Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

Most of us stop gamers have missed the iconic visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club in vain! And the first to rush to this embrasure was our chief, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor Dmitry Kungurov, a well-known fan of anime. And he almost didn’t wince. It was in those years when even I, now a stranger in the brave new world of pop-eyed nyashek, treated anime with the same prejudice and trolled its tender audience with text about the obvious merits of Final Fantasy XV. Therefore, even the feat of the chief did not make me overcome and familiarize myself.

And recently, both I and the rest of those who missed it in vain had a great reason to still do it and come on a date with a bored Monica – an extended version, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus, was released! What is good about it, and what is not so good? Is it worth it to play the original first?

Only Monica. And not only

Doki Doki Literature Club! clearly written by psychologists (or even psychiatrists), who with equal success could work with children at school, and compose sketches for Monty Python. Under the guise of a plush, cute dating sim with four lovers of poetry (and manga, yes – sorry, Natsuki!) was an inventive and heartbreaking horror, which personally scared me not with screamers, but with how much what happened (at least with one of the girls) could turn out (and periodically turns out) to be true in real life.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

In fact, everyone here needs help in one way or another.

But that’s not all. Under two layers of this virtual cabbage, there was also a third, associated with the breaking of the fourth wall. The authors of the game and Monica personally punched it and winked at us dumbfounded with real postmodern enthusiasm, talented and inventive – we even had to personally delve into the game files so that this, as the editor-in-chief aptly put it, “totalitarian screensaver” with pigtails fell behind, finally, and gave us a chance try to deal with Sayori differently.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

So this wall has not yet been broken.

As a result, a game that is rather stingy on content (but not on meanings!) With four and a half backdrops for the entire passage, not a single hentai scene, and the choice is largely illusory (sorry, Sayori!), turned out to be a surprisingly deep thing. Here you can equally see a postmodernist joke, and a manual on problematic adolescent psychology, and elements of shock therapy to treat these same problems. And to some extent, even promoting suicide – after all, there were cases when the short story was accused of bringing to suicide. And although no direct evidence and connection with the game was found, the Literary Club received its notoriety.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

There are enough uncomfortable scenes and words, but we are quickly made to understand that this is a computer game – this is the “chip” of Doki Doki.

Advocacy of suicide, of course, could only be seen by those who were sick in the head, like some of the heroines of the game, but the fact remains: everyone, if they wish, will see Doki Doki Literature Club! something of your own. In the end, there are interesting, sometimes even cool poems here – despite all the difficulties of the official translation, which will be discussed a little later.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

These are poems that girls write, and ours remain somewhere behind the scenes – we just select the words that suit the heroines.

All about her

And here, I repeat, I liked the game primarily for its psychological and psychiatric truth – the way in which these heroines, albeit sometimes stereotypical, but still alive, are described in detail, talentedly and with knowledge of the matter, what problems can arise at their age. Perhaps that is why especially impressionable teenagers directly associated themselves with the characters.

So, from this point of view, the extended version is valuable in that there are additional plots that further reveal the characters of the girls and talk about how they came to the literary club.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

Although I would call this club still in a different way.

Thanks to this, their actions become more clear – for example, why Sayoru did this and what her clinical diagnosis was. There are different emotions in these stories – somewhere you want to turn into the same hugging monster and roar along with the girls, somewhere you want to laugh heartily (at Natsuki, of course – did you doubt it?).

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

Sayori… she’s so… There’s just no words.

The second most important is, of course, the presence of additional materials: art, secrets, new poems and never before published sketches that are unlocked by performing certain actions in the game. Plus more than a dozen new atmospheric tracks from Nikki Kaelar, which can be listened to in the built-in player. All this justifies the fact that the initially free and exclusively computer game in the new version is sold for money, including on consoles.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

In total, there are more than a hundred collection images in FullHD quality.

Difficulties in translation

The release on consoles, on the other hand, has led to the fact that now there is no need to personally delve into the real game files – for this, a virtual machine simulator has been implemented, where you can see open art, listen to new tracks in the player, and launch additional plots. And there are supposedly real folders with real files that we can delete and open.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

The music player is very handy.

This, of course, is convenient. In addition, the VM has an email client with correspondence between developers, from which you can learn interesting things about Monica, the setting, and the ins and outs of the Doki Doki Literature Club in general! On the other hand, the game has lost in the atmosphere and uniqueness, freshness of sensations. It’s one thing when you have to climb into a directory, look for the necessary folders and files on your PC, and it’s quite another when you are offered to play it through the built-in application – the feeling of real not even breaking through, but demolishing the fourth wall goes away.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

Although where, it would seem, to punch further?

Approximately the same can be said about the ability to turn on alerts for shocking and disturbing scenes – the feeling of real tension and horror disappears. Although no one forbids these warnings and does not include. And in general, given the release on consoles and past accusations of bringing to suicide, the authors simply had no other options.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

So-so warning – more like an invitation.

So these are controversial points, having both their pluses and minuses. And here’s what in Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! It definitely became worse compared to the original, so it’s with the translation. The original has already been fan-translated from Simplified Chinese. And now an official one has appeared, in which there are grammatical and stylistic errors; there are no different fonts for the poems of different girls (the individuality of the handwriting has disappeared); in some places subtitles crawl out of the screen; Some of the iconic jokes are gone.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

Some things don’t really need to be translated though.

Yes, and the poems themselves are translated worse, often without observing rhyme – maybe this is closer to the original writing of the verse, but further from the concept of an artistic translation of talented poetry. Here, compare. This is the verse in the official translation of the extended version:

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!: Overview

There is no rhyme here.

And here’s how it sounded in the fan version:

Strands of my hair reflect gold, in the amber light falling
Bathing.
And here is his source.
The last street lamp, passed the test of time, the guard is lonely.
The last pillar of this century, which will be replaced by future blue-emerald neon.
And I’m floating. In silence I breathe the air of the present, but I exist in the past.
Light flickers.
I blink back at him.

In the fan, you will agree, much cooler – there is even something from Brodsky.

However, even such a translation, albeit not fully, makes it possible to feel the main advantages of the game. And given the abundance of additional content (especially the girls’ personal backstories), we can say that Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! not only has the right to exist and take money from the population – such a version simply had to come out. Another question is that if you have not played before, then it is better to go through the original first – the sensations will be sharper.

Pros: Additional stories that tell how each heroine came to the literature club; an abundance of collection images in updated quality; new musical compositions that can be listened to in the built-in player.

Cons: the official Russian translation is inferior to the fan version from the original; there is no need to dig in real files anymore, which is why the game lost in the atmosphere.

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