Takato Keisuke wakes up in an empty completely white room having no idea how he got there. He remembers going back to his dorm from school and suddenly ending up there. He proceeds further and finds a group of girls, most of which he knows to at least some degree, all being from his school: Kanae, his kind childhood friend he is incredibly close to; Rika, a spoiled underclassman from the same club as him; Rinne, a seemingly cold but also straightforward girl in the school’s discipline committee; Natsuki, a junior English teacher that just joined and wasn’t yet very reliable; Miyako, the very strict class representative for his class; Nemu, a girl that just transferred into his class, and has so far been quite mysterious and aloof. They suddenly hear a voice telling them they have to play a game, involving Keisuke violating the others in cruel ways. The voice then make it clear that they’ll killed if they do not comply through a cruel demonstration, hence pushing them to all to agree to take part. However, Keisuke has a dark secret, that he’s always been incredibly sadistic and trying to restrain these urges, but the game and Nemu, who quickly discovers his secret, seem to be doing their utmost best to draw them out entirely.
Euphoria is to be frank really really disturbing in ways that are not my cup of tea at all. I had to fast forward through some scenes because holy hell, it gets completely and utterly insane. But at the same time, it has a pretty decent story. There are essentially two phases to each route, a first phase that takes place during the game, and a second phase that takes place after the game is over. The first phase involves a lot of messed up events with some character and relationship building in between, but it also sets up which route you go into with the second phase, where the actual plot is developed and mysteries are solved.
There are 5 main routes, that can mostly be played in any order. But it will definitely be more interesting if some routes are played after others. The reason for that is that at its core, one of the main things that makes Euphoria interesting is the mystery surrounding everything, and the twists and strange occurrences that arise from that. Hence, the best way to go through it in my opinion, is go through the routes in such a way that each time you delve a little bit further into the core mystery behind Euphoria.
The route order for that, as well as some thoughts on each route, is hence:
Rika: This is one of the most horrific routes, in that she is by far the one that hates having to take part in the game the most, with a strong hatred directed towards the main character, which makes it a lot worse. This then suddenly transitions to love in a very awkward way once the game is over. Ultimately, it introduces you to the general world, but doesn’t delve into the core mystery at all and just runs away from it to lead to a completely unrelated happy ending.
Natsuki: This is less horrific than Rika’s routes, and has a somewhat standard love story thrown in, but follows a very similar structure, where in the end it still essentially runs away to a completely unrelated happy ending without detailing much of the central plot, though it foreshadows some twists in further routes.
Rinne: This is where the game starts getting incredibly strange. You begin to learn more and more about some of the background that led to that point, particularly some background on the facility itself and the actually important characters involved, but it then branches off quickly into something crazy, that can branch off into a twisted bad end, or a good end that’s in a way happy, but is so out of nowhere its unsettling.
Nemu: This route is tied directly into the core route, overlapping with Rinne’s route up to a point, but then continuing along the main path. It develops a lot of the core plot and characters in important ways that the other routes don’t, and builds up to arriving at an ultimatum, however, just before its about to get there, it collapses, into a sad ending leaving nothing but more questions.
Kanae: This is only unlocked after completing Nemu’s route because of how important the development in that route is. It is all around the most crazy, even before getting out of the first half. But once it gets out, it gets even crazier. It follows a story incredibly similar to Nemu’s route, though it allows a number of choices that allow Keisuke to fully embrace his dark side instead of the restraint he automatically showed in Nemu’s route, which can culminate in what is by far the most demented ending. But if the same path as Nemu’s route is followed, it eventually gets to the point where Nemu’s route collapsed, but goes into a completely different direction, that leads down the path to a number of bad endings and the normal/true routes, which involves a tremendously convoluted plot that is complete mind screw, though ultimately does sufficiently explain the vast majority of mysteries across all the previous routes, leading up to a reasonably happy but shallow normal ending, or branching off to continue the story in a more grounded way to the true ending that despite how downright demented the rest of the game was, actually felt kind of sweet.
Overall, I was very engrossed with the main plot throughout, to the point I was annoyed I had to go through the story lacking first phase to do the plot focused second phase for the last couple routes. All in all, watching the story unfold as it did, in light of the mystery and confusing aspects mostly being sufficiently addressed, and with a focus on the true ending, I was pretty satisfied with the overall plot. It wasn’t amazing, but how it was told was unique, and ultimately pretty good.
The art was pretty good and fit the story quite well, though considering some of the scenes that just meant it made it more disturbing. The soundtrack I thought was excellent, fitting the tone incredibly well with a lot of tracks such as the main theme being completely fantastic in their own right (that piano).
I am definitely not touching anything like this again for a while though, if ever.