Are my expectations too high?

#1 Edited by GalacticGravy (548 posts) -

So I began playing this game recently, after Patrick talked it up. I just got out of the kitchen, after solving a puzzle involving an oven door. I know exactly what it is. It's a novel with a few point and click puzzles thrown in. I think it's a great idea. That's not what I have a problem with.

It's the writing.

Jesus, is this game poorly written. I haven't seen dialogue this bad since I was 15 and reading fan fiction. The game drags in the worst ways. Personally, I am a slower reader, so I don't find the pace of the text bad but this is what bothers me:

You pick up [item].

Lotus: Hey maybe we can use that.

Santa: What are you talking about that's stupid.

June: *giggles* yeah that sounds like a good idea.

Santa: WHAAAA???

Lotus: It's a great idea I don't know what you're talking about.

Santa: Whatever, lady.

June: ;dskjihnbdsljfbdsljfhbsadpjfiupsiaugilgfjuhpairenfhgliujrhgflijri;jglijunalksjngNOTHING I SAY MAKES SENSE AND IM OBVIOUSLY EVIL OR SOMEHTING

And so on...

And so on...

And so on...

No information was conveyed. Maybe tension between some characters? But this is a really ham-fisted way of doing it.

These people never shut the hell up. All I did was pick up an item. You don't have to tell me that I picked up an item. It's a key?

"HEY I WONDER IF IT OPENS A DOOR? HEY YEAH THAT'S A GOOD IDEA MAYBE WE SHOULD FIND A DOOR. YEAH LET'S LOOK FOR A DOOR OR MAYBE A DRESSER OR MAYBE A CABINET."

No shit. It's a fucking key. It opens something. I just feel that every time I do anything people annoyingly chime in to "help" when any person with a brain stem already knows what to do.

If this is bothering me should I continue to play? Do the characters ever end up making any sense or paying off? I feel like without liking ANY of the characters this super special surprise ending won't mean a god damn thing to me, and I should quit while I'm ahead. Agree?

#2 Posted by Counterclockwork87 (665 posts) -

Maybe wait until the end? I haven't played it but it seems like Patrick wasn't enjoying it until he got near the end and used a FAQ.

#3 Posted by BeachThunder (11927 posts) -

I'm just going to say that things change a lot when you get close to the true ending.

Anyway, you need to really invest yourself into the game to get something out of it - you need to play through the game multiple times to get the final ending; however, skipping through dialogue is horribly clunky. But, like I said you need to put time and effort into really finishing the game; unfortunately, if you're not willing to do that, then I think you should stop.

#4 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Have you ever seen an anime or played a Japanese game? That kind of dialogue is usual in these types of games. If you don't find that appealing than you should stop playing.

#5 Posted by Bocam (3743 posts) -

Welcome to the world of "badly" translated Japanese writing.

#6 Posted by BlackLagoon (1429 posts) -

I suppose you'd like Virtue's Last Reward more, since you only get the "helpful comments" from others if you turn on easy mode. Anyway, I dunno, I didn't really mind the dialog that much, and my focus increasingly became the plot and the mysteries as I got deeper into it. Everything else just faded to the background as I had to continue on and find out if my theories were correct.

#7 Posted by GalacticGravy (548 posts) -

I guess I'll keep playing for a bit. At least I should beat the game once.

#8 Posted by CrazyBagMan (842 posts) -

@GalacticGravy said:

I guess I'll keep playing for a bit. At least I should beat the game once.

After getting the true ending last night, I'll say you've only beaten it once you get that ending and not just in a completionist sense. Also, don't play the game for the writing, play it for the story that the writing is telling.

#9 Posted by oldenglishC (957 posts) -

The true ending is super dumb in the best kind of way. Doing the same puzzles over and over again gets old fast but you should stick with it.

#10 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4496 posts) -

Beat this game this morning. Got true ending.

Terribly confused.

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#11 Edited by AndrewB (7613 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo said:

Beat this game this morning. Got true ending.

Terribly confused.

Explain? About what part? (obviously spoiler tags...)

And to the OP, the mundane dialog during puzzles is mostly pretty dumb. They want you to solve the problem but they throw hints over the most mindless things, yes. It's the between sections... the breaks in the puzzles and the "visual novel" sections that make the story what it is. If you play through the entire thing and get the true ending and are not impressed, I'll eat my hat.

#12 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

I played about half an hour and stopped for the same reason. I was playing it during a long car ride, and I started reading it out loud to the family. Much laughing ensued. the writing has no redeeming features. It contains WAY too much exposition, and has zero artistry. I hope it's just a result of terrible translation.

What really bugged me was that they wrote things that I could very clearly see in the pictures. I think that's offensive to both the artists and my intelligence.

What really broke it for me was a line roughly like this:

"He stepped through the door and suddenly stopped, shocked by what he saw."

It was a staircase. A nice staircase mind, but a staircase. I was expecting, like, a fucking Ferrari. Or a demon juggling Ferraris. Not a fucking staircase.

#13 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4496 posts) -

@AndrewB:

Zero/present-Akane/past-Akane. Who is who? Who exists where? etc etc. I feel like that whole thing was explained in a rather pointlessly convoluted way and, now, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around who exists in what reality and stuff like that.
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#14 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19336 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo: Not convoluted in the least. I'm sorry you couldn't follow it, but it's funny how there are people who complain about its dumb writing, but when shit gets real others find it hard to follow even though it explains everything.

Zero is Akane is past Akane. They're all the same person. It's what the whole thing's about. Morphogenetic fields.

#15 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1684 posts) -

@GalacticGravy: 999 had some issues that weren't really all that glaring until VLR came out, so at the time I think that people were excited to play a video game that told an interesting story that pays off with an insane ending. Hell, 999 was on my top 10 list the year that I came out. But yes, since then, it has been hyped to shit.

The "hint" dialogue that you bring up during the puzzle sections can be a little in your face, luckily it is optional in the sequel, and I never turned it on. I never found the writing in 999 bad enough to stop playing, the mysteries of the plot always kept me going. Some of the descriptive text was a little too much "purple prose" for me occasionally, but that's the only specific complaint of mine I remember. To the game's credit, that worked sometimes; the long description of the the number 9 man after he gets exploded to bits near the start of the game made me pretty queasy.

But when it comes down to it, 999 is a visual novel, so there's a bunch of reading. If you aren't enjoying the writing, I'd say drop it unless you are planning on trying VLR. In that case, maybe try and power through 999. VLR pretty much improves everything top to bottom: sharper dialogue and writing, no having to repeat puzzles, an even more batshit crazy ending (!!!).

If you do give up on 999, and want a really-well written visual novel for the DS, may I recommend Hotel Dusk? (If you haven't played it yet, that is.) The plot is not as crazy, but it has some great characterization and writing. My only criticism is probably the fact that after every chapter, there is essentially a quiz where the main character is gathering his thoughts and summarizing everything that's happened. It comes off a little condescending, since it's essentially a reading comprehension test. Although occasionally, I would get a question wrong and be thankful for it :P

#16 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4496 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@BabyChooChoo: Not convoluted in the least. I'm sorry you couldn't follow it, but it's funny how there are people who complain about its dumb writing, but when shit gets real others find it hard to follow even though it explains everything.

Zero is Akane is past Akane. They're all the same person. It's what the whole thing's about. Morphogenetic fields.

...

...ok, well, anyone else wanna help me out here?

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#17 Edited by AndrewB (7613 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo said:

@AndrewB:

Zero/present-Akane/past-Akane. Who is who? Who exists where? etc etc. I feel like that whole thing was explained in a rather pointlessly convoluted way and, now, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around who exists in what reality and stuff like that.

Yes, Zero is Akane. Akane was one of the candidate children abducted in the past and forced to go through the Nonary game in an attempt to unlock her power to access the Morphogenetic Field and communicate with other universes. In this timeline/universe, she was killed in the fire because she was unable to connect with her pair, Junpei. Junpei being... "you" of course, in present day time.

The second Nonary game was created to save Akane and the others in the past. The whole game is actually young Akane's viewpoint of her seeing through the eyes of Junpei. She is able to see all of the various outcomes in store for Junpei, and uses that information and other information that Junpei learns in these other timelines to guide him down the correct path by passing on information he shouldn't otherwise know. Junpei, in turn, is able to connect with the Akane of the past and help her solve the final puzzle which saves her from her fate. This is why the last puzzle requires you to turn the DS upside-down: because your viewpoint has changed. You are, for the first time, actually playing as Junpei.

I'm actually still not clear on how Akane is able to be a part of the Nonary game in the present having died herself. I believe it is a time paradox. Because ultimately, she never died. There are moments in the game where she collapses and I believe these are moments where Junpei is on an incorrect path, which is ultimately going to lead to her death.

Edit: fucking love how the Giant Bomb text editor duplicated my spoiler text OUTSIDE of the spoiler tags initially.

#18 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19336 posts) -

@AndrewB: Nicely put. There was also that 999 translated spoiler interview from the writer that should explain some more that I can't seem to find right now.

#19 Posted by TooWalrus (13197 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo: I finished the game earlier this week, this was my understanding (and @FluxWaveZ, you seem to have a pretty good grasp of this so correct me if I'm wrong.) Young Akane lives because she was able to see the solution to the puzzle through Junpei's eyes, through the use of the Morphogenetic field. Because she saw his situation so vividly, she was able to grow up and re-create that situation by becoming Zero and kidnapping everyone with the help of her brother, Santa. She also used that opportunity to get revenge on the creators of the first Nonery game.

#20 Edited by AndrewB (7613 posts) -

By the way, I fucking love 999, but I'm not ignorant of its flaws. The puzzles aren't fun. Maybe the first time you play them, they're okay, but you have to play them multiple times over to get all of the endings, and that sucks. Also, some of the writing (or, I believe, the translation work and not the original writing) is kind of bad. Mostly, as I said, the incidental parts. Nothing is lost in the overall story, which is brilliant, and yet another example of storytelling much more interestingly told through the guise of a video game.

The good thing is, VLR fixes all of the flaws except for the stupid "incidental puzzle room" dialog. You're still going to get stupid hints about the most obvious things, and then, if you're playing on hard, you'll be begging for them and they won't ever come.

#22 Posted by Bocam (3743 posts) -

The translation for VLR, while not as bad as 999's, is still fucking terrible in some parts. Remember11 is still Uchikoshi's best story.

#23 Posted by Brackynews (4083 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo: That's what I like about the scene where Seven crumples, as his brain tries to process what's going on. Dis shit can't be real, but I just saw it... That's a proxy for the player.

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