Heileen series review

A visual novel set in the 17th century: http://www.heileen.com/
quintega
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Heileen series review

Post by quintega » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:04 am

Heileen

This review is going to be a 2-part Review, first I'm going to cover the technical aspect and story, but I will not touch upon the art work at all. The second part is going to revolve solely around the art and how despite its best efforts is extremely sexist. I will clarify why I overlooked Loren, why I didn't bother with Bionic heart Original, and Why I will not be calling Nicole’s Sexist so don't worry.

Hieleen 2&3 are only going to be covered because Heileen one only had the art and story thats it.


Gameplay mechanics

Sin Value system
This is an interesting aspect to controlling game-play without relying heavily on a good or evil aspect at least in Theory.

Heileen 2:
This game actually pretty much is my major gripe with the Sin.Vs.Virtue system. The game made you pick cards of which you where forced to pick a card after going through all of them once. The problem is It only covered extreme's and had no grey area at all. To get certain ending's you had to be a real bitch. I was appalled at the Charity card that had Heileen start a riot with beggars, giving away all of her school money, and forcing her step mother Lora to whore herself out. That was the Virtue ending, I kid you not. I stared at the screen and thought, "How is that Charity" Yes in short term it's charity.

But how about it being even more selfish than say GOING TO SCHOOL. Not forcing everything your uncle and Lora did to be in waste. Lora WHORED herself out for that money, The game makes it that the scenario's happened so I just stared like I wanted to kill Heileen.

Long-term implications that one good event causes. Lora could die of Syphilis at the time a deadly disease, she was and is guaranteed to get being a prostitute. I'm not jumping to conclusions either. Heileen's uncle says flat out "Lora will have to go back to Whoring herself out". Her Uncle who is also reveled to have no merchant power what so ever is now a beggar, as he has no money and Heileen's education and any chance to help her family was tossed out the window. This means Heileen and her family are gonna starve. The beggars who she "shared" the money with are most likely going to lose all the money thanks to Guards breaking up the fight and dealing with injured. Do I need to explain why it's so short sighted?

The Sin items have no use in game only the virtue ones, this means if you want to just be proud you also fuck over most of the story. There is also no way to measure where on the sin or virtue meter you rest.

Heileen 3:

Okay they did implement a Meter to tell how far you are on the scale this time.
However I have a different gripe, I was trying to gain Pride to get the Captain ending. Now Virtue works based on decisions in this one rather than you know dreaming with tarot cards. Here is the problem; half the time you either have a Sin like pride but then a Virtue like Charity. so the Problem was half the time I'd be stuck with a sin I didn't want or Humility. Which constantly dropped my pride meter, thus making it extremely difficult to build pride up, I nearly ran out of time just getting it to slightly full.


Romances:

I'm not going to go in depth on this, because I'm going to say all three had an issue that was extremely annoying. Without a guide it will require a lot of reloading saves to figure out what choice now will allow you to get the next possible way to build up romance with them.

3 did add in a "date" mechanic which really you just pick a person to increase a relationship bar with by 2-3 points. Every few months in game, it's not even predictable. Now in 3 it seems to be also based around your chosen profession which takes half the game to start obtaining,

Continuity:

All the games for the most part follow one another faithfully except between 1&2
When I ship wrecked I had Anna, and Robert had been lost. I also lost my first kiss to Anna not John

I play 2 and Retcon Anna is nowhere to be found and Roberts on the island. Also 2&3 didn't give the choice to choose to change who the kiss was instead both made it be John. Despite the nice Lesbo side story I had going on with Heileen and her friend Anna.

Story:

The story is its only real strong point and even then it's all just really leading up to part 3. The first was interesting, the second was very minimal like it almost wasn't there.

3 had an amazing story about adventures and going from being a noble brat to a person. If only the art work actually complemented this.

Individual scores based on a 1-10

I hate putting Nuemerical values on games, but in this case it helps tell the strong points of each game.
Heileen 3 is the only one to have non-royalty free music hence the extra category

Heileen Original
Overall: 5
Story: 7
Gamplay: NA

Heileen 2
Overall: 3
Story: 2
Gameplay: 7
(I hated the choices but it didn't stop from it being very solid for the Sin.Virtue system)

Heileen 3
Music: 10
Gameplay: 7
Story: 7
Overall: 7.5

Art for all of them is a 3.
I dislike the art, but I've showed it to a lot of friends both men and women, the ire it has achieved is why I'm making a second article. Explaining why it is Extremely sexist.


(((I am still working on the second part. Also no I am not calling Jack or anyone at winterwolves sexist. I am simply referring to the art style and the message it gives off. The Art portion will be up either today or tomorrow. This is not being put up on youtube till the Stupid copyright BS is fixed)))


PART 2


Now for Part 2

The image below is the full cast photo that comes with Heileen 3
Image

The artwork is noticeable for 2 things,
1st It is the same artist as Bionic heart, they either appear very mannish, or well I don't want to use the word unrealistic but........

Now being Trans I don't have the right to speak on behalf of all females, but I can speak on how this art makes me feel after I post a few of my biologically female friends comments.

I was talking to her about this panel I posted and for her privacy will remove her name from the chat, and I am only showing certain parts of this.

"Meanwhile not one of them has short hair, and all but one has belly, boobs, or both exposed. One is wearing pants."

Me: "red head had short hair in the first two games but being stranded on an island for a year kinda makes your hair grow out"

her "And now she fits in with all the other girls!"

me: "someone isn't amused"

Her: "No, someone really isn't. Someone is /really sick/ of seeing the majority of mainstream and non-mainstream female characters in video games, RPGs, and such being overly sexualized. I realize that some people enjoy this - I enjoy it to a certain extent. But I want some /choice/. I want to be able to find an outfit that is totally conservative in the male /and/ female versions! I want to be able to play a woman who's got realistic breasts and curves!"

"I want to see fantasy females who dress beautifully without having to show all the skin they can."


I then made a comment about this being an earlier game

"Well I hope to /god/ I never see artwork for earlier games then, because the picture you sent me is still /dripping/ with sexism!"

I have sent the artwork above since to several other friends male, female, trans and so on similar reactions

The problem is the art is too extreme, it really is either unrealistically feminine or overtly masculine, no middle ground and it becomes ugly as hell. The problem is it also becomes sexist because it follows no logic or any semblance of decency.

But seeing Mens muscle mass on a woman who is supposed to be sexy, looks like the artist is saying "haha nice try shemale" while it's not obviously.

Below is the exact picture that got me into winter wolves
Image

I'm not kidding I started these games because I saw an ad with that picture. Back when Jack was still called tycoon games. So what drew me in? Well the repulsive looking scarred woman. I thought it was really cool because you know she wasn't drop dead sexy. The scar had a story. But The reason I post this is because Bionic heart original had the same artist. The other reason I bring it up is, while I wasn't a fan of BH 1's art it did show slightly more variation but not by much.


His artists have evolved since then such as Loren
Image

Now I hear my hypocrite sense's tingling. Why am I not going off on Loren? Well Kids first, it's well known Loren is Fanserviced to hell. However look at all the girls and men, they aren't carbon copies in different uniforms and heads. The only female human is Chambara, Amazons in legend did dress in lioncloths and armor so it's not hard to believe, Druids are known for more natural materials so the plants fit as well. Also every girl has varying breast sizes from small to large. The height and muscle tones also vary. Loren also features the ability to give them more clothes and dress more conservatively.


I know for a fact he has used better artists more suited for something like Heileen such as
Image
Image

Then there is nicole which just came out and still features like Loren and Bionic heart 2 actual human anatomy

Image

Now Am I calling the artist of Winterwolves sexist? No I am not, but I am not defending these ridiculous design decisions. The Art work in the game is VERY SEXIST, to everyone. I find it aggravating because I noticed artwork for Roommates creeping in the Direction of Heileen, something I hope changes. Winterwolves prides itself with being LGBT friendly. Then I would like to see it, You can still be sexy with a realistic anatomy, please do not revert to this games art. You are better than that, I also bring this up because the majority of Winterwolves customers are Girls, most are not turned on by this misogynistic art work.


Now on their own they are decent games but the art ruins any story they had.
Last edited by quintega on Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

quintega
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by quintega » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:00 am

Part two posted

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jack1974
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by jack1974 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:29 am

I don't think is fair to call Rebecca (Heileen/Bionic Heart 1) sexist because of how she draws. It's HER STYLE. Plain and simple. There's not any hidden reason/agenda behind that. I know many other said that she draw androgynous women, but... what could I do? :)
I agree that Loren and even Planet Stronghold artists are really good with human anatomy, probably the best I have worked with, but is not like Rebecca is bad. I know well how hard is to make art (and to find good/reliable artists! :lol:) so when I find them, I don't want to put too much pressure or ask them to change things several times (with the risk of pissing them off). And in this case I couldn't say anything, since is her way of drawing.
Depends on tastes, I know many people that are her fan, some even went to a convention and asked her to draw BH1 character and sign them. So in this case is all about personal tastes really!

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nullzero
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by nullzero » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:21 pm

quintega wrote: [...] Loren also features the ability to give them more clothes and dress more conservatively.

Actually I didn't tell but, this was what finally tipped the balance and made me buy Loren after trying the beta.

I also appreciate that in the latter games there are more realistically covered in their day to day clothes (at least when outside in near freezing conditions of Seasons of the Wolf).

Nicole is not really my kind of game but the art is really amazing. Congrats to the artist :)

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jack1974
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by jack1974 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:24 pm

More clothes variety is also a consequence of more budget available :lol: when talking about indies you must never forget that budget/money is often a big restraint on creativity. If at Loren's times I had more money I would have added many more outfits :)

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Franka
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by Franka » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:32 pm

Goes to show, once again, you can't please everyone. Somebody will take offense no matter what.

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jack1974
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by jack1974 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:36 pm

Yes, that's a truth that pretty much anyone making content has to accept, unless want to go nuts. I prefer to keep making games knowing that I can't please everyone :)

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Re: Heileen series review

Post by quintega » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:34 am

This is where the misinterpretation came in, I didn't say she was sexist. I said the art style is very sexist, I know there is no hidden agenda, but I'd hardly call it andro. The problem with both this and BH 1 is every chick has the same shape, every guy has the same shape. None of the women have normal bodies, Hell you even made fun of it in BH 1 making tanya comment on it. However the Lack of difference between the girls, and males, the lack of clothes, the lack of normal breasts and body shapes, the lack of anything that doesn't look like it was Drawn by Rob Leifeld, whether unintentional or not, makes it sexist. The Pirate outfits drove me insane because womens clothes of that era, where very heavy.

An example of androgones is

Image


While Hieleen and BH one are Men and Slightly less man with big boobs.

You asked my opinion, and I'm serious it is unintentionally very sexist.

The problem is because everything and everyone has a Mannish Shape, then the only difference between the guys and girls are long hair, Giant tata's, and Skimpy clothes. This falls into the old chauvinistic belief that women are just lesser men.

We can all be sexist without realizing it, a woman can be chauvinistic, both intentionally and not. The reason I'm saying unintentionally though is, This style of art is all over nerd and geek culture. It's the same as all anime chicks having balloons on their chest. The thing is when you are trying to make a game aimed at girls. You need a style aimed more for them, less for 13 year old boys


I do love though how no one complained about the gameplay portion only the art portion. Intersting....

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Franka
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by Franka » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:22 am

Your criticism of the gameplay touched on points that seem true enough to me, but you seem to be skipping very quickly past anything that doesn't lead into your personal agenda. As such, it comes across as less of a review, and more of a rant. In my opinion obviously.

quintega
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Re: Heileen series review

Post by quintega » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:34 pm

Thank you sssssooooooooo much for accusing me of having an agenda..........

For the record, had I been the only one who had a problem with the artwork it wouldn't have been raised

Review process,

Play game
take notes
send to someone else
read their notes
replay game
Compair notes
Base review on combined notes

if it wasn't raised by both it doesn't get mentioned.

This is the only time I had 10 people play it, all brought up the art as being controdictory.

However while my pride is hurt. I will listen to critisms. So I am going to replay through 2&3 aiming for at least half the endings and romances. I will then come back and post a proper gameplay section. I apologies for that part. Since I have only had one arm to work with at the time of the review, making a longer one's hard. Sorry futzed up my shoulder in a car wreck. So give me a few weeks,

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