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Zero Escape: The Nonary Games Review (PS4)

The maniacal mastermind known as Zero has created extremely elaborate games that are meant to result in death. There's a way out, but it'll take some deep thinking and some untimely demises of the other participants. Get ready for some mind boggling twists and turns in this double feature. Everything you need to know about the game can be found right here!

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

Introduction

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is a double feature collection including the first two installments in the Zero Escape series. Inside the collection players will find that both 999 (Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors) and the sequel Virtue's Last Reward have been built from the ground up with HD graphics in mind, and includes full voice acting in English and Japanese. Developed by Spike Chunsoft and ported/published by Aksys Games, the opportunity to play both titles in relevant order, as well as on the same console, is a cause for celebration. 
If you've ventured into the dark and twisted world ran by the mysterious Zero before, then you know what you're getting yourself into. If you're new to the series however, then be prepared for some extreme twists and turns. The stories revolve around 9 individuals (each title with a unique cast) as they are put through a game none of them signed up for as they seek safety by escaping. You are one of the participants.

The game can be purchased for the PlayStation 4 ($49.99), PlayStation Vita ($39.99) and on Steam ($49.99).

ZERO ESCAPE: THE NONARY GAMES Trailer (2017) PS4, PC, PS VITA Game

Gameplay

Mixing visual novel and room escape puzzles in about as perfect of a way as possible, both titles will definitely put you to the test. The first game, 999, features Junpei as the main character, who is one of the 9 participants. Trapped down inside a sinking ship, it becomes evident very quickly that death is just around the corner for anyone. There's no subtleness about the graphic nature as you'll be exposed to gruesome deaths frequently. As you progress through the story you'll find key moments where the decisions you make will ultimately shape the ending. When your first play through is finished, and you wish to see what would have been, you can go through the flow chart to find key moments of the story that branch, allowing you to choose what you didn't before. 
It's a big help instead of replaying the game from beginning to end, but I'm sure many will find it interesting to do so anyways. This is true for both titles and their flowcharts (originally included in Virtue's Last Reward, but now implemented in 999). There's two different modes to enjoy the game in. The first one is Adventure mode which will display all of the written texts in pretty standard visual novel game format. The second is Novel mode, which displays all of the text on the side and in a style you would see in a book or a play script. The Novel mode will also provide narration and captions for moments, ultimately extending the depth of literature. If you wish to get the semi-condensed version then you'll want to be in Adventure mode, but don't sell yourself short of experiencing all that they have to offer. 

Zero Escape: The Notary Games Room Escape Puzzle

Sound and Graphics

The major improvement in regards to sound is that 999 has received full English voice overs (Japanese as well if you're into that). For a game to be about 90 percent reading, this is a huge improvement. The voices are, for the most part, really well done and only have a few dry moments here and there. The characters had no problem with individuality and personality being shown through the text, so the addition of voices is more like icing on already delicious tasting cake. 

999 features a 2D style of graphics, while Virtue's Last Reward displays a more 3D style (it was first released on the Nintendo 3DS). Each one performs in pretty normal visual novel format, where the characters will show up as cutouts with minor movements and animations. They'll take their turns on the screen before fading away, or they'll be in a special scene with others. The graphics look really good but keep the traditional look of their handheld releases some years ago. Some might be underwhelmed, but for everyone who experienced it before should feel a sense of nostalgia. Wether you have or not though, the graphics serve their purpose and do a great job even as a port.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games Zero Mask

Conclusion

Why any fan of visual novels or intriguing stories would pass on this collection is a mystery. Here are two great stories packaged into one and available on current platforms (excluding Xbox). They look great, albeit 999 shows its original age a little more, with attention set on delivering HD graphics. The English voice work is great simply for the fact its there, but also enhances the characters and the game in a huge way. It truly makes it more immersive to watch. Some of the characters sound detached from the situations in a few moments but nothing that stood out in a significant way; just a dry sentence here or there. 
Wether you've played these titles before, or you're new to the series, there's a lot to love, and some truly wild plot twists to unravel. It's never been easier to jump into the troubles; the collection is priced nicely considering the two grand stories. Due to multiple endings, and a flow chart that helps you see all the turns you missed the first time, the replay value is high. Good luck trying to escape.
ProsCons
 + High quality port onto current platforms
 – A few odd sounding voices
 + Two great stories in one package
 – Graphics may not meet everyones expectations
 + Adventure and Novel modes add depth and choice
8.5
Great

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