Title: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
Company: Spike Chunsoft
Localized by: Aksys
Why do people betray each other?
If I can’t trust anyone, then everyone should DIE.
The Nonary Game
Nine people find themselves trapped inside a warehouse and are forced to play the Nonary Game – Ambidex Edition. The rules are simple: the players have to get their Bracelet Points to 9+. Only then, the door that has a 9 on it will be opened and the winner will be able to get outside, beating the game. The catch is, the door only opens once in a span of 9 seconds. Any player who doesn’t have enough points won’t be able to go out and will have to spend the rest of their lives inside the warehouse.
Humongous branch paths
Visual novels are known for having multiple routes and endings. VLR is able to maximize the full potential of a VN in revealing the plot points. Each route and escape is vital to the true ending. The first time I played the game I was shocked to learn that it has 24 endings. That is 4 times the endings of 999! But it’s worth it. Even you are not planning to complete all the trophies, see all the endings for the story.
There’s a nifty feature called Flow Chart where it shows all the branches and plot points that you’ll have to go through. What’s good about this is that you can jump from every plot points or room escape anytime. It also shows which rooms you still have to get the files from. Without this feature, playing VLR would be a pain in the arse because you’ll have to start all the waaaaaay from the very start and the escapes will be redundant.
While VLR can be played however you want, I chose to have a play order than randomly selecting doors. That way, the story unfolds slowly and smoothly. It’s like I learned things at the right time and at the right pace. There are also locked plot points that can only be cleared once you’ve gathered enough information from other routes. With my play order, I only bumped into a locked scene once.
If you choose to play in a random order, make sure you leave the Cyan door last. :)))
I started on the middle path, then a little bit of left, then right, goes back to left, and finished it with the rightmost path. Anyhoo, here’s my play order:
Clover’s route is a great place to start especially if you have just finished 999 or want to refresh your memory about the previous game like me. This route does not reveal any major plot points, making this a good starting point when you are just getting the hang of the game.
I have conflicted feelings about Tenmyouji. Once I have a suspicion of who he really is, it makes my head spin with a lot of questions about his role and his appearance in the game. (Clue: the character list of Zero Time Dilemma is a HUGE spoiler of who he is. ;D But, well, you’ve probably guessed by now /o.) Tenmyouji is related to Quark and his route is more about his grandchild than him.
Anyway, since I followed what people on online forums mentioned, I played this route after my first. But after finishing it, I think it is better to play this after K or Dio’s end. This has a locked path so I recommend going through Quark’s bad end first.
K’s the robotic and amnesiac guy in the game. No one knows who he really is or if he really has amnesia. Things start to get weird in this route and more questions pile up. This has another locked path that can be cleared if you have finished Clover’s End beforehand.
Dio gets on everyone’s bad side right off the bat. He sort of reminds me of Souda from Dangan Ronpa (who is also voiced by Hosoyan heh) who judges and mistrusts anyone right away.
This is better played after Clover’s since this route gives a light introduction on the main plot. Plus, his route doesn’t have any locked paths so no problem going through his story.
Talk about revealing clothes. ww
If you’re like me who squealed when Alice’s name came up during the promotional stages of VLR thinking that it’s the same All-Ice in 999, then we probably got it wrong. Or not. We’re never really sure. On one hand, she’s got a pretty solid background to not be All-Ice. But on the other hand, what’s the whole point of the frozen queen, really?
Things are getting a little complicated here. I must say that Alice has an intriguing bad end. Of course, it’ll get answered once you’ve played the good end. But among the other bad ends, this is one of the best – a WTF kind of ending.
Think Sigma’s End will answer most of your questions? Wrong. It’ll add more questions more than what it reveals.
The plot gets thicker. A lot of things are answered, mostly the questions in this route. But many questions still remain. The major ones, like why are they there? Who is Zero? What’s the deal with all the other routes? This route totally threw me off track. I didn’t see the plot twist coming at all.
First, I love Phi. Well, to be fair, I’ve always loved characters like her. She’s the mysterious brain of the group who remains calm and collected no matter what plot twist arises.
At this point, I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, and guessed a lot. The best thing about this game is that it’ll keep you guessing right to the very last scenes. Whenever I think I’ve got everything figured out, they’ll drop a bomb and blow my theories away. But I loved that. It makes the game even more engaging.
Phi’s route is the true ending and unlocks a prologue and an epilogue. It sums up the entire game and briefly introduces what Zero Time Dilemma stores for us. It has the most number of locks. And this goes without saying, you have to play it last.
But even if this is called Phi’s End, it reveals nothing about Phi. She still remains a mystery even after beating the game. This might as well be a Sigma End since everything boils down to him. I guess it will be revealed in the 3rd game.
Some say his end should be done before Phi. But you can’t finish Tenmyouji’s route without going through him so I suggest going through his bad end first before tackling Tenmyouji. Then since his good end gears towards the true end, save it until you’re done with Luna but before Phi.
Escape the Room
VLR is part VN, part puzzle game. Once the cutscenes end and you choose a room, you can’t go out unless you’ve found the key to the exit. Each room has their own characteristics and most puzzles are related to them. You’ll need paper, pen, and a calculator at hand. What I like most about this is that it uses most of the features of Vita, most notably the motion sensor. There’s just this one annoying puzzle in the Treatment Center room that takes after the game of Mastermind. It’s great that it introduced me to Mastermind but it’s annoying while playing the game especially when you have a limited number of tries. I found a site that helped me get through it and feel free to use it when you’re stuck on that puzzle too. Kudos to the people behind Thonky for this feature: http://www.thonky.com/virtues-last-reward/pod-room-door-solver
There wouldn’t be virtue in the title if it questions your own ww. The AB Game is how the characters gain BP. There are only 3 people who can enter a room depending on their mixed color combination depending on which door they’ll take. Two of those are in a Pair and considered as one and the remaining character is a Solo. In the AB Game, the Pair and the Solo will face off with one another by choosing either Ally or Betray. If I remember correctly, if both parties Ally, each gets additional 2 points. If one chooses Ally and the other Betrays, the former gets –2 points while the latter will gain 3 points. If both sides Betrays, no points added on either group. I get really nervous whenever I choose to betray even when all I ever wanted to choose is to ally lol.
Virtue’s Last Reward is as engaging as 999 was. The story is loosely connected to the prequel but seems to be closely connected to Zero Time Dilemma. The branch points play an important role to the big scheme of things. It’ll keep you guessing until the very end.