Paved roads, horses running, court intrigues, a world where sometime words have to be spoken with swords and arrows
The usual middle age setting.
But in this world exist special stones who give superhuman powers to their wielders, these stones are owned and controlled by the Church and given to countries as proof of their faith.
Ritterorden is a low fantasy story focused on 2 characters, the first one Ren is a mute knight leader of 100 men and wielder of one of these stone who allow him to control his shadow to bind things or people or defend himself against attacks.
The second is Crystal, a young girl with purple hair and eyes, that are considered as a holy color in this world, who decided to go on a trip to destroy all the stones on the continent.
While the game follows mostly Ren, Crystal also has quite a fair bit of pov time and later when the cast become bigger the pov starts switching freely between all the characters.
Anyways Ritterorden is a doujin game made by 君懸草 originally in 3 volumes released from 2011 to 2014 comprising of 4 routes.
As stated above it’s a low fantasy story with a surprisingly large setting and focus, from the daily life of knights to diplomacy, intrigues and sometime terrorism and war, the game moves a lot and make a full of its setting.
For example if one route may be focused on a full on defensive war including not only how to operate during a siege but also a full focus on the more morbid side with a character acting as a nurse and having to take care of all the mauled and dying soldiers, another route may focus on acting as a spy in a foreign country, having to act with a fake identity and directly interacting with the background of the setting.
Not to say the routes all act separately, there is a clear build up between each routes and an order to follow, it’s very fitting to call the last route the Grand route since not only does it finally solves all the foreshadowing built during the 3 previous routes but is also full of happenings.
One of the first thing that may shock someone seeing Ritterorden for the first time is the art and yeah, it’s not good.
Across the 4 routes there is around 60 CGs and 20 characters with tachi-e which is a decent amount for a 20 hours doujin game but the art is just bad all around.
The OST is all original which is surprising, what is even more surprising is that it’s very solid. The main theme especially is immediately recognizable.
In term of text it’s also pretty serviceable, there is a rough feeling akin to a lot of doujin game but the scenes are well paced and the writer shows a lot of knowledge on a lot of issues pertaining to this particular setting.
Low fantasy setting are surprisingly rare in this medium and I don’t think I ever saw one that take it to such an extent, Eustia may be the closest but even then it does it very differently, and most importantly Ritterorden does it pretty competently, a memorable and enjoyable experience all around.
I’d recommend Ritterorden for people who want something a bit different and aren’t disgusted by the art, if you can get pass it and don’t expect the greatest thing ever it’s definitely worth your time.
For me I’d put it around the same level as Mushi no Me, good game
Link to the bundle comprising of the 3 volumes: