracks from all the games combined, to be exact, 115 tracks. Now that’s a whole bunch. Reincarnation includes 13 new tracks, 2 are songs with vocals sung by Gao, composed by Yusuke Tsutsumi. The rest are instrumental tracks, more on the cheerful side befitting Reincarnation, composed by Mashima Kokoro. Once again, Kokoro composes several tracks with the piano just like in Another Episodes, though there are also a few other instrumental tracks with not just the piano, some with a gloomy atmosphere. Kokoro also composed a Giselle piano-arranged version that caught me off guard and sounded pretty nice.
Reencarnação, a darker version of Cicio, is the song played in the opening movie, with the full version available in game. Reencarnação doesn’t sound like the other songs and it’s a tad different from the general music theme in the previous games (it’s more similar to “Requiem for The Innocence” track), yet I liked the passion and desperation since it fits the series’ tragic atmosphere. Reencarnação is my favorite track out of the new ones —Gao’s soft and warm voice blends in with Yusuke Tsutsumi’s valorous and deep composition, leaving me listening in awe. The other new vocal, called Twilight, takes a lighthearted turn that is also smooth and soft, almost sounding like a hymn in some parts. Twilight is used during the credits of Reincarnation, and it really does sound like a happy ending.
Hm, the new tracks are quite simple with an optimistic tune along with a few sorrowful ones too, however it didn’t have the same passion as the main game, therefore I still prefer the tracks in Fata Morgana no Yakata compared to the other two episodes, so I’ll leave it at that.
In the Voice Collection option, you may save voice clips in Reincarnation and replay the clips at your disposal. It’s not possible to save voice clips during gameplay in Fata Morgana no Yakata or Another Episodes as those are not voiced.
Promotional images and others are all gathered in the Gallery option, with a total of technically 31 images, but I’ll consider it 29 images as two of them were to show where the images derived from. This gallery option is a pleasant treat for you can see some of the old promotional artwork and I finally get to have the full image of the Girl with White Hair in a sailor uniform!! It’d be nice if there were more artwork since I know there are more images out there, but this will do. After completing the game, we receive a special image drawn by Moyataro.
18 Short Stories from Novectacle’s website, magazines, and Another Episodes are available to read in the Vita port. The short stories are accommodated with a background image and music from the game to fill in the mood. The short story option is a nice touch, and now I can read the first part of “That was a distant day, a peaceful fragment” without having to buy the expensive magazine issue. Also as expected, the SS you’d have to buy such as the one in Comiket and the ones provided in the drama CDs aren’t here of course.
Let’s get to the technical side of the Vita port. First thing I noticed was the copyright sign on the bottom left in screenshots. One thing I have to ask is why does the demo version not have the copyright sign while the released product does? It is misleading and I am generally not a fan of it especially in screenshots for the most part. Yeah, it sucks, I’ll endure. At least it’s small.
The images in the port are widened, or mainly, just the backgrounds are widened to fit in the screen. The images are basically all the same yet it definitely looks a bit better than the PC’s 800×600 size. The textboxes all have its respective themes for the doors. Oh, and unlike the PC version, you can save your game once a choice appears, making the game even easier to play. There’s not much to say about the game besides playing on a portable vibrant screen, and it works well on the Vita TV too.
The touch screen is alright, I didn’t use it much though. One part where it is needed is in the Music section, where you may play a track, stop, go forward, backward, repeat, or continuously play through the tracks. I believe the only way to repeat a song or play through tracks is to touch a button on the screen, so only this small part is not as user friendly toward Vita TV users, but hey, the game looks really nice on the big screen. One complaint I have for those buttons is that it’s really small for I had to press it several times before it worked, or I’m just bad at aiming. I guess that’s all for the technical side of the game. There’s nothing really that new beside it being on a console, most of the technical aspect is the same, just gotta figure out which buttons does what, so it’s simple to use.
The voice acting is alright, and well, not as great compared to the drama CD. In the drama CDs, the voice actors/actresses had much more freedom to express the characters’ emotions and their voices just flowed, while in the game, it doesn’t have that same rhythm. It’s definitely what I expected based on my previous post, and what is expected from a visual novel much like numerous visual novels out there, so I can’t blame them for that. I do enjoy listening to their voices to a certain extent, and plus, it’s fully voiced! I hoped for the worse and expected it to be partially voiced, thankfully, their lines are all voiced, even some narrations are too. I’m glad they didn’t cheap out on this, as I’m sure many people were curious of the voice acting.
The voice I liked the most is Morgana’s. Ami Koshimizu didn’t voice her much in the drama CD so I greatly looked forward to her voice in the Collected Edition, and it didn’t disappoint. Her soft voice is adorable even when insulting or being embarrassed and teasing. Since the chapter is rather short, her passionate voice didn’t last that long. We do get to hear her evil voice and laughs too, similar to the drama CD.
The second voice I liked best is Kenichi Suzumura’s voice for Yukimasa. Even if door two wasn’t too amazing, in certain parts his voice was thrilling to listen to. Although it’s not as good as the CD, finally hearing a real passionate voice along with Pauline’s after the prologue and Seeing Glass chapter is a breather. I guess the voices are what I liked in door two as it brings back memories of the old game and how the game’s original setting was — tragic.
Third would be Jacopo voiced by Junichi Suwabe. I appreciated his voice acting in the drama CD since it was filled with passion and remorse. Reincarnation has some of it too, and yeah, it’s not on par compared to the CD. He did have a desperate voice at times, yet it sounded like it was forced sometimes. I prefer his regular smooth and sorrowful voice rather than his bawling one, the opposite of my opinion in the drama CD where I preferred his cries more. Even so, his voice does the job and I’m glad Suwabe was chosen to voice Jacopo.
Michel finally spoke more in the game compared to his few lines in the CD. Takahiro Sakurai’s voice is rather plain and monotonous, fitting for Michel, yet it didn’t satisfy me since most of his lines were regular chatting. There’s probably only two to three times where his tone increases from slight aggravation, such as when Yukimasa asked if he’d seen Michel somewhere before such as a stained glass. As for the Maid, she doesn’t have that sexy and mysterious voice anymore; it’s rather cheerful and full of glee. When she appeared in the beginning of the game so happily, I was a bit confused as this isn’t the same tone of voice I expected. Asami Seto does do the maid voice a few times, and well, I’m Ok with it. So if you expect her to have the same Maid voice as in the CD, she doesn’t really in the Collected Edition, as if she’s a whole new different character, or just reincarnated. Her Collected Edition voice did appear in a short part of the drama CD, particularly in the second drama CD.
As for the rest of the characters, I have a similar impression of their voice in both the drama CDs and game. The voice I miss hearing is a certain girl with white hair and a boy who befriends a ham sandwich-loving woman, where they unfortunately, do not appear in the Vita port. Sad isn’t it?
That’s all for my review of the Collected Edition Vita port. If I were to juxtapose Reincarnation with its predecessors, the predecessors surely wins, but that doesn’t mean Reincarnation is bad, it’s pretty fun to play through. I still enjoy seeing the characters again even when I know they are all fully developed already. You know what?
I am glad it’s finally over.
After a long time of cliffhangers and some unanswered questions, Reincarnation finally resolved it and gave the series a definite ending. Sorrowful feelings after Fata Morgana no Yakata and –Requiem for The Innocence- are now turned into, how to say it… relief. Even if I was satisfied with the endings in both games, I’m at ease with the ending in Reincarnation. If any more games were made to expand the Fata Morgana series, I believe that’s just asking for it. I must say the main game, fandisc, and Vita port is enough for the series and I would be disheartened if Novectacle goes any further with it. The characters in the series are lovable, the story is intriguing and keeps you reading, and the music is a great pleasure to listen to. I believe Novectacle can do the same for a new game and finally let go of their dear child, Fata Morgana, which made them where they are now. Fortunately, Novectacle have announced a new (possibly unrelated) project soon to show during the spring Comiket. I hope the future for Novectacle will be auspicious and for it to continue heading forward.