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Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

URGENT: IDO Reveals Virulent Japanese Game Has Crossed Pacific, Urges Calm

Nein! Nine Nyan!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: February 29, 2012
You know what? We're just going to go ahead and say it. The Vita is way cooler than the 3DS. Yeah, we may be a little biased, but really, those are the facts. The whole console is just so much more MATURE than its Nintendo counterpart. The same could be said of the last generation when the PSP was just a bit "cooler" than the DS.

However, one area that the Nintendo handhelds have excelled at for years is providing interesting non-casual adventure/puzzle games. Things like the Phoenix Wright series, Professor Layton games and Ghost Trick are all fantastic unique games that tell interesting stories with offbeat gameplay that can be accessible to anyone and really shine in a portable milieu. Nothing on a Sony handheld really compares to those games, with titles skewing towards action and RPGs but never straying too far into new territories.

However, that is about to change with the impending US release of Chunsoft's Virtue's Last Stand. Having played its predecessor 999, we can tell you that the LESS you know about this game going in, the better it'll probably be for you. If it is anything like the first game, you'll essentially be taking control of a visual novel, solving a few puzzles along the way and making key decisions that will drastically alter the course of the story (or more accurately, the information about the story that will be revealed to you). Designed to be replayed multiple times, the whole thing promises to be a unique experience.

Without revealing too much, here are some of the features you can expect:

Dual Language Support – Early cases show that VLR allows communication in both English and Japanese, with dialog playable in both languages. Whether or not this indicates damage to the languages centers of the brain is under investigation.

Puzzles and Story – Preliminary investigations show that this game progresses rapidly through a repeating cycle of two distinct stages, which have been termed the “Novel” and “Escape” stages. During the Novel stage, subjects find themselves engaged by a complex and mysterious story. During the Escape stage, subjects have been observed solving numerous puzzles.

Fully-Voiced Novel Sections – One of the indicators of the Novel stage is reportedly fully-voiced dialog: All characters except for the protagonist can be heard speaking during this stage.

Numerous Endings – VLR has been shown to exhibit numerous paths of infection, most of which are lethal. At press time, 24 different “endings” have been observed, each unique.

Immersive Three-Dimensional Environment – Many infected patients have reported a feeling of increased immersion in their surroundings, often manifested in the ability to rotate the camera around a 3D room rendered in-game and select and manipulate objects in three-dimensional space.

Introduces New Characters, Brings Back Old Ones – Our files on 999 indicate that a number of the characters featured there appear again in VLR, although in what capacity is still unclear. This strain also introduces several new characters, all of whom merit additional investigation.

If this sounds like something that would interest you, we advise you NOT to learn more and just wait for the impending release later this year. If you do own one of those lesser Nintendo handhelds (fine, we actually really like them too) and you haven't checked out 999 yet, that's probably a great place to start!

No doubt we'll have more information about the game later, but seriously, don't read it!