Laevatein’s Readin’ Sessions x Mecha Monday: Muv Luv Unlimited

Hmm, something's missing...

Part two of my Muv Luv trilogy review is Muv Luv Unlimited, which is bundled with Extra.  Seeing as how it’s contained in the same package, many of Unlimited’s aspects do not change from Exta (mostly technical stuff). That being said, the things that do change, change radically. Since Extra was as cliché as can be, does that make Unlimited any better? Yes, in many ways it does, but Unlimited still has its flaws.

What, you think a visual novel would have two opening songs? Hahaha.

The plot of Unlimited takes place sometime after the end of Extra, and at the same time, it starts on the very same day as Extra. How does that work? Don’t look at me, you’re the one who should be reading it. At any rate, the plot basically involves the main character waking up in a parallel world where everything’s radically different: his home town is all but destroyed, and his school is now a UN base. A UN base for what exactly? Well this new world has been invaded by an alien species called the BETA. Now, while I could go on and on about this new world, I’ll just say that the world building is great. How does the actual story hold up? Well… it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Unlimited is like Extra in military school, despite the very serious setting. Takeru is still a joker, and wacky hijinks still ensue. That being said, the story does have a just as large serious side. There’s a lot of drama about various things, such as following orders, survival under any circumstance, and ways of living life. Some parts are able to pull your heartstrings, as well: there are good many touching moments, as well as a good number of tearjerkers. My main complaint about the plot would be that it’s basically a prologue for the last title of the trilogy. That doesn’t make it bad, sure, but… it’s still a prologue. A number of plot points don’t get resolved (or even really start) until the sequel. However, the plot is definitely entertaining, and hell, if you can sit through Extra, there’s no reason why Unlimited would turn you off.

Oh, that's what was missing! Where's Sumika? Why isn't she there having fun?

Art’s pretty much the same as Extra’s, with the exception of mechs. The mechanical art is really great and detailed: a lot of work went into creating them, and it shows. Sound is largely the same as Extra’s as well, with a few new tracks (and a few tracks stolen from Alternative, or more accurately, its OST). In addition, some tracks that didn’t have a chance to shine in Extra really work here. Additionally, those new tracks really highlight the more serious nature of Unlimited (one of them is listed below). For both categories, if you liked what you saw (or heard) in Extra, than you’ll get the same things, only better.

The presentation is also largely the same as Extras. The narrative, however, has a select number of philosophical debates that I won’t talk about because of spoilers; they are often very well done, though. Additionally, now that Unlimited is more about action, the engine is put to good use. A lot of the action combines CGs and smart sprite placement to make for some really animated fights. Hell, I’d say the fights here are on par with Fate/stay night’s! Additionally, Takeru has a tiny bit of voice acting for some of the more dramatic scenes. Basically, like the two previous aspects, if you liked Extra’s presentation, you’ll like Unlimited’s even more.

Dat interface. Makes it look like a game! I wish there was a Muv Luv game...

Dat interface. Makes it look like a game! I wish there was a Muv Luv game…

Characters initially start out the same, or similar to, their Extra personalities. However, many of them have been tweaked a bit by the world they live in. Whether they may be a bit more mature, a bit more cynical, a bit more bitter, etc. It’s interesting to see how different circumstances have warped the personalities of everyone you know. That being said, Takeru is forced to go through a lot of change, as he has to learn to survive in this new, brutal world. Seeing the military break Takeru’s goofball character is actually very refreshing: it represents a very real sense of character development. While Extra creates characters that are way out there, Unlimited makes these characters real. Is it jarring? Very much so (and that’s part of the point; to create a shock from merging the outrageous with the realistic). Does it work? Very much so.

Muv Luv also gets a loli.  That's obviously the most important part!

Rating Breakdown
Presentationwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The presentation is similar to Extra's, with the addition of philosophical debates, occasional protagonist voice acting, and highly dynamic action scenes.
Plotwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The plot has changed drastically, taking place in a military setting. While the game feels like military Extra, and acts as a sort of prologue to the sequel by not resolving quite a few plot points, Unlimited's plot still has a lot of meat to it: with great drama moments, emotional moments, and heartbreaking moments, Unlimited's plot is impressive.
Characterswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The cast, though similar to their Extra counterparts, are different in their own, unique ways, with the protagonist himself also going through tons of character development.
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Largely the same as Extra's, the inclusion of highly detailed mechanical art is definitely a plus.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
While it shares Extra's OST, the inclusion of a few new great tracks (some borrowed from the sequel) set the serious mood really well.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A military-themed VN that seeks to turn all of Extra on its head by changing things up, in addition to telling an entertaining, dramatic story, despite the whole thing being an obvious sequel hook.
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Laevatein

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