I’m going to be listing my thoughts about Virtue’s Last Reward; things I liked, things I didn’t like. Things they could’ve improved on, etc.
These are literally just some thoughts that I jotted down on the memopad in my phone periodically while playing the game. They are haphazard and unorganized. If you’re looking for a proper review then you’re in the wrong place (sorry!).
Also I will be spoiling at least one major plot point in this article. SPOILER WARNING. You’ve been warned!!
I’ll start off with the positive stuff. I love Virtue’s Last Reward and I think it’s an extremely good video game.
VLR is fully voiced. Because it’s a visual novel, there’s a huge amount of dialogue and pretty much every single bit of it is voice-acted in both Japanese and English. Good job! Also I think the voice acting was great, even in English.
There are no apparent significant plotholes, which is especially impressive with a story as complex as this one. If something could be considered a plothole, it usually feels as if it was intentional, that it will be addressed in the sequel.
The writing in VLR is so good that it makes silly things such as robots and telepathy believable.
Now for the not-so-good stuff. Some of this stuff may seem like nitpicking or being overly-critical, and they probably are. Remember, these are just thoughts that popped into my head while I was playing. I’m just listing them here.
One of the biggest problems I have with VLR is travelling. When moving from room to room, you have to watch a little dot (you) on the map literally just move across the map while making an annoying beeping sound. When your character goes through a door, you have to watch a cutscene of the door opening slowly. Then it’s back to the map to watch the dot move. This may seem like a small gripe, but it happens a lot throughout the game and most importantly, it interrupts the story and gameplay for no reason. The dot on the minigame should move three times as fast. That way, you’d still see where your character is going to, and it’ll be fast enough so that it wouldn’t interrupt the game.
One of my notes on my memopad was “Sigma should be voiced like everyone else”. Followed by that was my reasoning why. Here it is:
[Sigma is too independent a character to not have a voice and be a “silent protagonist”. It creates an awkward mixture of Sigma being a completely individual character, and the player having very limited control only when the game wants you to. At no point does it feel like Sigma is “me” and in that case, why am I even making decisions for this guy? And why doesn’t he have a voice like everyone else?]
That mini-rant was written before I had beaten the game. Now that I completed it, I understand why he wasn’t voiced. It makes sense, but it still feels a little cheap. The only reason he wasn’t voiced, essentially, was to hide information from the player. It was necessary I suppose, but…eh.
I personally found the bunny Zero Jr. thing kind of annoying after a while. It’s just personal preference though, I know a lot of people who love it. One could argue that it doesn’t fit the otherwise serious tone of the story and setting.
Character endings don’t have much to do with the actual character. I.E. Clover’s ending could have just been any other ending, it didn’t have much to do with Clover. We did learn some of Clover’s backstory in the route but arguably not enough to warrant it to be her character ending; we are exposed to characters’ backstories somewhat regularly throughout the game, many of which aren’t during that particular character’s route or ending. In Tenmyouji’s ending, we learn more about Quark than Tenmyouji.
For the sake of investing the player in the story more, and perhaps due to the developers wanting more accessibility to new players to the series, characters do not always act within what would seem to be realistic to their respective personalities. For example one would assume that Tenmyouji (since he’s Junpei from 999) would have a much different – and much more enthusiastic – reaction when seeing Clover in the beginning of the game, since they were both in the previous Nonary game together. Clover would have a different reaction too. Why wouldn’t they explain to the other 7 people that they’ve been through this before what to expect, etc.
Tenmyouji is Junpei. In other words, Tenyouji is the player from 999. He’s supposed to be me in 999, but not in VLR. I don’t think this works very well. In VLR, he acts as a completely different person; far from how I would act and as a result, far from how Junpei would have acted in 999.
So yeah, those are some of my thoughts on Virtue’s Last Reward. Looking back, I’m not sure they were enough to warrant their own article, but whatever. That’s what this blog is for I guess. Just random thoughts. Most of them were negative, but that’s because everything else in the game is so good. So these nitpicky “problems” I had with the game are just ways to improve the game to make it almost perfect.
If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment! Whether you agree or disagree, or I got something wrong. Let me know!