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Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (Sequel to 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors)

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999 is easily worth 50. I would buy the game again at that price. In the US it was $34.99 which is as expensive as DS games get.

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I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Well, that’s it. After 37 hours, 23 minutes and 36 seconds of solving puzzles, making decisions and jumping between timelines, I’ve reached the end—or is it the beginning?

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. What a game. What an experience. I cannot recommend this game enough. Honestly, even if you buy a 3DS(*) just for it and throw it away afterwards, you’ll still have had ten times your money’s worth.

(*) Or a Vita, I guess. But the 2 screens are really a boon when solving many of the puzzles, because you can keep the clues on the top screen while working on the puzzle on the bottom screen. And with the 3DS, you can take advantage of the special combo “Buy a game, get a free headache”!

Everything about it is fantastic: the puzzles are fun, the characters really grow on you as you get to learn more about them, and the story manages to weave together character relationships and numerous sci-fi-inspired mysteries into a huge tapestry that never unravels (the writers could teach a thing or two to the guys who made Lost about how to balance dozens of mysteries and story threads and deliver a fantastic ending that’s shocking, touching and satisfying).

Compared to 999, it may suffer from a story that takes longer to really get exciting and never really manages to reach the same level of claustrophobic horror (I guess you just can’t beat blowing a character to bits 15 minutes into the game…), but it more than makes up for it with more gameplay (16 puzzle rooms with some pretty fun puzzles), better timeline mechanics that don’t require you to replay the same sections over and over again, and a stronger story that’s insanely clever and will keep you guessing until the last minute.

The game ends with the promise of a sequel, and I seriously can’t wait for it.

     

Currently playing:
Recently finished: Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (R) (4/5) | Detective Di (3.5/5) | Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (R) (4.5/5) | Heaven’s Vault (3/5) | Ace Attorney: Justice For All (R) (3.5/5) | Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (R) (4.5/5) | Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space (R) (4.5/5) | The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker (abandoned) (2/5) | Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (3.5/5) | The Sexy Brutale (R) (4/5)

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Though i am not going to get the game anytime soon, but want to ask about voice over versions. I am hearing plenty of praise for Voiceovers, specially Zero , so want to
know if VA being praised is English ones or japanese ones.

According to info

Voiceovers

North America—English/Japanese
Europe—Japanese


Publisher

North America—Aksys Games
Europe—Rising Star Games

 

     
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The English VA is highly praised by what I’ve read. And now that I’ve played the game - well deserved too.

Here is a quote from one review:

“Adventure games are making something of a resurgence lately, thanks in part to the new input methods appearing on consoles and handhelds. Interest in adventure games has also been driven by a number of somewhat less traditional entries in the genre, such as the heavily text-and-image-driven visual-novel-style adventure games from Japan.”

Heart

     

I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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just finished… the english voiceacting was indeed a highlight. I was quite disappointed that the voiceacting for zero jr never comes back after early in the game, because that was a great performance. I’d actually say every character was very well voiced.
As for the story… there were things i liked, and ideas that were clever. And then as expected theres also a fair dose of convoluted nonsense peppered with physics and philosophy terms. But what really disappointed me was: that they just end the game on a cliffhanger without any indication if the plan works. What might have been nice is if they then just spent some time focusing about what happens in this time line now with the earth in ruin, that might have helped give it a feeling of completion.. but instead it just felt like another of the “bad endings” and that there should have been a sequence showing what happens at the mars test site. I can see that they wanted to give themselves an easy bridge into the next game… but thats too bad for this game.

oh also, having played ever 17, 999 and this, the plots to these games are starting to feel terribly predictable. Within the first 30 minutes of playing VLR i thought to myself: Either quark or luna was going to be someone behind the game simply because theyr the most innocent seeming , but theyr not going to be evil because theyr going to have some noble cause in the game (turns out its luna). And the main character clearly isnt going to be who he thinks he is, since they dont show you his picture after the beginning or play his voice.. and the other characters beat you over the head with the fact that he looks old from the very beginning… but for some reason sigma doesnt acknowledge it until the end.

     
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*bump*


I’m avoiding spoilers (so please spoiler-tag them!), but I just wanted to ask:

How do you guys keep track of what happened when during the game?

Everytime I reach an ending or “to be continued” or “game over”, I jump back to an earlier point in time to explore a new branch. But it’s starting to get confusing fast as I’m seldom sure of which events have already happened (and which haven’t) at the point I just jumped to.

I’ve started making my own flowchart, filled with key events, things that seemed important, and random thoughts (speculation, stuff that caught my attention, etc.).

I realize that anything important will get more than enough exposition (this is a Japanese visual novel after all, overexplaining things comes with the turf), but I prefer being completely “with it” while playing, and I don’t really feel like jumping back sooner than needed, just to repeat some past events…

So, how did you guys keep track of everything while playing??? Tongue




Also:
God, I hate betraying people… Meh

     

Last played: Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - abandoned | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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If I’m understanding correctly what I isually did was explore the betrayal/ally branches together until did the end without jumping to completely different branches. You can also fast forward events that already happened on another branch. And like you said, important stuff usually gets repeated a lot. I don’t think you’ll end up getting confused unless you stop playing for a big period and forget stuff.

And, yes, betraying feels wrong…

     
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Well, I’m not jumping to completely different branches, I just go to the last decision I made and pick something else there.
Basically, I started at the left-most branch of the in-game flowchart, and I’m (slowly) working my way through to the right.

I can already say this is going to be a LOOOOOooooooong playthrough for me, though.

I’ve already clocked 11 hours, and I’ve only gotten 4 rooms out of 16, and I’ve only reached 2 endings out of 24 so far. Actually, I’ve only reached just 1 ending, because one was a “to be continued” so I’m actually just at a lock there.
And my playthrough only ends when I’ve done ALL the rooms and ALL the endings (including all the bad ones)... Grin

     

Last played: Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - abandoned | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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TimovieMan - 04 April 2013 11:56 AM

And my playthrough only ends when I’ve done ALL the rooms and ALL the endings (including all the bad ones)... Grin

It’s not like the game gives you a choice about that anyway…

     

Currently playing:
Recently finished: Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (R) (4/5) | Detective Di (3.5/5) | Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (R) (4.5/5) | Heaven’s Vault (3/5) | Ace Attorney: Justice For All (R) (3.5/5) | Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (R) (4.5/5) | Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space (R) (4.5/5) | The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker (abandoned) (2/5) | Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (3.5/5) | The Sexy Brutale (R) (4/5)

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Kurufinwe - 04 April 2013 11:59 AM

It’s not like the game gives you a choice about that anyway…

Ah, didn’t know that. I thought it was like 999, where you really only needed two endings to complete the game…

     

Last played: Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - abandoned | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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As you’ve probably figured out by now, the game has 9 main branches (corresponding to the coloured doors you go through for the first two rounds). Each branch has one big ending, plus a couple of brief “dead-end” endings. While you can skip the dead-ends, the game’s “story lock” system makes sure that you see the 9 big endings, with the “true” ending always last.

     

Currently playing:
Recently finished: Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (R) (4/5) | Detective Di (3.5/5) | Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (R) (4.5/5) | Heaven’s Vault (3/5) | Ace Attorney: Justice For All (R) (3.5/5) | Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (R) (4.5/5) | Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space (R) (4.5/5) | The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker (abandoned) (2/5) | Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (3.5/5) | The Sexy Brutale (R) (4/5)

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Finally, I can sleep again… Tongue


Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward - 4 / 5

A worthy successor to 999 with a lot of improvements over it, but lacking the same intensity.


I will start off by saying that Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward is not just a spiritual successor to 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, but that it’s a direct sequel. While you will be perfectly able to get everything in this game without having played 999, you will miss some references and a lot of the emotional impact for several of the twists in this game.

Having said that, this game took a long hard look at the biggest criticism that the first game got, and went on to avoid most of the pitfalls. Where you had to replay large chunks of 999 over and over again (solving the same escape-the-room puzzles multiple times), you now get a handy flowchart that shows all the progress you’ve made and the different branches that your in-game decisions have lead you on, and you can jump to any point on the flowchart that you want. You will still be reading a lot more than you’ll be actually playing, but that’s inherent to the visual novel genre.

The graphics have gotten a 3D overhaul (yet they retained most of the charm of their 2D counterparts of 999), and the game makes good use of the functionality of the 3DS. The in-game memo system will definitely be a big help to you during some of the games’ puzzles. Also, this time around the game is voiced. In the European version you only get the original Japanese voices (so you don’t have the choice of picking the (American) English dubs), but the voice acting is great and I’d have picked the original voices anyway, had I been given the choice. A couple of the voice actors really manage to make their characters stand out. Especially Zero Jr. - the psychotic AI rabbit that’s controlling the game - and the mysterious ‘K’ (who wears full body armor) hit their marks…

While the premise of both games is the same (9 seemingly random strangers are kidnapped and locked in a big place where they need to solve a bunch of escape-the-room puzzles to ultimately escape through a door with the number ‘9’ on it, all the while placing their own lives at jeopardy), Virtue’s Last Reward adds a game of trust and betrayal in the mix. And your chances of escaping depend on the decisions you make: can you trust the other people in this game? Can they trust you?

Unfortunately this game falls victim to its own strength in this regard: as big of an improvement as the flowchart may be, it kills the tension for most of the decisions you make, since you can easily jump back and make a different decision instead. This weakened impact is seen throughout the game if you compare it to 999. Virtue’s Last Reward doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as 999 had and it doesn’t have the same chilling atmosphere (though that’s not for a lack of trying - Zero Jr. *will* creep you out and there’s plenty of death in the game). Consequently, the game lacks the same intensity its predecessor had.

Another difference is in the games’ approach to its plot twists. While 999 basically hit you with an atomic bomb at the end (or in this case: an ‘annihilation’ bomb *wink wink nudge nudge*), there is no single big twist in this game. Rather there are a huge bunch of smaller ones in Virtue’s Last Reward. You’ll be left guessing right up to the last minute, but when most of the bombs are dropped, the game will have lost some of its element of surprise. Quite a few of the plot twists will have been telegraphed from earlier on, especially if you already know how the writer built up 999. While the story is equally fantastical (and equally far-fetched) as that of its predecessor, and while the writing is top notch again (safe for some lame attempts at humour - a problem that was also present in 999 and that could be a result of the localization), overall the story has a lesser impact. You also need to consider that you won’t get full closure at the end of the game since the ‘true’ ending primarily sets up a third game in the Zero Escape series (but at least it does so perfectly)...

The escape-the-room sequences in this game are also a tad harder than they were in 999, especially since there is always an (optional) second solution to be found that’s just a little more difficult to attain. And as a final point I’d like to add that the game is also extremely lengthy (which means that, coupled with its addictive nature, you’re in for several sleepless nights). It took me a whopping 48 hours to complete it, which for an adventure game is simply massive!

In conclusion, the flowchart that was added solves the biggest problem the game’s predecessor had, but while the story is once again outstanding, it just misses some of the intensity that 999 had. Virtue’s Last Reward is a more than worthy successor, but for me personally it falls just a tad short of the original. It’s still a great game, though, and after the cliffhanger at the end I can only say: bring on the next Zero Escape!

     

Last played: Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - abandoned | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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I found a used copy for the PS VITA for $24 dollars in mint condition. I snapped it up. This one had 38 hours of play time recorded - so you do get your money’s worth with this game.

After playing it for a few hours, it is simply put:

The best adventure game I have played in 2013. Fabulous.

I do like the review posted, most reviews of this game are very positive with only a few negative ones (both official adventure gamer reviews of both VLR and 999 were only three stars and no aggies for either that I can recall).

Heart

     

I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Oh my, this is just too odd to pass up.  Apparently, the Japanese company releasing the game chose to promote it with an online flash game where you slap the jiggling breasts of the character Clover.  Gasp It’s unclear what if anything this is supposed to have in common with the actual game.  Links below are to the Kotaku article discussing this and another to the flash game itself.

Kotaku Article

Breast Slapping Game

WTF?

     
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Interplay - 17 May 2013 10:03 AM

Oh my, this is just too odd to pass up.  Apparently, the Japanese company releasing the game chose to promote it with an online flash game where you slap the jiggling breasts of the character Clover.  Gasp It’s unclear what if anything this is supposed to have in common with the actual game.  Links below are to the Kotaku article discussing this and another to the flash game itself.

Kotaku Article

Breast Slapping Game

WTF?


yeah WTf, is it possible to clear level 3, damn ...they want to either break our fingers or break mouse button.

     

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