Five Dates is a Full Motion Video (FMV) Visual Novel and is one of the best in the genre currently available on the Xbox. This game is published and developed by Wales Interactive along with Good Gate Media.
Wales Interactive have worked on more serious titles than this previously, such as The Complex and The Bunker, but Five Dates plays more as a romantic comedy with the very topical situation of lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is in fact the plot of the game as to why you are downloading a new dating app as Vinny, our millennial character we can pick choices with throughout the gameplay.
The dating app is designed to match Vinny with three dates, then narrow it down to two, then finally one for a third date. There are 10 outcomes to be found, one for both success and failure with each girl on the third date. Each girl Vinny can choose is a completely different character and there are only five to pick from, but each have their own story we can unravel. The gameplay is tailored to quick responses, but can be disabled in the settings if you don’t want to be rushed and our options do have consequences in our dates. This timed feature is most likely to help the game be more immersive and avoid pausing to maintain flow of the scenes. The Five main dates each have depth and some just seem irritable to hear until you progress in the relationship with them to get to know them more.
The Five Dates are Maya, Grace, Saffron, Shaina, and Paige. Maya is a girl who likes to party, Grace is a serious lawyer looking for something meaningful, Saffron is the more relaxed soul that is one with nature and mystical energies, Shaina is a successful nurse who is looking for a family in the near future, and Paige is the social Influencer. I won’t spoil anything in the game, but the characters having depth adds tremendous value to the game.
Most FMV games suffer from the occasional bad actor, but this game prevails with a fantastic cast. There are big names such as Mandip Gill, Georgia Hirst, Sinead Harnett, and Taheen Modak. Other actors in the project who deserve recognition are Georgia Small, Marisa Abela, and my personal favorite from the game, Demmy Ladipo. Demmy Ladipo plays the character Callum, and is Vinny’s wingman who debriefs with him after every set of dates we play through. He is the source of comical relief from these sometimes successful or gruesome dates, he provides Vinny with encouragement and even downloads the app himself. He’s not the only source of comedy in the game, but the funniest in my opinion. His character is very witty yet optimistic, so a joy to have a conversation with.
The audio for Five Dates is okay at best, there are some points in the dates where sequences will change and the sound quality and audio will drastically change with it. I played some scenes where the game was at a moderate volume and the next scene would occur after a decision was made, and the volume would spike like a commercial for hearing aids. This issue with the audio’s volume left me to turn my game audio down after playing through all the dates, but there are options for subtitles fortunately if it gets too quiet to hear.
This was shockingly the biggest gripe I had for the game while playing through it. It was funny at first, but just plain annoying after a few hours of gameplay. The music for the game wasn’t eccentric either, some of the scenes that involved music sounded like royalty-free music. Overlooking these two factors I still found this game extremely valuable as it was more of a visual game with intriguing dialogue to be experienced. Thankfully, the main menu music sounds like some vaporwave R&B music, but is heard very little.
The graphics aren’t hard to imagine since this game is entirely FMV with a very brief animated screen for looking at our phone for the dating app. It looks standard as any FMV game I’ve played through and has generally better lighting to be more character drawn, but I need to mention the detail that was put into each area that is used for the dates. Each Character had a uniquely designed room to match their character appropriately with some items being a part of conversation and more was seen after each date. We never get to see much else of our date’s homes, but we can give a house tour for one of our dates. Date one would take place in front of Vinny’s fireplace, date two is in his living room in front of his trophies, and date three is a dinner date in his kitchen. Visually this game looked perfectly normal for its genre, but was benefitted by detailed set designs and better lighting.
The Achievements for the game are quite simple and require the player to successfully finish a third date with each girl. There are several achievements that are dialogue related and can be missed, but can be easily earned in several hours of gameplay or even faster using a guide and skipping previously viewed scenes. I managed to earn all 15 achievements for 1000 gamerscore in roughly 6-7 hours of gameplay with no issues with the game other than audio and experienced 500 of the 762 scenes provided.
The Longevity for Five Dates is quite high for a visual novel game. It does require several playthroughs and does allow skipping for only scenes that have been watched before with the right bumper. Most games in this genre in the current times are so short that can be done in under an hour and are being made just for profit. Five Dates is worth the time and money to play through.
I had low expectations for this game but I’m glad I got a chance to play it since I loved it. This comical entry in the genre is a welcome one and is my new standard for FMV Visual Novels. Five Dates is an extremely funny game, with unique characters created and some really stand out. The outstanding cast brings the characters to life and make it an immersive scenario. A game that was completely developed during the lockdown – and is about it – is worth the current price it is currently listed at. With a total of 762 scenes and several hours of FMV footage to be seen in the game, there are many hours here for the player to experience with various dialogue options leading to different responses and outcomes. I wouldn’t pass this game up if you’re a fan of the Visual Novel genre, as this game is not complicated and provides many laughs in a romantic comedy fashion while raising the bar for expectations for this genre.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.