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Genre: Adventure Casual Visual Novel
Publisher: Frontwing USA
Release Date: Jan 25, 2018
As someone who enjoys a good action novel, the Grisaia: Phantom Trigger series has been right up there with its mix of storytelling and action, though it varies from volume to volume. However, it never hurts a series to go back to its roots, which is what surprised me the most with this one: Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4. Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 is an action-oriented slice of life novel, developed by Frontwing, later released by Frontwing USA that goes back to the roots of Vol.1, with a few missteps in the journey back in time.
Like a non-casual explosion, the story of Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 is one where it hits a more personal note than the past two entries, but tries to strike a good balance of storytelling in between. We start out with a memory of the motherly figure, Chris, where we learn of Chris’s past and why she became the explosives expert she is now. This leads into Ms. Shiori coming in to teach her class, only to find the Ninja Murasaki is there, with the rest of the cast scattered about doing other tasks. This leads them to take a walk around the school and check in on the classes of Haruto, about bamboo spears, and Chris, teaching minor explosives and how to disarm them. However, during Chris’s class, we meet Taiga, a young girl who is dead set on entering the Class A Ms. Shiori teaches, as she wants the action and to be tested properly. She is given this finally, but only when Haruto assigned her as a charge of Chris, being the motherly figure she is. We follow this with some exposition from the remaining characters of the cast, until a new report comes on showing the local medical center is under attack by terrorists. I will end the synopsis here, as the story is very spoiler-filled after this, but it does make for some great action scenes to follow.
Like the novels before it, Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 brings its own flaws to the table, though here, it is more a misstep in storytelling one might say. The main issue brought up is too much fluff, or filler-feeling content. The story here in Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 was really well presented, giving Chris her time to shine as a focus, but anything action-wise was tied to the last thirty minutes of the story. The rest, which I consider a misstep over anything else, is the characters walking around, watching the other characters do their jobs, and building the emotional connection to the characters. I still liked how it was presented, just wish it had tied more action events in, versus the fluff we had here. Fun fact: Chris’ story, while being the least actiony, makes her a more memorable character to the other girls, being that she relies on whits and planning to execute attacks, almost never seeing physical combat.
Stuffing toys into boxes, the presentation of Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 follows that of the prior novels with its clean, but simple graphics, and the action-themed soundtrack. Visually, Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 is an example where, if a formula works, stick with it. The animated, realistic stylization, mixed with the clean and simplistic presentation works wonders for this series. The backgrounds, while not too many new ones, keep that spot on detail, and the few new ones they do add, keep the presentation fresh in areas like a medical classroom. The character models are still the same, which is not a bad thing, as the usage of the uniforms in the school setting and beyond throwback heavily to the first volume.
Potentially a step backward, the soundtrack of Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 pulls away from the actiony vibe from the previous volume, focusing more on the city sounds of the stories locale. Musically, Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 loses some of the action-themed songs, in place of more calming and relaxing tunes, inspired by the city theme, where the bulk of the story takes place. This is not so much a bad thing in overall effect, as it makes plenty of sense to make that change, but considering the action scenes only come in towards the end, their usage there is perfect and strikes an endnote well. The sound effects work effectively here as with the previous volumes, and are used as needed to create an atmospheric effect, and a good thump when needed in the action scenes.
Overall, I found Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 to be a solid continuation of the novel series with the new character additions, and more laid back atmosphere for most of the story, but has too much filler content, and lacks the dramatic action from Vol.2 and Vol.3. The solid presentation and writing, more laid-back atmosphere, Chris breaking out of her shell, continuous solid use of visuals, solid new character design, and okay musical soundtrack made for an experience that is the Grisaia experience.
- A continuously solid writing and presentation across the board
- A more laid back atmosphere from prior novels
- Chris becomes more forward and open as a character
- The continuous use of the visuals
- An alright, but not perfect use of soundtrack
- The first two-thirds of the story can be considered heavily filler
- Fewer action scenes then prior novels
DarkLunarDude gives Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 a Drastik Measure 8.0 out of 10.0 (80).
For the price of $14.99 on Steam, I can recommend Grisaia Phantom Trigger Vol.4 to those who follow the Grisaia series, and those seeking a more relaxing slice of life visual novel, as the story caters to both sides equally.