What They Say:
You play as Azai Kyousuke, the son of an infamous gangster. Kyousuke knows what he likes and lets nothing stand in his way in getting what he wants.
Referred to as God by his classmates, he often enjoys listening to Bach and “working” part time for his stepfather. But when a beautiful girl named Usami Haru appears in town along with an international criminal known as “Maou,” they bring with them their cat-and-mouse game of plotting and intrigue.
For those unfamiliar with this visual novel, The Devil on G-String is a PC port of the original 2008 Japanese game. More than just a simple port, though, this version also includes upscaled graphics in full HD. All the sprites, backgrounds, and even text have been reworked to fit modern standards. Publisher, Sekai Project, did an excellent job of updating the artwork while never losing the quality established originally by developer, AKABEiSOFT2. Each character design retains the feel and individual look given by its creator, with many ranges of emotions and facial expressions brilliantly captured for each main person in the game.
Reactions, questions, surprises, and more are each shown clearly on the character you are talking to, making for a much more immersive experience. While the number of different backgrounds are rather limited and consistently recycled throughout the course of the story, each one is colorful, detailed, and easy on the eyes. Thankfully, there is typically a good amount of time before any particular environment is reused, allowing for minimal amounts of monotony and repetition.
If you couldn’t tell from the title and/or description, The Devil on G-String focuses a lot on music (and not very tiny men’s undergarments, you dirty-minded reader), specifically classical. The audio, like the graphics, have been updated for this port and the team did a good job. Each theme, background song, and line of dialogue is crisp and clear. The soundtrack is an interesting ensemble of classical songs remixed in unique ways, ranging from upbeat to somber. Unfortunately, the themes are rather hit or miss, especially a lot of the cheerier songs. At first they are tolerable, but after occasionally hearing them for several hours, it is best to just turn the volume down.
On the opposite end, the tracks that play at the more serious and intense moments are quite memorable, most notably a chilling (literally) rendition of “Amazing Grace” that plays during some rather depressing flashbacks. Hardcore fans will be happy to know that the original Japanese voiceovers are kept entirely intact here and really well-done, unless you buy the much cheaper voiceless edition of the game.
Content: (warning as portions of this section may contain very light spoilers)
The story of The Devil on G-String follows the cat-and-mouse game structure, revolving around the main villain, Maou (Devil), and the mysterious Usami Haru. Caught up in the middle of this game is the player-controlled protagonist, Azai Kyousuke, who across the 30-40 hrs of gameplay must help defeat the criminal mastermind while still dealing with his own tragic past. Kyousuke on the outside seems like your typical smart high school student, but is actually the adopted son of a major Yakuza (mafia) leader. Because of that, he is a very unique protagonist, constantly using his logical thinking to further his obsession with money.
Without spoiling too much, Kyousuke is one of the most fascinating protagonists I’ve ever seen in a visual novel, as he isn’t your cliche, hopeless romantic hero. He only does “nice” things if it benefits him and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty if need be. This creates a very gray area type of story that is only expanded upon during key moments where the perspective switches to Maou and we see the motivations behind the villain. Usami Haru is a great foil to both Maou and Kyousuke, a possibly homeless, genius girl who moves to the game’s main city in search of revenge against Maou. Her intentions are pure-hearted and far more heroic, almost in a parodic and ironic way at times. The banter between her and Kyousuke and, at select times, Maou is both refreshing and realistic.
It helps that the supporting characters only add to the well-rounded cast in their own unique ways. Kyousuke’s father, Gonzou, is a true horror in every single scene he’s in, even more so than Maou most of the time. His very first scene alone is still one of the most unforgettable in the game. Kyousuke’s best friend, Eiichi, is by far the least likable character and yet still manages to subvert all previous expectations, making me care about him by the end of the game. At first, he seems like the annoying goody-two-shoes sidekick, but we quickly see that he is a true scumbag that only wants to get in the pants of older women. Azai Kanon, Kyousuke’s adopted sister, is a sickeningly sweet and cute ice skater that has a weird big brother complex. Shiratori Mizuha is the daughter of their school principal and by far the most boring character, but even she manages to challenge Kyousuke at every turn as his pseudo-rival. Lastly, you have Miwa Tsubaki, the most generic of all the characters and most unremarkable, but surprisingly ended up becoming my favorite character through some amazing character development.
Each of the four main girls represent the four main endings, including one true ending, and three bad endings. The writers are at their best when they defy all expectations and that is best represented in one of the endings in which you see one of the main characters head down a very dark road that made me go “no, no, no” the entire time. While the true ending itself is great, this game is really all about the journey of these tremendous yet flawed characters and not their destination.
G-Senjou no Maou, The Devil on G-String, comes to Western audiences for the first time, more than 7 years after its initial release and it is well worth the wait. Better visuals, great voiceovers, a unique soundtrack, and a phenomenal, thought-provoking story about the Maou (devil) inside us all make this PC port a must-play for all visual novel fans out there.
This review was done with a digital review copy of the game provided by Sekai Project. We are grateful for their support.
Released by: Sekai Project
MSRP: $19.99 Voiceless Edition, $39.99 Voiced Edition on Steam