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Friday, August 26, 2016

ZERO ESCAPE Koku no Jirenma (刻のジレンマ)

Usually, I like to write up these posts while I'm actually playing through the game in order to capture some of the different thoughts I have in the process. However, ZERO ESCAPE games (yes, they went all caps AGAIN) are the kind where you can't really gauge how good it is until you reach the very end and ZERO ESCAPE Koku no Jirenma, ur, I mean Zero Time Dilemma is no exception.

Best looking cover but 3DS barf. Played Vita version (duh)
My first impression was wow, god damn, the graphics are SO much better than Zennin Shi- ehem, excuse me, Virtue's last whatever. Especially Phi, wow, she looks good in those glasses. The graphics in this game look great overall, despite the weird graphics glitch of long hair twitching like it has SERIOUS seizures. I also just loved the chemistry and humor between Phi and Sigma. It was good to see those two again.

Phi is so hawt. Going back to VLR after this game is kinda painful.
However, a few hours into game, some cracks began to show. The variety of puzzles were much more limited and even less than a challenge than previous games. The only real challenging puzzle was how the heck to get unstuck when you run out of scenarios to play, which I guess counts as a puzzle?? Also, the length of the game was much shorter though I wouldn't necessarily say that it needs to be longer given the story.

Another beef I had with the game was the poor synch between the dialogue and mouth movements. For example, even for a one liner 「ええ」, which is totally one syllable, the mouth moved twice. I assume it was to match the shitty and awkward English track (as usual). The reason I'm guessing this is because this game was bankrolled by Aksys Games, not Spike Chunsoft.

We've reached a weird time in gaming history where Japanese games are simply not sustainable without the western market. Not only are there so much more people outside Japan (obviously), the rise of the shitty mobile games in Japan have made naruto onepiece weeb money indispensable ("naruto" pronounced as "now-roo-toe" of course).

You know who you are.
Now, if you want to buy Japanese games on steam, you have to hope the American publisher is willing to sell to the Japanese market. The Jhipster glory days of whole generations of games never seeing English localization is clearly over.

The music is also nothing special, much of it is recycled from the previous game. Overall, the quality of this game just kinda reeks of indie, the kind that over promises and under delivers. Maybe Aksys Games didn't put up that much money after all, I dunno.

I swear I've heard this song somewhere else...

I enjoyed the last entry of the ZERO ESCAPE series and yet couldn't help feel disappointed. Yes, the story had some good moments but also introduced things that I feel kinda broke the rules. I'm not one of those anal assholes that try to find every plot hole. I don't really care as long as I'm enjoying myself and things are believable enough. However, at the end of the day, while I enjoyed Koku no Jirenma, there was nothing exceptional about it (well except for Phi's hawt visual upgrade).

Score: 3 Meh, I guess it's better than nothing™ (by Inafune) out of 5 (25 hours to beat)
+.5 optional bonus for Phi's design.

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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