It’s been a fair amount of time since visual novels started gaining traction here in the West, particularly on the Steam platform. As a result, we’re beginning to see the release of sequels to popular visual novels from the earlier years of that movement. It’s an interesting situation, as we’re starting to see VNs come out that are essentially meaningless without access to previous titles; Fault: Milestone Two – Side: Above is a great example of this.
If you haven’t played Fault: Milestone One, imagine Dictionary: The Game and you’ve basically got the idea. There’s a lot of worldbuilding in the first game revolving largely around coming up with new fantasy concepts and defining them ad nauseam. Spells are kravtes, mages are manakravters and so on. It reminds me a bit of the Fate series, and I don’t especially mind this kind of thing – hell, Xenosaga was decent – but the issue with that sort of thing is that Milestone Two, a direct sequel, is basically unplayable without having gone through the first. So we’ll assume you have, then.
Milestone Two follows Princess Selphine and Ritona through the second leg of their journey back home. Rune from the original game comes along as well, and the three end up in a Mana-rich area that contrasts sharply with the scientific focus of the first episode. I’ll spare you an extended plot summary and instead say that the majority of the plot this time around focuses on a tropetastic stratified society with the usual nods to classism and discrimination.
The deluge of definitions continues, of course, and the usual chatter about magick, kravtes and so on floods the game. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does lengthen the runtime of the experience a bit compared to others as it did in the first. I’m struck with the sense that developers ALICE IN DISSONANCE would just love if this became a full on franchise so they could fill supplementary materials with bonus content.
Fault’s art continues to be high quality and there’s the odd interesting trick that you don’t see in visual novels; one moment toward the beginning springs to mind as being a little shocking if you’re coming in expecting a typical fantasy VN. The music is fantastic, as it was in the first Fault, and there’s a strong focus on dynamic backgrounds that enhance the drama of particular scenes. It’s nice, and while I wasn’t especially enthralled by Fault’s brand of fantasy I think it should be a hit with fans.
Long story short, this one is easy to review. Fault: Milestone Two – Side: Above isn’t quite at the premium price point, but at $15 it’s a bit more costly than average. Did you play the first Fault? Then you ought to grab this one. If you didn’t, the second will be utter nonsense so you can easily skip it (for now). Still, diehard fans will likely enjoy the latest entry in the series, though they probably won’t feel the same about the lack of resolution toward the conclusion.