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Fray to Free.

Lonely girls across the world, let's wake up and fight!
Worlds apart with beating hearts unite the light through the night!
If the boys want to reach us they'll have to keep up.
Without you, I am only half
I need to be whole.
The chorus of Half to Whole, performed by Kizuna Chieda (English version).
AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative is the sequel to AI: The Somnium Files, developed by Spike Chunsoft and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi under the newly formed development team "Team Zero Escape". It was released on June 24, 2022 for
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PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

Three months have passed after the New Cyclops Serial Killings. Jin Furue, the 29 year old CEO of Music Food Inc. was found dead in the middle of a quiz show, bisected from top to bottom, with only the right half of his body left at the crime scene alongside a sign with a QR code linking to a strange video, before bursting into flames. Six years later, the left half of Jin's body suddenly appears with no signs of decay in the middle of a sports stadium. Now it's up to Mizuki Okiura and Date's former partner Aiba to solve the bizarre Half Body Serial Killings. Meanwhile, an unknown conspiracy known as the "Nirvana Initiative" starts to emerge...

The game is set between two different scenarios: "Side Mizuki", where you play as the returning Mizuki, now a 18 year old girl working at ABIS with Aiba, where they work together to solve the Half Body Serial Killings six years in the future and "Side Ryuki", where players takes control of Kuruto Ryuki, a newly recruited special agent and his new AI partner Tama, set during the three months after the events of the first game.

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    Pre-release Videos 

Tropes:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • In the first game, it was noted that Ota had been trying his hand at writing light novels, and as part of his character development it was stated that he would try and focus on this in his career, with him stating in the epilogue that he's been writing in the time between his other new part-time jobs. At no point in this game is Ota's light novel writing or his other new jobs brought up, with Ota firmly entrenched as the new cook and manager at the newly reopened Matsushita Diner.
    • Within the game itself, on the path to Gen and Amame's ending, it becomes apparent that ABIS was somehow compromised, with Boss pulling a Face–Heel Turn and calling for Mizuki and Gen's arrest. The story ends with Gen's death, leaving this unresolved, and it never comes up on any other path; it's implied that they may have been mistaken, and this might have been A Tragedy of Impulsiveness on Boss' part.
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  • Actionized Sequel: The first game had about a total of three sequences in all the routes that involved any sort of fighting, and only two were playable. nirvanA Initiative has about six fully playable fight scenes.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Komeji's decision to take half a dead body to hold for blackmail was done while drunk. Once sober, he realizes just how badly he has screwed up. In the main route he has to pay for it with his life.
  • Alternate Reality Game:
    • Before the game was revealed, an ARG titled "Nine Eyes TV" was organized by the developers, containing nine puzzles for players to solve, with each answer containing a piece of the game's subtitle.
    • A second ARG titled "Hidden Bats" took place leading up to the release, where players solved puzzles and cast votes to help pairs of kidnapped characters escape from a secret organization.
  • Animation Bump: The animation in nirvanA Initiative compared to the first Somnium Files is a massive step up, with motion capture being used for cutscenes, more cutscenes in general, and many more incidental animations for small actions that the prior game would often cut away to avoid showing.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Both Mizuki and Ryuki's scenarios takes place in two different timeframes, with one character serving as a supporting character for the other.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • On top of Somnium puzzles being generally more logical this time around, they also will slowly unveil "keys", aka hints to whatever logic is needed to solve the current step of the puzzle based on the person's mental state.
    • The VR segments are split into two parts on the flowchart, the investigation and conclusion, which makes it easy to go back and obtain the perfect VR achievements without investigating again.
    • Many of the more complex puzzles give you an option to "Think Harder" which hints at the solution, followed by "Epiphany" which spells the whole thing out. Tearer's Somnium goes one step further; fail a puzzle repeatedly and Aiba will flat-out ask if you want her to solve it for you.
    • The above Somnium also has another, more subtle feature: The codes for the actual locks aren't random, so if you time out hard enough that you have to reset completely (which if you're not a veteran of Zero Escape, you just might), you can just put in the same code(s) on any door(s) you've already cleared, allowing you to return to where you failed out with much more time to spare.
    • Somniums can be replayed with infinite time after being completed once.
    • After finishing the game, the Eyeballies no longer have a 20 minute timer between asking questions, allowing them to be raised instantly.
  • Arc Number: Once again, 6. Both scenarios are separated within a timeframe of six years and the time limit in Somnium is, again, six minutes. The "Fray to Free" video, is 42 seconds long. The channel hosting it is named "db", which is associated with the fourth and second letters of the alphabet respectively. 42 has a digital root of 6, and multiplying it with 7 equals 42.
  • Arc Symbol: "X" style crosses. Naixatloz's emblem is made up of them, the crossing of two pairs of arrows is used as a puzzle solution multiple times, the actual sequence of events crosses over itself twice, and the location of the launch site for TC-Perge is found by intersecting the lines between the body sites.
  • Artistic License – Law: In Mizuki's route, Ryuki has been on leave due to severe mental distress he suffered as a result of the Half Body Killings, he's apparently been on leave for the entire Time Skip, which in real life is limited to one year without pay and eight weeks with. Also, after nearly shooting a innocent mascot due to his deteriorating mental state, he manages to retain his job (though with the threat of imminent demotion of he isn't able to solve the case in 3 days) rather that being charged for attempted murder or at least being outright fired. Though Boss does mention she had to pull a lot of strings for him to keep his job at all.
  • As You Know: An interesting case within the very last segment of the game. Ryuki's second divergent chapter has him encounter multiple characters, each explaining what's happened to them and others within the six years since the first divergent chapter. However, Ryuki should presumably already know and it's most likely for the Frayer's benefit, but he does seem genuinely surprised at situations he himself prevented, such as Komeji not being murdered or Kizuna not losing her legs.
  • Ascended Meme: For the game's Alternate Reality Game and posts on Twitter, the comment section would be flooded with "Mizukiposting", with a super-compressed jpg of Mizuki giving a thumbs up with similarly low quality thumbs up emojis that would be cropped and captioned repeatedly. Come Anime Expo of 2022, Spike Chunsoft actually took the meme and decided to sell T-shirts with it, much to the fandom's joy.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Tokiko's Somnium runs on this. As a reflection of their minimalist personality, the Somnium takes place in a blank white version of her office. While initially dull and lifeless, things get pretty bizarre and the minimalist aesthetic draws attention to the strangeness of it all, much like talking to Tokiko.
  • Award-Bait Song: The Flower That Blooms in Snow, sung by Amame Doi. The full length version from the OST is basically this.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Though Tokiko is more of a Greater-Scope Villain only supporting the Big Bad Tearer for her own ends and never killed anyone except herself, if during Ryuki's first meeting with her you give Tokiko the nil number obtained from the game's epilogue, she is able to find a "seam" in reality and escape it, achieving Moksha for herself. On the bright side, it does mean a lot more people survive, as she helps catch Uru early in this version of events, but she makes it clear she helped create the events in the other timeline just to get here, basically holding the well-being of multiple characters over the player's head to get you to give her a seam to escape the reality of the game with. Downplayed, in that she was A Lighter Shade of Black to Uru, not being especially on board with his Nirvana Initiative plan and having set up things so that it would fail in both the timelines she dies and ascends.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In the Eyeball-ie raising minigame accessible from the in-game menu, a Date-ie Eyeballie might ask the player what their favorite "genre" is: Newcomer, School, Outside, or Someone's Wife. Once you pick an answer, it turns out it was talking about detective stories rather than pornography; "Newcomer" referring to an old cop teaming up with a younger cop, for example.
    • In the epilogue, both Boss and Date both treat Ryuki as if he died, claiming that the Mizukis need to move on, and Date doesn't want to hear his name anymore because it's too painful. Turns out he's recovered from his injury, and they just wanted to surprise the two girls.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Mizuki and Gen (actually Date in Gen’s costume) do this while they’re surrounded by the SAT.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Unlike the Golden Ending of the first game, here, the circumstances are much more sour: Amame is imprisoned for getting revenge, Shoma is aging much slower than those around him, Gen is left feeling alone, and Date has lost many years of his life due to the incident with Tearer. However, Amame may get leniency, Shoma learns to accept his condition, Gen keeps going for Amame's sake, and everyone can continue to live their best lives.
    • The hidden ending is also bittersweet, in a different way: by using information gained from Breaking the Fourth Wall, Ryuki can create a timeline where all of the above-mentioned sad aspects of the normal ending are prevented. However, this also means that Ryuki will spend the rest of his life knowing that he is nothing but a fictional character in a video game, with no one believing him, all while carrying the trauma he and everyone he knows experienced in the main timeline. Additionally, Tokiko also tells Ryuki that the fictional world that they're in will collapse at some point, due to Ryuki helping to create the tear and improving everyone's lives. What exactly this entails remains to be seen, but it's presented as more ominous than the usual Naix philosophy of liberation/Moksha.
    • Komeji and Shoma's route is a bit of an awkward one, entirely ignoring the revelations learned on the "proper" route that he's working off his debt by trafficking guns on the black market, and how his trying to blackmail Tearer lead to him and his daughter illegally disposing of a dead body. It's unknown if he'll manage to get out of the hole he's dug for himself without getting arrested, but considering he does get a normal job in the Divergence route mentioned just above, while only getting a light sentence for the body, it's possible.
  • Bland-Name Product: Much like the first game, there are various references to real-world products, such as the monster-catching geolocation game "Kusemon Go", the video-sharing site "ViewCube", and "Tirlo" chocolates very similar to real-world "Tirol" chocolates sold in Japan.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The Kizuna and Lien ending cuts to the credits right as Mizuki and Bibi rush towards an army of mercenaries, with Bibi promising to tell Mizuki everything about her after they're done. Though it's implied this series of events leads directly into the true ending.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The choice whether to enable spoilers for the first game is presented through in-game dialogue that addresses the player directly. This turns out to be Foreshadowing for how the Big Bad believes that humanity is caught in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • The Mind Screw ending revolves around this. If you do this, by taking a Nil number it is impossible for Ryuki to know at the time back to the first meeting with Tokiko and tell her unprompted, you've just revealed one of the "seams" in the digital reality she's looking for. In gratitude, she helps stop the murders early before using it to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
    • In one of the dialogues with him, Kagami openly questions whether the fact that the detectives keep forgetting his name is getting old, but states that he's willing to go along with it if it's "what the people want."
    • The epilogue has the nurse who had a very minor role show up, without any need to talk to her. If you press her about why she's there, she blurts out that she just wanted more screen-time.
  • Brick Joke: Talking to a policeman at Mizuki's second crime scene, the player can bring up the topic of what the officer's favorite food is, to which the officer exasperatedly says he likes to eat poo just to get out of the conversation. At the next crime scene, Mizuki can offer the same officer Valentines Day chocolate, and afterwards prank him and tell him that the chocolate was actually poo meant to look like chocolate. The officer laughs.
  • Brown Note: When Ryuki first sees the "Fray to Free" video In-Universe, it induces a dissociative episode far worse than in the first scene of the game, with even the environment starting to deteriorate. When Tama offers to replay the video during a summation at Boss' office, Ryuki quickly cuts her off, worried that he'll have the same reaction.
  • Call-Back:
    • Near the end of Mizuki's route, Tearer is located at the Kabasaki Chemical Plant. After he gets knocked out, Mizuki suggests bringing him back to ABIS to psync with him, but Date instead suggests using the prototype Psync machine residing in the plant, revealing that it's still there since the first game.
    • Tokiko's last words before Ascending To A Higher Plane Of Existence in the Divergance ending are "Be seeing you," the catchphrase of the first game's culprit.
    • After Date returns in the present, he explains that he spent the past six years working at a carnival in Atami, like he does in the first game's joke ending.
    • During the battle to stop the Nirvana Initiative, Aiba describes Date by saying, "Without me, he's ineffective," which is a direct quote from one of her lines in the first game's Dance Party Ending.
  • The Cameo:
    • Iris's Somnium has Monokuma and Shiren as secret Kusemon.
    • The masks of K and Q are unlockable outfits for Aiba and Tama while Zero's is DLC.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • Mizuki walks in on Moma using a device that allows him to change his voice. In isolation it's just an extension of his Iris obsession hijinks, but you're really playing as Bibi in that scene, and her borrowing it is why the Masked Woman's voice is higher-pitched than normal.
    • Date tells a convoluted story about the reason for his porn-triggered hyper focus being due to his first time he saw porn resulting in him being bitten by a snake and nearly dying, thus causing him to link porn with being on the verge of death. Everyone dismisses this as nonsense, but the feeling also extends to snakes, and one getting near him is how he managed to escape after he was captured by Tearer.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the first virtual reality investigation segment, Ryuki discovers that the killer used rope made of carbon nanotubes to fake the blackout and body appearing out of nowhere. Much later, it turns out that the killer also used carbon nanotubes as the murder weapon, exploiting their extreme sharpness and tensile strength to cleanly slice the victims in half.
  • Church of Happyology: They insist they aren't a religion, but the secretive, elitist ideology of Naix, plus their science-fiction mythology and corporate structure, marks them as pretty clearly a parody of New Age cults like Scientology, with a bit of Rationalist undertones like LessWrong.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The Mizuki we are more familiar with is revealed in this game to be the second clone of a template, meaning there's an original Mizuki - the Masked Woman who shot at her. While she understandably freaks out a little, she quickly calms down and realizes that she is still Mizuki, there's just an older woman who looks a lot like her; she even keeps her name, opting instead to call the original Mizuku Bibi.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right:
    • Downplayed. After clearing Chikara's first Somnium, it's discovered that the Naixatloz Conspiracy Theory that Iris was obsessed with and was convinced was out to get her due to her brain tumor in the previous game was a real organization...but they are not an Ancient Conspiracy, but a secretive American Church of Happyology that believes in the Simulation hypothesis. Tokiko, their leader in Japan, outright states they had little interest in Iris, and she finds the whole Satanism and aliens thing baffling.
    • It turns out that Naix is (possibly) 100% right about reality being a simulation. Upon returning to Naix headquarters in the epilogue, a hologram of Tokiko gives you a number to tell herself from before her death. Not you as in Mizuki. You as in YOU, the player. If you, without further prompting, go back to Ryuki's first conversation with her and give her the number she gave you when she asks if you are a Frayer, Ryuki proceeds to have another "episode", except this time reality has completely broken down around him when he comes to. Shortly after this, he can find Tokiko (by clipping through the back wall) and witnesses her achieve Moksha.
  • Colon Cancer: The title tacks on a second subtitle, nirvanA Initiative, after the first subtitle of The Somnium Files, although a dash is used instead of a second colon. Presumably, this is because The Somnium Files is the more memorable part of the first game's title.
  • Connect the Deaths: At the game's climax, the location of the TC PERGE rocket is found by connecting the locations where each half of each body was found. These spots all intersected on the stadium where the second half of Jin's body was found at the start of the game, which also happened to be where the rocket was hidden.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mizuki's first Somnium includes a scene where Aiba sniffs near a torch and it goes up her nose, a reference to when the same thing happened in the first game when she tried to smell a flower. Even Mizuki's reaction is the same as Date's:
    "Amazing suction! Bravo! Marvelous!"
    • When Ryuki first meets Amame, he gets the option to use Tama's X-Ray Vision on her, though instead of seeing her naked, he only gets to look at her skeleton. Date did the same thing using Aiba in the previous game.
    • While you don't visit Lemniscate as much as the first game, many of the office's running gags are kept, with Aiba and Tama having different spins on the receptionist joke and the weird bugs found in the planters.
    • In the first game, Mizuki thought of a family as being able to say "I'm home," and getting greeted with "Welcome back". When Date reveals himself on the Resolution Route, Aiba prompts him into saying "I'm home," which Mizuki answers with "Welcome back".
    • A silent nod in on the docks of the Okiura fishing company is made should Mizuki and Aiba look at the cold storage warehouse. Both will say nothing, but it's clear they're thinking of the events of the New Cyclops Killings.
    • During Ryuki's Somnium, every time he manages to reverse psync into Mizuki, bits and pieces of Mizuki's Somnium (PSYNCIN' IN THE PaiN) and Date's Somnium (PSYNCIN' IN THE CAPTaiN) from the first game show up. Namely, Date's home (littered with pieces from the carousel), the cage with the torn up photo, the door to the inside of the carousel, and the final decision between Date and Mizuki's parents.
  • Contrived Coincidence: A few to conceal the true timeline of events:
    • Tearer's plan would have completely fallen apart if even one of the thousands of people who cracked the code in the QR video actually publicized their findings, which would lead to the discovery of Naix's recruitment efforts and test subjects for the biological weapon he was working on.
    • The fact that no one, even people who'd have no reason to keep it a secret, comments on the fact that Mizuki and Bibi look and behave extremely similar can be considered this. Especially how they look and act exactly alike at the same age. Especially blatant in Lien's case, who doesn't mention at all how "Quartz" looks exactly like her, but instantly recognizes her when he spots her years later.
    • A retroactive one for the first installment: it turns out to be a coincidence that Mizuki and Shoko Nadami have the same hair color since Mizuki is actually adopted.
    • There's no explanation given for why the ABIS communication servers were down 6 years ago, which itself is used as the reason Aiba wasn't able to upload her memories of Bibi and the investigation to the cloud.
    • There are multiple times where Ryuki or Mizuki use the Psync machine without Boss' or Pewter's permission, typically because they're out partying. This just so happens to include the time Mizuki Psync's with Boss' adoptive daughter, who only Boss, Pewter and Ryuki know about.
  • Cutting the Knot: The Novel Ingress Somnium allows you to do this by using a lockpicking tool to crack open various safes instead of figuring out their passwords, albeit with hefty time penalties.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In Amame's Somnium, one of the keys you get is that when pressured to make snap decisions, she would always pick the option on the right, and this holds true for much of the Somnium. If you go into her second Somnium expecting the same trick to work, you'll find this isn't always the case — several timed decisions have you choosing what's on the left instead. Fortunately, as this is the final segment of the somnium, you can't actually lose once you've reached this point. Picking wrong options just wastes time which will only matter if you are trying to get the bonus for clearing with time remaining, and might be something you'll want to do if you want to hear the extra dialog.
  • Dance Party Ending: The true ending of the game ends with one in the stadium, celebrating the defeat of the evil plan.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After the Time Skip, Ryuki's already shaky mental health has completely collapsed due to Date's disappearance, a completely dead case, and the injury from the explosion that lost Mizuki one of her eyes, blaming himself and drinking himself to delirious oblivion. His initial Sync is an attempt to break him out of an especially bad bender. Subverted ones he wakes up: discovering there's been a break causes him to seize onto it as his chance at inner peace and become Mizuki's partner.
  • Deus ex Machina: Invoked in the Divergence Route, where early into the investigation, Ryuki suddenly gains the knowledge of everything that happens up to the main ending. He not only uses it to arrest Tearer before he kills anyone other than Chikara and Jin, but also to resolve every single other issue that arresting Tearer early doesn't fix, like Komeji paying off his debts, getting an above-board job and reconnecting with his kids, or Gen and Amame not getting any punishment for trying to hide half of Jin's corpse. It's a perfect, shallow, and melancholic end.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Unlike the first game Hitomi's right arm is unmoving during the Dance Party Ending.
    • Several Somniums have locks blocked by passwords revealed by solving puzzles, but if you happen to know the puzzle solutions ahead of time you can skip the puzzle and enter the solution, to which the characters will comment asking how the player character knows. For example, with the numerical keypads in Tearer's Somnium, if you have Mizuki skip the room puzzles by entering the correct password, Aiba will question if Mizuki is some sort of oracle.
    • During the Late-Arrival Spoiler quiz, the host will have some unique dialogue for answering specific names from the first game. He sometimes even gives you a second chance to answer the question if your guess was close (i.e. answering with the correct character's last name when the question specifies their first name).
  • "Dinner, Bath, or Sex" Offer: At the start of Shoma's Somnium, Ryuki offers Tama 4000 yen if she pretends to be a newlywed wife, causing her to make such an offer:
    Tama: Hi baby, I was waiting for you! Do you want some dinner? Or a bath? Or maybe... meat?"
  • Doing in the Wizard : In the first installment, Mizuki has unnatural super strength despite being a 12 year old child, strong enough to punch over a tree at even younger than that. This is never particularly commented on, giving the game a sort of Magical Realism element to it. However, the sequel reveals that Mizuki was genetically altered by a Mad Scientist (and is also the improved clone of another girl who was also experimented on), which is why she has superhuman strength.
    • An example that's more for comedy than a serious explanation, in regards to Date's superhuman abilities upon seeing porno magazines, Date reveals that when he was a young boy, one day he came across a porno magazine in a forest. Upon reading it, his sexuality was born. But at the same time, he was bitten by a snake, and that snake bite nearly killed him. Due to having a close shave with death so close to his budding love for pornography, his brain associates porn with fight or flight instincts, triggering said instincts whenever he sees porno magazines. This is a "logical" explanation for his superhuman reflexes, but obvious is still rather ridiculous.
  • Downer Ending: The Gen and Amame route ends with Boss sending a tactical team to arrest Gen after learning that he hid a body in his Freezer through Lien's Somnium. Lien (who was also recently rejected by Kizuna) is quickly arrested and Mizuki, Gen, Amame, and Date find themselves cornered by a small army of police. In the resulting confrontation, Gen ends up Taking the Bullet for Amame after she steals Mizuki's gun in a panic and tries to resist and dies in her arms.
  • Downloadable Content: A hot-dog costume and three T-shirts for Aiba and Tama is available as free limited DLC for those who bought the game within three weeks of its release. There are also various other DLC outfits that always had a price tag, including kimonos, Aiba and Tama swapping their leotards, and a trio of horror-themed facemasks that includes Zero's gas mask from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: A minor one, but as part of the attempt to avoid a Late-Arrival Spoiler for the first game, Date having Saito's face is explained away as him wearing a mask. What is not explained is why he still has Saito's voice by Greg Chun instead of DC Douglass. This was never a problem in the original Japanese, as both Falco and Saito Sojima shared the same voice actor. note 
  • Easter Egg: The QR code on the sign in the opening crime scene is an actual, working QR code. Scanning it provides a link to an unlisted video of the "Fray to Free" video on the game's official Youtube Channel.
  • Easy Amnesia:
    • When Mizuki first finds the half-body in the stadium, Aiba brings up that her knowledge about the previous investigation six years ago got damaged in an explosion and failed to upload to a cloud server, which is why they decide to interrogate an utterly wasted Ryuki.
    • Date becomes amnesiac again from some rubble landing on him in the Explosion End. He gains his memory back in the present after seeing a TV news report on the left half of Jin's body appearing.
  • Eye Scream: Mizuki lost an eye from an injury caused by an explosion at the end of Side Ryuki, which is why she has room for Aiba during her side of the story.
  • Foreshadowing: Fittingly for an Uchikoshi mystery, there are many clues leading up to major reveals.
    • In Ryuki's storyline, at one point he attempts to capture a suspect who may be the killer in the underground cathedral beneath Naix headquarters, but the suspect manages to escape. The very next scene, we are at ABIS where Boss is severely chewing Ryuki out for his mistake and saying that her superiors were seriously considering firing him and that she was able to talk them down to demotion to a beat cop. At first glance, this all seems rather excessive for letting a suspect get away, even a murder suspect. But once the true timeline of events is revealed, you can see that the chewing out and demotion isn't for letting a suspect get away, it's for nearly murdering a civilian during a mental episode (an event we learn about during Mizuki's segment), which he did upon seeing a theme park mascot putting up balloons after learning that the killer was leaving balloons with clues around town.
      • As a bonus, if you inspect the balloons in Boss' office, Ryuki's first thoughts are "Tch..." clearly acting as a sour reminder of his failure.
    • An extremely subtle one is given when speaking to Ryuki after his Somnium is completed. He's mostly sobered up, and claims that "instead of seeing three of you, now there are only two." It sounds like he's still coming off his bender, but it's him casually talking about how there is a Mizuki Date, and a Mizuki Kuranushi.
    • Komeji's initial claim to fame was his skill at quiz shows, even netting roles as a host in a few himself. Amame also has a talent for trivia. Parents tend to pass their talents onto their children after all.
    • During Mizuki's story arc, sometimes there's some sort of mark on her leg during scenes and sometimes there isn't. That "mark" is the scar from when Mizuki got shot by Saito in the previous game. And it is relevant because whenever the scar isn't on Mizuki's leg, you are controlling another Mizuki, her older "sister" (more accurately, the younger Mizuki is a clone of the older Mizuki, made to iron out the heart defect that older Mizuki had while retaining the super strength.
    • During a conversation Mizuki has with Shoma, she mentions that she has someone younger than her who is the most important thing to her in the world, even though no such person has been introduced to the player. It turns out that the person that's really important to her is Mizuki, "our" Mizuki. And the Mizuki who said it is actually her older "sister", whom "our" Mizuki is a clone of. This also is a reveal that you are only playing as "our" Mizuki for half of the time, the other half is playing as the older Bibi.
    • During both Ryuki and Mizuki's routes, Boss occasionally mentions that she has a daughter. On a seemingly unrelated note, the Masked Woman's color scheme is Red and Black, just like Boss. In the end, the Masked Woman is revealed to be Boss's (adoptive) daughter.
    • In the character profiles, both Aiba and Tama are noted to only be female due to their settings. Initially a rather innocuous but odd detail. Near the end of the game, we are (sort of) introduced to a third Ai-ball named Marco, who was said to be male compared to Aiba and Tama, though Kotaro Uchikoshi confirmed in late July 2022 that they were non-binary and was only referred to as male due to a localization decision. We don't actually hear or see them though since according to Bibi, they are extremely shy and introverted.
    • Amame attempts to explain her current depressive episode as her having lost big in pachinko. At this point in the story, Amame should be under the legal gambling age and yet Ryuki, a police officer, doesn't question it. Tama as well cited a specific article in an earlier scene when pointing out that Amame's late night hours at Sunfish Pocket are illegal, and yet here she doesn't call attention to Amame's growing list of illegal activities either. This scene is actually taking place after the timeskip, where Amame is 24 and thus the prospect of her gambling doesn't raise any eyebrows.
    • Loads of it in Amame's first Somnium. Of particular note are the heavy focus on Andes Komeji and the presence of multiple items belonging to Shoma, the wrench being replaced with a split body during the Spot the Difference game, and the very obtuse questions and situations being posed at the end.
    • When Kizuna's gone missing, Ota mentions being unable to get a hold of Amame, and went to Sunfish Pocket to try and find her only for her to not turn up there. Even when Iris eventually turns up later on, Amame is still nowhere to be seen. She's not doing anything suspicious though, she's most likely just holed up at home grieving over her father's death.
    • Some things are immediately off in Gen's Somnium:
      • Ota as his younger self appears which doesn't make much sense considering Ota has a new look post-timeskip. That is, it wouldn't make much sense unless the chapter is actually taking place 6 years ago.
      • Gen's feelings for Amame are first alluded to here, where Komeji introduces her as the beautiful Amame Doi.
      • Komeji is the announcer for the contest, even though he died six years ago. This is never commented on because Komeji is actually still alive at this point in time.
    • In Mizuki Chapter 2 when told that Andes Komeji had been killed a few days prior to the date he was found, Mizuki and Aiba brush it off, despite the fact supposedly six years had passed since finding the two halves. That's because it really had been a few days, and a different Mizuki found half of Komeji after Ryuki did.
    • Mizuki finds out in chapter 2 of her route that Jin Furue has the left half of Uru Somezuki's face, with his own distinctive percent-shaped birthmark on his right side. In Mizuki Chapter 4 M2, however, she appears to have no idea who the half-body found in Gen's freezer is, despite the fact that she should know exactly who it is by the birthmark. This only makes sense if the Mizukis are two different people.
    • In Mizuki Chapter 4 M1, "Visions", Mizuki has the option to give Shoma a piece of chocolate since it's Valentines Day. Mizuki Chapter 4 M2, on a side path that can only be accessed after playing Chapter 4 M1 unless you already know the password in the Masked Woman's somnium, also happens on Valentines Day, to which the option is again presented to give Shoma some chocolate. Doing so has Shoma question if Mizuki has offered him Valentines Day chocolate before, to which he then dismisses as Deja Vu. Shoma isn't actually remembering some time that this Mizuki offered him chocolate, he's remembering the time "Bibi" offered it to him 6 years earlier.
    • Also, in Mizuki Chapter 4 M1, both Date and Tokiko end up showing up despite how players are led to believe that they are both dead by that point. And yet, Mizuki doesn't even ask about how they are still alive (despite Mizuki asking Date about where he has been in the past six years in the Amame and Gen route). This is a major hint at the true timeline of the game.
    • Mizuki Chapter 4 M1 also has Kizuna getting kidnapped, and yet, Kizuna is perfectly fine in Mizuki Chapter 4 M2. There doesn't appear to be a For Want of a Nail moment for why that happened, and thus, this gives another hint at the true timeline of the game.
    • In Ryuki Chapter 2, Shoma becomes depressed at the mention of his dad and asks not to talk about him, and says he's all alone. It reads like just an oddly melancholy extension of their established tense relationship, but this conversation is actually taking place six years after Komeji's been murdered.
    • In Mizuki Chapter 2, Mizuki and Aiba question whether Gen's unusual behavior is because it isn't actually Gen but someone wearing a Gen mask, although they promptly confirm his identity afterward. Later in the game it's revealed that Date had been masquerading as Gen during the events that take place in the present, which was done in order to stay concealed from Tearer while he investigates, and also allows him to uncover a secret which becomes instrumental in solving the true nature of Jin Furue's death.
    • In the Masked Woman's Somnium, someone she wants to protect is depicted by a blue, pink, and white bunny. Much like Mizuki's frequent associations with Adorabbit.
    • In Mizuki Chapter Two, Aiba explains to Mizuki who Iris is, which is odd considering that Aiba knows Iris is one of Mizuki's closest friends, and wouldn't need an explanation. Until you consider how this Mizuki never actually met Iris.
    • Somewhat similar to the above, reading Boss’ profile in the “present” section tells the player that she is Mizuki’s adoptive mother, which one would assume she did since Date was presumed dead when Mizuki was 13. However, Mizuki herself is shocked to hear that Boss has a daughter of her own, which is a weird thing for her to not be privy to until it turns out to be because Boss didn’t adopt our Mizuki, but she did adopt a Mizuki.
    • Mizuki giving two different responses to what the water at the shrine is used for is also another hint towards there being two versions of Mizuki in this game.
  • For Want of a Nail: Amame speculates on this during the final somnium. She reflects on multiple choices she made over time: which parent to stay with after their divorce (choosing her mother), whether to comfort her father or best friend after both witness Jin's corpse suddenly appearing (choosing her friend Iris), whether to get a technically illegal job (due to being underage) to support her father and brother or else just provide emotional support (choosing the job). Though individually, none of her choices were explicitly the wrong one, she wonders if she had chosen to support her father Komeji more, maybe he wouldn't have gotten involved with such shady people and by extension wouldn't have ended up in the Tearer's crosshairs, leading to his death.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The game notably has a heap of subplots.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Tokiko is aware on some level she is a character in a video game, and that a player after 100% Completion will exhaust every option to solve a puzzle. In the epilogue, she gives Mizuki the "nil number", which the player can tell her during Ryuki's first meeting with her - since she knows Ryuki cannot know it, it proves to her there is a player, or as she calls it a Frayer, a person who exists outside the world of the game and thus can expose seams in reality, and she uses said ability to break through in a Mind Screw of a Golden Ending - she successfully ascends beyond the digital reality, but not before helping Ryuki solve the case so early that everyone sympathetic survives and is a good spot at the end of the game.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Played with, in regards to accessing the hidden NIL ending. There are several points where the game presents a password prompt to the player character, which, if the player knows the actual password required, the puzzle or story obstacle can be bypassed. In one instance however, this is actively prevented: in the epilogue, a recording of Tokiko presents a message to the player, not the player characters, and gives them a password that she asks the player to go back in time and give them. In order to make sure that it's the actual player who solved the mystery, not somebody who simply looked up the solution, the password is randomized and specific to that individual playthrough. When the password is given, Tokiko is able to prove the existence of a player and breaks free of the fourth wall.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Key feature in Somniums is explained as a new feature in the first one played as Mizuki, yet it's also able to be used in Ryuki's Somniums set six years in the past.
  • Golden Ending: The game has a rather twisted take on this as a secret Gainax Ending. The "true" ending is rather bittersweet, with most the characters getting happy endings and humanity being saved. But Amame goes to prison for killing Uru, Komeji is dead, and Kizuna will never walk again. However, if during Ryuki's first meeting with her you give Tokiko the nil number that you the player learn from her hologram in the epilogue, Tokiko finally makes her tear in the game's reality due to you breaking the timeline, and you can choose to give Ryuki knowledge of all of the story's events. This leads Ryuki to be able to capture Uru just after he murders Chikara, meaning Komeji survives and manages to settle his debts, Kizuna isn't crippled and still gets together with Lien, Amame doesn't go to jail for killing Uru, and Ryuki is promoted to second in command of ABIS for his hard work. All in all, a picture perfect ending. However, Ryuki is left knowing that Naix was actually right all along, that the world is just a simulation. And Tokiko achieves moksha, breaking free from reality, meaning she gets everything she wanted and suffers no consequences from what she did in the main timeline.
  • Groin Attack: The game clears it up pretty early that yes, when a person is cut in half, even their crotch is split down the middle. Ouch.
  • Guide Dang It!: The only way to beat Gen's Somnium with time to spare is seemingly waste time on giving a joke answer to a question you're supposed to be looking for the answer to, and once you have met the requirements to give the proper answer the joke option disappears.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: This trope is to this game what Eye Scream was to the first one. The victims of the HB Case are all found cut perfectly in half vertically, with their bisection happening while they're still alive. The cut is also done extremely cleanly, at the molecular level. This was accomplished using a machine in the basement of the Horadori Institute, which uses carbon nanotube Razor Floss only a few atoms wide to slice bodies in two. Each half of the body is placed in a certain spot in order to connect their chakras, creating a point of convergence where the final step of Tearer's plan will occur.
  • Hand Wave:
    • There are a few small conversations to waive away some of the first game's consequences and avert Late-Arrival Spoiler:
      • Date still looks and sounds like Saito because he's wearing a perfect mask of him since everyone's used to Date looking that way.
      • Pewter is out of prison and working at ABIS again because Boss wanted him and his skills back. She of course, got him out through lots and lots of blackmail.
    • Another is given pretty late in the game, explaining what happened to Date after the Half Body Killings six years ago: He got Easy Amnesia, was kidnapped by Tearer, managed to escape due to trauma he experienced in his youth, and wandered the Earth doing odd jobs until he caught the Half Body Killings on the news six years later.
    • There's also the explanation for how nobody was aware of Bibi's existence, or how she was Boss' adopted daughter. Boss simply explains that Bibi was acting as a secret ABIS agent only she, Pewter, and Ryuki knew of (despite Ryuki not showing any such knowledge during his playable sections), and the fact that there was no mention of her having a daughter in the first game was because nobody asked about it.
  • Happy Ending Override: Soon after the first game's epilogue, the Half Body Serial Killings occurred which led to Mizuki losing her left eye and Date being MIA for 6 years in the present.
  • History Repeats: Date once again lost his memory due to the machinations of a Serial Killer and remained unaware who he was for six years, but unlike last time, he had no one to find and help him out during that time.
  • How We Got Here: Mizuki's lost her left eye, Date has gone missing, the other half of a murder victim from six years ago has appeared, and Ryuki has been traumatized to the point of madness by an unknown disaster. Ryuki's side is dedicated to explaining how all of this happened.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mizuki and Aiba often take jabs at each other for their small breast sizes.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That:
    • Date, when he gets a chance to give Pewter's reminder that "you only have six minutes in Somnium", reveals it's something he's always wanted to say.
    • Ryuki after he says "I'm just doing my job".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The "AI" theming of the previous game's episode names has been almost completely dropped, with the only remnant being the odd capitalization of the subtitle "nirvanA Initiative''. Instead, like the subtitle, all of this game's Psync segments consist of a word that starts with N and a word that starts with I, such as "New Investigation", "Need Info", and "Nearly Interesting".
  • Interface Screw: Parts of Ryuki's somnium turns the screen upside down as well as mirrors it. This includes the HUD and the controls.
  • Interface Spoiler: Zig Zagged with Boss' character profile in the English localization. Her present day profile lists her as Mizuki's adoptive parent, suggesting that she took over custody of Mizuki after Date's disappearance. This is a mistranslation, as the profile is meant to say that she's a friend of Mizuki's adoptive parent Date. The game does eventually reveal that Boss has an adopted daughter of her own, much to Mizuki's surprise. It's revealed even later however that Boss' adoptive daughter is Mizuki's older clone sibling Bibi, who's actual name also happens to be Mizuki, making the mistranslation a case of Metaphorically True.
  • Ironic Echo: Many questions that were asked in Amame's first Somnium got re-asked in her second Somnium. This time, however, they got asked with a much more harsher context as they are about Amame's regrets over past decisions she made.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: In the final battle, Tearer's goons are all equipped with insulated suit. This makes stun rounds ineffective against them. Date has to resort to shooting them with live rounds in non-vital areas.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • Defied. At the start of the game, you're asked if you've played the first already, and given a brief quiz on what you remember. Saying no or failing the quiz trims out dialog that would spoil the first game's mystery.
    • Played straight with Naix - it's revealed early on that they are a real, secretive religion that believes that reality is a digital simulation, but also that Iris is barking up the wrong tree completely and has every other detail about them wrong (they don't believe in demons, let alone worship them, they aren't aligned with aliens, they aren't part of the government, and they are composed of humans, not sentient machines), and they were not involved in the first game at all.
  • Latex Perfection: If you choose to enable Late Arrival Spoilers, a conversation rather early in the game will explain that the reason why Date still has Saito's face is because he's wearing a mask, which he had made due to everyone being used to him looking this way.
  • Maybe Ever After: Continuing from the first installment, Date and Hitomi haven't explicitly gotten together, and Hitomi states that she is still waiting for Date, but she hasn't seen him in a while. However, this takes on new meaning after the timeline of events is properly explained, as Hitomi mentions this during present time rather than in the past as it initially seems. So naturally she hasn't seen him as he has been missing for 6 years. And during the epilogue, the two of them are seen cuddling shamelessly.
  • Meaningful Background Event: One of the promotional Youtube shorts for the game involves Gen drinking a shot at Marble. In the background is Komeji with several bottles of alcohol at his table. In the actual game, he'd end up stealing Jin's body and getting himself killed for it due to the resulting drunken bender.
  • Mook Chivalry: Most of the time, the enemy Mooks will attacks the heroes one at a time despite having advantage in numbers. Even armed goons will try to get into melee range before attempting to shoot. The rare time when they attack all at once, they will quickly overwhelms the opponent.
  • Motifs: Halves are the game's main motif. This is most obviously shown in how the killer cuts the victims perfectly in half, but if you pay attention, lots of other things are broken in two during the game, such as the origami medal Shoma made for his father. This also manifests as relationships being broken up, like Ryuki talking about how he lost his twin brother, which he compares to losing half of himself.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The sign of the action sequences being more bombastic than the previous game ever had, groups assaults were the exception before, now they are the norm, and it only increases in number the more the story advances, the endgame bout being in a stadium is quite fitting due the sheer number of actors facing each other.
  • Mythology Gag: A few to the Zero Escape trilogy:
    • Horadori Institute scientists wear bulky red spacesuits, identical to the Rhizome 9 suits in Virtue's Last Reward.
    • Rhizome 9 itself is mentioned (and shown) by name if Ryuki suggests to Boss that a kidnapped Kizuna is being held at a "moon base" late on his route.
    • Some Somniums have timed, snap decisions, the interface of which is nearly identical to the Decision Game segments of Zero Time Dilemma.
    • The Gigantic is one of the joke options the player can select for the location of the Nirvana Initiative's final phase.
    • In the Dream Album, one of the unlockable pieces of art depicts Aiba in a pose mirroring that of Clover's from the Axe ending of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
  • Never Was This Universe: A subtle example; During an argument about where the Statue of Liberty is located, Tama brings up a map that shows it on Ellis Island, with the landmass that is Liberty Island, where the statue is located in the real world, not being present at all. Naturally, the Mandela Effect is discussed at another point, with the name of the island the Statue of Liberty is located on being among the examples given.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Generally, you can only fail a Somnium by running out of time. However...
    • During the Masked Woman's Somnium, if Chikara catches you at any point, you instantly lose and have to either reload from a check point or restart the entire Somnium if out of retries.
    • In Gen's Somnium, you can instantly fail at the very beginning if you do not have Aiba train before taking part in the cooking competition.
    • In Amame's second Somnium, there exists a rather bizarre game over. If you choose to read the torn up magazine, Aiba will read out a specific combination of inputs. Punch in those inputs while the text is still on screen and the scene will shift to the nearby TV, showing a ghost named Hanako, who immediately ends the Somnium. You do, however, at least get an achievement for this.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The Somnium for Tearer takes heavy cues from the Zero Escape franchise. Additionally, completing the game unlocks the first escape room from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors as a Somnium.
    • Iris's Somnium is in many ways a throwback to the first game, being set in an area important to the first game but otherwise largely irrelevant to the second and with the focus primarily on that game's extended cast.
  • Older than They Look: Most of the cast don't look any different after the time-skip, with the sole exceptions being Mizuki, Iris, Ota, and Kizuna though the latter is for a different reason. This helps disguise the true timeline of events.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch
    • Less stable somniums have moving holes in parts of the ground and walls.
    • The antibodies in Ryuki's somnium have the vertices of the 3d model quantized to a small 3d grid in realtime, making their appearance blocky and unnatural.
    • All textures in the scene change to "cyperspacey" looks whenever Ryuki has an episode of madness.
    • The chapters in the flowchart for the diverge route are placed so far to the side that the normal background doesn't cover the screen when zoomed in, revealing error messages off the edge. At least one chapter description is filled with gibberish too.
  • One Degree of Separation: Despite Lien and Kizuna being strangers at the start of the game, they travel in similar social circles and are both longtime close friends with Bibi.
  • One-Hit Kill: Using the right Kusemon and skill will end certain fights in Iris' Somnium in a jiffy. Boss can one-shot So Sejima using the Blackmail skill, Date can insta-kill F using the Treasure skill, and while F has only one attack, he can one-shot the final boss.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final opponent in the Kusemon fights has a second phase. Which literally has one wing.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: At the hospital, Shoma tells Mizuki that he has an older sister. Depending on the order of events, Mizuki can ask Aiba to search the family registry for the identity of the mystery girl, but she has a connection error. This prevents a premature reveal.
  • Precision F-Strike:
  • Press X to Not Die: Returns from the first game during many of the game's action sequences, but also shows up in one somnium, namely, Masked Woman's. Not only does it literally open with a QTE, but if Chikara spots you at any time that isn't specifically "You go hide", a QTE pops up to give you a chance to save yourself. Failure is, of course, death. There's also one investigation scene involving patrolling guards, and every so often your investigation gets interrupted for a QTE to avoid detection/capture.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The first round of Nearly Interesting's quiz show uses Beethoven's fifth and ninth symphonies on top of Bach's "Air on G String" as both BGM and answer hints.
  • Razor Floss: A machine in the basement of the Horadori Institute uses carbon nanotubes only a few atoms wide to cut bodies in half at the molecular level. This was the murder weapon for the HB Killings.
  • Recursive Reality: Naixatloz believe that their world is a simulation, and wish to escape it. However, they also acknowledge that it is likely that whatever world they escape to may very well be another layer of simulation, which in itself is within another simulation, and so on. In the final ending, Tokiko does manage to create a tear and leave the simulation, but considering how this obviously doesn't cause her to physically pop out of whatever device you're playing on, this probably means that the world she escaped to is still on a lower level of simulation than ours.
  • Religion of Evil: The Order of %, the Renegade Splinter Faction of the already shady Naix religion. Naix believes reality is a virtual simulation, and so want out, while the Order Prefers the Illusion as they feel existing in one means they are free of moral implications.
  • Retcon: Mizuki turns out to have been adopted by Renju and Shoko despite the former's Parental Neglect and the latter's Abusive Parents behavior.
  • Retraux: The songs that play in the Kusemon Go battles in Iris's Somnium are chiptune-esque remixes of tracks that play during action scenes in both this game and Somnium Files. In fact, the theme that plays against Tearer's One-Winged Angel form is a sneak peek at the track that plays during the final confrontation (when the TC-PERGE rocket emerges).
  • Rewatch Bonus: The game earns itself another playthrough knowing the true timeline of events, Bibi's identity, and to see how temporally confused Ryuki is.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The characters reflect on, but ultimately never answer the question of why Shigure took her own life in a manner deliberately imitating the HB killings, as it isn't relevant to what they urgently need to do. However, the secret Gainax Ending reveals this to be, of all things, an Exploited Trope: Shigure arranged her own death to create a loose end for the player, as part of her plan to get them curious enough to go back and follow up on that cryptic dialogue from her first in-game appearance...
  • Running Gag: The Inspector’s name Gag returns from the first game… poor Kazami can’t catch a break.
  • Same Clothes, Different Year: Everyone except Mizuki, Iris, Ota, and Kizuna has the same outfit in both the past and the present. Characters who had flashback scenes in the first game, like Hitomi and So, must have been wearing the same outfit for at least a decade.
  • Secret Level: After completing the game and getting the nil number ending, you unlock an extra Somnium: The 3rd Class Cabin from 999, with Aiba taking Junpei's place.
  • Seeker White Blood Cells: The Somnium sections now have antibodies that will try to stop the player's progress, caused by the subject of the Somnium consciously trying to hide their memories. Touching those will rapidly drains your remaining time.
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • The original game's storyline was ultimately about a serial killer who just A:wanted his original body back, and B: wanted revenge on the man who "stole" it from him, aka The Protagonist Date. The sequel involves a power struggle between rival international organizations, the more prominent of which is seeking to "free" humanity from what they believe to be a giant simulation, ultimately involving murder and terrorism to achieve said goals.
    • The Final Battle is also much larger in scale. In the previous game, the final fight had Moma, Mizuki, and Date fighting against Saito. In the sequel, the final fight has Mizuki, Bibi, and Date joined by just about every ally against a huge army Tearer's mooks, in order to save the world from a man-made virus that will brainwash all of humanity, culminating in Bibi and Mizuki having to chase the rocket carrying the virus with their jet-powered bike.
  • Sequence Breaking: While it's technically possible to do Mizuki's side first, the path to her route is locked behind a question you shouldn't know the answer to yet, sending you to Ryuki's route if you haven't looked up or otherwise been spoiled the answer beforehand.
  • Sequencing Deception: The way the plot is set up, it clearly appears that the story chronologically follows Ryuki in the "past" and Mizuki in the "present" (as Ryuki slips further and further into his breakdown). However, near the end of the story, it is revealed that this is not the case. The timeline chart shows that the two "timelines" actually are crisscrossing, meaning that half of Ryuki's investigations were indeed during the "past", but half of his investigations were actually during the "present". Same with Mizuki, which is only possible because the Mizuki we know is a younger clone of a template that produced two girls named Mizuki - the older one (who is eventually nicknamed Bibi) is who we play in the past segments, getting assistance from Aiba on Boss's "secret mission", whose memory of Bibi gets erased by the explosion. Aside from Jin, nobody comments on the second body halves having been 'recently' killed despite the first halves seemingly being killed six years previously, because in reality, the discovery of each half is separated by no more than a few hours.
  • Serial Escalation: The plot here deals with much grander schemes and bombastic sequences than the first game ever had; before Date was dealing strictly with a serial-killer case, with most of the fantastical events being during the somniums, in which the twists and turns in the real world never went too far. However, in this sequel, the plot only starts with another odd murder victim, but Ryuki and Mizuki soon dive into a grander web of intrigue that pushes for potential world-changing events, more sci-fi takes on biological experimentation, action sequences that wouldn’t look out of place in a superhero setting since superhuman individuals are more prominent now, etc. To top it all off, the secret ending literally breaks reality apart with Ryuki ironically proving Naix ideals to be right by redoing his investigation with all the endgame knowledge available to him.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: It's stated early in the case that the bodies were cut at the molecular level, which would require a ludicrously sharp murder weapon to accomplish. Said weapon turns out to be a cutter in the basement of the Horadori Institute which uses Razor Floss made of carbon nanotubes only a few atoms thick..
  • Ship Sinking: A few pairings are teased early on, only to be shot down later on as certain details about the plot are revealed.
    • Shoma is quickly established to have a crush on Mizuki, which she takes in stride when informed about it via giving him a Valentine's Day chocolate. In the present-day plot it's revealed that he's been genetically modified to age at a greatly reduced pace, causing him to look not a day older compared to Mizuki. Shoma for his part seems to have moved on from his crush by this point anyway, though "A Certain Girl" is still listed under Likes on his bio.
    • After much of their interaction together is spent examining their relationship, Gen turns out to be in love with Amame, but he's long since accepted that she probably doesn't feel the same way, and has been trying to treat her like a daughter instead hoping his feelings will subside if he keeps it up long enough. Amame's incarceration at the end complicates things further.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the free DLC T-shirts is a picture of Date, Boss, Pewter and Kagami doing the "Reaction Guys/Gaijin 4koma" meme.
    • Ryuki will sometimes do an All Might impression (which he calls "Half Might"), complete with yelling "I am here!"
    • The way the Mental Locks appear in the intro to Lien's Somnium is the exact same as how Psyche-Locks appear in the Ace Attorney series.
    • Lien frequently refers to himself as the Master of Unlocking.
    • Lien also has quite a few references to Kingdom Hearts.
      • His Somnium for one branch of it at least involves using keys to unlock the heart, as well as having a giant heart in the sky with a keyhole in it.
      • Whenever Lien is shown fighting his Weapon of Choice is a giant key. He even holds the key over his shoulder and fights with it two-handed much like Sora himself.
    • While drunk at the start of the game, Ryuki starts talking about a mirror world. It can't really be a coincidence considering his name.
    • Ask if the Masked Woman is okay at the Sagan residence and, after not receiving an answer, Ryuki will remark "There's no response. It's just a corpse."
    • Iris's Somnium takes the form of a game of Kusemon Go. At the end of it Tearer quite literally goes One-Winged Angel. Not to mention, they do Jonathan Joestar's iconic pose before you battle them.
    • When asked why it seemed like the two body halves appeared after six years, one of the options is "Professor Brown created a time machine."
    • Upon completing the Nearly Interesting Somnium Komeji, Iris, Mizuki, and Gen all break into applause and say "Congratulations." while looking directly at the viewer.
      • Given that this Somnium is in the form of a quiz show, its name, Nearly Interesting, is clearly a reference to British comedy Panel Show QI, also known as "Quite Interesting".
    • Aiba must find and cast several magic spells during Kizuna's Somnium. Animations for these are reminiscent of Bayonetta, and the spells themselves sound vagualy similar to Enochian incantations in the English dub.
    • At one point Ryuki talks about a detective game he played once where the only way to continue was to give up the investigation.
    • Examining a toy robot in Ryuki's Chapter 2 has Tama suddenly quiz him about if he knows what a handsy older woman is called, with the answer being "cougar".
    • Ryuki showing up in the Resolution ending leading The Cavalry has him say "Kept you waiting, huh?" The entire scene is backed-up by Metal Gear-esque sounding music.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The advice corner in the menu is inaccessible during scenes where the AI ball partner is out of commission.
    • In the options menu, a small stamp in the corner indicates whether you're playing as Mizuki or Ryuki. When you're in control of neither and are playing as the Frayer, neither stamp appears on the options menu.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Little thought seems to have gone into where the players hands would be resting on the PC version in regards to the buttons used in Quicktime Events. While playing with a mouse and keyboard, sequences will alternate between using the Z+C keys on the left side of keyboard, the arrow keys on the right side, Return/Enter, the Space Bar, CTRL, as well as requiring pointing and clicking the mouse, oftentimes in the same QTE sequence. Maintaining proper reaction times effectively requires at least three hands.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Posthumously, Tearer has tapes that not only taunt the heroes when they arrive and anticipated his plan occurring in the stadium, but he can also predict that they would shoot his mooks with stun bullets. Played with at the end though, as the Tearer has one final message about humanity finally being free...moments after the rocket containing the PERGE virus is destroyed. However, Tokiko shows up in the video to say "Plan... success..." leading you to assume that this is a subversion... except she planned for the Nirvana Initiative to fail so she could give the Frayer (you) the Nil number to help her achieve Moksha. In that respect, her plan was as success.
  • Trivial Tragedy: Mizuki lets Date know, after he's been AWOL for six years, that she tossed out all of his porno mags, cue his overblown reaction.
  • The Unreveal: Ryuki only learns the full name of Tearer or rather what he remembers it being, since the phrase given "Dahlia Boat" makes no sense given later reveals after receiving this information in two separate endings. Mizuki tries questioning him how he could possibly know the answer, to which Ryuki starts to answer before collapsing into a manic laughter.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Discussed during one conversation with Tokiko, when she explains the difference between Naixatloz and the Order of %'s view on the simulation theory: while Naix wishes to help people break out of the simulation, the Order of % believes that since the simulated world is as real as a video game, it means they should be free to engage in any acts of violence and depravity they desire, which Tokiko compares to how a player may decide to go on a rampage in a Wide-Open Sandbox game despite not wanting to do that in real life.
  • Virtual Pet: The player has a little Tamagotchi-esque toy called an Eyeball-ie, which has a digital Aiba who asks you questions every 20 real-world minutes. It doesn't require managing food or such, but it can be raised into one of several forms based on different characters depending on how you answer its questions.
  • Visible Invisibility: Some enemy Mooks have optical camouflage which is visible to the audience as humanoid distortions of the background, but the protagonists need to activate thermal vision to see them.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The chapter that's unlocked after completing all of the side story paths. Seemingly out of nowhere, you are having a conversation with Mama at her bar. And it isn't Mizuki or Ryuki, it's YOU, the player. In the chapters leading up to this one, you likely will have noticed increasing amounts of elements that don't quite make sense, such as finding the other half of Komeji's body 6 years later, going to talk to his son Shoma about it, and hearing Shoma talk about stuff his father did for him merely days ago. Mama proceeds to reveal that the timeline for the story isn't as simple as "Ryuki=Past" and "Mizuki=Present", but in fact Ryuki has been investigating the case concurrently with either Mizuki ("Bibi" in the past and "little Mizuki" in the present).
    • Tied to the above Wham Episode and coming right after it is the reveals about the Masked Woman. To reach this point, you already have to learn that the Masked Woman looks and sounds exactly like Mizuki (a Wham Episode in its own right), but this chapter reveals that "our" Mizuki is not the original. Bibi was a prototype for what Mizuki became. She has the same level of superhuman strength as Mizuki, but also has a heart condition that is slowly killing her. This segment also reveals that about half of the story segments where you play as Mizuki have you actually controlling Bibi (as Mizuki was 12 years old 6 years in the past).
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Invoked by Mizuki during Genny's Somnium where she gets the bright idea to have Aiba use an '=1' Timie to train as a master chef for an entire year in the span of a second.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Invoked when Tokiko asks you, the player, to tell her the nil number, a randomized six digit code that is only revealed at the very end of the game. This unlocks the final ending of the game.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: Looking at the map in Boss' office at one point has her say that it's a newer map, with the Belt Transit System shown on it. Mizuki immediately asks if that's copyrighted, to Boss' confusion.
 
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Kizuna sings and dances to her favorite song for an audience of friends. Lien hears her performance for the first time and feels love at first sight.

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5 (7 votes)

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Main / ImageSong

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