Take a step into the life of Tomoya Okazaki, a delinquent who is in his final year of high school. Over the next month, Okazaki will meet a variety of people, causing his life to change dramatically.
Clannad is a choice-driven visual novel that follows the story of Tomoya Okazaki. Okazaki is a third-year at a high school for students on the track to university. However, due to an injury several years prior during a fight with his dad, he has become a delinquent who no longer cares about his future. One day on his way to school, he meets a girl who is also a delinquent. After this meeting, his life has the ability to go in one of many directions – it’s up to you to choose.
Boy oh boy, Clannad is a beast of a VN that was released 11 years ago. I say Clannad is a beast because of the sheer amount of content within it. Clannad, as a whole, is longer than the entire Harry Potter series combined. With how many character paths there are to follow, you’ll be wrapped up in reading this story for over 50 hours.
My experience playing Clannad was pretty hit or miss. Early on in the story, I found it extremely slow going and, quite honestly, pretty boring. It wasn’t until I was deep within a character’s story path that it really started to pick up. Once it starts to pick up, the story really goes deep into hitting your feelings and making you really feel for the characters. When you’re starting again and going through to pick a different path though, it really does start to feel like a drag.
With how much you need to reread to do the various paths within Clannad, one would think the setting for skip previously read would be a tad easier to access. In order to access it, you need to go into the menu (right click) and select it if it’s lit. It seems a little glitchy too, as there were sections I had definitely read before – multiple times even – and it would randomly come up as me having not read those lines before. This really came to a head when I started hitting the sections that intertwined more with the first path I had done (which is, in fact, one of the later ones that is “suggested” to do). This really dragged on my will to continue playing and reading.
This release on Steam marks the first time Clannad has ever been officially translated into English. Given the length of the story, this was no easy undertaking. While they are working to squash them, Clannad still has numerous grammar, spelling, and just weird translation issues. At one point, I found names that were still coming up in Japanese. It also seems a bit weird at times when multiple people are talking at once, especially if one of them is Okazaki, as it can be hard to tell who is saying what.
The graphics in Clannad are definitely straight out of 2004. While the game was adjusted somewhat to be a bit higher quality, there are definitely a lot of remnants from all those years ago. One of the biggest remnants is the options for windowed mode. The only options for the windowed mode are setting percentages. All of the resolution options are for full screen, and if you tell the game to fill the screen, you’re going to end up with stretched out faces should you have a non-4:3 screen resolution. The percentage options for windowed mode will either leave you with a tiny screen or the potential for a screen that is partially under stuff like your taskbar (again, if you don’t have a 4:3 screen).
Is Clannad worth the money? It’s hard to say. With how badly the start of the story drags, you have a high chance of getting bored of it. The entry price into Clannad is also extremely high, coming in at a whopping $50 USD. If you can look beyond that, you’re in for a treat with the quality of the writing later in the story, a massive list of girls to get together with (or just character stories to experience), and a really good soundtrack. Should you be on the fence – understandable with the price – then you’re better off waiting to get it on sale. So while it’s not a super high recommendation from me – nor is it on my list of “best Visual Novels ever” (the extremely slow start kills it for me) – Clannad is still a worthwhile pickup.
Clannad Review Score
If you do make it to the later parts of the stories, you really do need to prepare yourself for a lot of feelings. Also, if you do decide to get it, you are really going to have to put aside a lot of time to get through the whole thing. It is by no means short.
Clannad is available now on Steam.
I would like to think Sekai Project for providing me with a copy for review.