Posted by: Blue 27 August 2017
The summer season may be nearing its end, but life is no less eventful for it. As of this writing, the moon has temporarily eclipsed all developments in North America, an adaptation of a video game that didn’t suck was released, and Bubsy is somehow getting a new video game later this year. While Hell may have completely frozen over in light of these developments, it’s still sweltering in many parts of the globe. Some are coping with the unrelenting heat by playing the newest mainstream releases, but I feel it’s appropriate to commemorate the summer with a game centered around a dark-skinned elf. Sure, the last two games I’ve reviewed involving elves weren’t too glamorous, but surely this time will be different.
Enter Dark Elf Historia, a 2016 RPG developed by OneOne1 and available on DLSite and Steam. That DLSite release was originally in March of last year, while the English release on Steam was mere weeks before this review’s publishing. While the game is curiously listed as simply “Dark Elf” on Steam, it’s referred to as “Dark Elf Historia” on the title screen and on DLSite, which is what we’ll be calling it for the rest of this review.
In Dark Elf Historia, you control a slightly tanned elf whose name is constantly changed, misspelled and butchered beyond belief through the game’s two main story routes, so we’ll just stick with Freylia throughout this review. Freylia’s adventure begins when she finds a young, orphaned boy in a cavern by the name of Ruse. Presumably feeling sorry for the boy’s misfortune of being left to die in a cave full of monsters and being named fucking Ruse, Freylia takes the boy under her wing and begins struggling to eke out a living by completing quests issued to her after a convenient time skip. From here, the game’s story can unfold in a few different directions depending on how you go about completing these incredibly rudimentary quests.
Pictured: An incredibly rudimentary quest.
Now, let’s stop talking about the plot and get technical for a few moments here. Both the Steam and DLsite pages for the game tout seven different endings for Dark Elf Historia, which sounds cool, right? Too bad even the game’s official description undermines that selling point by then saying that there are only two general directions the story can take.
Ultimately, if you decide to play Dark Elf Historia like a normal human being, you’re treated to a more wholesome experience (relatively speaking, anyway). Should you decide to play Dark Elf Historia like a man desperate for any kind of stimulus after weeks of deprivation, you can look forward to a story rife with betrayal, corruption, NTR, impregnation, murder, and mind-breaking.
If that second option sounds like the better deal, let’s take a step back for a minute and really look at the fine print here.
No, not that fine print.
Dark Elf Historia is an eroge made in RPG Maker, and I’d love to tell you all about how this game is among the elites of games that use this same engine. Alas, today is not that day. Dark Elf Historia is a very tedious affair, with snippets of world-building delivered through the various missions you accept and NPCs strewn throughout the world. Every mission will take you into a new area (accessible through a menu upon leaving the town), and generally involves navigating a dull excuse for a “dungeon” to its end, either to kill a boss or something far more mundane, such as saving children. Upon completing each of the three to four quests the game gives you at one time, a story sequence will occur, wherein another quest may or may not appear. Afterwards, another batch of quests is available, and the cycle repeats in a never-ending loop that would drive even the most seasoned RPG veteran to lunacy.
Now, there are monsters to battle, and Dark Elf Historia’s combat system is actually decently serviceable, using something akin to the active time battle system from any Final Fantasy from IV up to IX. The problem is that, despite having access to various magic spells and a skill system for special physical attacks, strategy is hardly necessary to seize the day. While certain encounters late in the game do require some level of strategy and knowledge of your various spells and skills, the vast majority of encounters are mind-numbing battles of attrition. Hardly any grinding is required, with any shred of competence allowing the player to meet the game’s very low demands. Unfortunately, therein lies one of the biggest issues in Dark Elf Historia.
To unlock the H-scenes, you must fail.
Dark Elf Historia’s depiction of sex ed is extremely groundbreaking stuff.
Now, that’s not unheard of in this genre, let alone H-games as a whole; however, in a game that rewards a basic level of competence with the privilege of laughing at death for ten straight hours, it’s something of a big problem. The logic of rewarding death with the very reason you’ve come to play the game in the first place has already been routinely criticized, but it’s taken a whole new level here. Playing Dark Elf Historia like a proper RPG means you could never once run into a sex scene. Meanwhile, feigning ineptitude or intentionally stalling in fights so you can die and unlock a completely different story route is how you’re going to be spending most of the game if you want to see everything the game has to offer. On top of this, it takes a fair while before you even have the opportunity to unlock the first H-scene.
In all fairness, the H-scenes in Dark Elf Historia are much more plentiful upon Freylia losing her virginity. No matter how you go about doing so, the result is Freylia’s body exuding some type of pheromone that makes her irresistible to practically anything. Enemies in battle soon begin using H-attacks on you, which then play into a new set of status effects. While the novelty of an orgasming dark elf being physically weaker in battle is nice, it hardly adds anything to the already mindless encounters. There’s also the possibility of random strangers groping or outright fucking Freylia upon contact, but the more decisive H-scenes are often tucked behind an untimely end to a boss.
This does beg the question, then: If the gameplay is repetitive and causes unlocking the H-scenes to be a mind-numbing experience, are they worth the trouble?
Perhaps the biggest understatement ever documented.
Actually, the main sex CGs aren’t all that bad. They suffer from the game’s forced 640×480 resolution but are generally quite nice. Freylia is almost always center stage in the CGs, and she’s always drawn in a way that captures her slim, yet busty body in an appealing light. Perhaps it’s my weakness for dark elves intertwining with my desperate hope to find anything positive in this game, but I can see myself coming back to the game’s several dozen CGs. It helps that completing the game once grants you immediate access to the game’s entire catalog of H-scenes, regardless of whether you encountered them or not. The only major gripe I have is that the variations between most of the CGs eventually follow the same rhythm of cum, watersports, and buckets of cum, even if the scenario and positions change. In spite of this, there’s a decent variety of content for viewing, especially when you factor in the H-attacks.
That said, the H-attacks are probably the weakest part of the game’s sexual content. Not only are they usually performed randomly by enemies, but they happen incredibly quickly, are animated very choppily, and are even quite hilarious at some points. Of particular note is the orc enemy, who suddenly shifts from a defined, heavily-shaded sprite into a very featureless, poorly animated sprite thrusting into an elf girl who is suddenly now on the floor.
All of this applies only when you’re playing the game through DLsite, though. If you’ve purchased the game through Steam for its incredibly low price, your encounter with the game’s H-scenes will see you face to face with the single most hilarious cockblock in the entire history of mankind.
This game and Monty Python are proof that rabbits can never be trusted.
Honestly, I couldn’t spin this censorship bunny into a snappy joke even if I tried. It’s like the publishers of the game drunkenly engineered a shitpost and decided to use it as a censor to anyone who tried playing Dark Elf Historia without shelling extra for the patch to decensor the game. A patch that’s only available on DLsite and never properly advertised on Steam itself, mind you. Even with the patch to decensor the game, the game still applies mosaic censorship as it normally would be in eroge, so all you’re really doing is paying extra to play a poorly translated, censored eroge on Steam without having to gaze into the face of deceit.
Oh yeah, I never mentioned the game’s translation, did I?
“Luliana weird bird” is such a distinct, wonderful name for an enemy.
Those with a keen eye may have noticed I never gave a very thorough synopsis of the plot in Dark Elf Historia, and that’s mainly because the translation is ten flavors of awful. The translation for the game is some incredibly mangled form of English that sits somewhere between Zero Wing and that infamous Vietnamese bootleg of Pokemon Crystal in terms of quality. If you squint past the random line breaks, commas, and extremely prevalent Engrish, you might just be able to find a story surrounding the struggles of different races co-existing amongst each other. Unfortunately, not only is that plot handled in such a sloppy fashion, it’s also an unintentionally comical story to follow due to the game’s translation. Even without the translation issues, the story somehow manages to zig-zag from a village raping and sacrificing women for their annual harvest to cosplaying in a skimpy outfit and waiting tables. The plot even manages to take the very concept of a dark elf and spin it into a catch-all race that can do anything the plot needs it to, like healing wounds immediately or giving birth to monsters in mere days within conception.
Now, about how the translation actually affects the sex scenes that we’re all interested in. See, it’s one thing to have a fantasy story set in medieval time suddenly feature milk-pumping machines that pump every ounce of Freylia’s breast milk to bottle and distribute under her own name, but it’s another to witness all of that through the game’s translation. While the sex CGs are fine on their own, the dialogue paired with them tries to painstakingly describe everything that happens, including typing out the various onomatopoeia for sex noises. This is actually to the game’s detriment, as even slightly focusing on the dialogue in Dark Elf Historia’s sex scenes will obliterate any semblance of eroticism you may have found. You might not bust a nut, but at least you can still bust a gut.
Truly a gentleman of prestige.
The presentation is also something of a limp affair. The game is locked at a 480p resolution, so those with larger monitors will want to get their telescope ready. In terms of the actual visuals, Dark Elf Historia doesn’t have much to boast. While my own experience with RPG Maker titles is minimal, what’s present here does little to impress. The battles are the most stylish and lively part of an otherwise static game, with Freylia’s jiggling animations being the highlight, but even those have their hiccups with the enemies and H-scene transitions, as was mentioned earlier. The same goes for the music, with barely anything standing out among the handful of songs the game plays. The lone exception to any of this is the victory theme after winning a battle, which is so bombastically over-the-top compared to everything else that it’s rather charming, in a sense.
The biggest thing to discuss in regards to the presentation is Freylia’s voice, as she’s the only properly voiced character in the game. Freylia’s voice through the game is generally calm and somewhat cold, which suits her character. In H-scenes, though, she’s constantly panting and moaning to the point where it sounds as though she’s trying to hold a conversation while bawling. Now, many people have levied the same complaint towards any given eroge, hentai, or JAV, but almost none of those compare to the voice acting during any H-scene. While I can personally handle the performances of Japanese ladies moaning in any other piece of adult media, it’s too distracting in Dark Elf Historia to really be arousing. Hell, I’d even say it’s too repetitive, as the same exact voice clips are used constantly throughout every battle in the game.
With enemies like this, maybe the game really is just one giant shitpost.
All in all, Dark Elf Historia is a game that’s marred by its form of progression, lacking visual quality and incredibly sloppy translation. The game falters as an RPG in several different aspects, from the story to the balance of gameplay, but the H-scenes, its one redeeming aspect, can be obnoxiously counter-intuitive to unlock. I even encountered a few crashes during specific sex scenes, one of which was during one of the different endings. If you have about ten dollars to spare and are desperate for some dark elf action, give Dark Elf Historia a spin and brace yourself for an experience that entertains for nearly none of its intended reasons. If you’re looking for something quick to pop in and get your rocks off to, I’d suggest taking your time and money to other venues.
Dark Elf Historia can be purchased on DLSite and Steam. For those interested in the Steam version, be sure to hit up DLSite for the game’s uncensored patch.
- An abundance of appealing CGs
- Multiple routes and different options for sexual encounters
- The unintentionally hilarious translation
- Gameplay is far too simple and monotonous
- Translation notwithstanding, story goes all over the place
- Actual H-animations and other sprites are lacking in quality
- The unintentionally hilarious translation
|Art And Graphics|