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YMMV / Zero Time Dilemma

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  • Abandon Shipping: Those for Phi/Sigma and Phi/Diana after the revelation that Phi is Sigma and Diana's daughter.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Despite Eric's unpopular status, his fate in certain timelines garners sympathy. It doesn't help that a good portion of his deaths are brought upon by his own girlfriend, who barely even cared for him herself. It helps even less that, like most things in the series, some of his worst moments are ameliorated in retrospect. Throughout the whole game, Sean, who was neither at D-com nor mentioned at all to be a participant of the game, makes decisions for the team that can result in the death of members of the other two teams. And unlike Carlos or Diana, he's not making the decision under mind control. Is it any wonder that Eric's heavily suspicious of him?
  • Ass Pull:
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    • The reveal of Delta/Q being with Q team at nearly all times is really heavily foreshadowed so it's not actually an Ass Pull, but the game tries to have its cake and eat it too. Some scenes show Delta's shadow, and it should very clearly also be showing his body in certain camera angles, but the game hides his body from you to avoid spoiling the reveal which can feel disingenuous.
    • The reveal that Mira was exempt from drug injections and was free to roam around killing people also feels like a major cop-out, because we see her fall unconscious with the rest at the end of every Q-Team fragment, so there's absolutely nothing (with the exception of one ending wherein she's strongly implied to have assassinated most of the players) to make players suspect something's off. It also raises a few questions, like why she never kills Eric in his sleep. In fact, her attitude towards Eric and Q Team can be somewhat inconsistent between timelines, going from supportive and earnest to manipulative and psychotic. Adding onto this, the fact that when she does attack the other players, she (or maybe Delta) is wearing a robe. This is only done to postpone the reveal. And unlike 999 where Junpei not recognizing his killer is justified when it comes up, there's no reason for this at all.
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    • A lot of people were wondering what happened to the "Another Time" ending from VLR, which received no followup in this game. The director's answer on Twitter? That entire sequence that contained multiple plot hooks wasn't canon because it takes place on a higher level of reality that involves metafiction. Hence, when the ending said that Kyle would go back in time to 2028, what it really meant was that he would go back in time to our 2028, not Zero Escape's. Fans were not amused, especially because in the four years between games they had been speculating on how the numerous plot points introduced in that ending would factor into the third game. note 
    • The entirety of VLR was a gigantic gambit to help Sigma and Phi hone their SHIFTing abilities. In this game, Akane, Junpei and Carlos can jump with as much proficiency as the heroes of the previous game, despite not going through similar degrees of training.
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    • Mira and Eric being granted the ability to SHIFT shortly before the game ends. Never is it hinted that SHIFTers can share their abilities. In fact, it's been suggested that, when a group of SHIFTers comes together, the weaker ones are left powerless.
  • Awesome Music: Tough Decision perfectly captures the tension and the pressure of the characters being forced to make life-risking choices.
  • Base-Breaking Character: As with nearly every character in the Zero Escape series, every person in the game has their fans and detractors. However, out of the nine player of the Decision Game, Q-Team is probably the most divisive:
    • Eric: Between his Leeroy Jenkins tendencies, his obsession with Mira, and his constant snipes at characters like Sean, he certainly has more than a few negative qualities. But does his traumatic childhood (and blatant lack of affection from Mira) make up for them? There are a few times when Eric seems to see Sean as a replacement for Chris, and several times where he's fine killing him. The only point that most seem to agree on is that he doesn't have that good a reason to be at the site and the Decision Game (as opposed to say, Diana) and his ending could have been expanded upon (specifically, why he ended up marrying Mira after she admitted to being a serial killer, with her first victim very likely to be Eric's mother.
    • Q: While his character is well-liked, and he's not debated nearly to the same extent as Mira and Eric, there being another amnesiac character was either a series tradition or already done to death for most fans. Him turning out to be a robot also got a similar, but not as strong division due to Luna in the last game. Also, was Eric and Mira apparently knowing his name was Sean the whole time a fair twist, or an Ass Pull?
  • Broken Base:
    • Some fans aren't sure how to feel about the increased Darker and Edgier feel of the game. Some see it as a return to the oppressive atmosphere of the first game, but others counter that the original made use of the Gory Discretion Shot and static images while this game has animated deaths with tons of screaming.
    • Some fans aren't thrilled to see Junpei and/or Akane as participants in the game, from reasons relating to what was established about the event in the prior game to feeling either or both characters have become fanservice characters. While Akane is more tolerated due to her role in the series, some fans aren't thrilled to see Junpei again, which may be partly due to his dramatic change in personality. It should be noted that Junpei did admit that he was already involved in the Mars Test Site in VLR.
    • The ending has split the base pretty hard. Either you think it's a highly disappointing ending that ends the game on a major sour note, a fine ending that could have been better had the budget been better, or an enjoyable send-off to the series.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • Mira is the Heart Ripper. Team Q is the group that introduces their existence, there are copious hints towards their identity in-game, and even trailers from before the game came out implied that Mira is much darker than she first appears. Furthermore, anyone even remotely observant could guess that a Serial Killer mentioned would be secretly one of the characters... and most of the game's cast is made up of returning characters and playable ones, leaving only two real candidates.
    • Phi being Diana's and Sigma's daughter was called before the game was officially released, due to a questionable character design change that gave Phi red eyebrows, the exact same shade of red used for Diana's hair. Extremely heavy foreshadowing of this reveal (such as Phi admitting her dark secret is that she dyes her hair and it's naturally red, with Diana pointing out that she herself has red hair right after) leads to the actual point where the characters realize this fact near the end of the game fall flat for a lot of players who worked it out hours ago.
  • Contested Sequel: Opinions of the game's general quality vary from person to person. Common points of contention are the new characters in Q Team, (as noted under Base-Breaking Character) many a reveal coming off as an Ass Pull in a series that had previously been heavy on foreshadowing, and the ending. Some say that although the game would be fine on its own, as a conclusion to a complicated series it doesn't fulfill most of the promises set by both the games and Word of God.
  • Epileptic Trees: Thanks to the large amount of mysteries present in the story, both in the setup and the previous game, there's a huge amount of this. The presence of Junpei and Akane are particularly notable since the previous game implied neither was present for this game. Not only that, but both Word of God and the previous title both explicitly state that they never met until the end of the Ambidex game. Popular theories include:
    • Carlos' Ill Girl sister being Patient Zero of Radical-6. Nope. Though she is a latent esper.
    • Eric is almost unanimously thought to be the psychopath alluded to in the teaser. While he is a complete nutjob, that title actually goes to Mira.
    • Q being a Left clone/a young Dio. Nope to either, though he does have a relationship with Brother.
    • The events with Team C occurring at a different time from the others. Correct, though it's more like all the teams occur at different times.
    • Due to his position on the box, a fan theory on Reddit suggested that Junpei is Zero. But even the person writing the theory thinks that makes no sense.
    • Snake being Brother based on certain quotes and imagery from the past games. However, a fatal flaw in one of the evidence is that a localized name change was involved.
    • Was Q/Sean actually Kyle Klim's consciousness from VLR, and was "?" the consciousness from the Quantum computer that Brother built? That there was no real answer to what happened to Kyle and Sean being able able to use SHIFT without the others implies that he should have esper abilities, something that no other AI in the series has been shown to have, adds a lot of speculation.
    • There was a debate on whether or not the butterfly worn by Zero was a Monarch or a Viceroy, making reference to Mullerian mimicry; this theory suggested that there were two Zeroes. In hindsight, it is technically true as this Zero is a copycat.
  • Fountain of Memes: Delta, for being hilarious for the wrong reasons and having a number of the most memetic lines in the entire game, along with having some of the game's most important plot twists revolve around him. This makes for a weird example- it's hard to talk about said character, but a lot of the game's discussion and memes revolve around him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Eric's design was first revealed, there were numerous jokes about him being Luke Skywalker, based on his resemblance to Mark Hamill. When the voice cast was revealed, it turned out that he was voiced by Akira Ishida, who dubbed Luke Skywalker for the Japanese release.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Despite the insistence in regards to the game's dark content, some fans are hesitant about how far the game will really go (the possibility of Q and Gab dying onscreen is a big one). They both do, in certain situations.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Because of the placement of the word "Mastermind" near Gab's picture on both the Famitsu article and the Japanese website, many fans have decided that Gab is actually Zero this time. In other words, The Dog Was the Mastermind!
    • Due to Zero's English voice actor, Resident Evil jokes immediately began popping up. Not helping matters is the reveal of what Zero looks like without his disguise, making him look like an older Wesker.
    • Eric's line in the first trailer, "STOP BULLSHITTING ME" has been getting some traction.
    • The male characters (with the exception of Eric, mostly) being Hotter and Sexier. Especially Junpei, who's barely recognizable compared to his previous appearances.
    • There have been multiple comics on tumblr showing Carlos as the Only Sane Man of Team C, mostly due to Akane and Junpei's arguing. Alternatively, being Locked Out of the Loop while those two argue about events from 999.
    • "Punished Sigma": Because of the reveal at the end of VLR that Sigma will lose his arms and eye, and because of the Darker and Edgier nature of ZTD, plenty have speculated that Sigma will "go nuclear".
    • Zero's motives are...complex.
    • "MIND HACKING" due to Delta's mind hacking ability seemingly coming out of nowhere, and being a large part of his plans.
    • The Snail Zero II brings up in his story has been declared the true Greater-Scope Villain of the series by fans, because its existence led to 6 billion people dying.
  • Narm:
    • While the second trailer was very well received, Junpei's declaration that he's done being a hero because "I'm an adult now" was met with laughter and mockery due to the melodramatic nature of the line (Junpei's "emo" appearance doesn't help).
    • The English voice acting can fall into this during emotional or dramatic moments. The battle between Carlos and Akane over who killed Junpei is especially bad when Akane's voice actress barely tries to sound convincingly angry and upset over how her childhood friend was brutally dismembered off-screen.
    • The quality of the animations may look funnier than intended. For example, Akane bludgeoning Carlos with the fire extinguisher.
    • To some, everything about Delta is unintentionally hilarious. Especially complex motives and MIND HACKING.
  • Narm Charm: Despite Junpei's silly mistake the scene where he proposes to Akane is still very heartwarming.
  • Nausea Fuel: According to a tweet from scenario writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, the game is best played with a plastic bag nearby. He was right.
    • In one of the endings, Mira tears out Eric's heart. The organ itself is not shown on screen, but we still get to see the blood pouring all over her face as she holds it triumphantly.
    • If you press the button in the acid shower room, you will see a cutscene where the other teams scream in agony as the toxins are released. The final shot is of bloody chunks of flesh where the victims originally were.
  • One True Threesome: Carlos/Akane/Junpei. Akane/Junpei has been a Fan-Preferred Couple for the whole series, while newcomer Carlos spends most of the game trying to hook them up while having considerable amounts of chemistry with both. In one ending he forgoes the chance to try and save six billion people because doing so would mean that he wouldn't get to meet Akane and Junpei.
  • Padding: Due to the initial non-linearity of the game, be prepared to hear the same exposition a lot. Though, even later on, plot points will repeat themselves (such as Eric mentally breaking down in the timeline Mira dies in and threatening Q/everyone with a shotgun) and generally be similar to how they were the first time, thanks to Zero's memory loss drug.
  • Player Punch: Oh good lord dozens. Some of the situations in this game are downright cruel, and if you want go see everything, you're going to have to do some truly despicable things, and see some horrific sights.
    • Completing the pantry reveals that those body parts you've been using throughout the puzzle have been Junpei's. The punch is softened (but no less awful) if you completed the fragment that leads to Q-Team's ending beforehand, meaning you know exactly how it's going to end.
    • The Decontamination Room situation is easily one of the most horrific acts you can do in the entire game. Instant freedom for the person you're playing as... but death by acid-bath for all the other teams.
    • Gab's death in the timeline where none of players have died. By that point, the player is likely to have forgotten them until it shows you the body.
  • Rated M for Money: Turned Up to Eleven. Uchikoshi has straight out said that they purposefully shot for a "Z" rating from the CERO rating boardnote  The game ended up getting a "D" rating rating instead, the highest "standard rating", below Z.note 
  • The Scrappy: Mira thanks to the group seemingly being okay with having a serial killer hanging around with them in the finale being a big point of controversy, as is Mira's decision to turn herself in. She flat out states several times in the game's events that she doesn't really understand human emotion, so her sudden remorse does seemingly spring out of nowhere. That her imprisonment was entirely voluntary (and eventually undone by Sean and Eric breaking her out) may also make her appear to be a Karma Houdini to some. There's also the fact that her motives are inconsistent. In the Three-Way timeline, and with her past victims, her motive was to rip out their hearts in an attempt to learn how to feel emotions. But then, in the Radical-6 timeline, she kills Eric and all of D-Team, and attempts to kill Sean, without following her usual M.O. There, she just kills for the hell of it, and even starts laughing maniacally, and never even attempts to take their hearts, even though she's in a perfect position to do so.
  • Shocking Swerve: The reveal that the falsely convicted man and his suicidal wife in Zero's story were Akane's parents can feel unfair. The other actors in the story can be reasonably deduced from other hints, but this one comes out of nowhere; even Akane is baffled by the revelation.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The frequent blood splatter effects tend to look more like Kool-Aid, as the pooling/running effect looks much less viscous than actual blood.
    • Except in a few rare cases, injuries are never shown on the character models themselves, often leading to immaculate corpses lying over huge blood puddles — which just looks ridiculous, especially when the game tooted its horn so much about how gory it was going to be leading up to release. This is particularly noticeable with bullet wounds (of which there are many in the game) — even when characters are supposedly getting their heads blown off, they don't get any perforations.
    • In Q-End 1, Mira cuts out Eric's heart and holds it up dramatically... just out of frame. It works well enough, especially since there is at least an impressive shower of blood coming from where Eric's heart should be, but it's pretty obvious there's nothing actually in her hands.
  • Squick:
    • Diana technically had sex with a 67-year old man. She was lucky his consciousness was stuck in a hot body.
    • The whole series involves usage of the morphogenetic field, and there's some degree of memory sharing, so after the big group shift at the end, let's all hope Phi didn't end up with her parents' memories of conceiving her.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • In Virtue's Last Reward, it was implied that it could be possible to jump into a clone's body because they are technically identical to the original. This concept was not fully explored in Zero Time Dilemmanote .
    • Radical-6 ends up having far less prominence than what the previous game would suggest, too. It was never explained how it can cause a worldwide pandemic in a matter of months. Some fans also find it irksome that it was released to prevent a bigger disaster that's not elaborated on in itself.
    • Sigma and Phi's training from the previous game is rendered almost pointless, as it's C-Team who does the most jumping between different timelines.
    • Numerous plot points from Virtue's Last Reward's main game, its bonus ending, and its online Q+A were expected to be followed up on in this game. You can probably guess that many of them were not. Aoi and Crashkeys, Left and the Myrmidons, the termite speech, and everything from the bonus ending (to name a few) were completely dropped. Although Brother does appear as the villain of this game, his actions and characterization have so little to do with how he and Free the Soul were portrayed in the previous games that he seems like a different character.
  • Uncanny Valley: The fully animated character models look stiff and puppet-like. The faces especially come off as unnatural — while everyone's default expression looks fine, whenever they want to express shock or happiness their mouths split apart and hang open, like lipless dolls.
  • Wangst: Junpei's pissy cynicism comes off melodramatic and annoying because it's different from his personality in the first game, he acts like a jerk to Carlos and Akane because of it, and nothing is really shown of his year of seeing the worst of humanity, so it's harder to take seriously than Mr. "My-parents-died-in-a-fire-and-my-sister-is-dying-of-a-mysterious-illness" Carlos and Akane "I-was-kidnapped-as-a-kid-and-almost-burned-alive-and-had-to-put-the-love-of-my-life-in-danger-to-ensure-my-survival" Kurashiki, who are far more personable. Akane's Flanderization makes this worse, as Junpei is upset about how she wasn't the person he thought she was, yet her personality isn't all that different from just that.
  • The Woobie:
    • Diana. Poor, poor Diana. Taken advantage of in an abusive relationship with her ex-husband, forced to make terrible choices that can lead to her personally killing her teammates, is responsible for releasing Radical-6 in VLR's Bad Future, and in one ending is left stranded to die inside the bomb shelter with Sigma. Though she and Sigma find some happiness in that ending, she has to transport her children to a better timeline when they run out of food and no help has come. (Of course, since the transporter only sends a copy instead of moving the original, she still has to watch her babies die.)
    • Q. Right out the gate, he starts the game an amnesiac and is trapped in a metal helmet locked to his face that makes him appear suspicious to others, despite his sweet precocious nature. Watching him break down sobbing as Eric holds him at gunpoint, being forced to answer a question that he doesn't know the answer to, is absolutely heartbreaking.
    • Eric is of the Jerkass variety. He's prone to losing his cool in tense situations and is definitely not mentally stable, but after having his mom die, his once-loving father turn into an abusive drunk who killed his younger brother and forced him to dump his body in a lake, it's easy to see why.
    • The way Gab moves suggests he has arthritis.
  • Woolseyism: The prequel Virtue's Last Reward in Japanese had a name beginning with "Extreme Escape Adventure". This was changed to "Zero Escape" in the US to reflect the iconic villain, and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was also re-released with the Zero Escape branding to emphasize its position in the series - and to enable the pun "There is Zero Escape". Evidently the author liked this, because in Japan, the main title of Zero Time Dilemma is... Zero Escape.note 

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