Finished TYPE-MOON's Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night today. Highly regarded VN's, and deservedly so!
Tsukihime was their first work. Arcueid's was my favorite of the routes. I felt that she was a very interesting character, I really enjoyed the way her and the main character (Shiki) developed over the story, and especially thought the ending was very good. I skipped through Ciel's route pretty quickly, as it shares several major plot points with Arcueid's route and I didn't find Ciel nearly as interesting as a character. It did get better towards the end though. I liked Akiha's route quite a bit. At first I didn't really like her that much, but by the end she became my favorite character in the game. The only reason I don't rate her route higher is that, no matter how dark the story is, I want a happy ending and there isn't really one here. Hisui and Kohaku's routes were also pretty good, I just didn't like what they did with Akiha. Overall, I'd say that the individual stories were all pretty strong, but sadly Tsukihime is weaker than the sum of its parts. I have this problem because basic facts about the world and characters are not consistent between these stories. You should get the same characters and setting in each story that just go down different paths, instead you get slightly different characters in a slightly different setting. The little inconsistencies make it feel less like a cohesive product and more like a simple collection of stories.
FSN was really amazing. I'd seen the anime before and enjoyed it, but the source material is on a different level. The anime basically covered the Fate route, but what was in the VN was much more fleshed out and enjoyable. I can't agree with Shiriou's naive belief that no-one should ever be hurt or sacrificed, but it was a good story nonetheless. Unlimited Blade Works though, that was amazing. It takes Shirou's beliefs and challenges them with a hefty dose of reality. He sticks to his guns despite it all, but I can admit there's something admirable in that. Also focuses more on Rin and Archer, two of my three favorite characters. Then Heaven's Feel - I'm not quite sure how I feel about that route. It was certainly good story, just not exactly what I like. I liked that it fully explained the mysteries of the Holy Grail War, and I liked that Ilya (my other favorite character) had a larger part, but it got a bit darker than I'm comfortable with. I didn't like that Shirou completely betrayed himself, abandoned his beliefs entirely, all to protect the ultimate evil of the world. There's room to compromise on your ideals to fit reality without completely throwing them out the window. Also I just don't like Sakura, and she's very much the focus of this arc.
Post edited May 08, 2014 by Nobake