The Nardio Visual Novel Review
Is Without Within 2 worth your time?
Ehh. No not really.
Why it Fails:
The original Without Within felt like a half joke/experiment with visual novels. Without Within 2 feels like a true sequel to the original, but that’s not saying much.
Without Within was a free game, but it was a waste of time. And yet, a morbid curiosity made me try Without Within 2 for its full price of $5.00. Yep. I did it. I mean it had good reviews and for goodness sakes it had to be better than the original. Right?
Well, yes. Yes it was.
But you need to understand how low that bar was. The original Without Within had you endure 10 minutes of an unlikable, self deprecating, down-on-her-luck character with even stupid story path choices that culminated in an unsatisfying end. It was a vapid experience.
Without Within 2 does slightly better, but still doesn’t feel great. I hesitate to even call it okay.
You pick up a little after where the original game left off. You are back in the shoes of Vinty, who is now internet famous for her public break YouTube.
Basically in part one she had a bad day and it was caught on camera. Well now somehow she received a grant to go to Melbourne Australia to meet her calligraphy idol in person. No, really.
Gone are the stupid choices, and, well, all the choices. Unlike the previous catastrophy, you simply follow a straightforward story. Vinty goes to Australia and narrates the small details way too much. This actually works better since it feels a little more natural. Sure the plot is so impossible it pulls me out of the story every single time, but Vinty’s journey and her appreciation of the new sights provides better flow. Just as you think the touristy stuff is going on far too long, the plot starts moving at a decent pace. We are then treated to stupidity.
Prima donna attitudes, backstabbing, internet trolling, secret videos. It all comes out of nowhere and then is wrapped up with a tidy bow, a bad explanation and a happy ending. Excelia goes from nice, to personable, to normal, to wicked, then back to understandable and friendly. For a character that was placed on a high altar it made no sense. I get part of this was supposed to be a shock, but it just felt forced. Vinty was already on the path to personal growth, but the story move forward so quickly she makes gigantic changes in leaps and bounds in mere moments.
Without Within 2 feels like the author won a trip to Melborne Austraila with the requirement to promote the city. Then she created said ad, had Vinty star in it as a tourist and then shoehorned in a plot to tie it in to the original. It doesn’t work. It feels, disjointed.
Next you have the lazy art that also feels disjointed. Some parts are nice, others feel phoned in. It’s totally uneven. Some characters look one way, while others are drawn another. When Vinty pops open her phone it doesn’t even show what she is talking about. Little missing touches like that continue to kneecap the experience.
Overall I did appreciate Vinty going on a journey and coming to terms with herself and her own insecurities. That was nice. But the way it all happens feels dumb and unbelievable.
If you loved the original Without Within, well I honestly think a little less of you. But I am sure you will enjoy this. But if you didn’t care for the first game, Without Within 2 will feel like a big waste of $5.00.
At this price I was expecting a much better experience that lasted longer and had more meaningful choices. I could honestly have accepted a choices-less journey if there were a better story. I know$5.00 isn’t much, but knowing I can buy much better experiences and stories for the same price makes this feel like a huge waste of money.
Basic Info & Weblinks:
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