Soukoku no Arterial (Intro & Guide) – Visual Novel Primer

Ah yes, hey friends, it’s time to tackle
one of Eushully’s best, and not the translated one everyone has already heard of known as
Kamidori Alchemy Meister. Nah, today we’re tackling Soukoku no Arterial, a visual novel
rpg card game hybrid thing. Crazy complicated sounding I know but no worries, by the end
of this primer you should feel completely equipped to dive into this game yourself. This one was actually a visual novel I chose
after asking people on my twitter whether to cover a translated Eushully VN or an untranslated
one , and untranslated came out on top which is good since I haven’t covered one of those
since Rance Quest. Soukoku no Arterial is the story of Senzaki Shuuya who attends Tengyou
Academy. Upon falling into an alternate world known as the Waibin Sekai, Shuuya and friends
are then quickly pulled into a centuries long conflict between angels and demons.
VN Primers are as always overviews of a Visual Novel, designed to give a solid introduction
along with some tips and opinions of the game itself.
While I stated earlier that Soukoku no Arterial has no translation, I suppose that’s technically
not true. There exists an interface patch, which translates the interface into english.
There also exists a machine translation, which means A either someone threw the entire script
into google translate, or B someone did that, and then had the foresight to edit that gibberish
into a somewhat comprehendable script. Either way I cannot personally recommend the machine
translation as those tend to vary in quality dramatically. Also, the site hosting it has
been taken down soooooo… I personally used neither of these patches and will be referring
to everything in-game by their original japanese name.
Alright, before we get into it proper, Disclaimer as usual. While the video contains no adult
content, today’s Visual Novel Soukoku no Arterial does have these elements and I leave
it to viewer discretion as to whether they play it or not. I recommend the game regardless
of whether this 18+ content exists or not. Actually… While usually I say that, there
was one strong fetish that this game kept on throwing at me to the point where even
I found it kinda distracting, and that is Soukoku no Arterial’s hard fascination with
little sisters. It’s all over the extra content of the game, and even kinda unavoidable
in the main route. Just wanted to point that out so you all know what your jumping into.
And well, if ye don’t like it the skip button is always an option, I know I ended up using
it sometimes. Also, timestamps are as always located down below in the description box
to easily jump between sections. Soukoku no Arterial is Eushully’s 18th title.
Eushully is visual novel bishoujou game company known quite famously for making all their
visual novels with usually solid gameplay. Honestly it’s a little tough whether you
could say they would still be considered a visual novel, but ye know what? I consider
all of alicesoft’s products as one so yeah they are in my book. Aside from Alicesoft,
Eushully is probably the biggest producer of visual novels with gameplay. They have
their mainline series, the Ikusa Megami and Genrin no Kishougun, or War Goddess series
which started out in 1999, and are all interconnected into one super grand storyline. Then they
have everything else they produce. Unlike Ikusa Megami, these products are only loosely
connected, and may or may not be related to each other and the main series. Soukoku no
Arterial falls under this second category. Eushully is really cool in that the gameplay
between title to title heavily varies just like the Rance series. Making each new game
a new novel experience, and most importantly always keeping it fresh. You might heard of
them because of the translation Aroduc did way back in 2012 on Kamidori Alchemy Meister.
Personally I haven’t actually played much of it, my experience comes from playing Himegari
Dungeon Meister which was pretty much a fire emblem clone
Soukoku no Arterial like most Eushully games comes with extra content in the form of append
discs. Specifically 3 append discs and a 2.0 update. Append disc 1 contains an extra scenario
with Willfried from Kamidori, Maou from Himegari, and Haishera from Ikusa Megami Zero, with
you getting those characters at the end. Also includes some bath scene mini-game with CG’s
and an in-built cheat mode for the base game. Append Disc 2 adds a few more classes and
items, Append Disc 3 adds two new extra little sister centric scenarios, one involving slimes
and the other involving an angel bear, an angel loli, and devil loli. Finally Version
2.0 update adds Arterial Force Blade, a dragon quest parody adventure. These are all optional,
and can’t be accessed until you beat the game once, well aside from the in-built cheat
and Arterial Force Blade For the most part I think Eushully games are
fun, and while the story is not quite as legendary as the Rance franchise, I think their games
are all great one-off experiences. And hey, who knows maybe the Ikusa Megami series story
will blow my mind. I’ll find out about that when I play it myself. In the mean time Soukoku
no Arterial is pretty darn good and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about and becoming
interested in it. Soukoku no Arterial follows the main character
Senzaki Shuuya who attends Tengyou academy with his best friends Kaito and Akari, along
with his little sister Mirai whom he greatly cherishes ever since their parents mysteriously
disappeared. Aside from his inexplicable popularity with girls from all three different class
levels, Shuuya lives a pretty quiet life hoping to one day become a doctor in honor of MHI,
or Millienium Heavy Industries who saved him and Mirai when they were young. However his
daily life is thrown for a loop when Shuuya and his friends are abruptly abducted into
a separate much darker world known as the Waibin Sekai. As conflicts escalate, Shuuya
and the rest of the school are quickly tossed into a centuries long conflict between Angels
and Demons. Who can Shuuya trust, and why has the two worlds start to merge in the first
place? Since Soukoku no Arterial is a Visual Novel
RPG Card game hybrid thing, we got alot to explain. The game is split into two gameplay
portions, first we have the ADV or adventure part of the game where you move around a map.
ADV itself it split into two parts, free-roam and search mode. Free Roam is where you run
into all the character specific events, shop around or revisit old areas. Character events
are indicated by SD versions of the character, and main plot by the yellow triangle. The
story doesn’t progress here until you go to where the yellow marker is. Some quick
things to point out, top right there is a day counter, that pretty much doesn’t matter
beyond tracking how much time you’ve wasted. Next to that is BP which is money, used for
buying items/more cards at the shop. And next to that is your current primary objective.
The next part of the ADV portion is search mode, Before I get into that though, let’s
talk about the actual big gameplay part of the game, the card battling.
Starting with the basics, your deck is comprised of 1-30 cards, along with your single leader
card. For the most part this leader card will always be Shuuya as you can only get access
to other leaders by completing the extra dungeon of the game which requires you to beat the
game twice to even access it. The only time you don’t use your own deck is during EX
battles where the game forces a deck for you to use. Before any battle you are taken to
a prep screen where you can organize your deck, look at the enemies cards, and check
if the battle has any special conditions like only using 15 cards, survive 5 turns, all
cards healing at beginning of turn, and so on. The goal of nearly every fight in Soukoku
no Arterial is to reduce the enemies leader life points to 0 while keeping yours alive.
Each turn is comprised of 3 phases, movement phase where you can move cards already on
field to adjacent positions, action phase where you can place cards from hand onto the
field, and attack phase where you well, attack. all cards have 3 important stats, HP, Attack,
and Command power. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but command power is the
interesting one. Every unit on the board grants its control power to each position adjacent
to it on the field. So, with my main character in the top left corner I can now position
a 1-cost unit in the bottom and to the right of it. I can then place another 1-cost card
to the bottom of the new placed one, and now notice that with this positioning, I can now
play a 2-cost unit in the bottom left corner. Generally speaking higher cost cards are stronger,
tankier, and more likely to have strong special effects compared to lower cost cards. Speaking
of which, cards may also have special effects, for instance Akari here buffs any Shuuya or
Kaito card in front of her by +1 attack. Moving on to the attack phase. Only cards
in the front line may attack, unless your entire front line is wiped out. There is one
card that is an exception to that rule, but again requires you to go through super extra
dungeon so I wouldn’t worry about that. Cards can attack enemy cards in the front
line that are in front or adjacent to it. Front attacks are unblockable, while side
attacks can be blocked by units adjacent to it. However the one exception is that leader
cards are unable to block for follower cards. Damage inflicted on units is not restored
between turns. On another note, Leader cards are the only card that can overwrite a card
on the field by moving onto it, with some cards having special effects for doing such
a thing like this one healing the leader. At any time during battle you can use disposable
items from your stockpile, which can range from healing your units, to buffing them,
to healing your leader and so on. You can also quickly see how many cards each player
has left in the deck, how many are dead, and how many are banished from play here. Finally,
the last thing to tackle is the ougi gauge, which is the super power gauge. Your super
power gauge slowly fills up and carries over between battles. When maxed at 100%, you can
activate it whenever. What your super power does depends entirely on whom you have selected
as your partner before battle, these supers range from healing all units, damaging all
enemy units, grant command points and so on. A quick note, Shuuya after the prologue quickly
learns an important ability which allows him to capture any card he destroys during battle
as long as they aren’t human, and within a certain rarity. This will probably be your
main source of getting new cards. After beating a battle you are taken to the
rewards screen where you get BP, record points, cards, and can choose to sell or take the
card. Record points are important for raising party rank which does nice things like make
better items appear in the shop. You also get EXP for all player characters currently
in your party and for the cards used in your deck. There are two separate exp gauges, one
for each of the player characters of the game, and one for each specific card. Increasing
character levels makes their special passive abilities and supers stronger, while increasing
card levels raises that specific cards attack and hp stat along with equipment slots. Speaking
of which, cards can equip item, both leader and follower cards. Equipment items do a bunch
of stuff ranging from buffing stats to granting special abilities. All units can only equip
one item regardless of how many slots they have, as some equipment require more slots.
All cards can be used in alchemy which combines them to make better ones, which you get access
to ⅓ through the game. The last aspect to cover for this battle overview is the partner
system. At any point in the game you can select a character currently in your party that has
awakened as a partner. This has the effect of one, changing your super to whatever super
that character has, and two, granting you their passives as well, for instance if I
select Madoka here, I get a +100 exp bonus at the end of every battle. For your first
playthrough, characters max out at level 9 with subsequent playthroughs allowing them
to break past to Level A all the way to Z. Moving back to search mode. During search
mode whenever you move, enemies will also move at the same time. This also advances
the frame counter, with 50 frames meaning that a turn has passed. As for what turns
passing does, absolutely nothing unless the game specifically says so. While running around
you can pick up cards, pick up incredibly tiny amounts of BP, and run into enemies.
This pink gas is a spot that infinitely spawns monsters, and finally most important of all
is these purple gas danger monsters. These are basically hard extra bosses present at
various points throughout the game, which you usually can revisit during free roam.
These bosses tend to be much harder then the actual bosses you face during story mode,
but provide a fun challenge, and more importantly of all, gives your their card after you beat
them. These extra bosses make up a majority of the high cost cards in the game. The last
thing to note is that, you sometimes run into barriers or special routes that you can’t
pass. These require you to have the party member with that specific passive movement
abilities in your current party like the flight skill, gravity and so on.
And that should about wrap it up for the basic overview, however if you want some tips on
how routes work, how to actually win the battles, and more importantly my opinions on the visual
novel itself stick around. In this section I’ll throw out some tips
regarding Soukoku no Arterial, with the main goal of making you feel comfortable with how
routes work and combat tips. Minor spoilers inbound.
Let’s start with how the route system works in this game. At the end of chapter 3, you
are tasked with defending the school from the demon invaders. If you fail to defend
the school you are forced on the devil route, but assuming you succeed are then given the
choice of which of the 3 main routes you want go on. There is the Law Route where you team
up with the angels. Some quick positives of the route is that you can recruit angel characters,
it’s probably the easiest out of the three routes, it has access to most of the heroine
endings, quality of cards attainable are good, and it’s one of the two routes necessary
to access the final extra dungeon. Some cons are that you can only recruit demon cards
since that’s all you fight, and not too much Gillezel in this route.
Next up is the neutral route where Shuuya decides to ally with neither of the two factions,
Some quick positives of this one is that it has the most recruitable characters by far,
it has the most unique mechanical situations to play through, you can collect both angel
and devil cards, is the other route necessary for the final extra dungeon, and feels like
the climatic finale to the game. Quick negatives that it’s probably the hardest of the three,
playing it first might turn out to be really difficult, it also has the most forced event
battles, and the pacing is pretty bad at times. Last off is the Devil Route where Shuuya allies
with the devils. Some positives are that Shuuya and Gillezel become best friends forever in
this route, you get to witness the birth of pimp king Shuuya, and I guess there is exponentially
more h-scenes in this route then any other. Some negatives are that all those H-scenes
are mandatory, Capturable cards are all angels, and you only get access to 2 heroine ends.
Speaking of which, if the main storyline is based on these three routes, how do Heroine
routes work in this game? Depending on which of the three routes you embark on, you’ll
have a choice of also going through heroine events during free time each chapter. As you
go through each heroine events, you’ll be given the choice to continue pursuing the
heroine or to close it off, usually something along the lines of “Man… do I think of
her as a love interest or not.” If you continue answering affirmatively, usually about 3 times,
you’ll lock in the heroine which also locks you out of accessing anyone else’s friendship
event for the rest of the game. Heroine routes basically add a little epilogue at the end,
giving you access to their ultimate card, and is where the bulk of the H-scenes are
for each heroine. Long story short, if you like a character, do all their events asap,
some close at the end of a chapter. Time to wrap up this tips section with some
battle tips to help you have an easier time. We can start with what will probably be your
main bread and butter strategy of the game past the early part, and that is the triangle
formation. The goal of this strategy is to get 2 units in the bottom corners, and one
unit in the middle, granting 3 command power to the center bottom position allowing you
summon 3-cost units. This can be achieved by moving your leader card in either corner
and double summoning 1-cost units, then next round moving the cards like so. Once you get
it setup, this allows you to consistently summon 3-cost units and move them up, or even
to make the 3-cost cards into supply cards since they each have 2 command power so that
you can summon the almighty 5 & 6 cost cards which are ridiculously powerful and broken.
The jump in power from 1 to 3 to 5-cost units is big, and is pretty what you need to aim
for during combat. All that said, most 5 & 6 cost cards in the game are strictly regulated
to extra bosses, new game+ events, and end of heroine routes.
The second combat tip is that, there are two main strategies in the game, either you can
exhaust your enemy’s follower cards until they can’t summon anymore then pummel their
leader to death, or you can just go straight for the leader, killing him before he exhausts
your hand. First strat involves abusing an early leader item which grants your leader
the ability to draw a card every time you defeat an enemy, so that you can get more
resources while your opponent runs out. Second strategy involves using one frontline card
to kill their blocker, then the other two to assault their leader, and repeating till
he’s dead. Tends to fail when your leader has alot less hp then the enemy leader.
So I’ve played 3 Eushally games, Himegari, Kamidori and Ikusa Megami Zero, and have only
completed Himegari so whatever I’m about to say, it’s compared to those experiences.
Soukoku No Arterial feels like a pretty polished product. The big gameplay draw, the card game
is fun and has a pretty good difficulty curve making your first playthrough a fun-ride as
you try to slowly make a stronger and stronger deck. Unless you are going for the neutral
route then I think it’s pretty hard than it should be. I had enough fun with it that
I went through every route and did nearly everything game had to offer which admittingly
burned me out by the 5th playthrough. With that said, it still feels like a doujin product
in the sense that alot of it feels very amateur. Like these super powers have a cool cut-in,
but the effect at the end feels kinda sad and pathetic. Also, no clue why this is a
thing when it comes to Eushully games but, why do they only voice their female characters?
Like I get the main character not voiced, the whole “you are supposed to put yourself
in the main characters shoes” which is impossible since Senzaki Shuuya already has a personality
so strong that there is no way I can relate to this walking sis-con chick magnet, but
come on, at least voice the important male characters. All the random female mob characters
get voices, yet our poor boy Kaito, or even the final boss remains unvoiced throughout
the entire game. Just feels very awkward when several characters talk, and a third of the
time there’s suddenly no voice. Another thing I’m not a fan of although
I kinda get is that due to how routes work in the game, heroines are kind of seen as
an afterthought. Like, every route has a clear “main heroine” so to speak, one that the
route specifically makes out to be the important one, yet the main character can just kinda,
pick someone else arbitrarily which clashes with what the route actually showing. The
game doesn’t even acknowledge which heroine you pick in the main game at all, it’s just
kinda this extra thing you do, and then they tack on a 1-2 minute epilogue during the ending.
I just wish that the heroines which much better integrated into the story itself.
Time to quickly rate the 3 main storyline routes of the game, and reveal my favorite
heroine. First off we got the Devil Route. When it comes to Eroges I feel like whenever
they have a evil route, it always ends up with the MC becoming this sex fiend getting
his hands on everything and everyone. Like there is alot of room for ye know, actually
having good conflict, maybe showing why Shuuya resorts to darker and more pragmatic means.
But nope, it has the thinly veiled excuse of Shuuya power suddenly be based on how many
people he’s boned or whatever, which ye know, isn’t it how it works in other routes.
There is also a ton of forced H-scenes in this route, like ALOT. At least you get to
see tons of Gillezel on this route, my favorite butt brother, man-at-arms, and overall best
dude in the game. Sayane is in this route too, but who cares about her. Gillezel is
my favorite character in the game, and his appearances in any route always makes it better,
and the harem ending did make me laugh admittingly. Next up we got the law route, this one is
probably the most predictable, which I guess ain’t a bad thing. It’s got the whole,
strict angel who dislikes human slowly learns to respect them through Shuuya inexplicable
charm, although I’ll probably repeat this again for the next route but, I think the
pacing of that relationship is pretty bad. Seems like Mehisha goes from one end of the
spectrum to the other a little too fast but maybe that’s just me. Nothing for me to
complain about, but nothing for me to write home about it either. Madoka is fantastic
in this route though, and it’s also the only one where you can pick her as the heroine.
Last up, and my favorite is the neutral route. No surprise, feels like the game sets this
one to be big finale. It makes the most sense from a story perspective, has the most appropriate
final boss, has humanity making a stand against both the angels and the devils. Then it has
the whole possible to recruit nearly everyone for the finale sorta thing. Neutral Route
even got the only instance where you play as another character for an entire chapter
which is cool thematically, if terrible mechanically. I think the only real problem the route suffers
from is that it feels like it coulda used an extra chapter or two for the final chapter.
Pacing there is really terrible and feels incredibly rushed compared to how climatic
it should have been. And, my favorite heroine of the game is, Gillezel,
i mean come on have you seen how much I hyped him up all throughout this primer? If I had
to pick a heroine with a route though, it’s Madoka. She’s the kinda character whom you
probably find endearing, or you hate how annoying she can be cause Madoka is loud, peppy, and
plays the onee-san knows best sorta character. I enjoyed it though, and I do respect her
drive to keep up with the rest of the cast, especially as the one of the only characters
to not have any super powers. Also probably has the most interesting heroine story out
of the 6 I played. And that is Soukoku no Arterial, a fantastic
visual novel with a really interesting card game gameplay aspect that turned out to be
pretty fun. While it ain’t perfect, I think the story kinda drops the ball in a couple
places, and I think it’s little sister fetish gets a little bad sometimes, overall it’s
still a great ride. Definitely has a better story then Kamidori from what I heard, and
if this primer got you interested go play it! Even if you can’t read japanese, and
assuming the machine translation is as hot garbage as I imagine it to be, the Eushully
Wiki has a walkthrough page that does a great job summarizing the story of each chapter
enabling you to understand whats going on. I’ll link it down below so slap that interface
patch and follow along! If you want me to cover any other Eushully games, have any other
suggestions, or want to talk about this one or any other VN hit me up down in the comments
section below. Outside of that ye know, like button is there as always, and subscribe if
ye like seeing this kind of content. I try my best to put in time and effort into these
primers, and hope it shows. Status update, said this on twitter but I
suffered severe food poisoning lately, I’m still suffering quite a bit, but at least
I’m not dying anymore. Speaking of which, I’m going to put up a poll on twitter asking
what to cover next, handle is on screen so go check that out if you want to throw your
vote around.

8 thoughts on “Soukoku no Arterial (Intro & Guide) – Visual Novel Primer

  1. Zirion, if u didn`t finished Ikusa Megami yet then you definitely should. Ofc it`s not as good as Rance series but i would still rate it pretty high. Especially "Zero" story arc but gameplay through the series is kinda lame and repetitive so I can see why you stop.
    And yeah, Soukoku no Arterial would be my second choice from Eushully games but it mostly due to great gameplay part. I did finished game like 7 times and get fcn everything that game could`ve provide to me.
    Others Eushully games aren`t any good even though i played and finished almost every one of them(Madou Koukaku an exception i guess, it was good-ish).
    Oh, and I would recommend to rewiev Seinarukana The Spirit of Eternity Sword 2 or Utawarerumono since these games was translated but i did hear people are struggling with gameplay part.
    Thanks for the video anyway, it did make me feel a bit of nostalgia.Great job as always.

  2. Your channel is really intriguing, we need more youtubers talking about visual novels! Keep it up!

  3. Excellent video very very very well explained +1 abo.

    I'm a fan of Eushully and I also made a Let's Play on the game and I must say that it's not easy to comment on an erroge especially with the general opinion that many people have h-game like "It's just h games without a story that just serve…tic tac tic tic tic"
    On the one hand it's true 70% of eroge is just for that, but then we forget that many of them have really cool or awesome scripts, that's my personal point of view 🙂

    P.S. sorry for my bad English I'm probably the only French person who knows Eushully :')

  4. Are there other VN or eroge out there with this kind of card game mechanic? this looks really interesting, but I can't read moon rune.

  5. Absolutely awesome review! I have actually finished this game this summer. Pretty much 100%ed it, – turned out to be one of my favourite SRPG/VNs (one other one is Seinarukana, which will probably remain #1 such game for me for a while yet). Currently, I plan on tackling Eushally's either Kami no Rhapsody, for which full Russian patch has been recently released, or Madou Koukaku. Have you played these, by any chance, BTW?
    Real glad I stumbled upon your channel. Wish you the best in your video making and channel growth!

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