Would you trust this man with your child?
Oh, Absolute Obedience – my long-awaited entry to the world of BL eroge. And, perhaps, the last one I’ll touch. Good lord, I knew going in that there’d probably be some rape within the proceedings, but I was hardly prepared for the sheer volume of it throughout. And, yes, most of it was courtesy of the above “tutor”. But before I go any further, let me explain the premise for the game.
The game takes place in, allegedly, West Germany sometime during the time of the Berlin Wall. But this is really just window dressing; it has zero bearing on the game, and many of the elements are very anachronistic, moving either forward or backward in time. Kia and Louise (the guy with the whip) are a pair of agents whose work consists entirely of seducing guys at the behest of their clients. The clients generally come to them for reasons of revenge, although a few do it out of lust or a desire to aid the target in question.
Much like with the setting, the variances between the different target characters means little, ultimately. There’s a religious young man enrolled in what the creators thought seemed to be an accurate seminary-type thing, and while it does play into the storyline (the client wants the young man to be corrupted so that he’ll leave the seminary and religious life behind), the only reason he is is obviously for the possibility of fucking the guy in the cathedral along with the whole HNNGH corruption! angle. So, yes, on one level the cast is rather varied, ranging from rising soccer stars to male prostitutes to Arabian princes (hello Orientalism!), but they all have the same fate in the “good” ends – getting their asses reamed by Kia or Louise. And while they may start off with different behaviors and attitudes, the differences between them evaporate rapidly as the story progresses.
As long as we’re on the characters, it is worth noting that a few of the characters are very obviously underaged. For the English language release JAST USA does specify that none of the characters are underage, but, like with the one shown in that screenshot, it is impossible to believe that they are. Slapping a “don’t worry, he’s eighteen!” sticker on things really does nothing to change that. Which isn’t to say I fault JAST USA, necessarily (although we could debate whether they should’ve bothered licensing it to begin with given the presence of very young characters); its just something to be aware of.
Personally, I’m not hot on shoutacon. Nor am I hot on rape. Which probably makes me a poor fit for playing BL eroge, given the plethora of both in many games. I wish I’d known going in to playing Absolute Obedience that it did serve such a large role; Louise seems to rape the target in almost every route. I’ll be perfectly honest – had I known there’d be that much, I wouldn’t’ve bought the game. I found Kia’s routes on the game to be much more enjoyable simply by dint of their lack of rape, but you have to play both of their assignments in order to unlock the other routes and complete the game.
Actually, overall I found Louise to be fairly unlikeable. Even when he isn’t around raping people, he’s fairly unpleasant. In one of the routes he repeatedly beats a servant in one of the routes, which left an extremely bad taste in my mouth – especially as the game depicts this as a GOOD thing for him to do. In a game with two protagonists, its fairly troublesome when one of them is so repellent.
In terms of difficulty… well, its pretty much on par with other eroge visual novels. So, much of it is a total crapshoot – some choices are very obviously a bad idea, whereas others seem to be pretty neutral, yet can result in someone getting shot to death or in someone getting into bed with your player character. The gameplay doesn’t present very many opportunities for choices; saving at each juncture is the best strategy, as it will save a lot of time should you get a bad end.
Ah, and then, of course, I should probably mention the sex scenes.
The best part of the sex scenes is, full stop, the noises. The voice actors are pretty good at what they’re doing, and certainly seem to know their noises. There isn’t too much of the gross, squishy-slurpy-type noises, mercifully. The pictures range from quite good to passable to disturbing (yeah, those would be the rape scenes), as the artwork overall is solid if not spectacular. But, again, the voice actors are what make these scenes work.
Speaking of which, the game retains the Japanese audio, unsurprisingly, with the dialogue translated in the boxes. The translation is generally good; the writing was obviously fairly limited to begin with, so its hard to go wrong here. I noticed a few typos, but they weren’t so egregious as to ruin the overall translation and were fairly rare.
Moving along, the release itself is a good one by JAST USA, even if I wasn’t fond of the game. As I said, the translation is good. The game itself loads up easily, and I’ve never had any problem running it. I found the price point to be entirely reasonable, at $24.95 clocking in on the lower end for the price range for English language eroge. It is also available for download, although I myself am leery of the digital-only editions, and it costs the same as the hard-copy release.
So… would I recommend it?
Not really. Or, rather, it depends on how your tastes run for rape and shoutacon in your eroge. If neither bothers you, then I would say to go for it. There are only two BL eroge available in English, so your choices are extremely limited. I wouldn’t call it a good game by any stretch, but as eroge go its a pretty standard effort.