We're quite big on our visual novel games here at Everybody Plays, as there's few games quite as relaxing as the digital equivalent of sitting down with a good book. But we're also a little divided - our Editor Ian is very much a Danganronpa fan, liking his stories with a side of psychotic bears and high school murdering, while Sarah is slightly more Team Zero Escape, preferring deadly games, creepy rabbits and multiple endings. But while Danganronpa has done pretty well in the West since day one, Zero Escape took a little bit more time to find its footing - something not helped by the fact the first game, 999, never actually saw a release on these shores. Until now.
With Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma currently tearing up the visual novel charts, it seems Aksys have decided to let fans in the UK and Europe journey back to where the series began, with Zero Escape: The Nonary Games - a collection that bundles HD remakes of 999 and Virtue's Last Reward (essentially, Zero Escape 1 and 2), on the Playstation 4 , PS Vita and PC.
Likely unfamiliar to all but the handful who imported it from America, the original game, 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors followed nine, seemingly disparate, characters who all found themselves locked on a sinking ship, with the only means of escape being to take part in a sinister "Nonary game". Each having swallowed a bomb while knocked out, each with a bracelet detonator locked to their wrists, and each with an assigned number, the group of strangers need to pair up in teams, and pass through a series of numbered doors, solving the puzzles contained therein within the space of nine short hours - or they'll die. But can they really trust each other - or is the faceless 'Zero', who imprisoned them in the ship in the first place, actually hiding amongst them?
A few years later came the Nonary game, round two with Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Nine more folks were mysteriously kidnapped and locked up together in an impenetrable underground facility, with the only hope of escape being a door affixed with the number 9. Unfortunately for you, the only way to open said door is to amass enough points on your bracelet, which again rests on a rather elaborate system of doors, puzzles, and an "ally" system. Complete a room, and you'll have the chance to choose whether to ally or betray your partner - both ally and you both gain some points, but trick them into allying while you betray, and you'll gain more points, while they'll lose some. The catch is, when someone's bracelet points hit zero, they die, making each voting session a dice with death. As every person has their own secrets and agendas, once illness, murders and distrust start sweeping through your party, things soon start to go from bad to worse….
Bundling both games onto one disc, Zero Escape: The Nonary Games will let players play through both 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward in HD remastered form, with English voice acting for the first time, as they make their debut on Playstation 4, PS Vita and PC in Spring 2017. While we are a little bit disappointed that the collection doesn't include the third game, both 999 and Virtue's Last Reward come highly recommended by us. Get ready for a mystery, as you try to uncover the truth behind who Zero is, and why you've all been imprisoned and forced to play a game of death. We can't wait!