LifeisXbox’s Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect Review | Be prepared to enter the brutal life of an Italian-American Mafia family and the turmoil that uncomfortably comes with it. For the majority of the game, you will experience the story that takes place through the eyes of six different children; all of varying ages across numerous chapters. Throughout, you will be witness to loyalty being tested, confrontation amongst those closest to you, and the extreme acts of murder being committed in this action-packed title. Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect is an explosive visual novel title that has been developed by both Crime Opera Studios and Ratalaika Games while being published by Eastasiasoft Limited. Whether you choose to make the decisions or not, the intricate story that takes place over twenty-four chapters will show you the dark world of crime at the very center from which it occurs. It’s certainly not a title for the faint-hearted but it is also worth mentioning that Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect is the first game in a six-part series that takes you from childhood to old age so I hope you’re ready for the beginning of something which by no stretch of the imagination is all happiness and laughter.
VicciVulpix Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect for four hours on Xbox One S. This game is also available on Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
What we liked!
- Brutally captivating | With Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect being based around a mafia family after the sudden death of the family’s matriarch, the background of what has both happened and is occurring becomes unraveled further with each progressing chapter. There is an immense amount of character built into the story that had me constantly questioning motives and wondering what fate each character would come to in the end. There were many dark twists and turns, some of which I expected and others that genuinely caught me off guard to make for a truly captivating story that will almost certainly have you questioning exactly what the future may hold for the Gallo family.
- Character perspectives | Following the story through six different children was a fantastic way of seeing the game. As each of the children were different age and had their own unique point of view, it was great to see how they all contributed to and affected the overall story. Gradually, they all merged very well to reach a mutual point of conclusion. I have to admit, the story was brought together incredibly well. It was almost like trying to understand how each child became affected in various ways by the complex occurrences brought to them by their family. One second, you’re seeing it from an older child who wants to understand the ‘family business’ and the next you are being told to share your teddy with another child. Certainly takes you from one extreme to the next.
- Sound and music | Due to the visual novel genre of the game, I never expect the sounds to play a huge part because the game is mostly focused on visuals. On the other hand, I would be lying if I said I didn’t think the sound effects and music made any difference. They certainly enhanced particular scenes and provided you with either a sense of happiness or dread, depending on how the game wanted you to feel. Music changed during serious moments to indirectly make you assume there would be dramatic moments approaching or in progress whereas sometimes the silence could make scenes feel almost unpredictable.
- Visuals were complimentary | When I play visual novels, I expect the imagery to help me visualise everything – whether it’s scenery or characters and the visuals in Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect certainly worked as I would have hoped. They even allowed you to feel more connected to certain characters who were going through horrible scenes and this grabbed my attention more often than not. I really couldn’t help but feel for some characters. Due to the facial expressions and emotions portrayed in the images, I was able to make my own opinions on everyone and become emotionally involved with those who really didn’t deserve what they were going through.
- Chapters and their content | When I first looked at the achievement list for Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect, I was extremely happy and surprised to see the game consisted of twenty-four chapters. Regrettably, I thought these were a little short sometimes. I do understand that this is most likely down to the game being spread out over the six children and due to this, the content needed to be evenly distributed among characters to allow us to truly see the different points of view. I just think there could have been a little more content in a handful of the sections all things considered to perhaps add detail and prolong what was already a diverse and intriguing title.
- Disturbing topics | This is a strong and prevalent element I just cannot ignore speaking about. Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect does cover sensitive topics such as abuse of multiple kinds, kidnapping, and murder. These are very serious topics and the only warning that existed was that of the 18+ age rating, displaying there is extreme violence and strong language. There is no doubt in my mind that there should be much more caution and warning when starting up a game of such strong magnitude as I don’t think any other visual novels, or certainly ones that I have played, have been as distressing as this. I realise the seriousness and don’t have an issue with the intense story – just that there is hardly any warning for those who could feel uncomfortable with such elements.
- Layout of narration | I couldn’t quite decide whether I liked the layout of the text or not. Whenever characters were speaking, the text showed up in a dialogue box at the bottom of the screen. However, when characters were having thoughts, the text showed up at the top, using the scene image for the background. This did make it hard to read the text as, without solid backing, the combination of white text on lighter backgrounds was not an ideal reading experience. I found the text size rather small to read and felt I was straining my eyes. Perhaps there could have been options available regarding the text size and the option to have a solid backing included to combat these issues.
What we disliked
- One playthrough | Unfortunately, there is only one true route you can take in Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect and this did let down any replayability factor as there were no different final endings that gave players a reason to return and choose other routes. I really did expect more diversity with there being twenty-four chapters as I think this allows and provides plenty of chances for different outcomes. There could have easily been multiple alternate conclusions included but this was not the case. Perhaps it’s because of how the six-part series is supposed to play out however even if this is the case, a wider amount of endings would enhance the series even further in my opinion.
- A handful of dull choices | Following on from my previous point, any alternative choices that were made to give you a ‘false ending’ were often short-lived. They simply weren’t very interesting and had very little depth to them other than perhaps providing some alternate dialogue for those who wanted to explore all avenues the game provided. In addition, I believe there were only four or five opportunities where choices presented themselves so I dare say that if you were to play the game in the mode where options weren’t present, you wouldn’t be missing out on a great deal.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!