So Zero’s Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward blew my mind the other day.
I absolutely adored 999 after getting all the endings, and during my play-through of its sequel I thought I had the game completely figured out, until I had to choose a branching path. In case you are not informed, the game plays based off of a betray/ally option that is introduced at certain points during the game. You are paired up against another person, and the basic premise is that if both of you choose ally its good for everyone, but if one person chooses betray then the person who chose ally gets tanked.
When this option came up for the first time, I chose ally trusting that it would be the better option and that surely the other person would realize that this was the better option. Without delving into spoilers, they did not. I was absolutely furious and hated the character for the rest of that branch until I finally reached a point where it allowed me to go back and change my choice, which is another feature about the branching paths. Instead of playing through the parts you did before, you can just jump to the point of the choice and switch your decision.
I was ecstatic at this point. I usually do not take games so seriously, but this character had rubbed in my bad decision so hard that I could not wait to balance it out. It would not really be getting revenge because if both people choose betray nobody gains, but I was at least happy that they would not get the points.
But that was not what happened. The game switched the other character’s choice when I switched mine. I was absolutely stunned, as was the protagonist, who added another layer of surprise when he revealed that he remembered the events of the past path I took.
I was incredibly impressed. The game had even foreshadowed this event by having a book about Schrodinger’s cat in my first room. I had forgotten about it until this event, and the reference made complete sense after that. A great way to teach about an interesting philosophical experiment.
It just makes me wonder how other people will experience it. What if people went through a different first door? Would the book be there too? I checked the other rooms after solving the puzzle and didn’t see it anywhere, but that would make the reveal about the branching paths and alternate decisions mean much less.
Also, what would’ve happened if I had chose betray first? The game was making a hard case for it, so I assume some people would have. It was such a disempowering feeling having the taste of revenge taken away from me like it was, and it is sort of saddening knowing that some people may not experience it in the same way.
I suppose some of my questions will be answered as I continue to play. I commend this game to be able to impress me so quickly. I was just enjoying the ride thinking I had everything figured out and it toyed with my emotions pretty hard. I cannot wait to see what else the game has waiting for me.