You’ll also hear the characters speaking the protagonist’s real name through the voice acting, so I would personally recommend against changing your name to anything other than the canonical ‘Tomoya Okazaki’.
This is usually accomplished by starting the reader off in an environment where they can peacefully interact with the characters with some light-hearted comedy scenes, before descending into character-oriented drama which manipulates the reader’s attachment to said characters for maximum emotional impact.
Key have this down to an artform, and continue to inspire these emotional reactions in readers to this day with each successive visual novel they release.
Each individual character route is essentially it’s own short novel, and once you get sucked in, you’ll find it hard to put down.
Compared to something like the 49 episode anime series, you’ll find that the visual novel does a much better job of immersing the reader in the world of the story, and provides much more detail than was ever possible in the adapted works.
Not exactly the most fun thing to do, in my experience.
Some infamous examples include the entry into Misae’s route, where you have to give three specific answers to seemingly inconsequential choices in a specific order to cause Misae to remember something from her past, triggering her route.
Some are fans of the game who have played it previously and wish to know how this new port stands up.
Some are fans of the anime, may be new to visual novels, and want to know what to expect.
However, until very recently, none of these titles have seen any chance of an official English release.