Because We're Here is an episodic World War I inspired otome visual novel with romance, slice of life and thriller elements. It features a female postal worker, Elfriede Rauss, who works in the small town of Boschberg. When her co-worker and all the young, healthy men in her town enlist in the Wesslinger army to fight a war with another powerful country, everything in her life changes.
Act 1 covers her daily life as a postal worker, getting to know all the young bachelors in town, and eventually joining them in the war as a messenger for Eighth Company. Act 2 covers the drama and intrigue among Eighth Company as the Wesslinger army and their Etgoesian allies are engaged in a war with Leyland and Levasseur with some backdoor diplomacy among the rank and file soldiers on both sides.
Game trailer on YouTube by Studio Elfriede
This visual novel is an indie production using the Renpy engine, so it has to rely on the plot and diversity of characters to bring out the storyline, and route variety to make up for the average classical background music and artwork. There is a published community guide to help players get all achievements in the least number of playthroughs.
Act 1 is a bit short and generic as it takes the time to introduce the first set of characters in the story (Around 3 hours), whereas Act 2 is considerably longer with plenty of suspense, thrills, addition and removal of some characters (Around 7 hours).
Available routes in Act 1
Available routes in Act 2
After obtaining all achievements in act 1 and 2, the romance feels rather rushed as many of the specific character routes only have a few scenes before the protagonist and the chosen character confess their feelings for each other. Still, the large variety of characters with different personalities and backgrounds to pursue a romance more than makes up for this part.
As for the drama and thriller aspects, it has good scriptwriting to keep the reader interested in reading the story because every character, including the protagonist, has at least a flaw or weakness somewhere. There are no Rambos or Mary Sues as the protagonist can be shot dead for failing at a battle of wits minigame, and some characters will also inevitably meet their end in an ongoing war in the trenches against an equally powerful and well-equipped army.
Defections, collusions, and getting to know certain individuals on the enemy side (also hinting at possible romance options in subsequent acts) are described in vivid detail in act 2. Therefore, I can recommend this game with the act 2 DLC anytime, and hope to see the next two acts released in future.
Initial gameplay video with author narration and commentary on YouTube by PurpleMapleLivestreams