Aisha Anime reviews Rising Star Games, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
The game is actually a sequel to Nintendo DS exclusive 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors in the Zero Escape series. You can play VLR as a standalone game but I highly recommend getting hold of 999 if you can as it has an incredible story, and adds more depth to the second game.
The game starts as you wake up in an elevator with irremovable watches and leave your fate in the hand of a group of strangers including a rabbit. Nice. Using teamwork you must work together to escape a nightmare bunker where the rabbit Zero is keeping you captive. Given the choices to trust or betray them in hopes of saving your own skin. Frankly I loved the twisted story you’re thrown into, giving suspense and lots of puzzles, not quite Professor Layton style, this involves finding informational clues and taking notes.
The fun part of playing it on the 3DS is that you can use the touch screen to examine objects and interact with the various challenges. The puzzles vary in difficulty but have no fear you can change the difficulty during play from hard to easy. Once it’s on easy you can’t revert back and you will lose the chance to find interesting story clues. The game keeps track of which puzzles you’ve solved on hard though, and I think you should to enjoy the game more, what was the point in playing the game if you’re going to skip bits?
Now let’s talk about the elegant visuals, it’s not too far off from the beauty of Dangonrompa and that’s fantastic for how old this game is. The fantastic voicework and music tied it all together, considering all the swearing I was pleased it was in Japanese audio though a few Japanese students on the train looked over and laughed whilst I was playing! This was one of my first visual novel games but mixed with the “Escape” sequences.
Annoying bunny Zero rabbits on about the “Nonary Game.” This basically revolves around the watches and the number 9. The nine people must try to find a way to escape their prison, or they are trapped their forever or wind up dead. Yes this game is neither for the faint hearted nor for younger players.
Once a team enters a chromatic door, an escape sequence commences and you won’t be able to leave the room till you solve the puzzles to obtain key cards and enter another Novel section. 9 get’s you out and 0 means certain death. Their bracelets are equipped to inject them with two different drugs, causing them to drop dead. Lovely!
Since numbers are crucial to this game, trust becomes an issue, especially when one of the nine players might be Zero himself. The Robot? The riskee chick? The old dude? Who knows! This game allows you to split into different pairs or monos. In total there are 24 possible endings to this game, with nine being more important than others. To help figure the different routes, you have a map or flow chart in game.
Virtue’s Last Reward is a visual novel giving you strategy and suspense. The cut scenes are attractive enough to keep you interested in the varied characters. Both the music and voice acting are top notch. The soundtrack fits the theme of the game perfectly with moody undertones and keeps you on your toes while the voices have so much emotion and dramatic pauses – I love dramatic pauses! Only negative was the 3DS version’s infamous save-corrupting bug which made the Vita version more desirable but then no touch screen fun. Also I felt they didn’t make the game 3D friendly but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game.
This game scores a high 9/10
You can order it online from Rising Star Games for either Nintendo 3DS or PSP Vita, either version is totally worth it.