Zero Escape: VLR Demo Impressions

Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

So the demo for Virtue's Last Reward just came out today for the Vita and I finished it. There were two sections to it: the "Novel" section and the "Escape" section.

Playing the Novel section first and referring to my memory of 999, the first thing that I noticed was how nice the 3D models looked. The presentation overall is quite nice, with the environments and the music being appropriately atmospheric. The voice acting sounded great (especially Zero III's), however it was weird when characters were actually voiced and talking to Sigma (the main character) while he simply responded with typical abstract text sounds.

The menu system has a lot to it, but one thing I would have liked is if the text log wasn't buried in it and could be accessed simply with a single button press. I often like to look back on the log in text heavy games like this and having to tap the menu button and then having to tap the log is irritating compared to what most games do which is just pressing a button to have it appear.

The Novel sequence ended at a bit of a weird spot, so I was glad that the Escape sequence took place immediately after the first one. This sequence is basically just solving puzzles and exploring, which is what players should expect to do in this game just like in 999.

Flicking one's finger to control the camera is a real bad experience. It was imprecise and generally unresponsive, as I couldn't tell if camera control was too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Using the rear bumpers if one wants precise movement is definitely the way to go and, to an extent, the left analog stick can be a more precise alternative to touching objects on-screen (though the cursor is also a bit floaty). This makes me wonder if the game would control much better with the 3DS and its stylus.

Other than the technical stuff, the story's interesting. I like Zero III's personality compared to the original Zero, who only had his mysterious identity going for him and, without that, being generally forgettable. Also something I found interesting and, maybe it's just me, but Junpei in 999 was a pretty smart dude based on the dialogue he had with other characters while Sigma seems like an idiot (or maybe he's just uncultured) in comparison. Not having even heard of Schrödinger's cat is an example of this, with Phi (his female partner) even making a remark that it'd be hard to find someone who doesn't know what that is.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I'm looking forward to playing the full game later this month.

#1 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

So the demo for Virtue's Last Reward just came out today for the Vita and I finished it. There were two sections to it: the "Novel" section and the "Escape" section.

Playing the Novel section first and referring to my memory of 999, the first thing that I noticed was how nice the 3D models looked. The presentation overall is quite nice, with the environments and the music being appropriately atmospheric. The voice acting sounded great (especially Zero III's), however it was weird when characters were actually voiced and talking to Sigma (the main character) while he simply responded with typical abstract text sounds.

The menu system has a lot to it, but one thing I would have liked is if the text log wasn't buried in it and could be accessed simply with a single button press. I often like to look back on the log in text heavy games like this and having to tap the menu button and then having to tap the log is irritating compared to what most games do which is just pressing a button to have it appear.

The Novel sequence ended at a bit of a weird spot, so I was glad that the Escape sequence took place immediately after the first one. This sequence is basically just solving puzzles and exploring, which is what players should expect to do in this game just like in 999.

Flicking one's finger to control the camera is a real bad experience. It was imprecise and generally unresponsive, as I couldn't tell if camera control was too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Using the rear bumpers if one wants precise movement is definitely the way to go and, to an extent, the left analog stick can be a more precise alternative to touching objects on-screen (though the cursor is also a bit floaty). This makes me wonder if the game would control much better with the 3DS and its stylus.

Other than the technical stuff, the story's interesting. I like Zero III's personality compared to the original Zero, who only had his mysterious identity going for him and, without that, being generally forgettable. Also something I found interesting and, maybe it's just me, but Junpei in 999 was a pretty smart dude based on the dialogue he had with other characters while Sigma seems like an idiot (or maybe he's just uncultured) in comparison. Not having even heard of Schrödinger's cat is an example of this, with Phi (his female partner) even making a remark that it'd be hard to find someone who doesn't know what that is.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I'm looking forward to playing the full game later this month.

#2 Posted by BeachThunder (12410 posts) -

I really can't wait for this to come out :o The first one was crazy (in a good way).

#3 Posted by BlackLagoon (1460 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

Also something I found interesting and, maybe it's just me, but Junpei in 999 was a pretty smart dude based on the dialogue he had with other characters while Sigma seems like an idiot (or maybe he's just uncultured) in comparison. Not having even heard of Schrödinger's cat is an example of this, with Phi (his female partner) even making a remark that it'd be hard to find someone who doesn't know what that is.

I dunno... 999 liked subverting its tropes, and this seems a bit too obvious a setup.

Anyway, nice to see a write-up of the demo. Hopefully won't be too long before Rising Star gets the demo out for us Euro folks.

#4 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

@BlackLagoon said:

I dunno... 999 liked subverting its tropes, and this seems a bit too obvious a setup.

Perhaps. Other examples are when Sigma sees a pin up girl poster with parts of its surface that are essentially a scratchcard's and gets extremely excited at the prospect of scratching those parts off. Then there's that time when he explains to Phi and Alice (other female main character) that he has a certain tic which causes him to make constant cat puns when talking about cats, which he also mentions "isn't dangerous". This leaves Phi and Alice completely speechless, probably astounded at the stupidity of what he was saying.

#5 Posted by Coafi (1494 posts) -

Thanks for making this thread, I barely use the Vita's store so I didn't know this was out. I am downloading it right now.

#6 Edited by RecSpec (3929 posts) -

Can't wait til this comes out. Skipping the demo to stay pure so to speak.  I was lucky enough to get one of the Watch bundles on amazon too. The 999 watch was actually pretty sturdy, even if it was too small for me. 
 
Edit: Just read the part about a character making cat puns. Now I have to download the demo

#7 Posted by BlackLagoon (1460 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: Interesting. Given the whole trust/betrayal mechanic that's supposed to be in the game, I expect making him more of a "character" plays into that, adding stress and tension to his relationships with the others in a way that the more likable Junpei didn't. He can't be that much of an idiot though if he'll be the one solving all the puzzles.

Else, there's now talk that the Euro version will not have the English dub, which is thoroughly disappointing. I was happy to wait to support a local release, but not an inferior version. Guess I'll just have to import, thankfully that's an option with the Vita.

#8 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

@BlackLagoon said:

He can't be that much of an idiot though if he'll be the one solving all the puzzles.

True, the women accompanying him actually compliment him when he solves the final puzzles, which causes him to state comments such as "Yeah, I'm pretty awesome". It's weird, because his personality contradicts the serious tone that his official artwork evokes.

The Trust/Betrayal mechanic is explained in the Novel section and I'm looking forward to seeing how it's implemented in the final game.

@BlackLagoon said:

Else, there's now talk that the Euro version will not have the English dub, which is thoroughly disappointing. I was happy to wait to support a local release, but not an inferior version. Guess I'll just have to import, thankfully that's an option with the Vita.

Yeah, I read something about that. It's really unfortunate that English VA is missing from the European version, especially when it's actually good. Importing is definitely the way to go for this.

#9 Posted by DonChipotle (2845 posts) -

So is it like Ever17 again or is it more like Remember11 this time

#10 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

@DonChipotle: I've never played any of those games. It's really similar to 999 in tone, though. The characters are trapped in a big warehouse facility instead of a cruise ship this time, though.

#11 Posted by DonChipotle (2845 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@DonChipotle: I've never played any of those games. It's really similar to 999 in tone, though. The characters are trapped in a big warehouse facility instead of a cruise ship this time, though.

I was kind of just being difficult. But if you liked 999 I suggest you seek out Ever17. It is very similar in tone and just as mind twisty. More so, in some cases.

#12 Posted by ttocs (782 posts) -

I really enjoyed 999 but I could kick myself for not finishing it before trading it in. I think some other big handheld game came out around the same time and I knew I'd never finish it. With that said, I'm fairly certain I'm going to pick this one up for the Vita, especially since my handheld gaming repertoire has been lacking.

#13 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

@ttocs: You should probably finish 999 before VLR, though. I've heard that the ending to the first game is extremely important to its sequel.

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