Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)

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lopez
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Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)

Postby lopez » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:01 pm

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Story:

You awaken suddenly to the sound of a violent explosion. Still somewhat groggy, you find yourself locked in an unknown room with no idea of how you got there. Looking around you find a mysterious watch affixed to your wrist and a door with a giant crimson number emblazoned on its' surface. The metal walls slowly creak and moan in a very ominous and disturbing manner. As your senses slowly return the nearby window cracks and a surge of water erupts into the room. The water level slowly rises in the room as you desperately struggle for a way out. Welcome to the nightmare that is the Nonary Game!

The premise is reminiscent of a Saw movie where players must survive a mad game of puzzles and manipulation to escape. The narrative is both gripping and very engaging. The writer(s) tease just enough information in short bursts to keep the player hooked enough to solve the next puzzle and continue progressing through to the next little tidbit of plot development.

For all intents and purposes, this game is a visual novel first, while a few puzzles scattered throughout to change up the flow. The player must wade through what feel like endless walls of dialogue between puzzles. What makes this bearable is both the quality of the content and the amount of detail the writer uses.

Almost everything has a purpose in the game, from how the characters act/think to the various "side-stories" some of the characters discuss. It feels very rewarding to solve the mysteries of the story from all the numerous fragments presented. For example, finding out that a very brief piece of dialogue early on in the game actually has significant implications to why a particular character behaves the way they do later gives more gravity to all the text and to the player for investing in throughly reading the text.

Another enjoyable aspect of the story is that both historical fiction, as well as certain historical facts were incorporated in such a way that not only challenges the way people understand this history, but it also helps nurture an attraction to learn more about said history outside of the game. At numerous times throughout my playthrough I stopped the game and actually did some research on things like the Titanic and her sister ships, Sheldrake's theory and more, just to quench that intellectual itch the game's story presented.

For the most part, the story has few plotholes, though many of them get filled by the sequel Virtue's Last Reward. There are some minor points that have the enjoyable benefit of being open-ended (letting player's create elaborate theories), but some need concrete black/white answers that not even the head writer could explain (atleast from his Aksys Games Answer page). The few points that need an answer are more fundamental than anything and with the writer falling back on pseudo-rhetorical hypotheticals.

Overall, the story and characters are great. This is probably one of the best localized VN stories out there.

Score: 9.5/10

Graphics:

The game is split between anime-style 2D character portraits and pseudo-3D backgrounds and CG animations.

The 2D portraits are appealing and in the same vein as the Phoenix Wright series.

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The pseudo-3D backgrounds look like something out of Myst.

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Overall, the imagery is good, though most of the player's time will be spent reading text. All the overly graphic content is implied through text rather than visualized, which is nice considering how graphic the plot gets at times.

Score: 7.5/10

Gameplay:

This is a point & click adventure game with lite puzzles and HEAVY text. Most of the player's movement is controlled by scripted events or dialogue choices. The few puzzle moments shift to a direct point & click setup where players collect and combine items and then solve puzzles.

Most puzzles are very straight-forward and require little critical thinking. Some puzzles can even be solved with trial & error until the answer is reached. The game could benefit from more interactive puzzles, but the major draw is the story/dialogue.

Score: 7/10

Sound:

The music is good at setting the themes and creating specific moods, but it's not all that enjoyable outside of the game. It's mostly electronic stuff, though most of the "melodies" (if they can even be called that) being very eccentric in design.

No VA. The characters each have different pitches of the same chiptune sound effect.

All the sound effects and meaningful.

Score: 7/10

Replayability:

The game has 5 distinct endings and 1 "dummy" ending. Each door leads to new puzzles and new plot development. If not for the different endings, just going through the different doors gives more depth to the characters and a few new revelations to the story.

At its' core, this game is worth 2 playthroughs. One to get what's needed for the true ending and then watching the true ending through. The other endings are just slight deviations to the "you let the killer slip away" theme.

On its' own merits the game is enjoyable, but added to the fact that this game is really just a "prequel" or "background" to the sequel and this game has more lasting value.

Score: 8/10

Final Score: 8/10
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Re: Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)

Postby G3n3raL86 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:30 am

Great, GREAT experience this one! Totally blow me away! One of the best stories evah :)

Too bad that some people began playing VLR first...
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Re: Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)

Postby lopez » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:16 pm

Playing VLR first would be a good hook for the "prequel."

Some of the main events may be "spoiled", but the devil is in the details. Much of VLR's foundation was built on the events of 999, so it's worthwhile regardless to give 999 a go :)
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Re: Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)

Postby PerryComo » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:05 pm

A mysterious message coming from nowhere...


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