In January last year, I wrote a blog post entitled “Good People Die“. It was not, as it sounds, a megalomaniacal supervillain rant, but the Japanese title of a game released in the west as Virtue’s Last Reward, the second in a Puzzle/Visual Novel series branded as Zero Escape.
This is one of those games that I find more intensely interesting as time passes. Although I ranked it as my #4 overall at in the year I played it, I find that list has altogether changed in retrospect. The reason is simply this: I’ve never before experienced a story like the one in Virtue’s Last Reward. It left a mark on me. I’ve yet to meet another person who’s finished it, and I have a feeling that if I did I’d explode into a joyous fountain of spoilertalk. In my books, only Undertale and possibly The World Ends With You beat VLR on pure story.
If you’re also a fan of the Zero Escape games, you may be curious as to why I haven’t mentioned 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors yet. Well, I didn’t play it. It didn’t come out in the UK, and I was spoiled on the major twist years before I got around to reading through a Let’s Play. It was still incredible, but the impact was muted.
I bring up VLR because once again I have the fever. It’s starting to become a yearly habit for me to remember that it exists and start obsessing over it all over again. This time it has a more obvious root cause.
Recently a bunch of information was released on the third and final Zero Escape game, Zero Time Dilemma. Since Virtue’s Last Reward ended on a big cliffhanger and the third Zero Escape game was initially scrapped, I’m extremely grateful that this game not only exists, but is coming out soon.
I realise that I’ve said nothing of the plot of any of these games that is supposedly so good. That’s because the less you know about them going in the better. The most barebones explanation of 999’s premise would go like this: 9 people are trapped in a location and have to work together in life-threatening games in order to escape. The games are masterminded by a shadowy antagonist named Zero, hence the series name. Also, not everything is as it seems. And now, go. Buy the game if you can, read a Let’s Play if you’re not in the States. Here. It’s basically a novel. Also, in case you were wary, it’s nothing like Saw. It’s the anti-Saw.
From here on out this week will most likely be filled with Zero Escape spoilers. The nature of the series means even knowing the cast of Zero Time Dilemma would be huge spoilers for the previous two games. I’ll be taking a look at the new trailer and the announced cast, as well as reminiscing on the previous two games in the series.
How did it come to be that Zero Time Dilemma is by far my most anticipated game currently announced? I’ll be aiming to give a thorough answer to that question, but if you play the previous two games, you’ll know.