Higurashi When They Cry: Chapter 2 Watanagashi is the second in a series of visual novels developed by 07th Expansion and published in English by MangaGamer. It follows Keiichi Maebara during June of 1983. He has recently moved to the village known as Hinamizawa and is living normally until things go very crazy in the village.
The visual novel does a good job of introducing the characters with plenty of outrageous events that will likely pull more than a few laughs out of you. It may even begin to feel like your average slice of life visual novel. That is, until a series of events occur that turn everything on its head.
The next thing you know, you’ll find yourself deep in the middle of a bizarre mystery that will have you wondering what in the world is going on. There is suspense around every turn as you have no idea who you can and cannot trust, nor what will happen next.
Higurashi’s story will likely pull you in and keep you in for the duration, and for the most part it’s all very well done. The only problem is that once it’s all over, you’ll likely still have plenty of questions. This is because Higurashi is a part of series and as such, the visual novel leaves many things hanging for future visual novels. It even has a small scene after the visual novel’s main scenario where the characters of the visual novel all speculate about the various theories that are likely to manifest to explain what is really the cause of everything that is going on.
For this reason, it’s also probably a good idea to experience the first visual novel in the series, Onikakushi, before checking out this one, although it’s not required to enjoy Watanagashi on its own. Even if you don’t, you’ll likely feel compelled to do so after reaching the end of Watanagashi anyway.
Higurashi When They Cry: Chapter 2 Watanagashi has updated sprites in this release, and they look considerably better than the previous ones, although the old ones do have a certain charm to them. If you don’t care for the new sprites, you have the option of switching back to the original ones.
Watanagashi’s backgrounds are nothing spectacular. They seem to be real pictures that were taken and had a filter placed on them. Either way, they serve their purpose well enough, and don’t take away from the focus on the story. The visual novel also doesn’t have any CGs, but as with the backgrounds, it doesn’t hinder things in the slightest.
This release of Watanagashi’s also has both the original Japanese as well as the English translation text in the game which can also be switched between as you please. It can be useful for those learning Japanese, among other things.
Sound wise, Watanagashi has no voices, and its soundtrack isn’t the greatest thing ever heard, but it more than helps set the tone of the visual novel at key moments, which is really the only thing that matters.
Higurashi When They Cry: Chapter 2 Watanagashi is more than worth its $7.95 price tag when everything is said and done. It’s a visual novel that any mystery fan should experience, but watch out, you might find yourself unable to wait for the next visual novel in the series to be translated once you get to the end. For those of you already at that point, let’s hope MangaGamer releases Chapter 3 soon.
A copy of Higurashi When They Cry: Chapter 2 Watanagashi was provided by the publisher to facilitate this review.