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