Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas of Nines

If there's anything that I honestly didn't need this Christmas, it was even more games, but you know what?  I like gamesI wanted more games.  And thus, so it was that I got some pretty great games for Christmas - some surprising ones even.  I think one of the stand-outs (the other of which I'll probably speak on tomorrow) is that my parents managed to do what I haven't been able to in two years, in finding a copy of 999:  Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.  I mean, yes, I could have always gotten a copy online or something, but that's no fun - the hunt itself is a thrill and being able to taste the fruits of that effort, so to speak, is a wonderment all its own.  It's not enough that they managed to track this down for me, but when I unwrapped it and saw it - the first thing I noticed was that it was a copy that had the original box art and not the new art that re-brands the game retroactively as a part of the now-established "Zero Escape" series, of which 999 and Virtue's Last Reward (For 3DS and Vita) are now a part of.  I don't mind the new box art at all, and it wouldn't be a deal-breaker one way or another, but regardless, I thought that was pretty neat.

In actually playing the game, I have found it to be something of an actual treat, which surprised me a little.  I worry about the learning curve in games like these, but so far, it's been kind to me I believe.  At least, I haven't had to look up a guide yet, though I'm not sure at all how far into the game I am.  I expected something rather lengthy, but if the pace is anything to go by, then I'm actually drawing near to an ending, of which there are many.  I figure this can't be, and that something will reveal itself, but I'm not quite sure really.  It's still too early to tell, of course, and I'm really just more concerned about the -game- and the story than the ending(s) for now.  Since, I mean, it is a visual novel/old-style adventure game, so there's not a lot else -to- do but worry about the story of it.

I did mention that the puzzles haven't been especially hard, but I will say that they've been clever at points.  One such puzzle took me to peaks of frustration as I tried to figure it out, and when I was tempted to give up, I thought about it for just a few extra moments before that "Aha!" moment hit and it clicked.  It's honestly very, very difficult to actually make things so you'll have that moment since it requires a delicate balance that few are able to implement.  It's either too obscure so that you can't honestly be expected to figure it out, or too easy that there's no challenge to it.  Being just tricky enough that you force somebody to wrack their brain, looking at the details and realizing that there's a -reason- they don't add up, that's some sort of talent right there.  Because when you figure out which detail it is that doesn't fit, that's just wrong in the context of the situation, it pushes on that spot on your brain that feeds on the 'smugness' you get when you figure things out like that.

I do worry somewhat about just how fleshed out the characters will get before the end of it however.  Like I said, I don't quite know how far into the game I am, but I've played for a good clip and some of them are still a bit thin.  The logical part of my brain understand that there are reasons why the characters haven't been explored really, but at the same time, that doesn't preclude being able to develop them in ways that aren't subtle personality quirks and the like.  I want a little more from them as a cast, because if something were to happen to somebody, I feel like it would help if it actually meant something.  Since I mean, you put people into a gauntlet of traps and 'games' where losing means your death, you sort of -expect- for there to be some casualties.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm just guessing.  I might also be being intentionally vague and/or flippant or misleading so as to not spoil things for others.

Regardless, it's been a good trip so far and I'm quite happy that I did finally get my hands on a copy of the game.  I always figured I would, since there's not been much of a price hike ever since the reprinting, but the comfort in having the game, being able to hold it and watch it and play it is nice all the same.  With any luck, I'll like it enough that I'll want to pick up Virtue's Last Reward, which I totally can on my Vita and have that to hop into afterwards.  Of course, after I beat that, then there'll be a long, long wait for the next game in the series, but at least I'm set for the near future if nothing else.  And man, am I ever set for the near future in terms of games.  That, however, is a tale for another night.  In the meanwhile, I just hope everyone had a great Christmas, because hey, I actually did too!

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