Friday, August 23, 2013

August of Games: Day 23 - 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

This game has a weird soundtrack. It's remarkably enjoyable, yet still sometimes suffers from the DS's limitations. Somehow though I prefer the chippy, digital sounds of 999 to Virtue's Last Reward's soundtrack.

999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
Developer: Chunsoft
Genre (Setting): Modern
Genre (Gameplay): Visual Novel, Puzzle
What is this game: This is a very, uh, I don't want want to use the word "bipolar" cuz it's not really proper to the people with that disorder, but it literally jumps back and forth between two extremes without much room in between. It has two modes: novel, and escape. Novel sections are just that - very akin to a graphic novel. Usually I would just think of this as the dialogue sections in a game, but when it takes up more than half of the game it's worth noting. Normally I would groan at half of the game's content being dialogue, but when the game's point is to be modeling a graphic novel, I can give it a chance. Besides, there've been a number of pretty excellent DS games in the heavy dialogue world - Phoenix Wright, and Hotel Dusk: Room 215, for example. Anyway, the game has an awful lot of dialogue, but a very focused but varied cast helps keep things fresh.
The Escape sections are point-and-click-adventure-style sections that have you solving logic puzzles and grabbing clues! They're not complicated in concept, but they are extensive and sometimes quite difficult, and there are a lot of them.

What's great about it: The plot is not just long, but full of replay value! Unless you have extraordinary luck, you need more than one playthrough to reach the real ending. Note: I haven't managed that yet. They very pleasantly added a Fast-Forward feature to blaze through dialogue you've seen in previous runthroughs.
The art is a combination of pixeled character portraits, painted backgrounds, and 3d-modeled objects. While I'm not a huge fan of the blend, it's often very common in DS games. The pixeled portraits are really nice! Overall the graphics give this vibe that is very reminiscent of Phoenix Wright.
Most importantly, the plot is simply enjoyable! Not much to say about it, it's just good.
How do I get it: More DS games, so it's a used copy or pirating.
So, let's talk about "Zero Escape". That's the series name that has been retroactively applied to this game after the 3DS game Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward was released. Now, I haven't played that, but I really want to. It's actually a direct sequel to the plot, though the majority of characters are new - the story is self-contained, but you will probably get even more out of the game if you've played 999.

End Recording,

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