CW: Mentions of Suicide, child abuse, and images of self harm/cutting.
Given that I specifically mentioned and linked this mod in my review of Doki Doki Literature Club, I think it’s safe to assume that this review was obligatory.
I think I heard that there was a fan mod that DID serve as just that; expanding upon the base game’s story and characters while making it into a finished visual novel that is unlocked after the good ending…
I was half right about this mod. Doki Doki Literature Club!!! Our Final Heartbeat, originally titled as just Doki Doki Literature Club!!! but with three explanation points instead of one, did expand on the base story and provide a more satisfying ending than the original game. However, this mod does NOT turn Doki Doki Literature Club! into a typical dating sim that continues the rest of the in game plotline.
As with Doki Doki Literature Club! itself, I would recommend going into this game completely spoiler free if you are interested. Translation: DON’T READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW!!! I will just say that I do strongly recommend this mod to fans of the original game. A vast majority of the script fits right in with the original game and all characters are in character. The mod can be found here.
Major Spoilers for both the original and Our Final Heartbeat from this point on!
Our Final Heartbeat takes an even more meta approach than the previous game and displays awareness of it being a mod instead of the actual game. The plot is that Monika tries to fix what she has done wrong in the first game and allow you (as in the player themselves) the opportunity to make things right. You get to save both Sayori and Yuri from killing themselves AND you get to rescue Natsuki from her abusive scumbag father who is also a corrupt policeman because of course! Unfortunately it is not that simple because the game itself is not programmed to have a happy ending, but Monika says you should be fine as long as you make the right choices and follow her instructions.
The first two paths are mainly altered versions on the original game. Both still have all the creepy glitch stuff but Monika gives you the ability to choose the correct answer that will save them… or you could purposefully pick the wrong answer, but all that does is railroad you back into the main game. This wasn’t a problem on Sayori’s path, but the choice you are given that determines whether or not you save Yuri is literally the same thing with only a slight difference in punctuation, this meant I had to rewatch Yuri’s death scene including the 3 days of staring at her corpse because the game still deletes your save files. I also needed to scroll through the unskippable Monika text until I could delete her file again, and then I needed to watch the ending credits again before needing to redo Sayori’s path and Yuri’s up to that point. Aside from that incident, I do like how it shed valuable insight to Sayori and Yuri’s characters as opposed to the original game that used them for shock value.
Natsuki’s path on the other hand is almost an entirely different game. Since the character you just saved is gone from subsequent paths… for some reason, this means that only Natsuki and Monika are present for this path. The plot takes and entirely different direction where Natsuki starts to live in the MC’s house to hide from her father and because she legitimately starts to fall in love with him. Romantic bonding ensues until Natsuki’s father enters the MC’s house, physically assaults her daughter, then proceeds to frame the MC for said beating… or at least that’s what would have happened if Monika did not use her God mod powers to legally wed MC and Natsuki thus making it legal for the two to live together. This also results on Natsuki’s father getting thrown in the slammer himself.
I will say that while I liked this particular deus ex machina, I felt it was a missed opportunity given that there was a scene prior where the player is given full control of the game script to temporarily talk to Natsuki, where you choose pre set dialogue options that say you will get both her and MC out of there and she threatens to KILL YOU if you let anything happen to MC… which may have been more frightening if this game featured her Buffsuki persona.
This lead me to believe that the solution would have been that Natsuki’s dad had a character file and you had to delete his as well. Then again, failing that would likely have also meant needing to redo EVERYTHING again if it was anything like with Yuri’s path. I have no idea if it is any different with Natsuki’s path because I did NOT feel like risking it to find out. I will say that this part of the game was notably intense and emotional writing wise and I’d dare say it surpassed the original game at this point.
Lastly you have Monika’s path, which somehow takes you back to the same one room space location as in the climax of the original game. The only difference is that the MC can now talk and that Monika from the future is able to block past Monika’s abilities and talk her out of her power trip. Then we finally have a happy ending with the entire cast present. You even have the MC thank you for guiding him better than he could have himself… then it rips off Undertale by telling you not to play the game again because it means resetting everything. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely works very well in this situation, but I do hope this doesn’t become too exploited in future games that completely miss the point.
I don’t feel there is much else to say about Our Final Heartbeat other than that “it’s good,” but I will say that it STILL isn’t everything that Doki Doki Literature Club! should have been. Our Final Heartbeat does NOT feel like its own game more so than an add on to DDLC or rather what should have been there to begin with.
A majority of flaws with Our Final Heartbeat can mostly be attributed to the original game rather than being exclusive. I often think to myself that I might have been too harsh on the original game, but I then re-read my review and am reminded of all the problems I had with it. Perhaps that is why my expectations for Our Final Heartbeat were a bit unreasonable, especially given that this is just a fan mod.
Still the writing and faithfulness to the original game are remarkable and as I said, some portions even EXCEED the original game. Even though it COULD have been more, that doesn’t change the fact that it accomplishes what it did. It makes me wonder if the team that created this mod will ever make their own original creation. If they do then I’m definitely sold on it.
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