Hate Plus

You should really just look up the log files online somewhere.First of all, this was not a full second game. It’s really an epilogue to Analogue: A Hate Story, and the internet tells me it was originally just going to be DLC, which makes sense because it’s not a full game in any sense. Presumably it was split off and called a sequel for dollar-related reasons.

It’s also just not as good as Analogue for some pretty irritating reasons. First of all, you can only read 18 log files every 12 real-time hours. The result is that the game can only be played over the course of three days, and if you want each route it’s nine days, which the achievements smugly inform us is “the way it’s supposed to be played.” This is a gimmicky way of disguising the lack of actual content, and it’s infuriating. There’s not more than 3 hours of gameplay here, and when I sit down on a Saturday to dedicate a couple hours to a game, that’s the time I have. I’m not going to go through the process of blocking out time of my life on weekdays just because this game is an asshole. I’m also not going to play through all three routes, because I have better things to do with my life (I do, okay?). I loaded up my “harem ending” save from Analogue because I figured having Mute and Hyun-ae together would get my the most content for the least annoyance.

Which brings us to the second major issue, which is that Mute is completely insufferable. The game has lost all of its subtlety with her, and I have no idea why, because the insidiousness of the sexism in the last game was part of its impact. Here, Mute screams WOMEN ARE SO STUPID GOD every five freaking seconds, and no, it’s not social commentary, it’s just normal sexism and it’s both frustrating and annoying. To make it worse, she steamrolls Hyun-ae’s opinions at every opportunity, which makes sense for their characters, but is a nightmare to read and means the reader doesn’t get a voice in what’s going on.

Speaking of Hyun-ae, she is as flightly and not-a-person-who-went-through-trauma as last time, and the game is still framing a serious story with “LOL anime cliches! We so cray-cray! hehehe lylas” and I still don’t like it. The frame story has even less substance than last time, since there’s no mystery like with Hyun-ae’s identity, and it’s just annoying and not what I came for. And then at the end she decides she’s in love with Mute and apparently doesn’t care that Mute’s not into it, and basically starts sexually harassing her and it’s really weird.

All of that said, if you played and enjoyed Analogue, it’s definitely worth at least reading through the bonus log files here, because they’re very well-written and the way the story, which details the fall of the previous society and the rise of the one the Pale Bride existed in, was great. But save yourself the pain, and just look the logs up online. Trudging through the time caps and Mute’s awfulness is not worth it.


  1. Goldreaver says:

    > I loaded up my “harem ending” save from Analogue because I figured having Mute and Hyun-ae together would get my the most content for the least annoyance.

    BIG Mistake.
    Try loading the saves with only Mute and Hyun-ae. Or, hell, just Mute. Do it. NOW.


    I mean, their comments are a bit different and the story changes completely in the third day (stil have to read the same logs though)

    1. actonthat says:

      I honestly can’t imagine anything that could happen that would justify spending another week on this game, so you can either elaborate or I’ll look it up.

      1. Goldreaver says:

        I can’t think of a way to elaborate it so I’ll just spoil it:
        What *Hyun-Ae stopped in the dawn of the third day happens if *Hyun-Ae isn’t there to, well, stop it.

        The change is a bit jarring but interesting. I just sped through the logs and focused only on the reactions of the AIs for all the walkthroughs after the first. Barely takes more than an Hour if you don’t feel like re reading the log (I had to, because the first walkthrough left me really confused)

        1. actonthat says:

          I guess that’s not really enough for me to spend more time on the game. I thought it was a bizarre and out-of-the-blue didactic thing to start with, so the idea that it gets continued doesn’t so much for me. Neither Hyun-ae nor (New) Mute really held my interest at all. I’m here for the backstory, so unless it opens more log files I’m content with not pushing through the same things over again just for a slightly different result.

        2. actonthat says:

          So I just read a let’s play of it.

          It was definitely more interesting an ending than the harem route, and good Lord finally stopping Mute’s “woman suck” rampage is a relief, but I don’t think it changes my rec to just read an LP/the log files as opposed to trudging through the whole thing.

          1. waretaringo says:

            I was highly irritated by the ‘change’ in *Mute’s character from the previous game for much the same reasons you were. I wouldn’t say I was glad with the outcome, though. I really was hoping for her to actually come to some kind of character-altering realization due to Plus’s events, and the fact that it doesn’t happen and that she’d rather take the easy way out really changes the ultimate message in ways I’m not comfortable with.

            1. actonthat says:

              Yeah, I would agree with that. That you apparently have the option to tell New Mute that it was a brave decision to make is disturbing to me.

              The whole thing felt weird, though. Like I said, it came from nowhere, and felt super, super didactic to me. It didn’t fit the the characters or what was going on at all.

              At the end of the day, “killing” Mute and rewriting someone more palatable is much easier than writing a complex character change for someone who’s pretty flat, and I’d be willing to bet it was just an ease-of-writing thing for a game that feels pretty bare-bones.

              1. waretaringo says:

                I wouldn’t say it’s solely didactic. The chain of events makes sense as part of one of the minor themes of the novel – that of immortality leading inevitably to instability.

                Unfortunately, the problem is that theme deserves to be explored fully its own game/book/series and almost feels like an intruder in this one about gender and role, social norms, regression, and the nature and purpose of power. For such a bare-bones game, Plus is surprisingly close to being over-stuffed even before you take *Mute’s ch-ch-ch-changes into the equation.

                The fact that *Mute is our only in-universe example of how an AI can deal with such world-changing experiences skews the whole paradigm; with other examples to counter-balance her, her story might not come off so bleak or creepy.

              2. actonthat says:

                Although I didn’t mind it as much, I thought the frame story bits were the weakest part of the previous game as well. Putting aside, to quote because you phrased it well, the story about “gender and role, social norms, regression, and the nature and purpose of power” to try to pick up other issues that are important but not in the purview of the main story was jarring, and had the effect of making the characters seem weirdly disconnected from what was essentially their own lives. Both games had the issue of trying to to do much, but it was even worse in this one.

                edit: tldr I agree.

              3. Goldreaver says:

                I think it was an attempt to comment on one of the possible results of continuous systematic oppression but it came a bit (ok a lot) heavy handed. And wasn’t there someone in the logs who killed itself rather than submit to the culture change as well?

    2. Goldreaver says:

      Also, just change the date of windows to speed up those days if you want to read all and keep that achievement.

      I think there was a much easier way though. Something about a code? Meh, you probably already did it if it was as easy as I remember.

  2. waretaringo says:

    There’s a full let’s play of this game available on the LP archive. They go through all three versions of the text.

    1. actonthat says:

      Good to know, thanks!

  3. Roarke says:

    The game has lost all of its subtely with her

    This is like, one of the most often-misspelled words ever. I almost never see it casually spelled correctly. Subtlety. Subtlety. It feels weird even when you get it right. Madness.

    1. waretaringo says:

      I think the silent ‘b’ just throws everything off and at that point people are scrambling to make it make sense in some fashion or other.

      1. Roarke says:

        It’s so weird because, on paper, it’s really simple. Type subtle and then add “ty” and you’ve got it. But that one extra step just breaks people.

    2. actonthat says:

      That’s a weird-ass typo. I don’t even know what my brain was trying to do there.

      1. Roarke says:

        That’s pretty much the reason I commented on it. Like I said normally I just let it pass, because fuck subtlety, honestly. The word, not the concept. I like the concept.

        1. actonthat says:

          Please always point out my typos! I am somewhat-ironically a terrible, impatient self-editor and so much of my crap goes to print here full of mistakes.

          1. Roarke says:

            No, not your typos in general. Just subtlety specifically. Though hey, if you want, I will. I tend to read posts multiple times, so I end up noticing pretty much every typo. I just hate to be that guy, you know, with the typos comment. Feels like being an ingrate.

  4. Just read this myself, and wow it is like the framing story was written by a completely different and much worse writer. We have a chillingly accurate political tragedy about the insidious rise of totalitarianism that is constantly interrupted by idiotic anime waifus trying to date you. And then after railroading the player into romancing the traumatized sexual abuse victims it has the gall to act like it’s being ~subversive~ with the stupid cake bit, WTF was that even? The whole thing would have been vastly improved by cutting the AIs completely.

    The logs were a really cutting depiction of how capitalism hurts marginalized people even without explicit discrimination. Sure, you’ve got nothing against gay relationships… but pay people starvation wages and dangle a baby-shaped carrot over their heads, and gay people are forced into sham heterosexual marriages. And we’re not paying women less because we’re misogynist, it’s just that they’re higher-risk employees because they could get pregnant, that’s just good business, right? The subtlety there was extremely well-done and, sadly, still extremely relevant.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the big reveal being that it was a woman who masterminded everything because she had a tradwife fetish. I mean, God knows the past few years have shown tradwife insanity is very much a thing, but I felt it undermined the fact that patriarchal societies are, you know, ultimately built by and for men. It felt a lot to me like it was just there to be unexpected.

    1. Aster says:

      Not a fan of this game or of Love herself (I don’t know anything about her as a person or anything, I just consistently come away from her work feeling like it almost did something interestingly weird but didn’t quite get there), and I think putting an unavoidable suicide into the *Mute route especially without deconstructing that what an AI considers suicide might not be what a human considers suicide is really weird.

      However, unless you are a traumatized sexual abuse victim yourself, please refrain from saying that people shouldn’t date us. I understand not wanting to engage with the game in that way, but I like getting to date my partner, and I like my partner getting to date me (I’m a bit of an edge case because I was abused a lot by various people but most of my abuse wasn’t sexual, partner is not an edge case at all). One of the things I liked best about Hate Plus was how in Analogue *Hyun-Ae was set up to be a bit unreliable because of how relentlessly she’s throwing herself at you, the first person to come save her, so it’s hard to tell if her feelings are genuine or even if she’s actually bisexual (I was playing a woman and I kept waiting for attraction to women to come up in her backstory at all and that did not happen)… and then Hate Plus came around and nope, things are basically okay, she was more or less reliable about her own feelings the whole time. I can understand being frustrated that the game pushed romantic relationships with the characters as opposed to platonic ones, and that’s a legitimate criticism. But fucked up people can make up our own goddamn minds.

      I liked being asked to make the anime girl a shitty microwave cake because I thought it was an interesting commentary on romance in games, because a lot of romances in games are less about seeing a romance play out between the characters and more about having a safe, bite-sized simulated romance with one of the characters through the protagonist. I don’t think that’s bad – lots of games don’t really have a concrete-feeling protagonist, and the point is to have some kind of simulated experience through them – but stories exploring interpersonal relationships have an interesting effect of being, on some level, all take and no give. I might have to tell the anime girl she’s pretty and throw chocolates at her, or do a sidequest if it’s more of an RPG sort of thing, and my character is doing things to make her value me, but as the player I am basically just sitting there doing things I was already going to do and watching numbers go up. A lot of games have explored the player/protagonist divide in romance stuff without a very deep protagonist, and I think Analogue/Hate’s completely nonexistent player/protagonist divide, having the character ask the player to do something that takes a little effort is interesting, and then having to decide whether to actually do it and lean into this experience or just wait a couple minutes and lie because it’s not like she’s going to know, she’s not real. In general, Love does a lot of things that are sort of meta but not quite and that assume that the player is suspending their disbelief much more than they probably are. I’m happy to muse on what it means that the waifu isn’t real but please don’t pull me into this experience thinking I don’t know that.

      1. and then Hate Plus came around and nope, things are basically okay, she was more or less reliable about her own feelings the whole time.

        I did not see it that way. In Hate Plus she still hasn’t reached Earth, and you are still the person she’s latched onto because you’re the only person she’s interacted with in thousands of years. After she makes it to Earth and has other people to choose from, then yes, that’s a real choice, but for the game itself she’s still essentially locked in a room with you. If this were a normal dating sim without the fantastic elements, where she was just an ordinary person who had this backstory, that wouldn’t have bothered me (and I actually agree that could have been a nice opportunity to make a nuanced point about giving abuse victims romantic agency), but it’s the fantastic elements (thousands of years of solitary confinement especially) and the “you are literally her only option” element that made me deeply uncomfortable.

        (There’s also the fact she is emotionally 17, which she even explicitly brings up in Hate Plus.)

  5. Aster says:

    Also sorry to necro but I feel like *Hyun-Ae is a pretty accurate depiction of a certain type of traumatized person, please look into the fawn response and then consider what happened in her backstory when people didn’t think she was cute and fun and Good.

    i do not even like this game

    1. Act says:

      Not sure if this is directed at me, but if so: unfortunately I wrote this almost a decade ago and can’t really meaningfully respond, both because I don’t remember it all that well and because the way I understand these things has changed drastically since I was in my early twenties and I’d feel weird trying to defend a position I have no clue if I’d take anymore.

      1. Aster says:

        It’s cool, I had a feeling that you may or may not have this position anymore and you don’t need to be able to meaningfully discuss it. All the Hate stuff got necro’d because St Elmo played the Hate games, so I was mostly here to disagree with St Elmo about the outfits and the boobs and whether it’s fucked up to date traumatized people. Then, while I was here, I wanted to comment on whether this was a realistic depiction of how some traumatized people behave, because in general I feel like our culture’s idea of what trauma looks like doesn’t really include people who act less serious or melancholic or angry, and if it got necro’d again in the distant future when we’re all living in colony ships, I guess I wanted someone to be talking about variation in trauma responses? I’m not asking anything of you personally.

        (Also, the other person who is mad about this is not me, but we live together and probably have the same IP address if you can see those. I’m not saying this to distance myself from her or her views, it’s just that sockpuppeting during the same vague cluster of conversation is cringe and I would prefer no one think that either of us are doing that. I think I’ve shown up to be mad at some of the writers here before but I forget literally everything about the info I used because I do not have a consistent internet identity.)

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