Knowing the author of that game, or Kotaro Uchikoshi, is an even more rare eventuality, but not because of the quality of the title in question but because of its very special nature: Uchikoshi’s works are fusions between classic graphic adventures and Visual Novel nipponiche, with very strong roots in science fiction and in the works of authors such as
Vonnegut and Asimov; from a purely narrative point of view we speak of frightfully complex works, whose notoriety within a small niche is a miracle medium (and does not correspond to an equal commercial success). Yet someone 999 bought it, bringing the developers of Spike Chunsoft to the production of two sequels despite the Japanese ground had not taken root.
The result? A cornucopia of impromptu twists, puzzles, complex characters and tangled vicissitudes known as Zero Escape Series, composed of three games spread across different platforms (DS, 3DS, PlayStation Vita and PC), which few have chosen over the years to enjoy in full. Perhaps because of its historical importance – it is believed that Uchikoshi is the initiator of series like the Danganronpa, and the influence is noticeable –
or perhaps for the simple desire to revive a saga that deserves more notoriety than the one he got, now arrives against all expectations in the homes of PC owners, PlayStation 4 and Playstation Vita a remastered collection of the first two titles of the trilogy, 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward, called The Nonary Games. We have obviously tried it.
Two notable and little known Japanese titles come back with The Nonary Games: here is our review!
MATHEMATICS IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH
The opinions on the quality of the three games of the Zero Series diverge enormously from person to person. The first is almost unanimously considered the one with the best plot, but the improvements to the gameplay of the following chapters have been appreciated by many,
not to mention that the many connections solved in the last title, Zero Time Dilemma, make it difficult to understand all the elements of Virtue’s Last Reward because of its extreme complexity.
999, simpler and more conclusive, is therefore the most usable by the general public, and this new edition does nothing but improve its already remarkable characteristics.
Let’s go into a bit more detail: in 999 you interpret the young Junpei, who awakens trapped in the cabin of a ship with a strange numbered wristwatch and soon discovers he was involved in a kind of sadistic game along with nine others people, called Nonary Game.
The identity of the other individuals is not known, apart from a childhood friend of the protagonist, nor is it known why they are on the ship; on the other hand the ultimate goal is to escape trying to gather as much information as possible and to understand what gave life to that strange situation.
Many of you, at this point, will inevitably think of Saw, but in 999 there are very few horror influences and the plot goes into science fiction themes that then explode in the following chapters.
In this new version, however, 999 is virtually reborn thanks to the inclusion of elements that were part of his sequel,
Virtue’s Last Reward : the interface has changed to better match the new platforms after the abandonment of the dual screen of the Nintendo DS,
not to mention that it has been inserted a comfortable narrative scheme that allows you to play individually chapters in order to penetrate the various crossroads of history. Add a sensible speed of text (with the ability to scroll quickly) and you will get a more enjoyable experience compared to its basic form.