Our reviews of the first two entries in The House in Fata Morgana series (psst, read them here and here) were nothing short of glowing. From the excellent artwork and brilliant soundtracks to the gripping writing that could effortlessly make you sob like a baby or grin like an idiot, it’s nothing short of being one of the greatest examples of a psychological horror visual novel done right.
Now, to have both tiles compiled alongside the official third entry in the series — one that was previously exclusive to the PS Vita — with numerous challenges and tweaks is nothing short of genius. The Dreams of the Revenant Edition is everything you could want from this amazing series, all conveniently placed under one title. Spoilers incoming, folks!
The main title has you waking up in a decrepit, dank mansion. Darkness seems to completely envelop the area — your only company appears to be a single, pale-faced maid. Taking her hand, you are shown four tragedies from the past, whereby the previous owners of the mansion have suffered great losses and misfortune. These four stories are quite eclectic with the themes on offer: one explores an abusive relationship, while another has a bloodthirsty beast inherit the house.
Interaction is fairly minimal for a while, since these are stories that you are shown. After the fourth tale wraps up, you’ll have more dialogue choices to pick from as well, whereby the wrong choices will result in a grim and early end. It’s also the key turning point in the entry, whereby more of the supernatural horror elements start to seep in to unnerve the hell out of you in all the right ways. Nevertheless, the main entry is easily the best of the bunch, with its wide range of distinctive, complex and memorable characters, as well as how it successfully balances so many different themes and tones without any of it feeling forced, out-of-place, or forgettable.
A Requiem For Innocence serves as a prequel to the main game, and is sort of like an origin story of a few characters you’ll see in the main game. There’s a few familiar faces to see, alongside a fresh cast as well. Seeing the bitter, despisable Lord Jacopo as a respectable and likeable pickpocket is no doubt jarring at first, but it serves as a truly tragic and depressing tale of downfall, ruin, madness and torture. It doesn’t shy away from the gore, either — the first scene features Morgana the witch as her human self, chained up and riddled with cuts, courtesy of a mad lord who drinks her blood in order to supposedly ‘cure’ his inflictions.
This one is a lot more linear. Being a prequel, multiple choice answers are almost entirely absent in this one, which is a shame. It also retraces some of the events covered in the previous game during the Middle Ages time zone, leading up to the death of Morgana. It’s great to retrace these tragic events in their entirety unabridged, and to see everything completely fall apart in real time by the end of the story. Plus, this time, it’s shown in real-time — you get full-on visuals to admire as well, not just pages of text.
Completing the first two titles will unlock eighteen bonus stories that shed a bit of extra narrative about some of the poor souls affected by the mansion’s curse. Some of them are strictly pages of text on a murky background, with nothing else to admire, but that’s perfectly fine. After all, even if reading them isn’t completely vital to the overall plot, you’d be missing out-big time if you skipped them. One of them acts as a precursor to the third game, and it makes for some very gripping and fascinating distractions to keep your hunger quenced .
The third title, Reincarnation, seems like a pretty left-field inclusion. Due to its contemporary setting, it feels more like a slice of life visual novel with the reincarnated cast living their lives as ordinary citizens. The character models no doubt look a lot better here than they do on the PS Vita, but they still look fairly standard in design — more cartoonish than in the previous games. It also includes voice acting, a first in the series. Sadly, it’s strictly in Japanese, but it can be toggled off.
What’s interesting about this one is that, as wholesome as it may seem on the surface, it’s actually bloody dark. This isn’t a soft reboot or spin-off — they’ve all been literally reincarnated, and the majority of the cast only remember fragments of their previous lives via dreams and vague memories that seem unlike their own. It makes it all the more gripping, and will have you tilting on the edge of your seat as you press on to find out if and how all of these stories will intertwine together once again.
One slight nitpick is that, assuming you completed either the first or second entry on, say, the PC, you must complete them in order to unlock the next story. There aren’t any passwords to unlock the others straight away, so you’ll need to put that new ‘scene skip’ button to good use, until you reach some of the multiple choices. An understandable design choice, since no one wants newcomers to be stumbling into the wrong title and being subjected to spoilers, but it’s a tad cumbersome.
Still, even if you’ve already completed them before, you’ll want to replay them again on the Dreams of the Revenant Edition, and it’s not just because of the fantastic story-telling alone. A big, new inclusion are its revamped visuals. Aside from a redesigned main menu, nearly all of the backgrounds have been given a facelift, and they look exceptionally detailed and eye-catching. It’s a noticeable improvement, as they offer a wider palette and are a lot more visually striking.
The soundtracks for each VN are nothing short of brilliant as well. Fata Morgana has the biggest and most eclectic batch of tracks sung in Italian, Latin and more, and are played on a harpsichord, strings, piano, and so on. Tracks like ‘Cicero’ will tug at your heart in the most beautiful way, while ‘Petalouda’ has an ambient yet whimsical feel to it, like a child exploring the outdoors. Then there are some real gems like the toe-tapping beat of the Jazz lounge-esque track ‘Ciao Carina’. Luckily, you can unlock a jukebox and a sheet of lyrical translations in this one.
While the other titles are primarily instrumental and are a bit more piano-centric, they still deliver a selection of lively and moody tunes that make them well worth purchasing the digital soundtrack online. Seriously, there are so many fantastic songs in this series. Tunes like the peppy ‘Dancing a Stamp and Cheers!’, or the simply wonderful track ‘Twilight’ from the other two entries are well worth a listen, too.
So there you have it! Three fantastic visual novels with mesmerising stories, improved visuals, beautiful soundtracks, and lots of additional content that’ll send even more chills down your skin. This is easily the best VN bundle out there, and playing it on a Switch — whereby you can resume progress seamlessly — easily makes this port the best version of the game. It’s a masterpiece that deserves nothing less than top-marks all around.