9-nine-:Episode 2 is a continuation of the first episode and deals with another heroine. While the first episode revolved around Miyako, the second episode deals with Sora, your sister. The story doesn’t quite pick up where it left off in the first episode. Instead, you get throwback a bit in time right to the point of the first victim.
I’m just gonna be blunt. 9-nine-: Episode 2 is a whole different beast in terms of story. Since we don’t need to replay the prologue and already know the characters and what happened we can immediately continue the story which supports the length of the visual novel immensely. The playtime itself wasn’t really long, but it felt like it. The story evolved exceptionally, the runup to the climax was engaging and the character development was extraordinary. And it’s all due to the fact that the story had more time to develop and tell its narrative. The first episode suffered greatly from the fact that it had to introduce the story and already end one of its routes in its first 4 hours. While the first episode pushed the mystery narrative quite in the background in the first episode to focus on the heroine, the second episode is able to combine both the mystery and relationship narrative and create a better reading flow.
When the story reaches its climax there is so much on the line, from solving the mystery and catching the perpetrator, risking your own life in the process, and resolving the relationship. All those things are so greatly intertwined in the climax, you don’t want to stop reading. It never felt as if this mystery was just a means for the purpose of the relationship with your sister. This combined with the fact that the relationship with your sister is really unique leads to a great experience. You either love your sister or you hate her. She is such a bubbly character and her interactions with you are funny every single time. I never experienced such a character as her. If you liked her in the first episode, you will love her even more in the second.
Since the heroine is already decided at the beginning, there aren’t many decisions present. But what stung me the wrong way was how this choice played out. You were basically given a “yes/no” question, but the way it played out, in the end, was “yes/yes but”. If you want to tell the story that way, please don’t make it seems like we have an actual way to say “no”.
The story has so much potential. It really does. But the decision to split it up into multiple-episode that come out one after another doesn’t benefit the story. I think it’s clear that the narrative of the story suffered greatly from the fact that it had to give the prologue and everything in the first episode. After everything was established, the characters were introduced and the frontlines were drawn, the story was able to achieve so much more. Because the first episode felt so lackluster, I almost didn’t play the second episode and this is a big problem. Why would people play the second episode that’s way better than the first, when they don’t want to keep playing after the first episode?
Now I’m stuck in a position where I can recommend the second episode but not the first. If you are willing to spend the money on both episodes at once, you will get a fulfilling experience and a great time. Don’t look at the first episode as “finished” or “concluded” even if Miyakos Route ends there. The story has so much more to offer in this second episode!