Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is a memorable and enthralling sci-fi/horror adventure that will have you glued to the small screen.
You also make choices throughout the course of the game that determine the path the story takes during your playthrough, some of which can be truly agonizing. The Ambidex game challenges you to put your trust in the other in-game characters, whom you can choose to either ally with for attempted mutual benefit or betray for increased personal gain. Each choice you make leads to a different branching story path with a different set of rooms and revelations. Unlike Nine Hours, where you had to constantly restart the game to see new paths, Virtue's Last Reward gives you a flowchart that lets you jump back to previous events and choices at any time. It's a great addition that allows you to go back to critical points without playing through the same puzzles over and over--and in order to solve the game's most pervasive mysteries, you need to take several different paths and see many possible endings. Thankfully, handy auto-text and skip functions exist to let you fast-forward through dialogue you may have already seen.
In fact, the whole interface of Virtue's Last Reward is an improvement. Notes you find containing hints to puzzle solutions are stored in a handy file, and a touch-screen memo function can be called upon at any time to write down and recall your own discoveries. Compared to the Vita version, navigation is a little bit tougher, mostly due to the smaller touch-screen size. The lower resolution also makes it harder to see tiny details, though playing on a 3DS XL alleviates this somewhat. One big advantage the 3DS version has, however, is the added precision of the stylus, which allows more accurate examination of smaller objects in the environments.
There are a few minor quibbles with the game, however. Occasionally Sigma suffers from some unexplained personality shifts, going from dead serious to flirtatious and jokey at the drop of a hat. While these shifts don't affect the story greatly, they do get a little bit jarring. Although all of the supporting characters in the novel sequences are fully voiced, the dialogue in the escape portions is the all-too-familiar sound of text-printing blips and squeaks. The implementation of 3D effects is rather haphazard--room escape portions of the game are featured in full 3D, but many other scenes and character models are almost completely flat.
Finally, the way you obtain the bonus archive files that detail some of the game's backstory can be annoying. Each escape sequence has a safe that can be opened with two code combinations: one gives a key to leave, while the other gives a special file containing several archives. Oftentimes the latter is considerably more difficult to acquire, since it typically involves finding a very obtuse second solution to an existing puzzle. You may find yourself torn between leaving a room and proceeding with the story or trying to figure out how to get the extra files; if you leave and try to get the files later, you may be stuck doing the whole escape portion again. Further, you get only a portion of the available bonus files in each room if you play on easy mode, though thankfully, entering the same password to the safe upon revisiting the room on hard difficulty coughs up the missing materials with no effort required.
Among the many games released each year, there aren't many that leave you contemplating and debating their story and worldviews long after the final set of credits has rolled. Virtue's Last Reward takes its place proudly among this crop of games. As fun and challenging as the brainteasers in the room escapes are, they're merely dressing for the fantastic writing, memorable characters, and stunning plot twists that could only be presented successfully in a game format. This is an adventure that anyone who appreciates quality storytelling should not miss.
For this reason, I'm glad there are GOTY awards, it highlights amazing games that might've otherwise been overlooked by the general public. If it wasn't for the 2010 awards, I would've never heard of the brilliant Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, also another amazing story driven game.
loved 999 and loved this one - currently replaying it - wanna get all endings and know it alllll:D
this one is better than the first due to the flowchart - more endings and the fact that u dont need to replay rooms u done - after u finish the game u just jump in the flowchart to where u wanna continue and make another choice - wish the first had it like that too
Woohoo, this game is out in Australia and I'm playing it right now! I'll escape the nonary game once again!
Be careful on the 3DS version. There's a bug that can corrupt your save if you save in the PEC room. I did the left and right path first so I was 22 hours in when I got the room and lost everything. Apparently the bug can happen if you save in other puzzle rooms but it's pretty much mainly the PEC.
@skelly1331 I have this tic that forces me to save obsessively, impulsively, and instinctively. Even after reading about the horror that is the save glitch, I'd accidentally save in every single room, but have had no problems with save corruption. That said, I only got my game a week back, so some of the newer copies may not have this glitch, fortunately.
@skelly1331 thanks for notifying me
I loved this game from start to finish. 999 was a great game and this one is a very worthy sequel to it. I can't wait for the next game in the series and it's a definite pre order from me without question. I'm with PFS1337 on this, I do hope this does very well on the 3ds because I want more of these games on the 3ds! The story telling is amazing so if you haven't played it and like puzzle type games this one is a good pick.
ARRRGH! THIS GAME IS STILL NOT OUT IN AUSTRALIA!. I am dying to play this game. I actually bought my 3DS mainly for this game! Lucky you guys got it first. I envy you!
This game is amazing, sadly I haven't seen too many users talking about the 3DS version, and a lot talking about it for the Vita version which is odd because 999 was originally DS exclusive. I sure hope it does well on 3DS because I love it on 3DS and can't wait for volume 3.