Let’s Talk Virtue’s Last Reward

Article, Video Games — By on November 1, 2012 6:32 pm

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.

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I’m writing this under the assumption you have beat the game. (Come back to this when you have; I’ll be waiting.) Spoilers all over this review. But if you don’t intend to play the game (bad move) and just want to see me flip my shit, you can also read on. Enjoy your confusion.

Virtue’s Last Reward – The shittiest visual novel I ever played on my Vita

Now the game’s not all that bad, but I do have some fucking issues with it. And here they are:


AB Game Logic

Because 999 was better.

It makes sense for the participants to implement a “snitches get stitches” policy right from the get-go. The Prisoner’s Dilemma retains value only under a very limited set of circumstances — ones where there are no consequences outside of the game AND where the incentives for betrayal actually matter. This game does not fit the bill at all.


Let’s say you threaten to kill everyone who chooses “Betray”.


So long as everyone knows that a punishment (death) awaits after they choose “betray”, no one will do it. Even Dio won’t; he’ll just try to kill everyone with bombs after a couple rounds, but this solves the immediate problem of getting the 8 normal people to work together.



The difference between one person getting out and everyone getting out is only one fucking round. In fact, the only difference is about 3 hours or so, making the incentive to leave so very minimal that anyone with a fucking lick of sense would not pissing off 8 strangers who could probably get away with murder.

Dio’s the only wildcard since he wants everyone to lose/die, but the only possible way for him to win here is to kill everyone with bombs because they’d stop him from escaping, which has very little to do with the AB Game itself.


This game operates on the multiple worlds + 4 dimensions theory, so don’t even go with “but how would they be able to figure this out in the first place?” argument. One iteration of the game is all it would take to make Sigma or Phi offer up a goddamn 10-second explanation to these thick-skulled nimrods and/or knock Dio the fuck out.



The Puzzles

While the majority of the puzzles were good, Actually, no. The majority of the puzzles were bad at best and terrible at worst.

Let’s talk about the ones I hated most (by “hated most” I mean “could remember the easiest”):


Treatment Center

I still don’t know how to fucking solve this one; I just looked up the solution online. Remember that die part?

I drew this from memory before I discovered the screenshot function on the Vita. Impressed?

Why did they have “1, 2, 3, and 4” at that part if you weren’t even gonna fucking use ’em? I used like 20 goddamn combinations here (under the logic of “move one space to the right, then two spaces to the right, then change direction when you hit an ‘h'”, etc. with various combinations of the four die numbers) and it still wasn’t right. I even tried redoing all of my efforts under the logic of “not counting the starting space as a number for the die rolls”.

No, I had to use the goddamn clock values, which I thought were part of another puzzle! Fuck you, game.


Security Room

Good guess, Phi. You’re wrong, but good guess.

Now Aksys, I know you fuckwits didn’t have any QC for this release (which explains the whole “saving in any puzzle room will corrupt your 3DS saves” thing), but seriously? This fucking sentence puzzle pissed me off.

How the fuck is this the fucking solution? Are you fucking kidding me?

You say at the beginning of the puzzle that we have to create a sentence with the words. Fine. I can create numerous sentences with how you had it set up. The problem is, the sentence you wanted me to come up with isn’t a fucking complete sentence. It is fucking gibberish and fuck you Aksys for your fucking incompetency.

What’s more, you don’t even recognize that solution until I flip a logically arbitrary number of switches because blacking out parts of the screen and then somehow moving letters onto the blackened parts fits your definition of “erasing”. That is not what “erasing” means, you dipshits.

Do not fuck with me on word puzzles.



Let’s talk about the gold file for this place. Or more like, the lack of fucking hints on how to get it. The normal key was easy to find, yeah, but the solution here was to fucking take the extra words and then anagram them? Fuck you, VLR. I don’t have time for this shit. Gimme a goddamn hint about “the remainder leave behind a hidden secret” and I’d have fucking gotten it, easy.

But no. “Unclear instructions” is the name of the fucking game.

If I didn’t have GameFAQs, I’m sure I’d have made you fuckers play my own goddamn Nonary Game.


Q Room

Fuck you, I’m not playing Minesweeper. I just booted up a FAQ and cheated my way through this room because I was bored and wanted the game to be over by this point.




MC aka Sigma aka Kyle aka Zero III

Fuck Sigma. His “cute” verbal tic is fucking annoying, he’s dumb as a rock, and he acts like a fat virgin guy trying to flirt with “girls” in an online MMO. This doesn’t make any sense considering in the context of the story his mind is that of some buff college student who’s fucked lots of girls and can handle himself socially. Instead, he acts like a fansubber. Pathetic.

Hurr swimsuits. Hurr countdowns. Hurr, inability to realize you’re not in a 22-year-old’s body anymore and you’re actually 67.

Fuck this guy.



The game should have really given her an axe.


Old Woman aka June aka Zero II

<No fucking icon pic, gomen>

Are you fucking kidding me? This revelation was like the game pulling 999’s ending out of my fucking urethra.

I’m too pissed off to even talk about this.



She has nice tits, she’s smart, and she’s an Egyptian queen. Whatever. Works for me.


Dio aka Left

If he’s supposed to be part of a goddamn hivemind, why the fuck does he have such a personality? Well whatever, I give him points for at least being able to pull off the villain role because the Zeroes certainly won’t any awards for “achievements” in this (or any) field.


Tenmyouji aka Junpei aka Mr. Pedo

Wow. They took the main character from 999 and turned him into a creepy old pedophile. His main motivation in this game is getting Quark out of it, but it turns out he was the one who asked for Quark to be a part of it in the first place. What the fuck, Tenmyouji?

The series ruined whatever qualities he had in 999 by turning him into a creepy scavenger who becomes completely obsessed with an 8-year-old boy to the point that it becomes the sole thing that defines him as a person.

This is how you fail at character development.



“Hi, everybody! I’m here to be a waste of a character spot!”



“Like Quark, I have no value. But at least my anime reactions are funny.”



She’s cool, but really, Clover could’ve done her fucking job and it would make more sense to the plot. But I guess they couldn’t do that because she was already important in the last game.

Phi could’ve been any fucking random esper on Earth; she herself has no value to the plot at all.



The best character in VLR. No complaints about how she was handled. (I’m going to ignore the ending where she dragged Quark to safety and left Sigma in the lurch.)



Quibbles ‘n Bits

Unseen Flashbacks

Yes, I know the general gist of what’s gonna happen. I’ve played the game up to this point. But don’t fucking show me flashbacks from scenes I haven’t seen yet. It makes sense from the context of the story, but not from the context of NOT SPOILING THE FUCKING STORY FOR ME.


Order of Opening Locks

At first I thought the order didn’t matter — you could open either the main lock or the secret lock first. Unfortunately, the game thought otherwise, forcing me in one puzzle to replay the goddamn thing just to get the gold file after forcing me away from the lock when I picked up the key. Not cool, game. Not cool.



To be fair, what the fuck was I really expecting from Aksys? I bet the localization team solely consisted of one guy working on this for a week.



The Ending

So apparently the only way to save humanity was for us to play this little game a number of times on the moon, to allow us to transport our memories 45 years in the past to prevent an outbreak that can’t actually be prevented. The logic was:

To which I call “Bullshit!”. The game is based around multiple universe theory, which means that you already have infinite fucking options.

If they grasped at any more straws, their hands would be considered bales of hay.

This is insanely fucking stupid.


But it gets worse. Let’s get into the Zeroes’ reasons behind including these participants in this game:

“Oh we needed Clover and Tenmyouji because they’re espers and espers enable easier access to the fourth dimension!”

Then you should have brought fifteen fucking espers, not two.

“Oh we needed Alice because she’s the only person in the world who could perform a prime decomposition on 25-digit integers!”

Then you should have left a fucking calculator.

“We needed Quark because Tenmyouji can’t stand not being around little boys.”

Maybe you should have chosen an esper who wasn’t a pedophile.

“We needed Phi because of *reasons*.”

They don’t even fucking explain this. And yes, I was fucking expecting more, but nope *platinum trophy, all routes cleared, enjoy your “explanation”*

Apparently Phi and Sigma are the only espers who can actually change the past, which is FUCKING BULLSHIT AND DON’T YOU FUCKING RETCON 999 YOU GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKERS.


And then there’s this fucking bullshit.

I fucking hate this game.


Final score: 9/10.

Tags: , ,


AzureHakua says:

Just got the game today. Here we go.

Marow says:

Not gonna read, just gonna ask this: can I play it without having played 999?

Dark_Sage says:

Yes, but you’ll be missing out. I can post a few paragraphs here that will mostly explain the first game and get you prepped for VLR, but really, you should play 999. Reason being, this is most definitely a sequel to the first game and you’ll miss out on a few “holy shit” moments if you don’t already have a familiarity with the first game.

And while this game has 100% better gameplay, 999 has a better story and atmosphere. I really can’t recommend playing it enough. You can even get by with just two playthroughs if you’re feeling lazy.

http://db.gamefaqs.com/portable/ds/file/nine_hours_persons_doors_flowchart.gif <- This does not have spoilers, but it explains how to progress through the game most efficiently. Don't have a DS? Emulate it.

Beckett says:

I read the article despite having not played it (I can’t even be assed to finish the VN’s I already have on my computer) so I’m just going to ask one question.

Now that you’re done with this shit will we see more reviews? ;)

Dark_Sage says:


herkz says:

>implying aksys isn’t shit

P32L says:

Tempting us with spoilers when the game’s not even out in some (read:my) regions? That’s just unfair.

corocoro says:

> I fucking hate this game.

> Final score: 9/10.

Oh, you. :p

Kamica says:

Despite trying my best to not use an FAQ, I could not resist temptation at certain points:

1. Gold file in treatment center – The “start in one place” hint makes no sense. I still don’t understand it.
2. Gold file in GAULEM Bay – I actually guessed on my own that I should use the remaining letters for an anagram. Despite figuring out this much, I could not make any guesses as to what word could possibly be the solution.
3. REC room dart game – After a ridiculous amount of trial and error, I simply caved in.
4. Security Room – Hexagon+Triangle puzzles – This puzzle was dumb.
5. ALL of Q room except for the AB minigame – Same reason here as Dark_Sage

Other puzzle room-related notes:
1. The instructions for the nutrition puzzle were poorly written. I had to let the game tell me the answer.
2. GAULEM Bay had some bad item placement. One, there was a container located under a desk that was placed nearly off the screen. How was I supposed to guess that I needed to click that far down? Two, there was a silver file located in a silver locker. I never did notice the file until after I completed the game. Amazingly enough, I solved the frequency puzzle through trial-and-error…and it only took me one try!
3. Dst security room word puzzle. I simply could not figure out how to make two sentences using these words. I solved this with trial-and-error.

Phi: As is the case with Brother, I think it is quite obvious that they are saving her backstory for the sequel.

Why can nobody besides Phi and Signum transfer their consciousness through time? I think that these two characters share a connection that will not be explained until the sequel.

There are lots of tidbits that setup the sequel if you look around.

Spoiling flashbacks: They certainly made it clear long before the actual reveal that Dio is the villain. Heck, even the opening sequence spoils this! Thankfully, the villain reveal is not as important to the plot as it was in 999.

Arelaz says:

I don’t get how people couldn’t get the sentences on the security room..the TV’s showed the words if you just solved puzzle on the terminal. They even put a period on the last part of the sentence so you knew. I was confused for a bit on how to erase but then I remembered turning off panels and it was fine from there.

Also, “She knows everything” seemed obvious?

Dark_Sage says:

With that compilation of words, there were only a few sentences that could exist. “She knows everything.” was the only one that made sense at all.

Also, I didn’t turn on the monitors when I first got to the test. I didn’t think I’d need to because it was a fucking simple puzzle at the outset. How was I supposed to know their localization team drinks bleach like water?

f says:

Think you’re being a tad hard on the localization team, for what is a very text heavy game.

Published novels have typos.

Dark_Sage says:

It wasn’t just the typos. Way too many of the jokes fell flat and were incredibly awkward as written. I grew to dislike the main character, partly because of the poor dialogue.

If you didn’t cringe at any of the scenes where Sigma was hitting on the girls, you must not be very sensitive to low-quality writing.

That being said, I liked the localization as a whole and I respect the localizers for the good they did with the script. But let’s not pretend it was perfect, because these things rarely are.

Kamica says:

The localization team may have purposefully made Sigma’s dialogue something that they expected us to cringe at. This way we could look back at that dialogue (after game completion) and think to ourselves, “Wow…an old man is saying this stuff? Ok, this is actually kinda funny”.

Dark_Sage says:

Oh, they definitely had that in mind (I read their comments on NeoGaf), but there’s only so far the “Oh yeah, we made our jokes bad on purpose” argument can go.

It didn’t have to be so bad.

Kamica says:

I am wondering what you would do differently to portray immature behavior in Sigma (and don’t take the easy road by saying “anything else”)

Dark_Sage says:

Ugh, are you really gonna make me go back to the scenes I hated and rewrite the dialogue? Really?

Immature behavior is fine and I didn’t mind him hitting on the girls. It’s the way he did it that didn’t make sense. In his mind he thinks of himself as a buff, intelligent college student who’s fucked lots of girls. He’s supposed to be at least somewhat smooth here. I wanted a little more subtlety and finesse in the language to stop it from being so fucking awkward.

But if I have to go back to a scene and point out exactly what was wrong with it, I will.

Kamica says:

No need to point out why the dialogue was bad. Never really disagreed with you on this. I’m not asking you to rewrite any dialogue.

I was more interested in hearing example(s) of the types of scenarios you think would be a better fit. Or do you think the “swimsuit action” scenario is fine if the dialogue were to be rewritten?

Dark_Sage says:

The scenarios were fine. Dude likes swimsuits, I can dig that as a personality trait. All I’m asking for is his personality quirks to be delivered in a better fashion to the player.

Kamica says:

Makes sense. Thanks for the reply.

Omex says:

>final score: 9/10
>fuck this game
oh fuck i forgot to check this blog in months and HEY LOOK YOU LITERALLY GAVE ME EVERY REASON TO REMEMBER WHY I ENJOY YOU.

Kinda sad you didn’t mention clover’s horseshit ending where they just plot deviced everyone dead despite the fact they had the best momentum possible up until then. MOST OPTIMISTIC, PLAUSIBLE ALTERNATE ENDING, ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES.

and ever17. oh fuck god just don’t get me started asdlkgudast3 9/10.

Dark_Sage says:

I love you too. <3

Clover's ending shoulda been Unlimited Axe Works. I think we all would have benefited from that.

Since you mentioned it... is this game basically an E17 remake like the people I've been talking to make it seem? Seems like it's got a lot of similarities.

Omex says:

If you haven’t read it? The shit they’re all leading up to at the end? 99% chance it’s going to be a direct rip of ever17’s biggest twist/reveal.

All of the author’s stuff really takes advantage of how you’re always in a first person perspective of a visual novel, and how he can hide things from you based on that–and now suddenly he’s pulling the same twists based on it. Like, iasgdgdskal;buawt.

VLR’s biggest problem is it tries to be clever with its plot twists because it knows most of the readers are from 999 and are watching for stuff like doubled up bracelets, couldn’t pull a sane zero twist because everyone was onto their shit from 999 never putting ace into your party until the true route


Dark_Sage says:

Yeah, haven’t read E17. I tried to get into it a year or two back but the art was so bad I ran away and just Wiki’d the ending.

It’s okay, I’ll be your sympathetic ear. Rage away~

Omex says:

okay like maybe i’ll legitimately write shit down hold on.

First, again, on ever17–Wait, the ART? I was expecting you to say the editing. I’m sure you’ve heard. My friend is spearheading an editing project to make it readable just due to it…

First, again, on ever17, spoilers for anyone random reading this, don’t spoil yourself on ever17 if you haven’t already =3=: oh yeah so it turns out you’re neither protagonist but a 4D creature that can possess people that has been interfering slightly by injecting information people could not have possibly known into their heads so they can avoid a terrible disaster. OH. VLR?

And, good example of the author being fairly brilliant at times with the format–Akane/June not being dead in some routes. Nobody’s going to notice with skip read text on.

1. you mentioned getting flashbacks for endings you haven’t gotten yet. Yeah? Did you get that one timeline where phi betrayed you for betraying her (on the far right) BEFORE BETRAYING HER? Because I did, and it’s really, really badly done if you do it in the wrong order. I knew this was going to happen too once I hit the Alice ending where Sigma shits himself over the fact she changed her decision to oppose his regardless.

2. alice is an egyptian goddess except where she’s not and she’s… what goddammit. The last big cliffhanger of 999 is just resolved with ‘What? No, I’m not.?’

3. Threatening to kill people in order to avoid the prisoner dilemma? Oh, how would that work? Sigma gets punked the fuck out every single time he tries to do anything like that/gets 9/runs for the gate when EVERY SINGLE OTHER CHARACTER effortlessly outruns K/Alice/Whoever to get to the gate every time. And Phi is dumb.

4. Seriously, K? What the hell are you doing 99% of the time you are a robot stop being useless. you are daisuke ono and that is sexy as fuck but STOP DIO FROM RUNNING AT THE DOOR GODDAMN. Why do you only care when it’s Sigma :I

4.5 Sigma stop being a useless piece of shit. My friend’s first question once I beat it, ‘Is the main character as well written as Junpei?’ ‘No, and Junpei you piece of shit get over here and solve these fucking puzzles for me.’
Also, remember that OVA trailer that showed the first ten minutes of the game basically? Everyone jumping out of their elevators and being 3D and cool? AND IT WAS YOUNG SIGMA?

5. Wait, no, okay. The thing I mentioned earlier about applying logic to the plot twists and knowing they couldn’t pull the same tricks from 999 again? A lot of the suspense/wonder in the story goes away once you apply that sort of line of thinking to it–Two routes in you know Dio will betray in every single situation possible as long as he’s conscious, and that almost immediately guarantees the AB game is… just… well, a tool to mess up the routes/endings. Doubly so when it came to some of the stupider ‘always the opposite of yours’ endings, like with the phi one on the far right. Maybe part of the problem was that I got Dio’s end very early on?

Knowing about the dead body switcheroos and that Zero is probably friendly from 999 kills the game dead in the water pretty fast! I figured out that Ace was the murderer before the reveal purely off the fact you could never get in a room with him until the very very end, he had the least development, etc… In this one, it either had to be K, a sort of trick question going on with June or… yeah. Every character’s motivations really blew them up very fast.

6. You were playing the Vita version, so you didn’t have this problem I suppose. After I got the ending, since there was no secondary special credit roll or anything, I was hyped and ready to go back to the simulation base to do some shit–Wait, okay, it had me look for randomly placed things on the timeline before, where is… um… wait, was that it? Wait, no, was that it? It ends THERE? With the EVER17 PLOTHANGER? It left me with the feeling of ‘Oh, well, (author) has zero idea of how to end a part 1 of a two part story.’

7. oh boy, not only does the AB game restrict what can happen in most of the routes significantly because of dio always shitting on everyone’s mood but the author had the virus there to rocks fall everyone dies whoever he needed whenever he needed!

8. Luna.

okay no wait I do have a complaint with her. Similar to Dio, you know 99% of the time she’s going to be ally but doubtful she’s going to die… kinda restricts the games’ options.

9. The puzzle difficulties. Oh, what? A lot of the game’s jokes are in the hints for each puzzle and you never get to hear them if you’re on hard mode? THANKS.

10. I tried explaining Quark to my friend. ‘Oh, so, he’s like snake where he’s gone most of the game and wasting a slot?’ ‘No, because he isn’t cool as fuck, his puzzle room is the very last one and he has no real character development outside of justifying one character. And he’s not dead, he’s just passed out because asdlkugb.’

11. NO EMOTIONAL SUDOKU? I CAN’T PLAY SUDOKU WITHOUT CRYING ANYMORE AND THERE’S NO FINAL PUZZLE TO TIE EVERYTHING TOGETHER IN THIS ONE? This tied into the no ending bit–I was flabbergasted because it just built up and built up and had ZERO climax/falling action like 999 did, especially thanks to the extended ending.

12. why are half the animations not finished? Clover’s animations (thankfully) have every smooth transitions and are a pleasure to watch. K literally has none, he’s just randomly daisuke onoing around.

13. junpei you piece of shit solve these puzzles for me. also even if i predicted you because of the stupid character pose thing stop being a fake-out for being Santa. AND WHERE IS SANTA. HE SHOULD HAVE FLOWN DOWN THE GODDAMN SPACE CHIMNEY. AND SOLVED THESE DICE PUZZLES FOR ME.

14. wait what i was googling to remember everything i was mad about and the Free The Soul symbol is on the robe that Snake was stuffed into. And Ace was a member. goddammit.


fuck off hope. i mean quark. fuck.

Final score: 9/10.

Xythar says:

Just got the platinum trophy. Pretty good game so far, what do I have to do to unlock the rest of it? You know, the dramatic moment where you actually do everything right and somehow save the world with a dramatic game of Reversi.

Somehow I suspect the answer to this will involve waiting a year or two and paying Aksys $40. As far as unlock methods go it’s fairly unconventional, I guess.

?/10 (I tend not to rate games until I’ve finished them)

Dark_Sage says:

You are unfortunately correct. In order to beat this game, you have to buy the next one, whenever it comes out. Entirely unfulfilling, yes.

weaskye says:

Hi, I just want to comment on the puzzles. I thought they were brilliant. Especially the one in the security room. See, that latin phrase that was thrown around, “tu fui ego eris” translates to “I was you will be me”. Those who don’t study latin may not have picked up on that. But yeah. Anyway, putting that phrase there, along with “she knows everything” pretty much said “go to the gravestone in the garden and she will reveal everything.” So yeah, that puzzle was fantastic.

throwaway says:

I’m not sure what the problem is with the Gaulem Bay (beacon and hope and reminiscence) puzzles was. The words aren’t anagrams at all…
Step 1 – Look at the eyes that are lit up.
Step 2 – Match the eyes up with the the chart. Solution- It spells BEACON OF HOPE, in the correct order.

Similarly, look at the eyes that aren’t lit up. Match them up with the chart. It spells REMINISCENCE, also in the correct order. What was the problem with that one? I’m confused at your confusion, cause having read this blog, you seem pretty intelligent…!

mindleapkid says:

I know I’m, like, three years too late, but I just have to say this, and no offence…but yeah, this entire thing reads like someone shoved a stick up your ass. Besides from the things which are very much opinion based, a lot of this just falls to personal bitching and extremely exaggerated attacks on the localization team.

I really don’t under how people do not get this concept: If you write complaints in a calm, logical way, people will be more willing to agree you have a point, then if you shout it out in an exaggerated way while resorting to feeling the need to slag off the localization team instead.

Dark_Sage says:

So, what’s the problem here? Was the article just too difficult for you to understand? Should I write the follow-up on the sequel for a more mentally diverse crowd?

Anxiously awaiting feedback, even if it takes till 2019.

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