13 Points on Zero Time Dilemma

User Rating: 7 | Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma VITA

1. Long story short: this is the worst game of the series. 999 is much better than Virtue's Last Reward, which is slightly better than this.

2. Gameplay in this is split between endless cut scenes and escape the room puzzles.

3. I mean, seriously, endless cut scenes. You play for over two hours before you get to your first puzzle. The end of the game is a similar scenario.

4. One of the so-called problems w/ 999 is that you have to replay from the start over and over. In playing these last two games, that is revealed to be its strength. In 999, you don't really have any idea where you are in the progression of the game. It makes you wonder if you're finally gonna get there w/ each pass through. It's tense and exciting. In the last two games, it's just like, "Yeah, you're not even close. Here's a diagram of the whole thing that tells you exactly when it ends."

5. This has a lot of characters from previous games but for some reason they seem to have given their personalities a complete remodel such that they might as well be anyone. At least two of three new characters are resoundingly unlikable and it is never really clear why they are there at all.

6. One mechanic of this game is you have several decision points where the plot splinters out in different directions. It is apparent from the get-go that you are going to have to take every single one of these paths so eventually you just start of get working on the chore of going through every outcome rather than excitedly finding out what happens if you do what you think should be done.

7. Normally I prefer the Japanese voice acting when given the option but I kind of liked the English voice acting in this. This is more because I liked the English acting better than I normally do than because the Japanese acting was worse than I expect.

8. If you are a pathological subtitle reader and dialog skipper like I am, this game will drive you nuts. The option to skip through the dialog once you have read the subtitles is disabled by default and once you enable it, it is set up so you are forever accidentally skipping random lines of dialog. Furthermore, when you have have to replay scenes you've already gone through--and you have to do this a lot--you cannot skip the whole thing at once but have to go mashing a button to get through line by line.

9. The plot in this is convoluted to say the least. Ultimately, it is pretty clear how everything fits together though and is a semi-satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

10. Puzzle rooms were a bit disappointing. They were solidly designed w/ very little of the just-try-some-random-thing of adventure games from the bad old days but none of them felt terribly satisfyin. There were also relatively few of them. It seems to lack especially a final, extra difficult puzzle in the end game.

11. There is a character in this named Carlos w/ a sister named Maria. He has blond hair and green eyes. This is the kind of well-thought-out character you can expect from Zero Time Dilemma.

12. I think I have liked the graphics less and less as the series has gone on. I preferred the flatter, more cartoony style of 999 to VLR. I am into the attempt at full animated cut scenes in this one but the animation just seems to be done so poorly they might as well have skipped it.

13. I confess, I expected to be disappointed so it is not surprising that I was. It is a truly unique series and I recommend it to anyone who likes playing games. Just start at the first one.