Hidden Gem of the Week: Virtue’s Last Sleep
Welcome back to another addition of Hidden Gem of the Week. Last week I talked about the amazing visual novel that was 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. This week I want to talk about the amazing sequel for 999 available for the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward. Developed by Chunsoft and released February 16, 2012 in Japan and October 23, 2012 in America, Virtue’s Last Reward is a visual novel centered around a group of 9 people and their struggles to escape another one of Zero’s Nonary Games.
The plot of Virtue’s Last Reward revolves around the character of Sigma this time around, as opposed to Junpei of the original 999. Sigma is kidnapped on December 25, 2028 and awakens in an elevator shaft with a woman who calls herself Phi. From there it’s a journey of discovery as to why he was kidnapped and why must he play Nonary Game Ambidex Edition. The concept of the choices you make are based on the prisoner’s dilemma where you can choose to ally with or betray people. Once you reach 9 points, you win. But if you fall below 0, your life is forfeit. So you must always be on your toes as to what your opponent will choose. The characters in Virtue’s Last Reward are well written once again, with a couple of them being familiar faces from 999. In order to fully enjoy Virtue’s Last Reward, players should play through the events of 999. Several mentions of the previous game are found throughout Virtue’s Last Reward. Also without doing any spoilers, one of the big reveals loses its potency if you have not played 999. Like its predecessor 999, Virtue’s Last Reward is also a visual novel with an emphasis on storytelling over gameplay, but all aspects of this game are better this time around. Introduced in Virtue’s Last Reward is the flow system, which allows you to visually see which paths you can take to get a different aspect of the story. Not only is it incredibly helpful in getting through the 20+ endings to this game, but the game also smartly incorporates it into the gameplay itself. I won’t give it away, but when I found out that the flow system was an integral part of the game, I was blown away!
Also this time around there is voice acting to accompany the majority of novel sections throughout the game. Players can choose between English or Japanese audio tracks. Also unlike in 999 where the majority of puzzles had to be replayed in order to advance the story in Virtue’s Last Reward, players only have to escape the room once and that puzzle is done for the game. A cool thing added to the puzzle rooms this time around is the option to do easy mode, where the other characters give away answers if you are stuck. If you do utilize easy mode though you cannot unlock all the “secret gold” files located in each of the puzzle rooms. The cool thing about these files is that they reveal info about the game, characters, concept art, and various other things. I made it a mission to beat the puzzles on hard mode just so I could unlock all the gold files. Also they brought back the skip feature for novel sections already been seen, as there are some repeat scenarios throughout some novel sections.
Overall I had a great experience playing this game, and it definitely deserves to be checked out. It is available on Amazon and other places online. I would definitely recommend playing it. Until next time…..”Let’s get ready to rock… Nonary Game Ambidex Edition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a nice betrayal.” (Also a quick note, there is a fatal crash error in the 3DS version, if the player saves in some of the puzzle rooms, that wipes their memory. To avoid this, save during the novel sections. I did and had no problems but I have read online it exists.)