Dead End Junction – Review

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Dead End Junction written and directed by Hidume, the sole member of 773, creator of the acclaimed Cherry Tree High series and fan of old Westerns like The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Localized by the start-up publisher Culture Select, Dead End Junction is a kinetic novel that captures the aura of the Wild West while addressing social issues that are relevant to contemporary society. It will last you around 11 hours. [Based on my reading speed]

[I was provided a review copy of this game but it will never affect the outcome of this review]

Brief overview of the story

Adventure. Gunslingers. Outlaws. Shoot-outs. War.

You’ll find none of those things in the one-horse town of Cow Stone Bell, as Jo will be the first to tell you. Raised by her slob of an uncle on the far edge of the Wild West, she suffers from endless boredom and longs for the action and excitement on display in the “dime novels” she spends so much time reading.

But after a letter arrives from the President addressed to her no-good and nowhere to be found father, fate conspires to give her exactly what she wished for—wrapped up in a journey that will take her further from home than she ever expected. Unfortunately, Jo is about to learn that a life of adventure may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Being set primarily in an alternate universe version of the Wild West, Dead End Junction hits on themes relevant to the setting, such as treatment of the Native American population and the scars left by the Civil War (represented in-universe by the Fuuro and the Border War respectively); many of which are applicable to life in the world today.

Thoughts On The Story

Note – This section have been moved to the bottom of this review because it contains spoilers. It will be talking about the problems on Dead End Junction and what I do not like about it.

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Audio and Visual Elements

Visuals are nice I love the art style being used as it fits in perfectly into the whole visual novel theme. Characters have nice designs and they fit into the color palette of the whole visual novel. I like Fanny and Tracy design the most because.. [Cute blonds always wins :D] Onto the soundtrack, it is heavily influenced by music of the era as well, with a mix of original tunes and arrangements of classics like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Home on the Range.

To sum up 5.5/10

I would recommend Dead End Junction but to a certain extent.. I really wanted to like Dead End Junction but I just can’t bring myself to like it. Despite it having a well themed story, it failed to deliver the “final blow” it failed to have a proper closure. It left too many question unanswered. Hence I gave it a 5.5, the story is still enjoyable regardless and the wild west theme is something unique to me since I am not into wild west things and this is somewhat made me like wild west things. [Its high NOOOOON] Totally not overwatch reference 😉

Purchase Dead End Junction on the steam store!

Thoughts On The Story

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This is a though one.. Generally I enjoyed the story and theme that they are going for, “The wild west where law does not exist” and “Anything could happen” theme because it opens up more direction that the story can go into. But the problem that Dead End Junction story has is that they did not explore more ways that the story could flow. Many things were predictable from start to finish, well there may be 1 or 2 things which I did not expect but they were heavily hinted to the point where it makes it very obvious. There are many problem that with the story as I read through, so let’s get into them.

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The first thing that came to my mind was Flannel Hopefield. Her character starts off as an important/main character and then gets “deleted” entirely in the story. She is one of those character that you will want to see more off but she has so little screen time which really sucks. I felt that she was there for the sake of being there, she has little to no impact to the story she just felt like a stepping stone to start of the story and then gets deleted entirely. [Note that she was not murdered or anything] I want to see more of her character in the story because she has quite an interesting interaction with Josette. *I sense YURI!!* Not to mention that her dad owns the biggest ranch in cow stone bell. How is that not special?!?!? I am honestly annoyed by her character getting deleted from the story because when I was reading through and I was anticipating for her to appear. Like for example using her family wealth to get Josette back by her side. She really wants Josette to not leave her and is very close to Josette, it was shown at the front part of the story. Her character could be capitalized but Dead End Junction failed to do so which is a shame…

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Secondly, the story loves repeating itself. As the reader it gets on my nerves, at the beginning of the story the reader is being told/hinted that the “Black knight” is dangerous. So okay we get the idea that he is dangerous and he can do some serious damage, but as the story progresses we get constant reminders and hints that he is dangerous. At that point what was going through my head was “Okay I get that he is dangerous so stop reminding me! I get it!”. Note – This is more of just a personal preference here.

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Refer to top corner number of slideshow for order reference

Next in line is the ending of Dead End Junction is open-ended. Which means it has no conclusive answer. I do not mind open ended endings as it lets the reader imagine their own “fairy tale” ending but Dead End Junction ending is too vague to even lead to that “fairy tale” ending. There are still many questions that the story implanted into your head left unanswered. Like for example, Is Josette father alive after her father confronted the “black knight” known as Ashka?

What is going on in Josette mind? At the end when her dad failed to stop the “Black knight” from breaking through to get to her [Use screenshot above for reference], she did not even bother to go back and check on him after wanting to meet him in person for years because he went “missing”. [what the ****?] They are telling me that she does not give a shit that her dad is alive or dead after a touching reunion? After all she went through? Really?

Well.. These are just some examples and there is too many to list out and I do not want to spoil the whole story entirely.

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