Review by Kurashiki999
Ugh, this game. This game keeps you up at night, thinking of theories about how that's possible, why are we here, or if maybe THAT's who Zero is! If the person you've entrusted your fate with will betray you, to ensure their own safety. Surely they wouldn't!
.....Or would they?
That's one thing I love about this game! It makes you continuously think about what has happened, and how it can be explained. Who should you go with, and, especially, what will you vote is always on your mind. I guarantee you, until you beat Virtue's Last Reward, you won't be able to stop thinking about it easily.
Virtue's Last Reward is the pseudo-sequel to the DS game, 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. While you don't have to have played 999 to enjoy this game or understand it, I would advise it. Otherwise, 3 characters in particular will mean a lot less to you than they would to us who did play 999. Not to mention some references to events from the previous game.
Now, let me warn you, if you expect some sort of action, adventure kind of game, don't look here. This is a lot of text with a puzzle thrown in here and there. If you can't stand to read, this game is NOT for you.
However, if you enjoy a good story, or even just puzzles, which are pretty great if you were to ask me, then, you will love Virtue's Last Reward. There are a total of 23 endings to this game, which includes the 9 character endings, the game overs, and some other parts that I won't say anymore about. It will take most people who play this about 30 hours to complete the game if you are going for all endings. Content-wise, you won't be disappointed with VLR.
All of the 9 endings you can get to the game are quite good! Although, some are DEFINITELY better than others.
Speaking of endings, the game has a very neat function called LOCKS. When you get too far in a route that could spoil another one for you, the game LOCKS. You must complete other endings and learn other tidbits of info to continue the route you are currently on. Some won't take you long at all to get, while others you can start at the beginning of the game and break it 2nd to last!
This game has 9 distinctive characters you'll have the pleasure (or discontent) of playing the Nonary Game with. Luna, Alice, Clover, Tenmyouji, Dio, Phi, Quark, K, and Sigma, the main character who you will control. You'll go against every single one of them in the AB game, besides yourself, obviously.
You'll also be accompanied by these characters into the puzzle rooms of VLR. Some of these rooms are quite easy, while others can be horrifyingly frustrating!
I'm looking at you, Q room.
Not to worry! Your helpful other participants will give you hints, and almost outright solve the puzzle if you can't figure it out after a while, if you switch to easy mode dialogue. However, switching to easy mode dialogue will also make you only able to get half of the possible files for the room. So, you don't want to automatically set it to that every time.
Easy mode dialogue also brings about some funny dialogue from the other characters, Clover in particular. This stuff is GOLD, I tell you! It is worth playing the rooms over just to hear it. I swear, it is amazing. In particular, the Pantry room has some of the best. You'll laugh out loud at this part.
The main mechanic of the game that you'll be doing after every puzzle room is the AB game. Ally or Betray. You (and, most of the time, your partner, the other person in your pair) will go against the other team you went with. This will usually be a solo, although that is not always the case. The 3 of you will be given a option: Ally or Betray your opponent. Both of you allying will get you two BP, both of you betraying will get you nothing, and, if one allies and the other betrays, the betrayer will gain three BP, and the allier will lose 2. If you go below 0 BP in this game, your bracelet will activate, and you'll die, right then.
So? What will you do? More importantly, what will your opponent do? Will they stick to their word, and ally? Or, are they only concerned for themselves, and betray? Do what you think is the better option, and see where it takes you. Different choices can lead you down multiple routes in the game.
Lastly, this game has a amazing OST, otherwise known as soundtrack. It captures the fear, and the suspicion of the game. Confession, Sinisterness, and Blue Bird Lamentation are all amazing tracks. This game also borrows from 999's equally good OST, which has plenty of great tracks too, the most memorable being the nightmarish Trepidation. Ugh, that songs STILL freaks me out! *shudders*
Now, the bottom line is, this is a fantastic visual novel with great puzzles, and a great soundtrack to boot. You'll think about this game constantly, making theories, and choosing what to vote. Can you escape the Nonary Game, beating the AB game?
Will you ally?
The choice is yours.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/16/13
Game Release: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (US, 10/23/12)
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