I recently replayed 999 because it connects in a few ways to this game, and I've been having a blast playing over the last few months.|
It's both very different and very similar to 999. But its also quite a leap forward in certain ways. For instance, the controls are way better. The whole overhead camera with arrows on the side of the screen for movement is ditched for something much smoother. You can skip entire scenes and gameplay sequences and move back and forth through the plot at your leisure (in a rather amazing change of pace, you can even read some of the endings right after the beginning of the game, though obviously I didn't do that). There's more granular controls for skipping dialogue within scenes and so on. Better yet, you have a memo function within the game to write down stuff, which anyone can tell you in a Zero Escape game is very, very helpful. You can also display hints or files while you are solving puzzles this time. As well, there are optional puzzles this time around which lead to a kind of developer commentary feature and you can opt to get more hints for puzzles from the characters if you so choose, but doing so lessens the amount of rewards you can get from the optional puzzles.
The game's puzzles are in a whole different league as well. Much more well thought out than 999's, which weren't bad, but eventually suffered from being a little too similar in approach. They're also quite a bit harder in several cases, though the puzzles do range in difficulty. The plot branches way more than 999's did, which means there is a shit load more endings in this game and its overall way, way longer.
As for the story, without Ishii Jiro, it's true that its more esoteric and subversive than 999's was. Make no mistake, this is NOT the same game. It's a sequel that tries to do something different, so you shouldn't expect the same tone, though there are of course similarities. I feel like it would be ruining a great surprise to give details on the tone other than to say that the voice acting is absolutely stunning and brings the game to another level. This time the Nonary Game is easier to complete, but harder to play and the dynamics involved mean that the plot is so stunningly vast that sometimes you want to re-read sections you already just to re-orient yourself.
I haven't won the game yet, but at this point, there's no question which I like better. Virtue's Last Reward > 999.
Edited by JinTypeNoir at 23:59:33 16-05-2012