User Score
8.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 119 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 119

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  1. Nov 13, 2012
    10
    Obviously one of the best 3DS games out there. Words cannot even describe how great, but mind-boggling the story is. Finishing this game makes me want the sequel even more now.
  2. Jul 29, 2013
    10
    I have no words for how incredible this game was. YOU NEED TO PLAY THE PREQUEL 999 FIRST. It only had such an impact because of it. It connected so well, the story was just phenomenal. Puzzles were difficult and frustrating at times, but that's the point of the game I guess. Hard to name much games with a better story than this. Also the soundtrack was out of this world.
  3. Nov 20, 2012
    10
    Easily one of the best games of the year. Virtue's Last Reward is one of the best stories ever told in video games. I clocked in just over 32 hr to complete everything the game has to offer. It is an incredible value.
  4. Mar 25, 2014
    10
    Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is the best visual novel/puzzle game I have ever played.

    VLR is actually the second of three planned games from Kōtarō Uchikoshi, following the critically acclaimed Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It's a wonderful blend of puzzle solving and visual novel that requires the player to play through different routes in order to proceed and get to the
    true ending.

    VLR's primary strength is in its writing. The plot unfolds gradually, with the characters' intentions unclear through the greater part of the game. The subtlety of the clues, red herrings, and revelations ensures that players will keep playing once they begin. Then there's the good music, exceptional Japanese voice acting (good English VAs), and practical interface. It's a very well-designed game with excellent production values.

    The only gripe I have with VLR is the art: Hand-drawn illustrations of 999 are replaced with bland 3D models. That said, 3D is definitely the trend, and I guess Spike Chunsoft wanted to jump on board the 3D gimmick mode on the 3DS.

    With that said, there's really no reason not to buy this game at $29.99. It's an absolute shame that the game has not been commercially successful. But then again, quality doesn't exactly sell nowadays.
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  5. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    Great game. Very strategic. Characters and environments are fun. IGN has reviewed the 3DS version but it had not posted to metacritic!? Is metacritic's 3DS person on strike?!
  6. Jan 26, 2013
    10
    Where am I, who are these people, and what type of game am I in for??? These are the questions of all new gamers who come into the mysterious, deadly, and thrilling world of Zero Escape. This is no ordinary game, this is one of life and death, and it's a good one at that (watch the trailer or read the premise of Wikiedia or IGN and you'll be intrigued). This game relies heavily on its narrative with a very original and unique plot, interesting character interactions, and varying branches of choices to make (imagine Mass Effect, but much more consequential) with over 20 endings :) You'll be satisfied, enthralled, and wanting more, no worries there (you might lose some sleep too...) The other gameplay portion revolves around intuitive environmental puzzles that are fun and challenging to do (not too easy, nor too hard). The 3d visuals fit the 3ds perfectly, and the soundtrack is haunting, and the presentation convenient (there is even a log function for dialog).

    Overall, gamers looking for something truly unique, interesting, unpredictable, and incredibly compelling and off the beaten track, should give this game at least a hour or too (cause that's all it takes to suck you in lol). 10/10 If you think this score is too good, just play the game for yourselves and find out ;)
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  7. Feb 20, 2013
    10
    One of the most classically engaging stories ever invented. Despite how linear the story is in its splitting up of choices, it never feels like a chore going back and forth between them, because a desire to watch everything is there. A game that demands to be played. A warning though, as the 3DS version is bugged. Saving in the PEC room will likely corrupt your save, so steer clear of saving in that room. Expand
  8. Feb 22, 2013
    10
    I don't think I could love this game more if I tried. This game is the visual novel/puzzle sequel to the DS game '999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors', and after loving the first game, this one completely surpassed my expectations. This one included increasing text speed and also being able to go to different points in the game, which were very frustrating in the original. This means you won't have to play a room twice if you don't want. It's heavily text based, but there are lots of good puzzles and escape the room type scenarios to enjoy. As far as the storyline goes, it's confusing at times, requires some thinking, but it's completely captivating. I enjoyed all the characters, and it managed to be funny and touching. There's only one save slot, but I can understand why, so it wasn't an issue for me at all. There's also a noted bug in the 3DS version where if you save in certain rooms the game becomes corrupted, this did not happen to me, as I followed advice to not save while in an active puzzle room. I totaled about 45 hours with the game and all paths completed. This is THE 3DS game for me. Expand
  9. May 19, 2013
    10
    A game that lives up to the standard it's predecessor 999 set. Anyone who loves a good mystery story and some puzzle solving should get this game immediately.

    Only bad thing about it is that long time VN fans will inevitably notice some similarities between this game and earlier titles like Ever17 and Remember11, but other than that it's a stellar experienc all the way through.
  10. Mar 25, 2013
    10
    Tragedy, sadness, happiness and full of surprises this is what this game about. I love the game play, there is clever puzzles here and there, but the story is where the game shines.
  11. Jul 12, 2013
    10
    Pros:
    - Excellent Story on all Counts
    - Wonderful Character Development
    - Well Thought Out Puzzles
    - Tons of Replay Value

    Cons:
    - None that I can think of
  12. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    Absolutely fantastic, and one of the best stories I've ever experienced in video games. I strongly recommend people to play this. Definitely worth it. Words cannot even describe how great and epic the story is; especially the ending. It was mind-blowing.
  13. Oct 7, 2013
    10
    This game was amazing, all the characters were amazing and recognisable, the story was outstanding and really brought you into the game, when I first got this, I played it non-stop, same as project X Zone, the 3d models were great, as well as the characters backstories.
    If I had to pick a flaw, I didn't like that there was no English voice acting in the European 3ds game, so if you live
    in England and buy the game of e-shop like I did, you're stuck with that, I just found it lazy,
    But beside from that one little flaw, the game was absolutely amazing
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  14. Oct 16, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I loved the game. The soundtrack was absolutely brilliant! As well, I (and many other fans of the game) absolutely love Luna's ending. Most players of the game must've cried while reading through the story. I also like the little gems where Sigma, the protagonist, has his moments, but also the foreshadowing moments that you don't notice until after the big twist. Chunsoft outdid themselves with the Zero Escape series. Expand
  15. Feb 16, 2014
    10
    What will you do, ally or betray? Ally or Betray? Those words still to this day give me goosebumps. Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward is one hell of a game (or should I say visual novel). To those of you who don't get why this game is so damn good let me give you rough idea of what the story is like. Imagine the puzzles from the Professor Layton games and mix it with something like Battle Royale, add a whole lotta nines and throw in the classic game theory of the Prisoners Dilemma and you roughly get this game. This game aint for kids. The game is a hell of a ride through the roughly 30 hour story with more twists and turns than a theme park. This game has one amazing soundtrack, insanely clever puzzles, memorable characters and more knowledge than an encyclopedia. It makes me wonder why more people wont play games like this. Expand
  16. Feb 11, 2014
    10
    This is by far the best game on the 3ds even succeeding Fire Emblem:Awakening and Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It combines some of the hardest puzzles I've ever solved with a phenomenal story that has many unexpecting turns. By the way to get the true ending you have to complete each characters ending. By uncovering the characters endings plot twists will unfold and they are truly intense and can only be pulled together by the true ending. I did not play the first game "999", but VLR wrapped it up nicely and explained the contents of "999". It is one of my favorite games of all time and is a must play for anybody who owns a 3ds. Expand
  17. Jun 15, 2014
    10
    This game is my favorite game of all time.

    This game is a "visual novel", a (mostly Japanese)niche game genre which is based on background music, character sprites(usually anime style), background CGs, minimal player interaction and choices to define which ending you get. Ironically, this game has more than the usual amount of gameplay visual novels have.

    It's the sequel to 9 Hours 9
    Persons 9 Doors, a surprise hit for the DS. If you want to enjoy this game to the fullest extent, PLAY 999 FIRST. If you are playing on a 3DS, you have no excuse not to.

    The game starts off in an intriguing way, as you solve a not too hard puzzle after waking up in an elevator, find a stranger woman and get a death threat from an ornately dressed rabbit. And things simply pick up from there. The first choice you see is the choose one of three doors to go through and each opens a lot of new possibilities- later on, you play the AB Game- a game based on Prisoner's Dilemma and trusting your life with strangers. The twists play with your mind, there are sad, funny and exhilarating scenes, and every character develops a lot throughout the story. Puzzles do not really match up to its flawless story, but they fit the atmosphere and are quite challenging.

    I cannot recommend this game enough. If story in a video game is important to you and if you are not bound by a blood oath to never play a puzzle game, you have to play this game. Definitely worth getting a Vita or a 3DS for.
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  18. Jul 2, 2014
    10
    One week was all it took for this franchise to get me hooked. I would expect no less from IGN's Best 3DS/DS Story of 2012 and Best Story by RPGFan. It has even won the Handheld Game of the Year 2012 award by Gamespot. This game has earned my Gold Star of approval and quality and will sit among my other superstar titles like Zelda Link Between Worlds and Pokemon Y.

    Virtue's Last Reward
    is the sequel of 999 : Nine Hours, Nine Person, Nine Doors. The key concept is still the same. There's the novel part where you just read the story and make decisions (to ally or to betray?) and there's the escape part where you get locked in a room, collect stuffs, combine stuffs, solve puzzles, get password and get out of the room).

    What I really, really like about this horror adventure novel sci-fi mystery puzzle game is it has consistently provided a strong storyline that really blows your mind times infinite. The concept of this game is so ingenious that I have never thought a game could be played in this manner. I also have never thought that a game could be so deep yet fun at the same time. I mean, how could a game with mathematical equations, philosophy, history and science and puzzles, topics that make you sleep, be a critical success?

    Virtue's Last Reward is much more fast paced than it's prequel and that's a good thing. I find that there's a lot more text to go through (heck, you have to play it 20 over times to get all the endings) but each timeline you play always provide you with new clues and interesting facts. I like how 999 touches on topics like urban legends, Ganzfield experiment, Morphic Resonance. Virtue's Last Reward brings back that same concept that touches on, the foundation of this game, Prisoner's Dilemma, Theseus' Paradox and Schrodinger's Cat, just to name a few. Oh, and there was one concept about the Chinese Room experiment by John Searle that got me emotional and thinking a hell lot. The whole game is just like a thought experiment.
    The game brings back a few familiar faces and new casts that the game develops all their storyline and make you feel the pain when you choose to 'betray' them. There's a lot of drama in this game and some parts can be quite...emotional. They added human speech to the characters so that they actually feel like they have some sort of persona. There's a lot of text but they're not boring text; they are filled with mystery, humor, trivia and rabbit puns.

    10/10, a Masterpiece.
    Anyone with a 3DS/Vita should buy it. Correction; MUST buy it.
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  19. Jun 28, 2013
    9
    In the same vein as Layton and Wright, this "game" has a great story that held my interest throughout. It's not necessary to play 999 before playing this, but it does add a lot. I'm really looking forward to the sequel and that's my only real beef. It very much played the "come back in a few years of the sequel" card, which always leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Otherwise, it was excellent.
  20. Nov 4, 2012
    9
    After playing through five of the over twenty different endings, here is my review. "Virtue's Last Reward" is the second game in Zero Escape series (with the first game being "999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors"). If you haven't played that game, it is HIGHLY recommended that you go back and get the final ending to "999". Like the game before it, "VLR" uses a mixture of heavy character and story involvement, multiple paths that lead to various endings, and challenging and sometimes punishing puzzles. The move up to the 3DS does little to change the formula of "999" and instead looks to improve upon them. The game has tons of full-voiced dialog (in both English and Japanese) and many more endings than in the previous game. The new characters you interact with are a varied group, each with different backgrounds and secrets to be revealed. The best way to describe this type of game to a newcomer would be to call it a mixture of Visual Novel (ala School Days or Corpse Party) and Puzzle game (like the Professor Layton series). I don't want to give too much away story-wise, as it's best to go into this game not knowing too much about what is going to happen. People who have played "999" knows where it's going, but the added twists and turns along the way will keep you playing til the very end. Expand
  21. Jan 26, 2013
    9
    This game was made with a large amount of people with an adherent passion for story-telling and problem solving. This game is an equivalent to a lengthy novel and will quite possibly take up to 40-60 hours of your time, testing your morality, intelligence, and deductive reasoning the entire time. However the only one save 'feature' is a flaw and should be frowned upon, but disregarded. Play 999 first though since luckily for you the 3DS can play DS games. Expand
  22. Sep 5, 2013
    9
    This game improves on many of the things 999 did. It is fully voice acted and it allows you to easily move between points in the story. However, the story and characterization aren't as good (still great) and it feels (while your playing through) like when you solve a puzzle it isn't as urgent or important or relevant as it was in 999 (after completing the game, it makes much more sense.)
  23. Mar 30, 2014
    9
    This is hands down, one of the best games of the decade. If you like a good mystery, you will like VLR, but be prepared for a confusing ending and overly complicated puzzles.
  24. Jul 13, 2013
    9
    Fantastic game, I received this game a week before my birthday and I played through all 35 hours of every ending possible with several days left until my birthday. You will be hooked from start to finish. The only reason I deduct a point is that there is a pretty bad bug in the game that apparently was in the japanese version but they did not fix it. And no-one talks about it, it's very easy to avoid if you know about it beforehand, they could have even patched in a warning on the title screen! To avoid your save data becoming corrupt, never save while you are inside a puzzle room. They aren't that long so this really isn't much of an issue once you know about it. The only other thing is that your game will crash in the PEC room if you don't do it in the correct order, but as long as you didn't save your save data is fine, it will just put you back shortly before that when you saved in the novel part. Just look up a walkthrough for that part, it's towards the end of the game. Expand
  25. Jul 12, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I loved this game. I had not played 999 before and I don't think it is necessary. I consider giving it a try now though.If someone had described the mechanics to me beforehand, I would have never thought I was going to like it. Lots of read couple of sentences+press 'a' button+repeat. But as the characters and the story were very interesting and compelling, it did not feel burdensome. I also liked a lot the contents of gold files. I find them very charm, . In my opinion, puzzles are too easy. I only looked the tangram up, because I suck at that and the response of the pieces in the touch screen was driving me nuts. Apart from that, I left only one puzzle unsolved. In general, I think they are too mechanical, you don't need to be imaginative or anything. I also felt a little bit disappointed about how easy getting some information was. Specifically the id and pass for the two computers you log in. I thought I was going to have to think a lot and review stories to find clues..... No, they are just given away at some point of the story. I guess the puzzles can't be hard, or the flow of the story would stall.
    Anyway, great game. Took me 60 hours to beat it (english is not my mother tonge).
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  26. Sep 26, 2013
    8
    Such an original game! I love the concept. The story is amazing but I had trouble understanding how to go back between branches of the story. Graphics are nice but a bit plain.
  27. Jan 2, 2014
    8
    I want to love this game even more, because there is a lot to love. The characters are mostly well-designed and multidimensional, the story leaves you on the edge of your seat, the puzzles are challenging, and the morality system is so well executed. But the game does have a serious flaw: the main character is incredibly idiotic and just generally unlikable.

    I found myself hating Sigma
    by the second mission. Through the events of the first mission, I wound up betrayed by another of the characters. Sucks to be me. I made a decision that backfired and was knocked further back in the game. Whatever, I can move on. Sigma, on the other hand, spends the rest of the mission sniping at the partner who betrayed him.

    Aside from that, the character is not very bright; worse yet, his lack of intelligence is inconsistent, weakening him as a character. How am I supposed to believe that a guy who:

    (A) doesn't know about Schrodinger's Cat or the prisoner's dilemma thought experiment, and
    (B) thinks being constantly hung up on past betrayals will help him advance in the future,

    is a PhD candidate who can solve puzzles that stump everyone else in the room?

    Granted, playing as an unlikable character can be effective (see: Bioshock Infinite), but the problem is that this game is much more choice-based, which makes it all the more important to feel immersed. Being constantly at odds with the character as a person, I didn't feel like I was making choices. I felt like I was babysitting a toddler.

    In my opinion, this problem could have been fixed by giving the character more dialogue boxes for interaction. You could still have some of his dialogue be automatically generated, but anything that reflects his personality could be decided by the player. After all, the game is a fascinating enough character study with the other characters in the game. You don't even need to remove his backstory or anything: just give the player more control over his actions.

    Despite that critical flaw, the rest of the game is spectacular and genuinely groundbreaking, pushing the envelope of video games to new horizons. The game builds tension masterfully and is effective at invoking emotion, especially suspicion of other participants. The puzzles are brilliantly designed and push your brain to its absolute limit, especially if you're going for full completion. The environments are well designed and contribute to the haunting and uncertain atmosphere of the entire game. While VLR is text-heavy, it makes wonderful use of that element to convey story.

    I would definitely pick this game up because of all the things it does well; just be prepared for Sigma to distract from the immersion.
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  28. Mar 7, 2014
    8
    I found it thrilling enough for me while playing at night. Long game play and story lines. Definitely for players who love story-line based game as well as solving puzzles. Recommend to play 999 first, though it is not mandatory.
  29. Feb 2, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Good game, but again, like 999, this game still has some issues with the way the game is structured. The game assumes that you want to be a good guy, and also, despite your character's ability to access alternate timelines, you are completely powerless compared to the other characters. If tiny, weak little Clover gets 9 BP, she can run for the 9 door and nobody will stop her. But if YOU run for the 9 door after getting 9 BP, despite that your character could have foreseen it in an alternate timeline and deliberately avoided it, you will be stopped. The game also acts like you're a horrible person if you choose "betray"; they start treating you like you're a sociopath or a murderer, even if it was only the more logical decision for the group. This is usually followed up by a game over. Basically, this is my hugest problem with both 999 and VLR The moral system is one of those "save 1,000 kittens, or become a mass murderer, nothing in between" kind of deals. Other characters, like Phi and K get to be rational yet not necessarily evil, so why can't I? Story based games where all you do is scroll through text (and solve puzzles) should be the best at giving players a wide array of options, but VLR is still pretty limited as far as that goes. One thing they DID do to improve the game's structure was that they added the "flow" option, where you basically don't have to replay the whole game over and over to get alternate endings like we did in 999. In my opinion, the puzzles are also much better than in 999. I would say an average adult could probably solve every single puzzle in the game without having to look anything up, yet they still provide a solid challenge. Some rooms have taken me over 30 minutes to solve. And the story, just like in 999, is still very good as well. Once Aksys opens up the player's choices a little bit more, and stops treating logical players like they're evil, I think they will have the formula perfected. Expand
  30. Nov 6, 2012
    7
    I want to give this game a higher score and it is overall a good game, but I will just summarize the good and bad points about this game: + Better graphics + Better gameplay mechanics through puzzles and convenient playback (I really like the puzzles in this one) + Interesting continuation of the story - Somewhat the interface is cumbersome making the game itself buggy - The character design and concept really lame compared to the first game, not really interesting
    - The game story though interesting is less intense and toned down for maybe a younger audeince, I don't why. I used to love the first game having a lot of shocking sequences. Basically game is great with really good puzzles but the story and its intensity is toned down which ruins the gaming experience a bit.
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  31. Apr 4, 2013
    6
    Virtues last reward is an overall improvement over the original with an expanded and in more in depth universe. The puzzles are better this time around and the game also adds a much needed 'flow' mechanic which allows you to skip through previous read texts and jump from one narrative path to another allowing you to skip puzzles already completed. The plot like the first keeps you guessing and intrigued at every turn but the story's branching narratives also become a grind even though its also one of the games greatest features. Having to explore all of the branching paths to fully understand the story becomes exhausting especially since certain events and sequences have to be watched over again and again. Also, having to watch your character move as a dot going through the map is extremely tiring having seen it for the umpteenth time. While the game lasts you about 30-40 hours of playtime, the games story doesn't seem worth the time it takes to go through it. Ultimately the story just doesn't give you that satisfaction you were waiting for when given all the answers. Sure the game logically explains everything....but it seems more like everything is conveniently explained through science fiction and fantasy elements rather than logic based in reality. This ultimately was a disappointment for me as I was waiting to be mind blown by revelations grounded in reality where it was actually possible to put the story's revelations together myself. Instead there would be no way to figure out what really happened unless the game told you. So, ultimately, the plot and narrative plays out less like a mystery grounded in reality and more like just a far fetched sci fi story. Expand
  32. Dec 9, 2012
    6
    Virtue's last reward is a sequel of sorts to the 2010 Nintendo DS game,
  33. Feb 2, 2013
    6
    Now, let me start out by saying this is one of the greatest games I have ever played. Just... DON'T get the 3DS version. It has some well-known bugs that I doubt will ever be fixed, that all involve corrupting your save data. I knew of the bugs that could corrupt your save data while saving during a puzzle room, but I decided i just wouldn't save during a puzzle. So I didn't. But I DIDN'T know that during one of the endings that you have to get to complete the game, the game can crash at random, corrupting all of your data. So I lost 27 hours of game time, and the experience of the game was ruined. So, I'm giving the 3DS version a 6, but if it weren't for the bugs my review would be much higher, probably a 10. Summary: Save yourself the trouble, wasted time, and disappointment and invest in the Vita version if possible. Expand
  34. Feb 2, 2014
    2
    I loved this game and could not lay my 3DS aside. I just wanted to know more, solve more puzzles, and feel the thrill of this absolutely awesome story. Every NPC feels lie a real intelligent human being with his/her own emotions and opinions. I would say it is the best 3DS game I have played so far,

    IF this game had no bugs. I was playing the game for approximately 15 hours when I had
    the known savegame crushing bug, which I was not aware of. Since the game is quite old, I expected it to be free of bugs, especially of game-breaking ones like this one.
    I read some news considering this bug, after It occured and there are even messages telling, that this bug has been fixes in the eShop version of the game. This is NOT the case. They say that they couldn't trace the bug down, but they could at least insert some pop-up warning like "Don't save in escape mode!" or something similar. Also there was no warning in the Nintendo eShop description. I cannot tell how disappointed I am.

    Before the bug occurred I would judge a 10/10 without hesitation. Now I am just sad and lost the whole fun I had with this game. It is a shame that after market services for Nintendo products are almost nonexistend. .
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  35. Apr 12, 2013
    0
    Fun up until the point it freezes, corrupts your save data, and makes you start all the way over from the beginning. DO NOT play this game on the 3DS if you value your time and money.
Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Apr 12, 2013
    90
    If written words don't scare you, Virtue's Last Reward is one of the best interactive books to date. Chunsoft's game mixes a great narrative with the hardest moral choices you can find in a game. Will you be a traitor or a betrayed?
  2. Mar 14, 2013
    88
    If you want a suspenseful crime story with sci-fi flair, dramatic conflicts and puzzles that are as varied as they are challenging, look no further. This is a grand adventure.
  3. Mar 6, 2013
    90
    It’s a near flawless narrative experience wrapped in a bog-standard but necessary adventure game.