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on October 27, 2012
First of all, I would like to say that I love both this game and its prequel to death. However, I am very frustrated at one particular bug which causes your save file to be corrupted. Many people have experienced this bug and there are tips out there to avoid that (such as not saving during puzzle portions of the game and getting through one branch of the storyline very quickly, crossing your fingers that the game does not crash while you are solving a puzzle). My save file got corrupted after 21+ hours of the game and it pretty much ruined the experience for me.

Having experienced that though, I still think that the game is excellent. Its narrative always keeps me in suspense and I find that I don't mind reading through the same lines everytime I have to go back and choose a different branch of the story to play (though you always have the choice of fast-forwarding through lines that you have already read). All in all, a game worth having......if it wasn't for the bug.

P.S. In case people are interested, the most common bugs happen when saving in the Pressure Exchange (PEC) puzzle room and the Crew's Quarter. So try to save before attempting to solve those puzzle rooms and NEVER save in the middle of solving those rooms.
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on November 4, 2012
Virtue's Last Reward is the sequel to 999, and as such, one of the best adventure games on the market.

Sadly, the 3DS version, the one I opted to go with as the prequel was on the prior system, is weighed down by a save corruption bug. In a few specific areas of the game, there is a probability of your game corrupting when saving and due to the large footprint of the game there is only one save slot.

Most annoyingly, this bug existed in the Japanese version, it was never patched... cruddy, but given the nature of Nintendo's online structure and rarity of patches, not unforgivable. However, Aksys picked this up, knowing that it had the bug, and brought it over completely intact never breathing a word of it. They have yet to respond to any concerns about it either, which most definitely lowers my opinion of them.

Checking online, Rising Star Games, the company who published the European edition actually came out and said that they tested it throughly and could not reproduce a bug... which turned out to be total B.S.... What is wrong with the publishers of this game? Absolutely ridiculous, Nintendo should honestly revoke their license to produce and distribute the game until this is cleared up.

If you plan on picking this game up, know two things.

1.) If you have a Vita, there are no bugs in that version and it has a few other legs up (multiple save slots, better visuals, better sound)

2.) If you're playing on the 3DS, DO NOT save in any puzzle rooms. Even if you're in the novel section of the game, try to restrict your saves to the warehouses and hallways.

I've seen some people reccommend that you simply don't save and just keep the system in sleep mode between plays, this is not a good idea, this game is fairly crash prone in a few spots. I revised my review, because I wanted to get across the quality of the actual game, but just know what you're getting into here.
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on October 25, 2012
Warning: There Will be Spoilers in this Review

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is a follow-up to 2010's 999: Nine Hours, 9 Peoples, 9 Doors. Having played 999 upon its initial release, I found myself loving it. When news of a sequel came, I was excited. This game, as much as I loved 999, exceeds it in every way. Based on the idea of the Prisoner's Dilemna, Virtue's Last Reward follows your character, Sigma, along with 8 other characters who are forced to play a game similar to the one established in 999. There is a twist however: the characters have the choice to either ally with other characters or to betray them.

The voice acting in this game is phenomenal. The puzzles, in my experience, having put in almost 15 hours, are more mind bending than 999. One thing that I appreciated was a set up similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels. If you reach a point that leads to an undesirable outcome, you have the ability to jump back to an earlier point and try a different path.

In comparison to 999, VLR gives you a flow chart so that you can see what path you are on. The plot twists are constantly changing. Characters whom you chose to ally with in one path may choose to betray you in another. People that you come to trust will betray you at times in pursuit of their own interests.

Overall, there are 24 different endings. This game will keep you playing and guessing in terms of what exactly is going on. I HIGHLY recommend the game to anyone who played 999 and enjoyed it as well as anyone who enjoys a good story as well as a good mystery. On another note, I do recommend playing 999 as there are certain ties that this game has to its predecessor.
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on November 21, 2012
When the trailers for this game first surfaced on the Internet a year ago, I was a little skeptical at how the characters looked in the new 3D style and how the game would play out. I was also worried that the cutscenes and voice acting would detract from the traditional visual novel styled gameplay.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how good the character models actually looked in-game and how great the English voice acting turned out to be. I played the game with volume as much as I could because the voice acting was so good. This game has some of the best voice acting I've heard. I encountered a few spelling errors and typos in the text, but there was far less in this game than there was in 999. None of the errors detracted from the understanding of the gameplay or story so it wasn't really an issue.

While I don't feel as if the story was as suspenseful or scary as the first game (my favorite game of all time), the plot twists at the end were INCREDIBLE. I never saw any of them coming even when I thought I had the story entirely pieced together. The game kept me guessing until the very end and that's part of why I love the Zero Escape series so much.

Some of the puzzles were really challenging for me but I'm very grateful for the 3D's extra screen to take notes with. Some of the puzzles had me working out the solutions on paper though because the screen didn't have enough room. I can't imagine playing this game on the Vita because of how much I relied on having two screens. Having hints and important puzzle information on a separate screen is so helpful when solving the puzzles. I'm very glad I got the 3DS version even though I had the 3D turned off for most of the gameplay.

I never encountered any framerate or save glitches. In fact, I don't even know which puzzles the other reviewers are talking about that involve relying on framerates. I never saved inside any of the rooms which I think is the problem other people ran into. I just put the 3DS in power saving/sleep mode and continued the game from whichever room I was in so I never ran into any problems.

I put 35 hours into the game and I skipped a few of the bad endings. The bad endings aren't really worth it. Some of them are so lame that I was frustrated when I got them. The bad endings in 999 were much better. The game didn't just abruptly end with a "game over" screen like this one did a few times. I wasn't sure if I would even like the game until the last few endings I received. The game definitely redeemed itself with the fantastic true ending I yearned for. There were so many questions I had that were not answered until the final ending. Looking back, I want to replay the game to see how cleverly everything fit together. There are so many references to other endings/timelines throughout the story that I'm sure I didn't catch the first (24) times through.

I'm so happy to finally have seen the conclusion to this fantastic game and I absolutely cannot wait for the third addition to the Zero Escape series.
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on January 21, 2013
This game is a must-have sequel for fans of "9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors"; if you are reading this review and have not played that game yet, be sure you play it before this one to get the most out of the storyline.

In the interest of not giving spoilers, I will break this down into simple pros and cons of the gameplay:

Pros:

* This game is much longer and more involved than its predecessor. The playthrough took me approximately 45 hours.

* The graphics are greatly improved in my opinion by changing the characters to 3D models. Although I loved the art in "999", the animated characters in this version helped bring it to life.

* "VLR" has a much-improved storyline system; no more going back to step one to try a different route further down the road! Yes, there is still some repetitiveness, but much of the "click-through" boredom has been alleviated.

* The voice acting is by far some of the best I have ever heard in a video game.

* Even moreso than "999", the plot twists in the story will keep you guessing and on your toes until the very end.

Cons:

* The biggest problem with the game has been stated several times already: there is a bug in one of the puzzle rooms that can corrupt your save file when playing this game on the 3DS. I did encounter this bug and it locked up my system, but my save file was fine because I had followed the advice of others. Do NOT save in any of the puzzle rooms; save only in the hallways or the warehouse, and you will be fine, even if you encounter the bug (though you may have to replay a small section like I did).

* Sadly, because of this bug, there are points in the story that you should not be able to solve because you do not have enough information; however, they occur largely in puzzle rooms, so you do not dare save the game to return to the puzzle later. You can take a chance and save, or you can go online and look at a walkthrough for the answer. I chose the latter, and though I did get some things "spoiled" that I probably should not have learned as early on in play, I felt it was worth it to safely continue the game.

* This is a matter of personal opinion and will not apply to everyone: many of the puzzles in this game are mathematical in nature. If you are not good at math (and I am AWFUL at math) you will find this game much more difficult than the first one.

* Other puzzles make use of the gyroscope feature, but in my opinion it was very poorly implemented and hyper-sensitive. If you happen to hit one of these when you do not have access to a perfectly still flat surface, you'll likely be waiting until a more opportune time to finish these puzzles . . . and because you don't dare save in a puzzle room, it can be very frustrating and inconvenient.

Though the game does have serious issues in the 3DS version, if you are willing to hop through a couple of hoops and occasionally get online help to get past trouble spots, you'll be rewarded with an excellent and engrossing story that I feel more than makes up for the trouble. Don't let its problems stop you from getting this game, or, if it is an option, buy it for the Vita instead, which I understand does not have the bugs the 3DS version has.
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on January 27, 2013
I absolutely loved 999, so, when I found out that a sequel had been released, I had to have it. I had very high expectations for this game and it exceeded every one of them. It can be played without playing 999, but I highly recommend that you finish 999 first. The stories do intertwine occasionally, but it is not a direct contamination of 999. The game is amazing on its own, but being familiar with the characters and plot of the first game adds a whole new dimension to Virtue's Last Reward. I was so deeply engrossed in the story that I played for almost a week, only stopping to sleep, shower, and eat. I never wanted it to end, but, when it did, I loved the ending. Some of the puzzles could be difficult and extremely frustrating at times, but I was able to get through them with a spoiler free walkthrough. It completely lives up to its predecessor.

The controls and game play were a huge improvement on 999. Virtue's Last Reward has a flowchart that allows you to jump around in time without having to watch the same scenes and solve the same puzzles over and over. I did not come across the bug that many people have mentioned. However, I purposefully never saved in a puzzle room in an attempt to avoid the bug. I never played the game in 3D, but the 2D graphics were great. The controls felt more versatile and forgiving to me; you can use either the stylus or the buttons. The inventory screen was also much better and easier to use, but still has room for improvement. It could be annoying at times to have to cycle through so many items to get to the one I needed.

All in all, I would recommend this game to anyone who loved 999 or who loves story and text heavy games with a sort of gritty, cerebral, and mystery feel.
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on November 17, 2012
I just want to say that I was one of the people who lost 24+ hours due to a bug but I still cannot give it any score lower than a 5/5
This game actually made me stop playing games for a day after I finished it because all games just seem insignificant in comparison
DO NOT SAVE IN THE PEC ROOM
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on November 10, 2012
I don't have a bug like everyone else. I don't know what the problem is , but I'm sure glad i didn't get it. I got the 3DS version. It's a lot of fun and I think it was heartbreaking. Some people didn't like it , but i did. I know it can't compare to 999 , but i think people should give it a chance. There are similarities to 999 and the new features are cool. The flow chart helps you A LOT too. There's going to be a sequel to this so people might as well get used to it. (:
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on July 10, 2014
*HUGE trigger warning for suicide. If you are a person easily triggered by suicide, I still highly recommend this game's predecessor, 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, but otherwise I would rather you look after your own health.

If you enjoyed 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, you are sure to love its sequel. The story is just as heart-thudding, the puns are still terrible, and the characters are just as nuanced.

In particular, if you hated the part in 999 where you had to replay puzzles and occasionally go through the same ending by accident, VLR does a beautiful job at fixing those problems by introducing a new puzzle for every path and the flowchart, which you can refer to at any point during the story mode and use to jump to a different path if you want/need to.

The story is a little less exciting - particularly because in 999, the Nonary Game was set up so that all members had to work together, while in VLR, the Nonary Game has changed up and encourages you to be against each other, which can make it hard to like the characters at first as they keep "betraying" you. It's a little into the game that it starts getting good, but when you've hit some of the big plot twists, it's hard to put this game down.
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VINE VOICEon December 28, 2012
You wake up in a small room, with a young woman sitting in the corner. You don't know where you are or how you got here. The woman calls herself Phi and seems to know you. But she either can't--or won't--tell you how. Once you figure out how to exit the room, you meet seven other individuals, most of whom seem to have a connection to at least one other person in the room. None of them know why they are there, where they are or what lies in store. Before you can really gather your bearings, a rabbit puppet of sorts appears on a screen in the warehouse room you are standing in and, much like the Saw movies, the rabbit wants to play a game. And, also much like Saw, it doesn't seem like the game is stacked in your favor.

Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, a visual novel of a game that combines the novel and puzzle/logic puzzles. A sequel to 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, it builds on the universe created in the original game and fans of that will run into some surprising revelations. However, if you're like me, then this is your first introduction to the games and let me tell you, you're in for a doozy. The game is split between copious amounts of reading that's voice acted (unlike 999) and puzzle solving, where you are in a room and you have to figure out a way to escape it, usually by solving logic problems and puzzle solving. Once in a while, you have to participate in yet a different type of game called The Ambidex Room. At this point you (and your partner, if you are paired that way) must decide whether to ally or betray a person in a different Ambidex Room. It's the standard prisoner dilemma: if you both ally, you gain two points; if one side betrays and the other allies, the betrayer gets three points and the ally-er loses two points; if both sides betray, nothing happens. The goal is to gain nine points. If you hit 0 points, you get "penalized," which isn't pleasant.

So what do you do? Trust that the person(s) in the next room are going to ally with you (the most logical choice since you both gain two points)? Or do you fear that, regardless of what they say, they will choose betray? The exit only opens once...do you really believe the other person has your interest at heart?

It's this question that's at the heart of Virtue's Last Reward. Surrounding that central theme is a myriad of questions involving science, human nature and other spoilerific questions that open up about as many questions. To say that Virtue's Last Reward is surprisingly heady for a video game is an understatement. Plot twists abound that make you question what's happening. Each time you make a decision on whether to ally or betray and at other times in the story, you split off into a different story strand that will lead you to a different ending. Ultimately there's 24 different endings; however, unlike most games you will probably see every single one. A new feature in this game is the ability to swap between the different timelines at will and the way the game is structured, in order to solve the mysteries and understand everything that's happening, you will see every possible ending. It's spectacular, especially the way this game mechanic ties into the story.

As the game gets rolling, I found myself unable to quit playing. I'm not usually a fan of portable game machines unless I'm out and about. Chances are, if I'm home and playing games it'd be on my console or PC. Zero Escape has changed this. I have spent more time than I can count, perched on my couch or bed, playing this silly game. It's a cliché, but I truly do lose track of time when I'm in this world. It is so involving and the puzzles are so tied into the story that I don't realize I've been playing for an hour or two. To get through the game, you will probably spend upwards of 30 hours. And that's "X"ing through the dialogue and not listening to the voice actors talk the entire time. A nice addition, given the fact that you will see story portions again in order to choose a different path, you can hit "skip" and it will fast=-forward through the scenes you've seen before and stop when new dialogue is introduced. It's an awesome addition and makes replaying areas drag less.

Ultimately, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is easily one of my favorite games this year. It's intelligent, the translation is top-notch and the English voice acting is pretty decent (purists can select the original Japanese track--a nice surprise). The story kept me enthralled and the logic puzzles--while sometimes forcing me to resort to walkthroughs--never feel obtrusive. If you own a PS Vita or a 3DS, this is truly a must own game.
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