Visual novels have advanced dramatically in the last few years. There have been missteps, for sure, but for every Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect there’s a The Letter: A Visual Horror Novel to sweeten the taste. This Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel review will explain why First Step Cinematics’ debut title fits somewhere in between.
Beginning at the turn of the century, Dameon works in a video rentals store. A number of characters are introduced here, and the setting is established. Skip ahead a decade, and we meet Mark. A rather meek teaching assistant, Mark quickly becomes a newly turned vampire. That is, if you make the right choices.
The game can unfold in a number of different ways. You could soon meet your end if you don’t pay attention. There are 30+ possible endings in the game, depending on the dialogue choices you make. However, it must be said that a great many of them simply see you dying at the hands of some mohawked bad guy.
Other story bends are more interesting. There are many characters whom you may never meet, but still end up with a more well rounded ending than an untimely death. In one particularly gruesome plotline, you can meet a small child, adopt him and raise him only to then offer him as sustenance to other vampires. Mark isn’t exactly a hero in this thread.
Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel has been cast as a love story. However, this isn’t Twilight. There’s only one real love interest, putting the game behind Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance in terms of progressiveness. The game is more concerned with your vampiric behaviour. And whether or not you decide to become an ally or an enemy to your vampire cult.
The game’s art style will surely be a matter of taste. While it’s of a decent quality, it’s neither strictly anime nor westernised. The character design sits in a weird middle ground where some of the characters are decidedly bland. Many of the others fill clichés in appearance that their behaviour doesn’t really support. It’s a strange combination, and will likely be off-putting to some.
If you like the art style however, as this Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel review has made efforts to establish, the game has a decent amount of depth. There’s no dialogue options tree so replaying to see all the endings is exactly that: replaying the game in full until you reach the option you want to change. It’s a relatively minor issue, and one that hopefully First Step Cinematics will rectify should they choose to do another visual novel. Which certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.