Review by TheSAMMIES
Warning. Giniro is technically a hentai game. The sex scenes are short, handled in mature and tasteful ways, and are very tame compared to just about every other hentai game out there. The game still has nudity in it though, so if youre too young to play this kind of game or if you just dont want to play something with naked cartoon characters in it, then you may want to skip this one. Another warning, Giniro is full of Engrish, and even though it is an amazing visual novel, you wont enjoy it if you cant stand a bad translation.
Giniro is an old visual novel that was a budget title. It got a small bilingual release and came in a DVD case. The bilingual part is a bit dubious. The game looks like it was fed through Babelfish (its Bing Translate now). The voice acting is also in Engrish, which is really cool, but it will irritate people who cant deal with bad translations.
Story- Its unfair to say that this game is terrible just based on its poor English translation. Giniro has a beautiful story that transcends its Engrish and is astounding, even if it might take a few seconds to figure out what each line means. You could just play the game in Japanese, but thats not as fun. The Engrish adds a bit of charm to this game and I highly recommend that you play it with the voice acting and the text set to English.
Giniro consists of four episodes, all of which center around a magic silver thread that can grant wishes. The game has a beautiful music video that you can see from the main menu that can give a preview of each story and begs the question: Do they know the true color of silver? Giniro means Silver in Japanese, so this is a recurring theme through all of the episodes.
First story is about a slave. She was captured and had her tendon cut to keep her from running. The slave girl has men come in at night to swing her up and down (the games term for rape). She escapes one night. The other main character is a bandit who kills travelers with a sword and takes their food. Its how he lives and he believes that the strong must take from the weak in order to survive. The two meet and become friends. Theres also a legend about a magic silver thread that can give its holder any wish. The story is beautiful and sad.
Second story is about Mr. Yorihito, a man who has to hide from his brothers who want to kill him, and a shrine maiden named Sagiri. Hes staying at a shrine. Sagiri is clumsy and not very smart, but shes hardworking, kind, energetic, and good with children. Mr. Yorihito and Sagiri make friends, but shes hiding something secret about her fate thats tied to the silver thread. The story has an overarching theme of the relationship between the rich and the poor and while it has some slow pacing, it gets really good near the end.
Third story is about Asana and her older sister Yuna. They run a restaurant together as their only means of income in 1900s Japan. Shiro is a soldier in the army that comes by and befriends them. The story switches perspectives between the three and details Asanas meddling to try to get Shiro and Yuna to fall in love. It also involves the true nature of the silver thread and how it may not be as benevolent as it appears.
The fourth and final story is a surprise. I dont want to spoil it, but it draws on everything that was established in the first three and culminates in an amazing finale. Theres also an epilogue for you to unlock when you reach the true final ending and a silly extra or Omake as the game calls it for you to unlock after you see that. The story as a whole is pretty long, but its beautiful and mature story that handles its subject matter in a realistic and believable way while still being emotionally powerful.
Presentation- Giniro is a beautiful game. The background and CG are stunning, especially the ones in the first story. Nature and landscapes are put on focus here and you can really see how beautiful the world is. Character sprites, by contrast, dont look as good. Female characters are all moe. They have huge eyes, huge pupils, and have a tendency to be act clumsy or awkward. A little moe can go a long way, but this is just ridiculous. Mosaic censorship that covers genitals also rears its ugly head. I said it before in other reviews and Ill say it here too. This kind of censorship isnt protecting anyone. The games light on sex as it is, has really tame scenes where you dont even see any penetration, and even then its maybe less than an hours worth of hentai across a twelve hour long game.
Then again, if youre playing Giniro for its sex scenes, then youre doing something wrong. The games about telling a good story, not getting the player hot and bothered. Sex is just incidental to the story.
Giniro has some quality voice acting in both English (or in this case Engrish) and Japanese. Only the heroines have voice acting, though, and even then, theres only one voice actor. She plays every heroines part and doesnt even try to hide the fact that all of the characters she plays has the same voice. Her acting might annoy some people because she has a tendency to make long and dramatic pauses, but if you like that kind of acting, then you will love her. I thought she did a great job in this game. I just wish all of the characters got voice acting instead of just the heroines.
The music in Giniro is incredible. Theres a good range of music in this game. Lonely pianos, powerful orchestras, mysterious bells, all of it helps bring the world of Giniro to life and plays at appropriate times. The music will stick with you in this game. Through the powerful and emotional moments and the lighthearted happy moments, it all helps build up to an unforgettable soundtrack.
Gameplay- Giniro is a bit unorthodox as far as visual novels go. Most visual novels present the player with choices that eventually put them on a specific route. Giniro doesnt have routes. Each chapter presents you with a bunch of meaningless choices and a few choices that matter and leaves you to figure out which choices mean anything. If you make the right choices, then you advance to the next chapter. If you make the wrong choices, its game over. Giniro loves making players feel like crap for screwing up and even rolls the ending credits when you die.
Choices you make in one chapter dont affect anything in subsequent chapters, so dont worry if you think a choice you made all the way back in Chapter 1 is going to come back and bite you in the ass during Chapter 3. The game can be cruel, but not that cruel.
Giniro also likes to pull a few other nasty tricks on you. As the game goes, it gets harder. By Chapter 3, youll have to make choices where both of the answers look wrong and the game will force you to hurt people. Some chapters have no good endings, only ones that hurt less and wont give you a game over. You might not even know youre on the way to a good ending because everything looks so bleak. Giniro is a dark game and it uses its darkness to its advantage. Leaving players in the dark about their choices until its too late can help build suspense and makes everything mean much more when you succeed.
On the down side, its very possible to get a terminal save file. Thats where your file is doomed and you dont even know it. You screwed yourself and youre getting a game over no matter what. This is an actual legitimate gameplay flaw and it can make navigating Giniros story more frustrating than it should be. The best advice is to save often. The game gives you a bunch of save slots for a reason, so use them to your advantage and this may not be such a problem after all.
Giniro is a beautiful game. It has a powerful story and may even make you cry. Have you ever wanted a video game to move you to tears? This game may end up doing so. If you are into visual novels and can take an Engrish translation or if you can read Japanese, then you will love this.
Helpful Hint- When installing, be sure to install Gin Old. Thats the version with all the Engrish. The other versions you can install from the DVD are all in Japanese only, so unless you know how to read Japanese or can understand people speaking in Japanese, youll be lost. I personally liked the Engrish better than the Japanese, though I can see why most people wouldnt want to put up with it.
Product Release: Giniro (Complete DVD) (JP, 08/31/01)
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