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BEHOLD! The sequel to one of the best late-life DS games, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors is here! A brand new story, new characters (with some returning ones from the previous game) and puzzles galore, this sequel is a fantastic and very welcome addition to the 3DS library.
If you're ready for one of the most engrossing and engaging stories in the realm of video games, as well as clever puzzles and a unique gameplay progression complete with multiple endings depending on what you do, THIS IS THE GAME FOR YOU.
I was kind of hoping that Zero would make this thread (since it'd be pretty appropriate for him to do so - if you know the story of 999, I think you'll know what I'm talking about) but I'm not waiting any longer! Now is the time to discuss Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward!
Overall, the ending sat a little better with me than 999's. I think it was because the entire game focused on the more sci-fi elements (specifically, jumping to different decisions and realities) to the point where the ending still worked within the grander scheme of the story. While 999's sci-fi nature wasn't entirely unexpected (since much of the game mentions particular phenomena from the other characters), it still felt too jarring to me because of how logical/realistically-handled the rest of the story was. I know 999's ending is overall very popular, but it bothered me a bit.
That's not to say I thought VLR's was flawless. I think the game got into a weird habit near the end of getting TOO detailed about the timeline stuff. (END GAME SPOILERS) Akane tells Sigma every step of what he needs to do at at least two separate points in the ending(s), and each time they go back to that friggin' flowchart with the ABCD, we get a big ball of exposition and over-explanation, grinding the climax to a halt. I actually appreciate the general idea and thought the reason for the Nonary Game made enough sense to work, but geez. They should've streamlined some of that time-hopping at the end, it just got to be too much. Especially when you get an earful from Akane again as Kyle. And they completely lost me when Kyle was talking to Phi.
VLR put a lot of eggs in that basket near the end, but the stuff that sticks with me are the character-driven moments. Tenmyouji's last conversation with Kyle about Quark and Akane nearly brought me to tears. Luna's Ending is memorable not for the overly-detailed murder mystery explanation (which you hear TWICE during it), but for the heartbreaking way it ends.
And that blinking dot with the opening doors thing on the map was just sloooow. Why did they do that so often?
Clover...kinda sucked, actually. Especially after being one of my favorites in 999. Why was she so ditzy and strangely-dressed? It didn't feel like the same character.
Okay, that actually sums up my complaints with the game. Everything else was fantastic. The characters were--overall--great and well-developed. Tenmyouji, K, and Luna are all-stars that are my current favorites in the series. There was an insane amount of storytelling and most of it was very, very good--the mysteries kept piling up through all the paths making what could've been a repetitive game thoroughly fascinating for the full 40+ hours I played. The puzzles were a solid step up from 999's (although a couple were still a bit too obtuse). The humor, dialogue and writing were all better than 999, give or take a weird Phi line now and then. The voice acting was top-notch, really adding greatly to the character of the cast. Zero III had a fantastically-creative voice, I was thoroughly impressed. K and Dio had stellar performances as well, and Tenmyouji and Luna fit their characters perfectly.
I do miss the 2D art, but I thought the 3D stuff looked pretty good when you were talking to people head-on (but less good in the stills and cutscenes).
Phi's pose where her head is tilted sadly and her mouth looks like a dot "." was really funny-looking.
Good expansion of the 999 universe. We got a lot more information about what's going on, and the stakes have become very high. I loved the tiny detail of root beer floats being more valuable, rare and precious than the finest alcohol. That's a really terrific little world-building detail they threw in.
The AB game was intense, even with the concept that you kinda "have" to pick both paths.
Which reminds me--this is a great video game story, by which I mean you really couldn't tell this story outside of a game. When you go back and betray someone who betrayed you when you picked ally, and THEY pick ally, Sigma's complaint to them mirrors the player's: "You picked betray last time!" And of course, the character your speaking to has no idea what you're talking about, because there WAS no "last time" to them. This is all woven into the story and it's extremely clever. They really took advantage of the video game medium to tell this tale, and that gets big points from me.
All in all, Virtue's Last Reward is a wonderful game that I'd recommend to all. I'd give it a 9.3/10 and call it one of the best games on the 3DS.
Now to try out Zero Time Dilemma and see how this all ends...
So I just started this game...yep, feels like more 999 with surprisingly decent voice acting added. Got some quick questions:
-- Is it basically foolproof that you can get to the true ending without having to look up stuff online? I noticed there's a path guide thing in the menu.
-- Gold and silver files...Are the silver (obtained in Easy mode) and gold files (obtained in normal aka Hard mode) different from each other? Are they required to understand the full story? Might they SPOIL anything if I read them right away?
If you follow the flow chart and try out every possible choice throughout the adventure...yeah, it's "kinda" fool-proof that you can get the proper ending. It's been a while since I've played it, but I'm pretty sure I never looked up a FAQ or anything to help me to the end.
The Gold and Silver files are indeed different. I can't remember if they spoil anything or not. But the way these games are designed and paced, I don't recall anything being spoiled by reading these files. In fact, I'd encourage reading them.
Yeah, you'll be good--there's not really a way to screw up getting the endings provided you put the time into them.
As for the Gold/Silver files, I'm not sure if they're different, but I don't think so. They do unlock a sort of bonus "epilogue" sequence, so I'd suggest going for them! Although I'm not sure if you need Gold specifically for that, or just Silver. (you can kinda cheese the game a bit by beating a stage on Easy, then just going back in Hard and using the password you got before to open the safe and get the Gold file)
Your last question is a little trickier to answer. The gold files tend to elaborate on plot points that you're about to see. My wife was able to guess one or two small twists (that occurred about an hour after clearing the room) based on reading the gold files first, so use a bit of discretion.
@TriforceBun Yeah, I opened up one of the gold files that had a brief note about the TWO MILKMEN GO COMEDY graffiti before the scene where it appears. It wasn't a huge spoiler or anything like that, but it did make me think twice about reading them from then on. I guess I'll wait until I'm done with an ending before I read the Gold files I acquired in its path? That seems like a safe approach.
Weird. I went through the whole game on hard, so maybe I'm just getting it wrong from never seeing that side. But I thought I remembered them saying that if you played through on easy you wouldn't get the gold file?...But they give you the password for it anyway?
Ahh, I forgot about silver files. That does ring a bell.
I'm guessing they included them so they didn't lock interesting info behind 'hard mode', but I can't help but wonder if a better approach would have been to include the Silver files with the escape reward gained from the first password.
I've been playing for about five hours and got to the end of one of the Flow paths, where I assumed I'd get an ending...only for like a dozen more points to show up ahead of me! At this rate I'll be lucky to get my first ending in under ten hours! And based on the chart, there's gotta be like 20+ different end-points! And the save file has like ten of those blocks that denote special endings (assuming they're the same as in 999)!
As much as I really enjoyed 999, it was feeling a bit tedious in the latter parts, especially with all the repetition. I'm optimistic that things will stay engaging in VLR, especially with that handy chart, but man...I think I'm gonna need a nice long break afterwards before I get to Zero Time Dilemma.
Most of the paths don't add extra "points" near the end. That said, it does take a while to get one of the official endings in the file, but you start collecting them pretty quickly in the latter half of the game. If you want to know how long it took me, it was about 45 hours. It's definitely longer than 999, and you don't even repeat puzzle rooms!
I got to a To Be Continued "dead" end. I have to log in to the console with the lion and the sun. Sigma was all "I know I've seen this somewhere before" and I did feel like I remembered something fishy...but I went back and checked, and what I was thinking of didn't seem like a fit. I'm guessing I just have to try another story path to get the login/password.
I thought the same thing, could've sworn I'd seen something that would work there and wondered if I was just supposed to figure it out, but nope, it's very obvious when you're given the solution to that problem.
Wow, that was awesome. But I'm not sure if I fully understand how the timeline logic works. So, Zero infects Sigma with the virus, and then that causes the outbreak of Mavericks, and then the events of the Mega Man X series happen?