“I am confident in the belief that there truly is such a thing as living again, and that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence, and that the good souls have a better portion than the evil.” – Socrates
Developer: Brezg Studio
Released: 20 October 2022
Platforms: Windows PC, Mac OSX
Available on: Steam
- Solid art style that contributes in creating an immersive atmosphere, particularly during battle and action scenes.
- Interesting setting that spans across two different timelines, and has decent world-building depth.
- Lack of instant dialog skip, manual saving and bugged dialog log make the experience tedious and frustrating, especially in the ‘past’ timeline where repetition is common.
- Unique branching choices don’t really feel impactful on subsequent events, as their consequences are rather obscure most of the time.
- Frequent issues with translation quality, proofreading, typos and sentence construction. The localization to ENG from RUS is of subpar quality, at best.
- Dubious logic and narrative fallacies in multiple chapters, especially in the ‘past’ timeline, in which you’ll frequently fail and die for hilariously forced, implausible reasons.
- Most characters feel generic or are indeed interesting at first, but then fail to evolve and keep interest up with their persona as the adventure continues.
Bugs & Issues
- Multiple instances of missing or untranslated text.
- Dialogue history is lost on reload and has bugged scrolling in longer sequences.
- Scene backgrounds move alongside the mouse, possibly creating motion sickness.
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
I’d reckon finishing all ten chapters wouldn’t take more than 6-8 hours depending on reading speed, number of retries and bugs. I have way more because I forgot the game running one day (whoops). There is some replay value given certain branching choices, however, most of the content will stay the same.
Is It Worth Buying?
No. Even if the price of 13.99€ is more than fair and the game has some genuinely good ideas and moments, its glaring flaws and technical issues drag it down too much.
Despite a solid start and some genuinely -good intentions- to spice up the VN genre, it falls victim to its own technical inadequacies and dubious narrative choices.
With Good Intentions – In-Depth Analysis
With Good Intentions spans across two separate timelines. The present one is set in an 1800s-esque environment that sees captain Paul Lange lead his imperial scouts, alongside numerous allies through the countryside, after a major rebellion toppled the government and put the military in disarray. In the past one, you’ll instead play as Rayon Von Eigo, master of his own knightly order and charged with commanding the Shemergard fortress, in place to repel enemy invasions.
Most of the story, in both timelines, takes place in this massive fortress-monastery and its environs. There’s a stark contrast between the past and present versions of the place, with the former being well-maintained and stocked, while the one visited by Lange in the future is not only dilapidated but seemingly haunted by dark forces as well. What once was a mighty fortress now lies in ruins, becoming a last-ditch attempt to shelter a routing army.
The atmosphere is quite excellent, even if the lack of music and sound effects in most ordinary scenes takes away some of the pathos. The different art styles applied respectively to talks, action scenes and narration panels come together nicely and offer some aesthetic variation that is indeed, welcome. With Good Intentions saves most of its soundtrack and SFX for the most important scenes – with a probably limited budget, this is a wise choice indeed.
Main and side characters are of inconsistent make: some quirky and intriguing individuals may arise from time to time, however, it’s also true some of the (supposedly) centerpieces of the adventure just prove bland and one-sided (such as Lange’s sidekick sergeant, to name one). There’s a lack of insight in most characters’ personal life or ideas, as there simply won’t be the chance to have any dialogue with them that isn’t related to the main story’s progress. This becomes especially true and evident in later chapters and will be a hindrance if you’re trying to understand anything beyond the characters’ role in the fortress environment. There’s never any further elaboration on the world or lore either, making the monastery seem like a self-contained bubble (and in some ways, it actually is) where no topics except the daily misadventures ever exist. Sure, you’ll hear some rumors and trivia but that’s it.
With Good Intentions is made unique by its handling of death – because yes, in this visual novel you can actually die – as Von Eigo at least. Basically, every time you take a wrong ‘route’, your demise will be inevitable, be it at the hand of an enemy or more mysterious forces. The knowledge acquired from dialogues and actions will however be kept for the next instance of what essentially is a time loop, with Rayon being able to use it to change things in his favor. Each ‘past’ sequence is ultimately a combination puzzle where you die until you find the right set of actions that give a (single) good ending, thus finishing the chapter. In the present, conversely, you won’t be able to die, no matter how badly you may seem to screw up.
On paper this system would be intriguing, but it’s terribly implemented for the most part. Technical shenanigans aside (and those are already enough because let’s be honest, it’s a visual novel, not Space Engineers) there is a clear lack of proofreading and mediocre translation quality; expect weird syntax and wording as common issues. On top of that, the absence of manual saving and the inability to skip to the next choice immediately, when repeating an already-seen dialogue, make the experience tedious because the non-adjustable text speed is too low (even with speed-up enabled). This leads to an enormous amount of wasted time and filler that have no place in any decent visual novel.
Another huge flaw is found in the numerous non-sequiturs (in layman’s terms: nonsense) related to the causes of death, or to the available choices in some dialogues. On numerous occasions, you’ll find poor Rayon dying for arbitrary reasons that at times are not even explained properly, or him suddenly unable to use critical information in a logical way, simply because that choice wasn’t accounted for. It leaves a bitter, disappointing taste to see how much potential was wasted due to mediocre writing and dubious logic.