Tag Archives: Zero Escape

My Top Games I Couldn’t Get To In 2016

A sign of how good 2016 was for video games is the fact that I’m devoting a post to games I really wanted to get to this year but couldn’t play in any significant quantity before it came time to recount the year’s games. This is why award shows like BAFTA, the DICE Summit, the GDC awards, and the Oscars are held in spring, but almost everybody in video games seems to love doing Game Of The Year Awards in December or even November, and I’ve already established a pattern of making it my last post of the year. Partly I just don’t like dwelling on the previous year while the next one is fresh and new. This time around it’s also because quarter-one video game releases for 2017 look like they’re hitting the ground running.

The following are just games I was very interested in playing which came out this year, but which I haven’t had the time to. I’m just making this post so when I do put down my ultimate 2016 list on Friday no one gets mad about omissions. This isn’t even every game I thought was “great” in 2016, just what I was most interested in playing.

27250637753_722181efd2_o-copy Continue reading

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The Silver Case — A New Phase For Japanese Adventure Games On PC?


I found the time to try out the demo for the PC remake of Suda51’s The Silver Case, which got me to look at a trend that seems to be increasing on PC these days — visual novels and Japanese adventure games. This has been going on for some time now, but I wonder if we’re starting to see a new phase this year and if Silver Case might lead to similar scenarios in the future. Continue reading

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The 3DS’s Surprisingly Strong 2016 Lineup


Emotions among Nintendo fans are running high coming off the announcements from the company’s financial meeting this week. One thing in particular caught me off-guard though: how much Nintendo seems to be propping up the 3DS with software this year. Last year I think I predicted something like 2015 would be the last significant year of the 3DS. Good God was I wrong. Continue reading

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What Else Comes Out This Week: Zero Escape

I am about to devote a post to giving my high recommendation to two games – one coming out this week, of a genre that I normally abhor.

Fans of DS adventure games like Ace Attorney, Professor Layton, and Hotel Dusk who haven’t yet heard of the Zero Escape brand should definitely take heed of it. Fans of other adventure games like The Walking Dead might also want to at least check them out. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors for the DS and its new 3DS and PlayStation Vita sequel Virtue’s Last Reward are almost the only visual novels that I’ve genuinely enjoyed.

I was curious enough to rent 999 from GameFly after stumbling upon IGN’s glowing review of it. About 10 minutes in as I was reading the 20th paragraph of text I realized “Wait a minute! This is a visual novel!” and thought about immediately sending it back. For some reason I decided to give the game a little more time, and around the point the game described with in-text detail a guy’s insides splattered all over a wall after a bomb detonated in his stomach, I had decided to finish the rental copy.

I generally avoid visual novels because, well, they aren’t really video games. They’re basically literature printed onto a game disc. Each title might have a handful of player choices that split the story, or even some puzzles, but you still spend probably at least 75 percent of your “gameplay” time reading text. If I want that I’ll generally, y’know, read a book, not turn on a video game.

That said, 999 ended up gaining my interest because it turned out to actually be a really good book printed onto a game disc.

In terms of subject matter, the Zero Escape games feel similar to a lot of today’s anime and manga tropes but with an uncommon air of maturity. You can tell they didn’t write the story for 13-year-olds and the localization handles that in stride, not afraid of its M rating despite being very sparse in the area of graphics. Simply put, the storylines in these particular games don’t pull any punches.

Someone very aptly described 999 as “Riven: the Sequel to Myst meets SAW.” Nine people are trapped on a boat and have to solve deranged puzzles in order to escape the grizzly death described above. Through this setup 999 weaves a far better mystery thriller than what you get in most video games. It is rare that I care about the characters in games enough to want to see what happens to them, and 999’s bittersweet ending had me reeling for days after I finished it.

From what I’ve read of Virtue’s Last Reward, it apparently takes all that to the next level. 999 had something like half a dozen endings; Virtue’s Last Reward has around two dozen, and is supposedly even darker. The video above is a short prologue to that game.

999 recently got a reprint and is now around $20. If you want to try out Virtue’s Last Reward and own a Vita, the demo is already on the PlayStation Store.


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