Herald is an adventure/visual novel hybrid set in an alternate history of colonial times. The genres mix nicely and the story is truly engaging. It will be hard to wait for the two remaining chapters.
The protagonist Devan is a young man of mixed heritage who is starting his career as a sailor. Aboard the Herald the racial tensions become evident. And not only those, as class and gender definitely have their places in the mix. These themes are very interesting, and presented well.
At first the player is slowly introduced to the vessel and its passengers, but it doesn’t take very long to notice the rising tensions. Not only does Herald manage to actually be thrilling, the choices given to the player seem to have real consequences. Not all choices are obvious either: even when trying to do one’s best, unexpected things happen.
The characters are a flavourful bunch. Some of them are rather obnoxious, but they seem like real people with a flaw or hundred, not just evil archetypes. I find the protagonist Devan just dreamy. Sometimes I wish Herald was one of those boys love VNs, but then again it’s so good as it is, that I don’t really mind.
The portrait art is just stunning. The 3D-environments don’t (understandably) reach to the same standard, but they’re smooth enough, and all the characters are easily recognizable. The animations in the portraits and background makes the environment seem more lively than in a regular visual novel.
There’s player controlled exploring and investigating in a point & click adventure style. It’s lovely being able to move around in the vessel that has also other moving people. Herald feels more like an interactive movie than a static book, but it lacks all the forced action and QTE. This mixture is very much to my liking. And there’s an in-game journal!
The game also runs well. It seems that the whole project is done with high standards. I’d be very interested to know what the studio can make with more money. Currently though I’m just hoping that there will be chapters 3 and 4. Herald is easily one of my most anticipated “sequels” now.