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ef - the first tale. (download)
Reduced Mosaics, Full voice
$29.95    MG point:149
On Sale:
Jul 27, 2012
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
Text Lang:
When you start this game for the first time, it is necessary to connect the Internet for "Activation".
5.0 out of 5 (2 reviews)
Please check System Requirements before check out.

Hiro Hirono is not only a full-time student, but also a professional shoujo manga artist. On the night of Christmas Eve, he happened upon two women.
The first, Yuuko Amamiya, was a mysterious lady who continued to wait for someone at the church.
The other, Miyako Miyamura, was a girl who had her purse stolen and snatched Hiro’s bicycle to pursue the culprit.

This winter, Hiro will waver between his artistic dreams and the reality of school.
He will be charmed by the free-spirited Miyako, who is bound by nothing.
However, there is yet another girl with her eyes on him: Kei Shindou, whom he thinks of as a sister and a childhood friend.
This driven and confident girl, a starter of the basketball team despite her short stature, will try to show Hiro another path.

These students will coalesce within this idyllic school life. Their relationships will be taken a step further, yet what has tied them together is about to become hopelessly tangled.

The choice between dreams and reality...
His heart torn between two girls...
Hiro must find a single solution for these two conflicts.

ef is a visual novel by minori featuring avant-garde cinematic techniques and a peaceful, sentimental story which has met critical acclaim.

Miyako Miyamura
”Whaaat? Being a copycat is so boring!”

Boasting excellence in all facets, she is attractive, has top grades, and is quite athletic. She is, however, known to those around her for being whimsical and selfish.

She hates being tied down, so skipping class and going home early is simply routine for her. Although most matters are uninteresting to her, she’ll relentlessly seize anything that takes her fancy.

She’s a troublemaker and sets her own terms.

Born: Sep. 8 (Virgo) 162cm/47kg/88-57-83 (5’4”/104lb/35-22-33)
Hiro Hirono
”You’ll never know if you don’t try.”

Hiro is a full-time student, but moonlights as Nagi Shindou, a professional shoujo manga artist. He is the youngest sibling in a family where his father and sister are both renowned traditional artists. At his core he’s diligent and softhearted, but his outer personality shows otherwise. He communicates bluntly and has difficulty speaking his mind.

He can also be indecisive. He is influenced by his sister, the Shindou twins (particularly the older one), and countless others, and has poor luck with women in general.

Born: Sep. 9 (Virgo) | 165cm/52kg (5’5”/115lb)
Kei Shindou
”Oniichan? I won’t get mad, so tell me.”

The elder of a set of identical twins. Very athletic. A first-year student, Kei is already a starter for the basketball team. She’s determined to win, knows no fear, and is a sadist. Due to the influence of Hiro Hirono, her ”Oniichan” and friend since they were little, she’s developed a sharp tongue and talks like a man when she gets worked up.

Proud and somewhat reckless, she gets embarrassed whenever she messes up. She is also not adept in romantic affairs, and has a tendency to believe in fortunes.

Born: Jun. 2 (Gemini) | 150cm/40kg/76-55-79 (4’11”/88lb/30-22-31)
Kyousuke Tsutsumi
”Nothing in it for me for helping a guy. Now if you were a girl...”

A cameraman in the film club. Aloof, and perhaps nimble in nature. Particularly so when it comes to women. He has a keen sense of observation, possibly stemming from his diplomatic role with the club. He is devoted and meticulous regarding his surroundings, and has been involved in many relationships. However, he is selfish when it comes to filming, and at times can be stubborn, turning the sorrow of others into material.

At present, he has a keen interest in the love triangle involving his close friend Hiro Hirono.

Born: Nov. 29 (Sagittarius) | 171cm/60kg (5’7”/132lb)
Mizuki Hayama
”Yes! Your dear Mizuki has arrived!”

An energetic girl belonging to the basketball team of Otowa Collegiate’s feeder school.
Formerly Kei Shindou’s junior, she is still quite a devoted fan. Mizuki has quite a few connections at Otowa Collegiate due to her relationship with Kei.

Frank and spirited. Direct and rash. Charmed by too many things, and not wary of nearly enough, she’s a bit like a puppy.
Admires her ”Kei-sempai” and aspires to be a ”cool woman”, though it’s obvious from her upbringing that it’s impossible.
Loves shoujo manga.

Born: Dec. 22 (Capricorn) | 156cm/44kg/80-58-82 (5’1”/97lb/31-23-32)
Yuuko Amamiya
”Oh my, oh my! Are you that interested in me?”

A woman waiting for someone at the church. She could pass as a nun, but doesn’t seem to be affiliated with the church.

Her origins are unknown, but claims she has some sort of job to perform. Roaming Otowa’s streets, she suddenly presents herself to those who interest her, leaving deep guidance and counsel in a jovial manner.

Born: Jun. 21 (Gemini) | 157cm/42kg/82-56-83 (5’2”/93lb/32-22-33)
Yuu Himura
”I was only remembering something from the past.”

A man often seen about the church. He could pass as a science teacher, but would be considered too frightening for the job.

His origins are unknown, but claims he has some sort of job to perform. Roaming Otowa’s streets, he suddenly presents himself to those who interest him, leaving deep guidance and counsel in a crusty manner.

Born: May 5 (Taurus) | 173cm/60kg (5’8”/132lb)

Required CPU: Celeron 566MHz
Recommended CPU: Pentium 4 or equivalent Celeron
Required Memory: (XP) 256MB (Vista/7) 512MB
Recommended Memory: (XP) 512MB or greater (Vista/7) 1GB
Required Resolution: 800x600
Recommended Resolution: 1024x768
Required Colors: 16bit colors
Recommended Colors: 32bit colors
Sounds: DirectSound
Required Graphics: VRAM 32MB
Recommended Graphics: VRAM 128MB
Required HDD Free Space: 4GB
Recommended HDD Free Space: 5GB
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c

A Beautiful Tale
This is the first tale of one of the best stories available on the market.

The way this story starts is beautiful and very captivating. The different use of many CGs instead of sprites just by itself gives a completely different impression from your normal VN. Another difference is the mouth movement when a character speaks along with their eyes blinking after a certain time. To add even more, on some occasions, although the VN uses a 4:3 resolution, it'll seem like you're using a 16:9. You’ll get a cinematic feeling while reading these scenes.

The soundtrack is just amazing. It's hard to find an officially localized VN with such great tracks. If you mix the soundtrack along with all effects I mentioned above you can guess how great the experience will be. Don't be surprised if sometimes you find yourself just looking at the screen to observe the beauty of the scene you’re reading.

About the story, a downside is that the pace is a bit fast. However, the writing is usually very good so all the interactions and events you see integrate reasonably well. When it comes for its contents, you could say that ef – the first tale concentrates more into the high school setting but you’re sure to find much more than that. After all, this is the first tale of the fairy tale of the two. The deep feelings those two on the chapel share and the feelings of others that they guided are what made that encounter possible.

Be sure to also read the conclusion of this tale on ef - the latter tale.
Like a Magical Tale
It's not often that I come across a Visual Novel that mesmerizes me to the point of having me just staring at my screen and wondering to myself, "How is it so beautiful?"

ef - the first tale, sports a group of interesting characters that although have been done over and over, they somehow seem fresh in this tale of romance. I believe the most unique thing about ef, is that most of the scenario background/images consists of just CGs instead of the usual character sprites and text boxes. Though chapter 2 does sport more character sprites than chapter 1, they both are able to deliver an experience different from most visual novels.

The soundtrack is beautiful and very memorable. Several of the tracks really bring out a magical feel to the town and characters that isn't common in most visual novels of its genre that we've seen so far. I guess I could say that it makes a hot summer day feel like its actually winter when playing ef during summer season.

All in all, it really is a tale of the two, alone in a chapel under the cool starlit night sky.

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