Reviews: Virtues Last Reward
Great Visual Novel, Decent Adventure Game
The story of Virtue's Last Reward is both unique and well-written. While the science isn't exactly textbook-accurate, it has a much better understanding of things like quantum physics than most media, and it's integrated into the narrative pretty intelligently. The game part of the game is a bit more dodgey. There's a few minigames that use the touchscreen but require a level precision that the 3DS and Vita touchscreens simply can't offer consistently. A few others allow you to slide blocks using the D-Pad... or the tilt sensor. If you're not sitting perfectly still in a stationary chair with your hands locked in place, it's easy for the tilt sensor to trigger and fuck up the puzzle for you. When you get past some control difficulties, the puzzles are pretty good, possessing the rare quality of being both challenging and logical. And if you don't care and just want to get to the next Novel section, there's an Easy Mode option where your partners pretty much just tell you the solutions. The gameplay and story meet at the multiple worlds mechanic. At any point, you can open up a flow chart of the different paths that your choices have resulted in, and return to an earlier point. Later on this will factor into the plot, and even later on you'll find yourself returning to previous story sections to retrieve information you need to get past certain plot locks, like some sort of four-dimensional detective. It's very exciting and engaging, despite the low level of interactivity, and it doesn't get annoying because you have the ability to fast-forward dialog at a very fast rate.
This game is a reward in and of itself
My enjoyment of 999 made me determined to play VLR. I was not disappointed. The game has clearly been well-researched and a lot of love has gone into it. There were times when I quite frankly had no idea what the hell the characters were talking about. Science and math have never been my strong point. And yet, this did nothing to hinder my enjoyment of the game. The voices were great. I'll admit that I used a (spoiler-free) walkthrough for the puzzles. I'll also admit that I ended up spoiling a number of things in the story for myself. This didn't ruin anything for me, but it might for others. So if you have any plans to play this game, steer clear of this page until you do. Am I eagerly waiting for ZE 3? You bet I am!