By: Justin Hobley
G-Senjou no Maou, or The Devil on G-String, is a Japanese Visual Novel produced and localized by AKABEiSOFT2. The arrival of this visual novel on Steam marks AKABEiSOFT2’s first official localized release. This twisty tale of commitment to love or work follows both our protagonist, Azai Kyousuke, as well as our mysterious titular namesake, “Maou”.
As this is a visual novel, controls are fairly simple and mouse-reliant, but they can also be remapped by choosing “Config” at launch, then selecting the Shortcut tab. From there, you can change the few keys that G-Senjou no Maou uses. The default key bindings are fairly easy to grasp and can be performed with a three-button mouse.
There are standard dialogue skip options available when playing, placed in easy to interpret buttons along the lower right portion of the display, in two locations, depending on the dialogue type that is presented. The interface elements are consistent, and very nice at being accessible as the entire game can be operated solely from a three-buttoned mouse.
Visually, G-Senjou no Maou looks nice, presenting a large, easy to read font, with conscious thought put into the text presentation so that the story is followed, instead of distracting the reader with blurbs of text that are unclear to read. The images that accompany the characters as they speak are usually accurate portrayals of the character’s emotions, and do not detract or distract from the overall story.
The background music is a mixture of classical music, with emphasis on stringed instruments, and upbeat variants of the same tunes. This fits G-Senjou no Maou’s overall feeling very well and is easy to listen to, including obvious leitmotifs as the story progresses and character backgrounds are built.
There is also Japanese voice acting throughout, and care was taken to emulate real-world examples of what happens in game. For example, a person speaking on the intercom does sound tinny and muted, but when they are heard in person, the clarity of their voice is apparent. Simple touches like these help establish the flow of the world you’re participating in.
The voice acting in G-Senjou no Maou doesn’t sound stiff or poorly done, but instead it is rather quite enjoyable to listen to. At the time of this review, the voice acting was solely in Japanese.
G-Senjou no Maou starts off with Azai Kyousuke, our rich, high school aged protagonist – Tsubaki, the first person you meet makes a point of this with a very close brush with the fourth wall, and keeps this up throughout the beginning of the game by providing the player with personal information on several people that you meet. The storyline feels very much a part of a twisted slice of life, with a hint of drama and a sprinkling of comedic intent.
Early on, the comedy and drama proceed through a number of rough areas, with the names of two characters being an attempt to fly crap under the radar, an outfit choice and scene that could offend certain ethnicities, and some interesting dialogue that may leave sensitive-souled players reeling only minutes into that first chapter.
That shaky start may put players with sensitive constitutions off from playing, but sticking with G-Senjou no Maou beyond the starting point allows the rough outer layers to be sloughed off, and the polish to shine through. The localization takes care beyond the early oddities with character development as well as avoiding expressions that would only make sense to a native Japanese speaker, replacing these with expressions that an English speaker may understand.
When I reached Chapter 2, the comedic attempts of G-Senjou no Maou petered down to a mild simmer, with the occasional witticism showing up amidst the growing drama. This is where the core story starts to shine through, and the realization of needing to play this through a few times to get other parts of the story for a complete end becomes more apparent.
The effort that AKABEiSOFT2 put forth into making sure that G-Senjou no Maou is enjoyable to Western audiences is very apparent, and it does make for an enjoyable gaming session. It’s not a story that can truly be finished in just one sitting, and the quality of the storytelling makes the subsequent replays feel less like a chore.
Combined with music that is generally soothing, but has just the right amount of pep and punch to it at the appropriate scenes, G-Senjou no Maou is worth the time spent playing.