Journey To The Center Of Clannad
So being a huge fan of the Clannad anime series – characters, story just about everything – one thing I really wanted was to play the visual novel. Since it was only released in Japan in 2004, it seemed like a dream to play this game in English – until 2015, when we finally got a worldwide release! Developed by Key/Visual Arts, who are known for such series as Air, Kanon, Little Busters, Angel Beats, and the Tomoyo After: It’s A Wonderful Life (sequel to Clannad).
The anime follows the game very well, but the game has a little bit more of the story added to it, following the main character Tomoya Okazaki as you see life through his eyes. The game has multiple endings, branching out into 5 of 6 different plot lines depending on certain answers and characters you meet. The gameplay is pretty standard for this genre: Characters pop up so you can read their dialogue and select your answers from a few options. As each story progresses, you get more chances to choose the path you desire to take.
As with the Clannad anime, not every path will lead to happiness and some choices will lead to heart-wrenching emotions for the characters. What I absolutely love about this game is that you can lead your character to dabble in what is referred to as Another World. Instead of choosing the path to end up with the true ending for the series, you can choose to date 2 other girls. Each alternate path got their own OVA, but in the game the story digs just a little bit deeper. It describes more of the feelings characters have for one another and shows you which events could lead to them having a relationship.
In Another World, if you happen to choose Tomoyo’s plot line, there is also a sequel called Tomoyo After: It’s A Wonderful Life that follows up the plot line from this game. Though I have yet to play this game, it is on Steam and is something I will be checking out in the near future. After attaining the true ending, you will open up the 6th and final plot line of the game, which in the series is called After Story and is also the second season of the show. It follows up with the true ending character as you live your life as an adult after graduating college. This plot line will finish up your story in the Clannad universe. Not to spoil anything here, but it could get pretty emotional for some, so grab a box of tissues! But to see this plot line you must finish all the other stories and obtain what they call Orbs of Light, so the amount of content for this game is quite a bit really. There are certain ways to obtain these lights, so if you need one, I’d suggest a strategy guide to determine the order of completion – that way you don’t miss out on one by accident.
Choose Your Own Score
My rating for this game depends on the player type – I feel there are two different kinds of people who will probably play this game. For someone who just likes visual novels/sim dating games and has never seen this series I would give this an 8 out of 10 Go Out and Buy It! For someone who really enjoys the series of Clannad, 9 out of 10 Fantastic! Buy it NOW – add this to your collection, fall in love with the story all over again, and enjoy the extra content that was left out of the anime series. It is well worth picking up even if you have to wait for the Steam sale, which is what I chose to do.
Guys, this is a fantastic game and a fantastic anime series. I personally recommend enjoying both, especially if you are into romance. I could seriously watch the series over and over again until my BluRay player decides to crap out on me. I do personally believe Tomoya picks the wrong girl but I also love Kyou Fujibayashi (like a lot), so I guess I will have to just enjoy Another World over and over again. But please check back in later as I will be picking up Tomoyo After: It’s A Wonderful Life, so I can review the sequel as this is the first time both games have been available in America.
- Aligns very well with the anime
- Deep, romantic story, providing investment into the characters
- Great music straight from the series
- Plenty of gameplay for your money
- A must-play for fans of the series
- TONS of reading (I didn't mind)
- Only publicly available as a digital copy
- English audio unavailable - has Japanese audio with English text
- Limited responses to characters' questions