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Your Thoughts on Rejuvenation's Story and Characters?


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The more I think about it the more I am disappointed by the direction the game's story and characters ended up going, especially since every other aspect of the game is great. I was in the process of writing all my complaints, but thought that perhaps I was being too unfair and nitpicky; and decided I would wait until V13 comes out to finalize my opinions. So I thought I would ask this question in order to gauge if it's an opinion shared by many others here. Are you satisifed with Rejuvenation's story and characters? Do you have any major issues with them?

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In my first playthrough i loved the game a lot, and i didn't think there was anthing wrong with it, but in my second playthrough i find Melia's dialogue so cheesy. She basically takes all the credits and blame when the mc does an action for example beating vivian. She doesn't even consider that the player played a major part in screwing over the world and blaims it all on her self.  Also i did not like how joining bladestar was incorperated in the story. If you join flora's side, you only gain acces to her base, which is pretty useless. The last bit of complaining i have is that the mc doesn't get mad when flora tells you she killed Erin. Earlier in the chapter you can let you character shout a sentence to Aelita, if your friendship is high enough. And you also gain the option to talk about your emotions, like telling Aelita and Ren how you feel about that sudden flash back in front of that giant house, with the pool. My point is, that it would capture the transition from a walking robot that helpes their friends to a cyborg that can express deep emotions in a small amounth of words or expressions, like how the mc just got mad, when nim Lorna attacked your bros.  So the main character finds out Erin is dead he expresses anger or  an exclamation mark and then mayby even an sentence, like this is for the ones your killed( only if you are a good Boi and haven't killed anyone like Karrina or Karen). This would properly jumpstart the arc of who the mc really is.

 

That was a pretty long rant, but the rest of the game is pretty good. In my opinion it peaks when you are doing side-quest like the rift Chandelure one or my favorite the goomink quest. The world building is also pretty good. When i was done with the game i would keep re-exploring new areas and found some neat quests and fun fights.

So the only thing that i don't like as much as the rest is Melia and for the rest it's pretty good. I am confident that Jan will give other characters the spotlight other than Melia and he has been pouring his heart and soul into this version, with so many struggles. So i am 100 procent sure that if you play  V13, you'll be in a good time.

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i like a lot of characters and find them really likeable however im not a fan of team xen or bladestar with team xen im confused on their motives and bladestar felt undeveloped time travels cool the 1st time you do it but afterwards you realise how many plot holes it opens up but overall i still really enjoy the story and really like melia, venam, adam, aelita and ren overall i hope v13 will hopefully tell us more about team xens motives. 

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1 hour ago, bruhtonium said:

In my opinion it peaks when you are doing side-quest like the rift Chandelure one or my favorite the goomink quest. The world building is also pretty good. When i was done with the game i would keep re-exploring new areas and found some neat quests and fun fights.

@bruhtoniumDefinitely agree with you on that, that's where the game peaks in my opinion. I also went through a similar thought process after replaying it, but I personally found the cheesiness to be more widespread than just Melia.

 

1 hour ago, trogisfat said:

team xen or bladestar with team xen im confused on their motives and bladestar felt undeveloped time travels cool the 1st time you do it but afterwards you realise how many plot holes it opens up

@trogisfatI also agree with this, the game is nearly finished and we still don't know their motivations. I do think that Bladestar's introduction was too late and their arc ended too early. I am not against the time travel itself but how it was established and how its been utilized up to this point.

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I think they exist? Like, I have no strong opinions other than really liking the recurring Grunt Duo, hating Crescent, and enjoying Cera and Aelita. Don't really have any final opinions yet, since the story isn't over, and even then there could be a post game of some sort to further develop things.

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Personally I think that some of the main cast early on is cringe mainly Venam but over the course of time I liked her character. Most if not all of the cast has good character  improvements. 

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23 minutes ago, Adam. said:

Personally I think that some of the main cast early on is cringe mainly Venam but over the course of time I liked her character. Most if not all of the cast has good character  improvements. 

@Adam. I had the opposite experience, I really liked everyone early on but felt that the characters began degrading after Blacksteeple Castle.

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The characters in Rejuvenation is a mixed bag for me. Some of them I do enjoy (Aelita, Erin, Tesla etc) whereas others I cannot stand. As someone mentioned earier, I have the same problem as they do with Melia. I understand that she's techincally the main character, but I feel like she has a habit of hugging the spotlight a bit too much. She even overshadows the PC which I find annoying. At least in Reborn the PC is actually seen as a genuine threat and isn't just ignored for being mute/a self-insert. But in Rejuvenation, I just feel like you could take the PC out of the story and it wouldn't change a lot. It has helped a bit in the later chapters to make the PC a bit more relevant, but honestly it's baffling how unimportant I felt while playing the game.
On the flip side, you have characters like Aelita that goes through a big change and becomes such a likeable character. Venam also goes through this kind of character arc too, tho it's less compelling to me since it happens mostly off screen.
It is disappointing how little the male characters left an impression on me. Reborn has the same problem too, tho, so...

The story is actually to me interesting, but the Bladestar arc was...not........good. Mainly because I didn't care for Flora what so ever. I think a lot could've fixed this arc for me had Flora been written as a more likeable character so the actions she commits later is more shocking. And also maybe not randomly kill off probably 100's of Bladestar grunts just for being an obstable. There wasn't a problem making them run away from the threats in the Pyramid just a few moments ago, but it is when they're blocking the way? 
I am also not a big fan of the time-travel stuff. It just becomes a bit too much. This story is a lot more fantastical, but it is trying too much to fit every single fantastical element into it. Time Travel? Yes. Reincarnation? Yes. Robots? Yes. Yes to all the above.


So to put it short: I'd cut some of the characters out of the story. Some of them feel unessecary and I think the game would benefit from having fewer, better written characters as compared to the many underdeveloped characters it has now. I also would maybe decide on if the PC is a self-insert or not. Giving them a backstory makes them not a self-insert, but making them 95 % mute doesn't make them a complete character of their own either...

The story needs some fixes here and there imo. I'll admit I have no idea how I would write such a story like this, but I'm sure the people behind this is trying their best and doing what they can. Just because I have issues with it doesn't mean I have issues with the game as a whole. It's a fun game for me to play and I'm actually excited for what it has next in store! So let's all see where this all takes us. Who knows, we don't have the full context of everything yet, so I could change my mind. 

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I love Rejuvenation. The story, even though it has some plot holes, it feels interesting and exciting, the characters are well developed, and almost everyone has their own moment to shine. However, my main problem appears with Melia. Specifically, her relationship with Venam, and the way the game mistakes self improvement with self deprecation. 

 

For the most part, starting in the Terajuma arc, following Venam's reintroduction, and her own character arc. For the most part, Venam is a selfish and immature person. While this may be played for fun and laughs in the beginning, it turns into a real problem later in the story, which is one of Rejuvenation's (and by extent, reborn) strong points; presenting real world problems in a believable manner.

 

Most of Venam's character arc consists on her acknowledging her own flaws, and the way they impact the world around her. For the most part, this is something good, because it becomes the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. However, when the motivation to overcomes this flaws turns into "being good enough for Melia", ironically, this turns into something toxic. Now, Venam is not good enough to be with Melia. She puts Melia into a pedestal, hoping for her to recognize her (Venam) own achievements. 

To put ot simply, Melia is a good friend, not only because she recognizes the flaws on the people around her, but because she actually tries to help those people overcome their flaws. However, this quickly turns into a game of entitlement, in which Melia becomes the one to decide if someone is good enough for her, or the one to determine a person's worth.

 

And, even though the main motivation for Venam's growth is being good enough for Melia, this turns into a big problem when the motivation becomes the end goal. Venam will now feel bad, not because she feels regretful of herself and her bad decisions, but because Melia will not see her as someone worthy of her company. Portrayed like this, a relationship based on the promise of self improvement, becomes one that promotes self deprecating, and a noticeable power-gap.

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I think Rejuvenation is interesting and has heaps and heaps of potential, but its an incredibly flawed story that very bad writing but still entertaining. Rejuv is very flabby. Floppy Flabby.

 

Rejuvenation as a story has one defining question and sticks with it. That is: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?

 

There's just too much stuff to wrap your head around. The story is very Kingdom Hearts esque. It jingles setpieces in front of you, but if you ask questions like "What?", "Why?", and "How in the world..." everything starts to fall apart.

 

For starters, there are way too many characters. I get why people would like this. But I think we're pushing like 90 characters or something now, each with their own intricate side-stories and plot threads. It starts to get confusing, and characters that kinda need more screentime like Ren seem to get shafted when newer characters are introduced. Like there's no way characters like Saki and Huey are as important as somebody like Ren and Aelita. I think having a defined set of Main Characters and a defined set of Supporting Characters is easier and better long-term, but that's just me. 

 

The story and characterization is kept in the dark for way too long, mostly for villains. This one really irks me. It seems things as simple and important as character development is treated like some kind of plot twist, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Motivation is like the second important thing for character after personality, and we don't know jack about motivation for Xen or the Cult guys after 12 volumes. Sure we have vague ideas, but nothing to really work with. Is it really too much to have anybody just explain a motivation, and then act consistently to achieve that goal past that? I'll take anything as long as we don't get a GlassWorks factory Power Hour of infodumps. Please?

 

It doesn't help that a lot of the main cast are underutilized/unlikeable. Ren gets thrown in the Day Care so to speak for 7 chapters or so, and we don't even get to see his development. Melia'a (Sorry, There's really no other term I can think of) a Mary-Sue who the world revolves around and saps the agency and autonomy of every character around her. Terajuma and the weird Future Past bit could be interesting, but no. It has to revolve around Melia. Venam's basically a selfish, immature Krillin to Melia's Goku. She's a satellite character that exists as a static love interest and serves little purpose besides that.

Aelita's cool though. 

 

It's a shame because I think when characters actually get to do stuff divorced from the main plot, it gets really compelling. Aelita's journey is great (and she's basically just a better heroine than Melia) Keta is great in WLL, Mosely's sidequest is nice, The whole Narcissa questline is great, the environmental storytelling is great. A lot of things are good, but it is always a sidepiece to the cacophany of the main story. 

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On 3/9/2021 at 6:52 PM, Gastronely said:

I love Rejuvenation. The story, even though it has some plot holes, it feels interesting and exciting, the characters are well developed, and almost everyone has their own moment to shine. However, my main problem appears with Melia. Specifically, her relationship with Venam, and the way the game mistakes self improvement with self deprecation. 

 

For the most part, starting in the Terajuma arc, following Venam's reintroduction, and her own character arc. For the most part, Venam is a selfish and immature person. While this may be played for fun and laughs in the beginning, it turns into a real problem later in the story, which is one of Rejuvenation's (and by extent, reborn) strong points; presenting real world problems in a believable manner.

 

Most of Venam's character arc consists on her acknowledging her own flaws, and the way they impact the world around her. For the most part, this is something good, because it becomes the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. However, when the motivation to overcomes this flaws turns into "being good enough for Melia", ironically, this turns into something toxic. Now, Venam is not good enough to be with Melia. She puts Melia into a pedestal, hoping for her to recognize her (Venam) own achievements. 

 

To put ot simply, Melia is a good friend, not only because she recognizes the flaws on the people around her, but because she actually tries to help those people overcome their flaws. However, this quickly turns into a game of entitlement, in which Melia becomes the one to decide if someone is good enough for her, or the one to determine a person's worth.

 

And, even though the main motivation for Venam's growth is being good enough for Melia, this turns into a big problem when the motivation becomes the end goal. Venam will now feel bad, not because she feels regretful of herself and her bad decisions, but because Melia will not see her as someone worthy of her company. Portrayed like this, a relationship based on the promise of self improvement, becomes one that promotes self deprecating, and a noticeable power-gap.

 

holy crap, thank you. i've had this internal thing of why i really disliked the romance between her and melia so much, but no way of properly explaining it, and this hits all the notes. i really doubt that this is what the relationship is meant to be based off of, but all of the events leading up to this basically consisted of melia berating venam and it just seemed like a cycle of venam playing catch-up specifically for her appeasement. i think the fact that we only see pretty small amounts of venam + melia's relationship before the actual events of the game is the biggest problem. all of the events of the game are like, inherently tied with drama and conflict, so we only get to see that side of the two. some of this seems to have been addressed with the changed Forest of Time cutscene and dialogue changes in past Aevium so i think we're getting steps of improvement, but yeaah.

 

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5 hours ago, Norm said:

I think Rejuvenation is interesting and has heaps and heaps of potential, but its an incredibly flawed story that very bad writing but still entertaining. Rejuv is very flabby. Floppy Flabby.

 

Rejuvenation as a story has one defining question and sticks with it. That is: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?

 

There's just too much stuff to wrap your head around. The story is very Kingdom Hearts esque. It jingles setpieces in front of you, but if you ask questions like "What?", "Why?", and "How in the world..." everything starts to fall apart.

 

For starters, there are way too many characters. I get why people would like this. But I think we're pushing like 90 characters or something now, each with their own intricate side-stories and plot threads. It starts to get confusing, and characters that kinda need more screentime like Ren seem to get shafted when newer characters are introduced. Like there's no way characters like Saki and Huey are as important as somebody like Ren and Aelita. I think having a defined set of Main Characters and a defined set of Supporting Characters is easier and better long-term, but that's just me. 

 

The story and characterization is kept in the dark for way too long, mostly for villains. This one really irks me. It seems things as simple and important as character development is treated like some kind of plot twist, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Motivation is like the second important thing for character after personality, and we don't know jack about motivation for Xen or the Cult guys after 12 volumes. Sure we have vague ideas, but nothing to really work with. Is it really too much to have anybody just explain a motivation, and then act consistently to achieve that goal past that? I'll take anything as long as we don't get a GlassWorks factory Power Hour of infodumps. Please?

 

It doesn't help that a lot of the main cast are underutilized/unlikeable. Ren gets thrown in the Day Care so to speak for 7 chapters or so, and we don't even get to see his development. Melia'a (Sorry, There's really no other term I can think of) a Mary-Sue who the world revolves around and saps the agency and autonomy of every character around her. Terajuma and the weird Future Past bit could be interesting, but no. It has to revolve around Melia. Venam's basically a selfish, immature Krillin to Melia's Goku. She's a satellite character that exists as a static love interest and serves little purpose besides that.

Aelita's cool though. 

 

It's a shame because I think when characters actually get to do stuff divorced from the main plot, it gets really compelling. Aelita's journey is great (and she's basically just a better heroine than Melia) Keta is great in WLL, Mosely's sidequest is nice, The whole Narcissa questline is great, the environmental storytelling is great. A lot of things are good, but it is always a sidepiece to the cacophany of the main story. 

Wow, this is the first time I've read something I 100% agree with here. For quite a while, I had been trying to make sense of why I began disliking the story after Blacksteeple Castle, and this is a pretty succint summary that matches my reasoning. The questions surrounding everything introduced just continue to pile on and are never answered. As you said, the characters begin feeling unutilized, unnecessary, and undeveloped, dragging the story and worsening the experience. For me, its gotten to the point where it begins seeming like filler content to pad between gyms. I definitely think that the story has to slow down, begin explaining, and stop leaving too many things shrouded in mystery at once. I absolutely love the effort that has been put into improving how everything looks, but reviewing the dialogue should definitely be given higher priority in my opinion.

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So I should say that I rejuvenation is one of my favorite games ever. This can be attributed towards it's larger than life story, it's relatively endearing (but incredibly expansive) cast, and the fact that it's a fun take on an era of pokemon that has been gone since generation 6. That said, critically, it's writing isn't very good. Characters feel almost completely devoid of a purpose beyond stopping team Xen. Melia for example doesn't necessarily need a reason given her circumstances, but why are Adam, Saki, Braixen, and Valarie invested in the quest of the main cast. (ADAM FLAT OUT SAYS HE'S NOT REALLY THAT INVOLVED IN IT ALL) But, my problems are personal on an individual level.


1. Melia is a mary-sue, and it's painfully annoying to watch her on screen for more than a minute at a time, she rarely ever fails practically speaking(mostly cause of the MC), but when the group fails. She consistently makes it about herself. When jenner dies and she leaves MC and Venam in order to head to the past; I almost had a heart attack because her reasoning was hypocritical. My Mother just died at the end of the previous arc, and your father dies here. WHY abandon me now?


2. Venam exist as melia's side character and has barely any development that we witness on her own. we REALLY need to get paired with her again because the last time it was just Venam and MC. It was during my favorite part of the game (The portion in Kugearen City) but even then. She doesn't necessarily improve or grow as a person. If she does, the message is lost immediately because of how the main story over shadows it. 

3. Ren DESPERATELY needs screen time, but the bits with the MC in version 11 and 12 are alot of fun. he's my 2nd favorite of the main cast. 

4. Aelita is absolutely handled the best here, in fact. the Where Love Lies portion of the story is all fantastically done because it focused on 2 characters and the threads binding them. Vivians incarnations and Keta, the protagonist isn't here to fix all the problems, (we even actively cause problems in v10) but despite it all, Aelita is always front and center. the biggest issue Aelita suffers from is that her story arc was completely hijacked by #1 on this list awakening to her power. Thats a major side effect of trying to tell vivans story, but incorporating what is effectively a side story into the main plot. 
4B. Keta likewise is fantastic in where love lies, his story is focused and actually makes the entire of the main scenario look coherent just because it focuses exclusively on Him, and Taelia. This is how you do a character arc as his tragedy serves as a perfect passing the torch for aelita as his successor; which in itself is poetic as she's the actual successor of his beloved. This is strong story telling and would be perfect if the dark future arc didn't cut into the finale

5. The protagonist. This is a hard one to talk about because there are way too many loose plot threads surrounding us, however i should say that the protagonist isn't handled very well. the Protagonist has actively watched the demolition of vitus's house be planned in advanced but does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop it. it's incredibly hard to as the player witness a scene, but deliberately do nothing about it. This would be fine if there was a reason for it, but there just doesn't seem to be. it had nothing to do with not wanting change the past because venam was actively trying to get involved in the past affairs and (We hadn't learned that lesson yet) aside from that, melia hogs way too much of the spot light from the MC and the rest of the cast as a whole. 

6. Erin: this character is fine, she comes way too late but is handled relatively well. the revelation regarding her lineage is a really bad plot point and Alice, and allen are also kinda irrelevant side characters who are also getting shoved into the main plot. it's way too many characters to juggle and these 3 realistically shouldn't be as important as they are but it's too late now. 

EVERYONE ELSE: if they aren't mentioned here, it's because they aren't developed enough to care about. they absolutely have motivations but they're completely innocuous the progression of the story as some how we end up with more question than answers at every point. 

It's alot of bad writing but it's endearing and i love it so much. it's anime and anime is okay. Presentation in this game is masterful, it looks good, sounds good, and fun to explore all aspects of it. it's definitely more interesting than people give it credit for, but the writing being what it is definitely got on my nerves. 

ALSO THE AMBER MINI ARC WAS ACTUALLY JUST A BUNCH OF CAT FIGHTING AND CHILDREN WHINING. IT WASN'T ENTERTAINING IN THE SLIGHTEST AND ACTIVELY FELT LIKE THEY WERE STRETCHING OUT THE ALREADY DRAGGING TEAM XEN SAGA. thank goodness team Xen fell out of focus after this part of the story. Bladestar is pretty bad too, but thats mostly because i feel like flora didn't get enough development beyond just being an ass when we meet her, and Cassandra is literally just irrelevant to the main plot. there is also a lot of plot threads that are desperately in need of some attention. the fake protagonist and mom thread is still a thing so don't forget it. Time Travel didn't need to be in this story, but I actually think it's pretty well done. my issue is more so with the characters, the vaguely explored concepts, and, the poorly used tape holding it all together. 

P.s. Crawli knowing we needed to go to valor mountain, but then doesn't let us know there was a 2nd way in until you fail to retrieve the magma stone; is the worst kind of writing I've ever seen. If Jan ever reads this, please revise this before anything else in the game. it's never a good idea to lose super important plot item, only to be told that there was a backdoor preventing you from needing it in the first place. if that door was so dangerous, then put in an obstacle to reflect it like say a dormant heatran. but crawli sending us off only for us to comeback after fighting ducking GROUDON and being told there was a backdoor tehee actually triggered me. 

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A few people have already stated their grievances with Melia so I'll hold off on that lol.

One thing that really bothered me is Kanon's character flip.  Yes, the devs came forward and said they changed their mind about what they wanted with him and what they wanted him to be, but what I dislike is how blatant and sloppy the character flip was.  Really the only thing that can fix that is if they went back and rewrote Kanon but I understand that isn't very realistic.

Another little thing in the beginning that bothered me is how we arbitrarily needed Venam's help to get through the gates to Goldenleaf town.  Like players probably have several pokemon at this point that can get the job done just as well as Venam's Muk.  I understand this was just used to move the 'plot' forward considering this is where we meet up with Venam to start the mansion story line, and heck even the official pokemon games are guilty of the same obstacle gimmick but I guess I just expected better from Rejuvenation for some reason.

Thus far this game has been pretty good at showcasing how Legendary pokemon are powerful, but not invincible.  I also understand that it's harder to show this in pokemon's fighting mechanics than it is in, say for example, the anime how legendaries are still incredibly powerful.  That being said I didn't like how we were able to defeat Giratina towards the beginning.  Yes I know Giratina was sitting locked in a basement for 'X' amount of years but c'mon, It's GIRATINA we're talking about! Even with the 2 people with us helping our 'mons were, what?  Level 30 at that time?  I'm sure there might be a better explanation for how this could be plausible, but if there is it's not blatant enough for me to pick up on. 

Sorry if that sounded ranty lol.

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I'm gonna take this opportunity to talk about my favourite parts of rejuv's story and characters! Because I usually try and hold back but this thread is a good opportunity, I'll try and mark major spoilers, but this is just a warning- this post will be spoily! so read at your own risk!

I actually really like how Rejuvenation brings you into a world that feels alive and busy. With so many games- particularly the mainline ones- it tends to feel like the conflicts are only just starting when you start playing. As soon as you start Rejuv, you can tell this world is active and already has lots going on. Lots of fangames pull this off this well, but I remember especially when I arrived at Gearen Labs- there were people bustling around, Jan and Amanda were there to show me the ropes, there was the brief scene with Jenner, there was even that strange person in the upper corner who seemed scared of me. (Still think they're going to be relevant, by the way.) And right from the getgo there's so much established that the world feels alive, and active, and I loved it. 

this is very specific but I also love how the game immediately tries to coax you into being curious. The prologue, little snatches of scene implying something's going on at Gearen Labs, but especially- "If you leave now, you'll never solve all this". That Hoenn trip's "are you sure" message was a freakin callout, and I loved it. Madame X is a further callout, Nymiera and Anju, and the Puppet Master's the biggest callout of all but I'll get to that part. All of them just sort of gently tease, "You don't know things. You want to know. Keep wondering, it'll be worth it." and I hate when things tease that and then don't follow through but when they do? It's the best. And Rejuv always does. 

I love the characters. I have to disagree with a lot of people on this thread- I actually like Melia and her arc. You actually see her go from someone who's sweet, a bit sheltered and maybe a little selfish and thoughtless, to her realizing how her mistakes have hurt people- and even taking that too far, taking responsibility for things that aren't on her. To a strong, somewhat boisterous person who's learning what matters to her, and also trying to figure out a lot of Weird Things about herself and her own life. She's without a doubt a dynamic character, and there's no way her development's done- I'm excited to see what happens next..
But she's only one character. That's another thing I love- Rejuv, more than any other fangame I think, has an ensemble cast. And I tend to really love things with ensemble casts just because it allows for more variety and focus on how the characters interact. And there're so many awesome characters! If you've ever seen me talk Rejuv on discord you might've seen my "Top 3" from Zumi's character sorter is actually ten characters, because I have so many favourites. I love Dylan and Ana- that entire sidequest is easily my favourite in the game, because their dynamic is so precious and also it feels really really important. (Ana and Maggy know I would move mountains for them, right? I hope so.) I love Nymiera and her mystery and I think she needs a dang hug. I love the Puppet Master- the first time I played through that arc, I basically felt the starry-eyed emoji in my soul. I can get really embarrassingly gushy about that whole arc if I don't stop myself because it's just hilarious and beautiful and ominous and heartbreaking all at the same time. (Speaking of? I adore Zetta. Must protecc.) I love 

Spoiler

Cella and Souta

and Narcissa and Ren and Aelita and Venam and just. So many good people. 

I love how much this game cares about its story. The way things come together- I always feel such joy when I recognize

Spoiler

a location from another time. 

The humour. The gentle moments- hanging out with Saki, Adam, Val and Braixen, playing catch with Growlithe and Aelita (pupper's never leaving my team by the way), hanging out with Melia on Route 1 and Val in Aquamarine Cave. And especially on my second playthrough, noticing the foreshadowing? There's so much and it's amazing. The team really wants you to care about this story and it shows, and it gently nestles my heart into the story. 

Finally, I just... love how engaged the team is. The constant updates, Zumi's gorgeous art, the ARG on Twitter- that's still one of my favourite uses of nontraditional media to tell a story ever, by the way. But also just... they listen. They comment on fanart, they giggle at theories, and they generally are extremely kind. Jan's a teasing troll,  Zumi's a clown, Az is a boomer- but they're also wonderful people and excellent friends and they interact with fans so much and I appreciate them a lot. (All the devs are excellent! I just see these folks around mostly.)


Rejuvenation's brought me a lot of joy. It's been a quiet place to play when I need to destress, it's given me puzzles that were just completely delightful, it's helped me make really lovely friends. And this story is very important to me and I'm super delighted and excited to carry on this journey. <3

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I am always glad when someone offers a positive side of things, I am rarely positive, but it is what it is. I actually agree with Azzie over all the things that they like. I like the game a lot. The experience it provides is fun for sure, but that doesn't mean that I think its good. I try to separate what I like vs. What I find good. It's great when it happens to be both, but it rarely happens.


Rejuv's merits are in that it wears its heart on its sleeve, and is therefore able to resonate emotionally with the rest of the story. My problem is that emotional attachment is only one strategy in storytelling when you need like all of them down pat to tell a great story. Storytelling's fuckin' hard. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I like the emotions and the passion in the story, I don't think there is anybody who's gonna say otherwise. I hate the execution of things like the Plot and most of the Characters.

 

Melia's  problems are almost all execution. It's not just a matter of "I just don't like this type of character". She's really not all that special in terms of JRPG Protag circumstances. It's not that I don't get Melia's character. I think I do (from whats currently presented/implied). She's a normal girl who gets caught in the wheel of fate. She doesn't actually want to do any of this shit, but she feels she has to. My problem with her is that Melia never feels organic in her actions and character. The game would have you believe that Melia is a super nice gal who is very empathetic and has a natural charisma, yet the game's execution presents her as rather pig-headed, reckless, and rather self aggrandizing. Melia's struggles are seemingly more important than everybody else, which is the case in a meta sense. She's a main protagonist after all, but she never feels like someone I'd want to ever follow. She's horribly flawed, and her flaws are ignored.

 

My favorite example is when Melia essentially makes her self the leader of saving Nim, despite not knowing Nim very well at all, puts up a half-baked plan, and foists all the grunt work on the PC.  After all that, Melia completely borks the mission which gets Nim ( and us!) killed (thank Arceus for plot armor). Melia should lose all "leader privileges" right here. This was almost all her fault, yet the story never calls her out on it. Why wouldn't people hate Melia after that?

 

Another problem that some characters have is that you actually don't get to see them development. Take Melia (Please!), She leaves the story for a good bit, and comes back essentially a different character altogether. It really doesn't count as character development if you can't see them develop. This actually happens quite a bit more than it should. Ren really takes a hit here, because he's gone for so god damn long, and comes back having just gotten over most of his issues. Seeing is believing in character development. It really isn't dynamic if you can't see it happen.  

 

Compare that with Aelita, who is a perfect example of an organic character. She has flaws, and these flaws are addressed in her character. She really has a lot of the same flaws that are presented with Melia, but they feel natural, and her flaws create conflict with other characters and herself. It always feels rewarding to be around Aelita because she is always growingas a character through the events, unlike Melia whose core character is never actively addressed or put into conflict. Aelita's a waaaaaay better character than Melia because she is better established, better developed, and the game knows when to not force her into scenes. If Aelita's backstory was shoved in our faces the way Melia's does, it would have the same effect, but the restraint is much appreciated.

 

Another thing that can work in theory, but is bungled in execution is the ensemble cast. Rejuv is very JRPG influenced, which in turn is very anime influenced. Blah Blah blah, point is both mediums really like large ensemble casts. But an ensemble cast still needs balance to it. Imagine if in AoT, Sasha and Connie got as much screentime as like Levi or Mikasa, that'd be ridiculous. But that's what Rejuv is doing. Every story has characters that are more important than others, and for good reason. I don't think its controversial to say Ren has more going on character-wise than someone like Braixen or Adam, his goals and responsibilities are inherently weightier than theirs. So why is it that they get the same billing as him in terms of screentime? It feels sloppy and stomps out any natural trajectory or momentum of a story, when a character is put on a backburner to cut away to the Jobber Squad. Part of the reason I like the sidequests so much is because it allows for the exploration of a character like Mosely or Narcissa who aren't that important to the plot, while not invading the main story.

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THIS HAS SOME SPOILERS SORRY. i don't normally comment on things like these, but i have 220+ hours (i can show you my save files) invested into this game i think i can speak on this. SO I REALLY LIKE POKEMON REJUVENATION it's certainly not the best, and the handling of some things can be clumsy sometimes, but FUCK is it hella enjoyable. ngl i don't really focus on the story too much; i know it's one of the main draws of it, but i really love the characters more than anything. 

 

i do agree with some people here that melia is a messily handled character but i really do adore her despite her flaws. (maybe it's just the attachment kicking in idk) especially in chapter 13, she's just... AHGSHDGDDHGDBAGSHS melia 🥺. i actually really like where her character is going in the more recent developments. that conversation she had with erin made me shed a few tears. i think it's so cool how she just gives a big "FUCK YOU" to god's face. she's just. man I Wish i could physically articulate what i want to say but melia good! melia good :D

 

it's really hard to say that i dislike any characters. aelita's a super good character and her arc was super satisfying!! ren, despite his lack of screentime, is such a sweet guy :)! huey and reina are very very endearing despite not being major characters. if anything happens to them I Will cry. 

 

shit i came in here wanting to give my input but i think i just rambled about melia UM. man it's really hard to pin why i like this game so much... it's just. so satisfying clearing through story and beating people up. you can feel the passion radiating off of it. it's very charming and there's so much to love about it. there are certainly some parts i dislike, i think the bad future arc sucks lol, but personally it's very easy to like this game in its entirety! i viscerally remember staying up 12 hours a day, 12 hours a night, getting my ass kicked until i was on the verge of ripping my hair out.

 

sorry for the life story but as someone who was (and kind of is aha) a very lonely child with a lot of problems at home, this game was a form of escapism for me. something the dev teams excels at is that the characters who are your friend... feel like friends. shocking, i know. they care for the quiet little husk that is the player character. this is kind of controversial i think?? but i like the fact that it makes everyone be in this main group and shuffles around who's in it! it's a bit weird, but i think the team makes it work. 

 

they're really good at balancing the amount of edge and the lightheartedness, imo. some games it just feels like a never ending void of pain and agony, and it gets exhausting sometimes. rejuvenation's certainly dark when it wants to be, but the payout and satisfaction afterwards wants to make me want to continue.

 

i think it's fine to view the game through a critical lens, and it's totally fine to disagree with me!! i am really not good at this im never talking in a thread like this ever again LOL but i just really like to spew out barely incoherable strings of sentences about something i love :)

Edited by chamomomile
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5 hours ago, Norm said:

I actually agree with Azzie over all the things that they like. I like the game a lot. The experience it provides is fun for sure, but that doesn't mean that I think its good.

 

I agree, in that despite my own nitpicks with the game I enjoy it immensely.  Case and point I'm more excited for v13 than I am for diamond and pearl remake.  I hope Jan and the others aren't put off by folk's grievances that they've stated both here and on the entire forum.

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1 hour ago, Calentz said:

I agree, in that despite my own nitpicks with the game I enjoy it immensely.  Case and point I'm more excited for v13 than I am for diamond and pearl remake.  I hope Jan and the others aren't put off by folk's grievances that they've stated both here and on the entire forum.

Yeah, I think this opinion is going to be nearly universal here. I have many problems with the game and I constantly want to make that clear, but that is solely because this is likely my favorite pokemon game and I want it to be the best it can be; and I believe the current state of many plot points is a huge blockage to that goal. I merely wanted to clarify that I did not create this thread with any bad intentions, and I'm sure many of the grievances that I and others have expressed here have already been remedied by Jan and Zumi.

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i'm a huge fan of the majority of everything. i will admit, the story had a lot to take in and was a bit much to process for me, but on my second playthrough, i got to fully appreicate everything and oh my goodnes do i love it. (sorry if this seems kinda disorganized i am just sharing my thoughts!)

 

i think venam is one of my favorite characters and she has pretty good devleopment and i feel like a good bit of her brashness or impulsiveness is because she has her mindset in the right place but isn't that great in the execution of her actions or thinking beforehand i think it's awesome that she recognizes that and wants to change for the better and for her friends' sakes. there's a lot else i could say that i cannot quite describe but! i like her! a lot! and i also find her relatable in a sense i connect with her a lot.

 

as for melia she is!! pretty good! i will admit she does have her flaws but i also feel incredibly bad for the amount of pressure she's put under from all of her circumstances and i think a lot of her issues with her actions stem from the fact she hardly has room to breathe and think about much and i really love her and how she really wants to do what she can to be good but also needs everything to just! slow down for a bit!! i really like her growth and changes as well for reasons i cannot quite put into words but i think theyre super good.

 

aelita's nice, i really don't have too much to say about her for some reason, but i appreciate her and i think a lot of what she has going on is really cool and she has some really good development. she's just a good gal! i feel the same about ren kinda? i think he just needs more screentime for me to feel more about him but i love him a lot he's so sweet and has his heart in the right place and is just kinda. stuck with team xen which he is making the most of!

 

i've got a lot to say about characters like erin, huey, reina, rhodea, etc. but i won't bore you with all that all i will say is. erin :)

 

the storyline can be a bit overwhelming with the action for my personal tastes but it's also really satisfying and there's so many small parts and scenes i love to bits and i also like how it can be light and fun but still coorlate with the main plot and not get sidetracked and there's a lot of different tones in different sections of the story that still all tie in with the storyline and it's really good writing. my favorite chapters are 3 and 12. 

 

i also just want to point out the character relations? they make me so happy like with melia and venam.. and with reina and huey and ren they're so cute and i love them..., and aelita and really a lot of the other friendships and family dynamics they are all filled with love and those little bits and moments and details make them really good.

 

past aevium is the only thing i'm a pretty iffy on but that's mostly due to my personal tastes. i absoloutely LOVE the doomed timeline thing though and i think it's one of my favorite bits of the game (especially with melia at blacksteeple).

 

generally there's not really much i'm critical of from a writing standpoint and most of what i dislike is just due to my personal takes and i think the game is absoloutely amazing and i love it a lot and i'm excited for the next version :)

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A lot of my grievances with Rejuv's story have already been said by other people above, particularly Norm.  But just to reiterate, and to note a few points where my opinion differs from theirs:

  • The mystery box.  Keeping an audience hooked based on unsolved mysteries alone is a dangerous gamble, because there's always the possibility that the resolution to those mysteries will be unsatisfying, thus retroactively souring all that time you spent invested in the mystery itself.  Obviously, this is something I have to at least somewhat reserve judgement on until the game is finished, but just based on the sheer quantity of mysterious plot threads the game has introduced - Team Xen's motivations, Indriad's cult's motivations, the whole deal with the Theolia siblings, the precursor civilization that built the pyramid, Crescent's backstory and motivations, the Puppet Master, the siblings disguised as the protagonist and Nancy, whatever plan Amandabot was part of, and many, many more - and the fact that there are only four gym badges worth of content left with which to resolve them, it seems unlikely to me that all of them will be wrapped up in a satisfying way.  I feel like they really need to start answering big questions ASAP, so that we actually understand what exactly is going on, where the tension in the story is going to come from, and what exactly we, as the protagonist, should be trying to accomplish.
  • The sheer volume of major characters.  I dunno if I really dislike any of the characters in particular (except for Flora, but I already did a whole rant about that in its own thread, so I'll spare you all that), but there's just so gosh dang many of them, and I really think the story would be a lot stronger if it just picked a few of them to really focus on.  This isn't that big of a deal to me, since, as I said, I don't really dislike any of the characters, even the minor ones.  But it really does add to the sense that the plot is just meandering around in filler content until it's time to actually move the plot forward.  Speaking of...
  • The filler-y feel of a lot of the content after Terajuma Island.  So, near as I can tell, Team Xen are still supposed to be the main antagonists of this game.  Just one problem with that - how long has it actually been since we directly fought Team Xen as part of the main plot?  Not since Valor Mountain, right?  In fact, since then we've been working with Team Xen quite a bit - teaming up with Madame X to escape the bad timeline, teaming up with Ren to help Alexandra and fight Gardevoir, teaming up with Nastasia to reach the pyramid, helping Cassandra keep control of GDC because the game decided Flora was the bigger problem.  Not saying that all the episodic side stories of the recent chapters aren't interesting on their own, but it really makes it feel like we're not really accomplishing anything, since we haven't made any significant moves against the main antagonists for almost half the game at this point.  It's also worth pointing out that we probably are actually accomplishing plot-important stuff, but because so much of the plot is still shrouded in mystery, we have no idea why it's important or what any of it means.  So I feel like the solution to this might just be to reveal more of the mysteries so we have a better sense of what we're working towards overall.
  • The writing style.  This one might just be a personal gripe, and it doesn't bother me too much, but it feels like a lot of this game's dialogue is just throwaway lines.  It's been a while since I last played through the game, so I can't thing of too many specific examples, but I remember there being a lot of just protagonists and antagonists slinging petty insults at each other that did nothing to move their characters or the story forward, and just various lines that could've been cut without actually changing anything.  Like, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Valerie quotes the Space Jam song at some point???  It all just feels very cheesy and unnecessary.
  • The antagonists.  I dunno if it's just me, but most of them feel kind of same-y to me?  Like, whether it's Madelis, Indriad, Angie, Gardevoir, Melanie, Lorna, Flora, or even that random Anti-Assist grunt from the Goomink quest, they've all got to deliver their anime monologue about how superior they are to the heroes, only to break down when the heroes inevitably manage to get the upper hand on them.  There's nothing inherently wrong with that kind of villain, and a lot of the examples in Rejuv are done pretty well.  But not only does the same old schtick get old after a while, a lot of these villains have very different motivations from each other, and should probably have different personalities to emphasize that.  Flora is really the greatest offender here - if she's motivated by the greater good and improving GDC, why is she going around calling her people-puppeting vines "beautiful" and gloating to the heroes about how powerless they are against her?  Shouldn't a villain with motivations like hers be more stoic and unfazed by whatever the heroes are doing, reflecting how she's supposedly "detached from her own humanity?"  Now, not every villain is like this - for instance, Neved is a personal favorite of mine for breaking this mold and making it clear that his villainy is really just business to him.  And again, there's nothing wrong with most of these villains in isolation - it just gets old when that seems to be the only trick in their book.
  • The silent protagonist.  The most recent chapters have spent a considerable amount of time letting us play as other characters besides the protagonist, and we even got Where Love Lies, which took place entirely from the perspective of Kenneth and Taelia.  And my big takeaway from all of those segments is that Rejuv could've avoided a lot of problems if we had just been playing as Melia from the beginning, instead of having a separate silent player character.  As it is, you spend pretty much the whole game getting jerked around by the actual main characters and watching their stories unfold, oftentimes not even really doing anything of consequence.  Reborn mostly managed to avoid this problem with its silent protagonist by having the other characters acknowledge them for what they were - an unstoppable powerhouse who can plot-armor their way through any Pokemon battle you put in front of them.  Even though you can't contribute to the story in terms of character interactions, you can still move the plot forward by winning tough battles that nobody else can, particularly against the PULSEs.  This becomes particularly relevant when the villains mind-control you and suddenly have your unstoppable plot armor on their side for a while.  You also contribute by actually making meaningful choices that have pretty big impacts on how the story moves forward, particularly the Zekrom/Reshiram route split.  In Rejuv, meanwhile, while you do win a lot of battles, it rarely actually changes anything - for instance, at Valor Mountain, even though you beat Geara and Zetta, Geara basically proceeds as though you didn't, and due to cutscene-induced incompetence, you can't take the obvious step of sending out your distinctly non-fainted Pokemon to stop his puny human muscles in their tracks.  It's repeatedly shown (especially in the sections where you're playing as someone else) that the other major characters are just as powerful and competent as you, which really makes it seem like you could take the protagonist out of the story and almost nothing would change.  And Rejuv doesn't really let you make important choices, at least not in the main story - the one time when it actually seemed like my choices would matter (whether to expose Flora or not, and thus whether to become an honorary Bladestar member or not), the game just didn't actually let me go through with the option I chose.   This point particularly stands out because of the whole Interceptor thing - if your whole role in the setting is to be the one person who gets to defy destiny and alter the course of events, there really need to be some actual meaningful choices made by the player character to reflect that. It seems like they're trying to keep the protagonist relevant via the whole mystery surrounding Adrest and the house in Hiyoshi City, but it really feels like a band-aid to the larger problem of the protagonist's irrelevance to the story, rather than an actual justification for their presence.  Assuming that rewriting the game from scratch to no longer include them isn't in the cards, I feel like this could be helped quite a bit by, once again, making the story less mysterious, so that we actually know what the protagonist is accomplishing, how close to/far from victory they actually are, and what their unique contribution to the story is, independent of the other characters.

Not sure how coherent that whole thing was, but basically, I agree with a lot of the above replies that the biggest problem is the excess of unsolved mysteries.  If we actually knew the main antagonists' motivations and the true nature of the story's stakes, I feel like that would solve or at least mitigate quite a few of the other problems all on its own.  But, while this has been a big long list of everything I didn't like in the game, there's a lot I did like as well.  The setting is really interesting with lots of unique and memorable locations to visit, the characters are all very likeable and fun to watch, I think Melia is a decent (if somewhat generic) protagonist and definitely not a Sue, the sidequests are phenomenal and do a fantastic job fleshing out the more minor characters without interfering with the main story, the cutscenes always feel very cinematic and dramatic in a way that no other Pokemon game, outside of maybe the Mystery Dungeon games, have really managed to capture...  Really, it's only because the rest of the game did such a great job of drawing me in that these things bother me - the game is good, so I wish it were even better.  So...  Yeah.  Hopefully at least some of this stuff is addressed in V13 and beyond.

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I'd weigh in here, but I don't have the time to articulate my feelings. It'd be a long essay, almost a full-game review. I will state that my biggest criticism is the separation of Aelita and Kenneth's backstories to Where Love Lies. I have been doing my third playthrough, but playing in the scenes of WLL at the right moments. So far, the games flow almost perfectly with each other. Everything wrong and out of place I felt when in Sheriden disappeared when playing, and felt that chill of enjoyment when playing Kenneth's part of Where Love Lies. That ending scene of Kenneth and Taelia holding their daughter's hand, right after the scene with Eldest and Aelita, right before I left for Route 3, was amazing and works perfectly, flowing seamlessly with the surroundings, giving depth and lure to the characters, and more.

 

It foreshadows Maria's plight in the abandoned Marble Mansion, and actually sets up the plot point directly for saving Melia, and the dire sense of dread realizing they very well might be the same person... right before the events of Episode 3, where we see Maria again. It just works like solid gold, and prevents the whole thing from feeling like we're thrown into the middle of that entire subplot without any explanation. Which we are otherwise.

 

I feel this lack of context in a vanilla playthrough is what leads to so much well-deserved criticism for the story and characters. Venam and Amber, for instance, and their trauma from the great Gearen Fire. WLL adds so much weight of character, it has no reason NOT being in the main game.

 

So far, my playthrough with this element has banished a lot of the clunkiness of the early game, and really helps it shine brightly. It's not perfect the way WLL is structured, but it still works very well and actually provides this refreshing break most of the time. The loss of Aelita at the same time as the WLL events of unsealing Amethyst Grotto, was also a nice touch (though the scenes after that are still to come. I intend to play them in Aelita's dimensional rift. That is going to be EPIC).

 

Point being, is, with events like Sheriden in the early part of the game, there is so much there hidden, that it feels out of place and I don't feel anything. But given proper context, the whole story starts snapping into focus, and works brilliantly. My hope is that Jan will consider this carefully. A lot of the story is great and I think the characters develop well. The tweaks and suggestions I'm making may not be easy, but I'm referencing the story itself, not the game aspect, right now. The Sheriden related characters benefit amazingly by this principle, along with Melia, Venam, Whispy Tower and Maria+ her subplot.

 

I wonder, if we are to receive more clarity on other backstories, like maybe Flora's, how our perceptions would change. I know Alamissa Urban gives a whole Gigalithe of Depth to the Sashilla characters, particularly Roland and the cursed Karrina.

 

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