Visual Novel Gameplay and Pacing

I've really been working through my backlog this year and I've finally made it to a few visual novels that I've been meaning to play.  Namely:

  • Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies
  • Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright
  • Danganronpa
I utterly failed to get into Dual Destinies.  The pacing was so unbelievably slow.  I was led to believe that these games had a lot of gameplay mixed into their narratives, but it turns out that Dual Destinies is mostly narrative.  It's much more like reading a book than playing a game.

I moved on to Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright.  I've enjoyed a bunch of the Layton game in the past.  Typically they have a bit of narrative followed by a puzzle followed by a bit of narrative.  And this one is structured similarly.  When I'm in the Layton sections of the game I have a lot of fun and make a lot of progress.  Unfortunately, the Phoenix Wright sections suffer from the same slow pacing as Dual Destinies does.  I really want to like it but it becomes a wall of text with little gameplay input at all.

At which point I booted up Danganronpa.  This game seems to have the most gameplay out of these visual novels that I've tried.  The characters are pulling me into the game and keeping me interested.  I still haven't played enough to know if I like it or not, but the pacing hasn't put me off in the way the other two games have.  I'm hoping this one will be a hit for me.

What have your experiences been with visual novel games?  Do you have any recommendations of games that are narrative driven but paced well?


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