I’m going to make these posts a bimonthly feature. They’ll go up every other Sunday, to fit with CIB Sunday on Twitter. CIB stands for complete-in-box, and it’s commonly used to describe video games. If a game includes the cartridge, case, instruction booklet, and everything else it originally came with, it is considered to be CIB.
Sigma, a young college student, is kidnapped and taken to a strange facility alongside eight other individuals. There, they’re forced to participate in the Nonary Game, a twisted game that hinges on life-or-death situations and deception. As Sigma and his new companions explore more of the facility, they begin to unravel the dark secrets of the Nonary Game and its purpose.
Virtue’s Last Reward is the second installment in the hit Zero Escape trilogy and is a follow-up to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (which I discussed in an earlier CIB Sunday post). Out of all the 3DS games in my collection, Virtue’s Last Reward is definitely one of my favorites. I loved the first Zero Escape title, and the sequel certainly didn’t disappoint. There are many reasons why Virtue’s Last Reward is such a great game; I’ll be touching on just a few of the most important ones throughout this post.
First, this game does an excellent job of creating interesting, engaging characters. A video game can have the best story ever, but if you can’t connect with or understand the characters, it loses much of its impact. That isn’t an issue with Virtue at all, though. The cast of nine characters features a diverse range of personalities, motivations, and secrets to unravel. None of the characters are boring, and they all have a significant part in the overarching story.
Even when a character does something you may not agree with, you can understand why they’re doing it. These characters are like actual people, with very real strengths, flaws, and wants. They sometimes act in their own best interest, disregarding others in the group. But, each character has a reason for doing so. Each member of the group has an arc that explores their past and gives more insight on their actions in the Nonary Game. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about each character and what drove them to do the things they did throughout the game.
As far as characters go, Luna, a sweet, gentle-natured woman, is one of my absolute favorites. At first, it may seem like there’s not much to Luna besides her friendly personality and kindness. However, there’s much more to her character and overall story; there’s a specific ending path that greatly explores her backstory and purpose for being in the Nonary Game. This ended up being one of my favorite routes in the entire game. It’s so compelling and truly adds layers to Luna’s character.
You know how I mentioned earlier that a story isn’t much without good characters? Well, Virtue’s Last Reward fortunately has both a great story and cast of characters. Much like the first game, this sequel has a deep, complex story that delves into many actual scientific theories. It also has important ties to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, but I don’t want to spoil anything. The story is one-of-a-kind and more than worth experiencing for yourself.
And it just so happens to be quite the impressive tale, spanning over several different routes with 28 possible endings. While some of these endings are fairly standard ‘Game Over’ states, most of them differ greatly and provide extra information on the game’s world and story. Like I said, Luna’s route is one of my very favorites, maybe even my absolute favorite. It gives additional information while moving the player and making them feel. When I first started Virtue’s Last Reward, I was completely overwhelmed by the empty tree of branching paths; it’s huge! I ended up plugging over 50 hours into the game to achieve all the endings, and every moment was worth the payoff.
This story is expansive, fascinating, and truly original. You’re not likely to find anything like it anywhere else. Virtue’s Last Reward tells a wholly compelling tale, one that makes you want to keep playing until the very end. It certainly made me feel that way, at least.
Finally, the gameplay of Virtue’s Last Reward fits perfectly with the tone and style of the game. The game is part visual-novel, meaning it consists of text/illustrations you read and click through to advance the story. And the other aspect of gameplay is puzzle based, featuring dozens of clever puzzles to solve. These include word problems, inventory puzzles, and much more. The puzzles range from fairly simple to challenging, but they’re all satisfying to figure out and solve.
These puzzle sections provide a refreshing break from the text sequences, giving you something else to focus on for a while. They often have fun, interesting character interactions and dialogue that you can only view within these parts, as well. This, combined with the smart, original nature of the puzzles, makes for an interesting, unique, and enthralling gaming experience. Personally, I really liked this type of gameplay and found myself easily drawn into the puzzles. Sometimes, I would get stuck on a puzzle for a while, but I was always eager to come back and give it another try. I always found these sections of the game to be enjoyable and rewarding.
From the reasons listed above, it’s clear that Virtue’s Last Reward is a quality, worthwhile game to play. Its deep characters, excellent story, and fun, clever mix of gameplay make for an experience that’s not to be missed. If you haven’t yet, absolutely play Virtue’s Last Reward and give the game a try yourself. See how far you can make it in the Nonary Game!
If you’d like to check out my CIB Sunday post over Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the predecessor to Virtue’s Last Reward, you can find it at the link below!