Virtues Last Reward was developed as a sequel to the title 999 developed by Spike Chunsoft. Once again the story revolves around people being trapped inside a facility without knowing how they got there in the first place. It is their task to find out where they all are and who everyone is.
Trapped in an unknown facility they awaken to find themselves trapped inside a facility. The protagonist you plays as, Sigma, is awakened inside an elevator alongside another character named Phi.Once they escape they meet Zero Jr. along with the other trapped players who are told they are all part of a project known as the nonery game. Rules are then explained, especially about the bracelets they are each equipped with. They are allocated a certain amount of BP (Bracelet Points) and once a person reaches 9 on their bracelet they are able to escape though the door labeled 9 in the very room where they currently stand however, if they reach 0 they will receive death through chemicals laden without their bracelets. Furthermore. each round of the game will pair characters either with the same or different people depending on the colour of their bracelet.
Points as allocated through voting which takes places in the AB rooms. Each person must choose between ally or betray. Points will either be rewarded or subtracted depending on how the other characters partner votes. Trust is the key factor in the nonery game.
backstorys and relationships of each character are slowly revealed as the story progresses and like 999 there are branching paths to take. Some paths will require going back in the story and traversing a different route in order to find key items in order to progress in the other path. Memories of prior events are retained by Sigma no matter which path is taken. It is all well-designed and quite intricate how it all comes together in the end.
The gameplay consists of ‘novel’ and ‘gameplay’ sections. Gameplay sections will take place after a certain amount of story progression and will have you exploring rooms and solving well-thought out puzzles. Collecting items and placing them in certain areas in your standard ‘room escape’ style fashion is prevalent here. Puzzles will require you to either make use of the in-game notepad or jotting down on your own personal notepad in order to piece together information in order to solve the puzzles.
Each room consists of a safe that can be opened with only the correct image pattern input. One will result in the safe opening to showcase the key for your escape and another password will provide you with a secret document. Attaining all these documents is integral to completing the room 100% and getting the true ending much later on.
Unlike 999 the progress of going back to a story-decision branch to choose other paths is much more intuitive this time around. Simply opening up a certain menu will allow you access to a flowchart and selecting the point you want to go back to is available at your fingertips. There are many paths and character endings to unlock so there is quite a bit of content to be found here. Repeated text situations also occur as you go back to certain points and paths, but thankfully, the majority of theses can be skipped in a fast-forwarding VHS-type fashion.
Graphics can seem a bit dated even by PS Vita standards. Animations are not the greatest and character facial expressions can lead you thinking ‘uncanny valley’ quite a bit, but overall the graphics do well for their intended purpose. Expect depictions of dark atmospheric rooms and a lush gardens for what they are worth. There are no FMV scenes to be found here just real-time novel storytelling.
Music is quite atmospheric and does an admirable job of setting the mood right for situations and rooms. Sound effects are there and also coalese well with the music which plays.
For story enthusiasts and fans of 999 this is quite a treat to be had. Many hours of enjoyment to be found here with varied puzzles and amazing plot twists making this a true magnum opus for Spike Chunsoft.
Platform(s): PS Vita & 3DS