Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward



The players.
The players.

Although visual novels and graphic adventure titles do not fall squarely into our regular coverage, Aksys Games was kind enough to show us a bit of Virtue's Last Reward for the PlayStation Vita. For those who have played 999: 9 Hours, 9 Person, 9 Doors, the world and atmosphere should be somewhat familiar to you, and for those who have never had the opportunity to try Aksys' previous release: well, what the heck are you doin' reading this impression! GO BUY IT.

But I digress. If this were an impression about 999, I could go on for hours. However, this is about Virtue, which in itself is shaping up to be its own beast of a game. When I began the demo, I awoke in an elevator with a mysterious girl. We soon learned that we had been enrolled in the new Notary Game: Ambidex Version (whatever that is!). We were given this information by a creepy, perky, over-the-top rabbit who also had the pleasure of telling us that the elevator would collapse if we did not solve this puzzle. Such an accommodating rabbit, isn't he?

Taking on the role of the cheeky college student, Sigma, players see the surroundings from a first person perspective. On the Vita platform players are able to touch the environments and explore their location fully. The game also offers two forms of difficulty: Easy, which allows players to gain more hints, and Hard where no extra help is provided during these puzzle sections. While there's no set time limit, the game does provide an atmosphere that does not feel relaxed, and if anything, feels far more frantic because the consequences of failure are so great. On top of being able to touch and move around the environments, whoever you are partnered with will also provide colourful commentary as you attempt to solve puzzles.

The masked man in your nightmares.
The masked man in your nightmares.

During my daring escape from the elevator, it felt like there was more than one puzzle in the works. In one situation I had to find screwdriver bits of different colours and shapes to open up an elevator vent. Searching high and low within the environments is key to progress, though it can also easily stall situations when items are teeny-tiny. Still, making use of your surroundings and reading clues carefully is what will either make or break one's enjoyment of the game. Virtue is certainly one of those games where it has the power to make you feel both intelligent and absolutely stupid at the same time.

Virtue's Last Reward is scheduled for an October release on both the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. For those who are fans of 999, the story seems as twisted, and even a bit more graphic than what has been seen before. The localization is also showing tons of promise, as it continues to add that extra layer of creepiness that most horror games fail to provide. With over twenty-four possible endings, there's tons of replay value to be had. Even if the game isn't an RPG, it is certainly one worth checking out if you are into graphic adventure games. I mean, good people gotta die sometime, right?

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·Fall 2012

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