How does it feel if one day you were kidnapped, woke up in a place with people you do not know, then suddenly you are forced to follow a game to risk your life and your freedom as well as others? Yup, this is not a synopsis of the latest Saw movie, but rather a visual novel game with puzzle seasoning entitled Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (hereinafter referred to as VLR). This is a game made by Chunsoft indirect sequel of 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is also made Chunsoft and never release on Nintendo DS in 2010.
The above sentence illustrates a major theme in the VLR: betrayal. Gamers play as a student named Sigma is kidnapped while home from college. When he realized, he woke up in the elevators are locked together with a woman named Phi. They both turned out to have the same thing and do not know by whom or why they were kidnapped.
Not finished answering the questions, on a computer screen appeared the figure of a rabbit named Zero III who warned that if do not want to die, they have to find a way out of the elevator as quickly as possible. Coming out, it turns out they are in a warehouse along with seven other people who are not known. Seven people it was Dio, Tenmyouji, Quark, Alice, Clover, Luna, and, K. Zero III reappeared in a display and told that they were selected to participate in a game called Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition. The game is aimed at collecting 9 points to open the exit door numbered 9. But this game is not as easy as it sounds because it involves life and death as well as eight other Sigma. As Gamemaster, Zero III has exacerbated the situation by stating that Zero is really on the Sigma and friends. Who exactly is Zero III? And what is the purpose of Nonary Game itself?
Like other visual novels, VLR focus on stories with a lot of dialogue and explanation to answer the question in the minds of gamers who play them. Gamers will certainly be a lot to read / hear the conversation than action shooting people like in-game action. So as the developer Chunsoft carefully create a character and plot that can make gamers feel at home to play the VLR in a long time. Surely as a typical visual novel, there are many options as well (twenty-four) ending that can be chosen by the gamer.
In addition to the theme of betrayal, Chunsoft slipped sci-fi theme dressed in quantum mechanics, the superposition principle, as well as the parallel world VLR which makes the story more exciting to follow. In the beginning I also briefly mentioned VLR is an indirect sequel of 999. Two of 999 characters reappear here and there are some flashbacks that tell the events of 999. But those who have played 999 need not fear, because the story is easy to follow although VLR does not play 999. For me personally, Chunsoft very satisfactory performance in making me linger to find out the ultimate fate Sigma et al.
To add variety in play, Chunsoft incorporate puzzle elements in the gameplay VLR. Like the 999, gamers will be locked in a room and can only get out if combining scattered clues and apply the instructions to complete the puzzle. VLR puzzle in a nutshell is a combination of puzzle logic and basic mathematics such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The puzzle difficulty varies widely, from the easiest to the make your hair curly. If you ‘hit the wall’, gamers can change the level of difficulty from Hard to Easy makes partner Sigma provides more clues even answer of puzzle faced. Gamers are also given the memo feature on the 3DS touch screen to write or just counting the instructions that are not contained in the archive.
Upon successful completion of the puzzle, so gamers will get the key for the file and exit. Existence of the file is very important, because in addition to the info to clarify the storyline, gamers without particular file could not continue the way a particular story. Sometimes gamers will get a ‘to be continued’ in the middle of the story. This can only be solved by getting a certain file in the other story options.
To facilitate gamers, Chunsoft provide Flowchart features that can be seen and selected so that gamers do not have to repeat the story from the beginning. Gamers simply select a certain point to continue the storyline desired. But if gamers want to play from the beginning, skip feature is provided so that gamers can shorten the dialogue and the story.
And the last gameplay element that is very simple and reflect the theme of betrayal VLR is chosen to be a friend or a betrayal. After completing the puzzle, gamers will be faced with this choice. Although simple, but these two choices determine the direction in which the story can gamers. And if one chose, gamers can get the game over early in the game.
From all the above positive side, the graph is a weak point VLR. Different than the 999, Chunsoft has now decided to use full 3D models with 2D artwork in several events. Models for the characters themselves look less detail in the animation is a bit stiff when in action, it looks like the first generation PS2 game. Variations are also less varied background with some places that often look exactly alike. But when viewed from Chunsoft track record, they are rarely spawn game with graphs ‘wow’, so that made me not expect fancy graphics when playing VLR.
Music in support of VLR quite mysterious atmosphere through the effect of ambient and techno. And the purist can also calm the presence of dual Japanese and English dub. Voiced and voice actor who is present has a name that certainly no stranger to the world of anime and video games. From the Japanese call it Rie Kugimiya (Full Metal Alchemist ~ Alphonse Elric) and Atsuko Tanaka (Ghost in the Shell Motoko Kusanagi ~). And of the British call it Laura Bailey (Catherine ~ Catherine) and Karen Strassman (Persona 3 ~ Aegis). All the voice actors portray 10 characters in the VLR very well, so it helps to cover the shortfall suffered by the sector chart.