Thursday, October 4, 2012
So I Tried the Demo for Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
Meet the antagonist to the demo of Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward - A door. A locked door, to be precise, being the thing standing between you and progress into the next room that presumably also offers a locked door to be opened with a lengthy series of searching every inch of scenery and combining the items you come across. I mean, that is sort of the MO for Escape the Room games which is basically what Zero Escape seems to be which is fantastic. I rather enjoy them for the ways they encourage you to think, though there is a line between being clever and requiring such a break from logic that it makes me question what the hell is going on. Luckily enough, Zero Escape offers no such break, as the puzzles are either pretty blatantly easy or approaching rather clever, never really even broaching the line in which I throw my hands up in frustration and consult a FAQ.
Of course, this could be because of the rather large flaw in design that the demo offered in locking you into 'Easy' mode which basically takes 80% of the challenge of the game out of your hands by giving you the answer to a good portion of most of the puzzles themselves. Not all of them, mind you, but the ones that really could have made or broken the difficulty of the demo, thus not really giving you a good approximation of the game itself which is kind of the entire point -of- a demo. I really can't see the point of this except trying to 'trick' people into feeling smarter than they might be, thus convincing them that Zero Escape is a game that they could, theoretically, play and understand and such. I'm really not sure why the deception is 'necessary' however, as I really don't think the things it spoils are -that- far-fetched. The screenshots I offered are mostly out of context, but they don't really offer knowledge onto anything that couldn't be parsed out yourself. And probably would've made for a more worthy demo -had- you been able to figure it out for yourself.
However, despite my grumblings, I did enjoy the demo quite a bit and have played it a couple times past my initial attempt which didn't go so hot because I had a headache at the time. Something that's helpful is that the numbers seem to randomize, so you can't just memorize them and move on through the demo without a thought to what you're actually doing. You might remember the method, sure, but the execution will be different each time meaning that anyone who finds themselves playing the game multiple times won't get too bored with things. Seeing as I might be one of these people, this is good news enough for me. And the demo does have one thing that I find myself reaching towards the skies and praising the gods of all that is good and makes sense in the Memo function which allows you to utilize the touchscreen to leave yourself notes on things that might be important rather than having to rely on actual pen and paper for your notes. It's a godsend and a wonderful idea that needs to be in like everything of this ilk. Because it is, as I suggested in my screencap so goddamn useful.
I will note that I have not played 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors which does present a little bit of an issue here since I -like- Zero Escape, but I severely hate playing a sequel without playing the first. In fact, as we all know, I hate playing a series over the span of multiple handhelds, but that's somewhat tempered in this case because it is also available on the original console as well (well, same line, that is) which is generally all I ask. I planned on getting 999 anyways, so it's not a case where I -have- to get it to 'understand' the sequel, and in truth, I'm not even sure if Zero Escape will have much to do with 999 at all, story-wise. Which I have also said is no excuse but look, just shut up and let me be a hypocrite for this series. Escape-the-room/point-and-click is practically dead as a genre outside of PC (even there, it's mostly just flash games) and any release in it is generally one to treasure unless it's just balls-out dumb. Which I am told 999 is certainly not.
Still, not having picked up 999, I'm not quite sure about just what I will do with Zero Escape. I want to buy it, surely, but I won't play it right away if I bought it right away, and that just feels wasteful. However, I don't want to be in a similar situation with the game as I am with 999 in that I simply cannot find it in stores, my preferred method of getting games. Yes, yes, Amazon and all that, and I will get it that way -eventually-, as it seems like the price is stable for now. I believe a stealth reprint happened at some point and that helped the game stay at the $25 pricepoint for months now, which is always nice. But my issue is that if I get 999 right now I will similarly probably not be able to play it because, well, I have a lot of gaming to do between my PS3 and Vita, despite people claiming that I should have no trouble in that department. Because....well, people are stupid. Clearly. I've held off buying like four Vita games because I'm saving the money for four -other- Vita games, but noooooo, it -has- no games and I'm clearly saving money for absolutely nothing at all. Twats. Anyways, I suggest you grab the demo for yourself to give it a whirl if you're so inclined. It's not perfect, and I would suggest you only play the Escape portion as the Novel portion is literally just a cutscene, but what you do with it is your business and such.