AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

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  • Summary: Six years ago, the right half of a corpse was discovered under mysterious circumstances. The left half was never found...until six years later, when it was discovered completely fresh with no signs of decay, as though the victim was alive until just recently. Now, newly-appointed SpecialSix years ago, the right half of a corpse was discovered under mysterious circumstances. The left half was never found...until six years later, when it was discovered completely fresh with no signs of decay, as though the victim was alive until just recently. Now, newly-appointed Special Agent Mizuki and her AI partner Aiba are tasked to solve the bizarre Half Body serial killings... Expand


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AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES - nirvanA Initiative Story Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jun 20, 2022
    AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative is an easy game of the year contender. The game features an improved presentation of animations, music, fantastic characters, and writing that left me in half reeling and desperate for more. The pacing throughout the mystery was stellar, and the build-up to the conclusion will keep you on your toes. If you’re into mystery, adventure games, or visual novels, this is the game to get. Just limit your hype, lest you be rendered in two minds.
  2. Jun 24, 2022
    Not quite as good as its predecessor in some ways and notably better in others, AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative is a must-play for fans anime-styled narrative games.
  3. Jun 20, 2022
    AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES- nirvanA Initiative is an amazing point-and-click adventure and an even better murder mystery. I truly believe that it belongs on the shelves of most gamers, but I really am mad about that one puzzle. Also, 9 is a really funny score if you’ve played the game.
  4. Jun 27, 2022
    AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative isn’t a perfect game, but it offers one of the best mysteries I’ve ever seen in a game. Combine that with a wonderful cast and somnium sequences that blow away the original game, and you have a visual novel that is a must-play for anyone interested in the genre. AI: The Somnium Files was minor Uchikosi, but nirvanA Initiative stands among his best work.
  5. Jul 11, 2022
    AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES - nirvanA Initiative is a superior game compared to its predecessor in almost every aspect. While some of the puzzle segments are a bit long-winded and can be quite complicated, the experiences they provide alone are incredibly worth it, and the characters make the game so fun to play.
  6. Jun 26, 2022
    If you’re looking for a compelling detective adventure with heart and smarts, it’s easy to recommend AI: The Sominum Files – nirvanA Initiative. It feels like the realization of what this world can be, and a promising step forward from its predecessor. It might still have a few wrinkles, but by the final credits roll, it’ll likely win over any investigator’s heart.
  7. Jun 26, 2022
    AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – nirvanA Initiative can throw a lot of information at you, and it will take some time to digest the tutorials and the events of the game. But once you manage to find your footing, you will be investigating an intriguing mystery that crosses different timelines with powerful tools. It’s a story that requires patience, understanding, and some outside-the-box thinking, but it pays off with a fantastic resolution when you reach the real conclusion.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 42
  2. Negative: 5 out of 42
  1. Oct 23, 2022
    AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative is my personal Game of the Year. It build perfectly on it's predecessor. STORY:
    I will not talk
    AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative is my personal Game of the Year. It build perfectly on it's predecessor. STORY:
    I will not talk much about the story itself, but it is perfectly executed. The plottwists are build up perfectly. You always think about which person is the murder or how and why something happend. It never was easy to simple just guess and be right about your prediction, because you will always got some new Infos thrown into your build up theory which instantly makes it crumble. From beginning to end you will most of the time ask yourself "What? I didn't see this coming?" or "Could this theory be true?". The Endingphase also was executed perfectly. I can promise you you will go out of this game with a smile and tears in your eyes.

    All characters regardless of old or new are build with so much care that you really can feel their different personalities. Some characters even got so much nuances to their personality that you can almost feel that they will go through some major changes in future AI: The Somnium Files games. PUZZLES:
    These were made pretty well some were easy some were a bit difficult. Most of the time I had to use a paper to write down stuff to come to a conclusion. So, don't expect the game to go easy on you. You will have to think and most of the time even outside of the box.

    They are precise and work well regardless if in the point-and-click or in the walk around sections. Also the QTE's work fine. SOUND:
    If you know the first game you know what you will get. Every song is fitting and compliments the situation pretty well. There even songs in them which get sung by the cast. So there is much you can look forward to.

    FUN-FACTOR: This is the the part which makes the game so great. Everything regardless of Story, Puzzles, QTE's etc. makes this game so fun. Especially the humor which is always there makes you enjoy this experience so much. I am completely amazed by how well they can handle the serious story bits while still putting in so much humor. They completely mastered this. CONCLUSION:
    AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative is overall a greatly executed game. It has great Puzzles, so much humor, a beautifully crafted story and will leave you with the feeling that you want a sequel.
    So if you never played this game buy the first game and than this one. You will love both from beginning to end!

    P.S. Give the Nurse more screen time in the sequel!

    P.P.S. I'm now on my with a receptionist and her to big... ehm.. eyes... yeah EYES... to Atami.
  2. Jul 4, 2022
    Great game. Don't want to put any spoilers, but Uchikoshi knocked out of the park with the story and the twists
  3. Jun 25, 2022
    Part 1: Recommendations for You
    If you're like me and you try to get all the extra scene dialogue, then please, if you take nothing else from
    Part 1: Recommendations for You
    If you're like me and you try to get all the extra scene dialogue, then please, if you take nothing else from this, give yourself time to play this game yourself. There is actually so much content here, I really want you all to take your time to experience it as you go. The game is just too long to binge in a reasonably short amount of time, and if you do binge, you're going to lose a lot.

    My recommendations:
    1. Give yourself time to play the game. Let it sink in, and take notes- it'll be rewarded. The game is literally too dense and too long to binge reasonably if you like 100%ing.

    2. Get invested in the characters and pay attention to them, not just the (admittedly stellar) mysteries.

    3. Explore the game, its mechanics, and its dialogue yourself. Don't be afraid to restart a Somnium several times; the more options you pick, the more meaningful information you get.

    4. If you're a puzzle lover then try to solve the game yourself. You're going to have a blast if you manage it, and the game has tons of built-in hint systems to make it even easier, fairer, and more fun.

    5. Try to go in knowing at little as you can. The marketing has already done a great job. Focus on finishing the game and bringing it all together.

    6. On PC, force anti-aliasing on using your graphics card to make the game prettier. Game ran and controlled smoothly with few bugs.

    7. You don't need AI1 to play AI2, but I think AI2 does spoil AI1, though you could still enjoy them in reverse order.

    7. If you're sensitive to horny then just read less background dialogue in Ryuki side. Gore is pretty toned down, and there isn't any single huge CW.

    You can stop reading now if you don't want your playthrough tainted by my reactions/expectations effected.

    Part 2: Who am I, and how do I play?
    I'm an Uchikoshi fanatic. I've played all his English-translated games, and visual novels are my favorite genre of game. I've played a lot of visuals novels, but Uchizawa's are my favorites. This is what I value in games:

    A. An interesting story
    B. Bunches of novel ideas like unique plot points I haven't seen before, philosophical ideas, or puzzles
    C. Characters that I at least don't actively hate
    D. Deep personal connection, usually formed by connections to real people or how a game shaped my life

    For the last 8 years, my top 2 favorite games have been the same:

    My top favorite game of all time is Remember11. I love the plot, the ideas, the twists, the characters, and it's what got me truly invested in Uchikoshi. It's very much a mystery game first with an unravelling mystery and themes I love to explore. My second favorite game is Virtue's Last Reward. I love the interactive moral dilemmas. VLR's use of the Prisoner's Dilemma jumpstarted my interested in Philosophy which led me to major in Philosophy. I don't like the characters as much, but it's still very important to me.

    Part 3: My Review
    The R11 #1 and VLR #2 favorite game holy duology held true for 8 years. Also, AI1 isn't one of my favorite standalone games; it has huge personal connection for me because of the community and the AI1 ARG, but it wasn't my favorite as a game.

    I gave all that background because I want you to take me seriously when I say this:
    AI2 is my new favorite game. The #1 spot has been Easily dethroned.

    The themes, twists, characters, ideas, gameplay, visuals, voice acting, fair mystery, presentation, mechanics, and comedy all of it resonates together perfectly. I don't even tend to value gameplay or visuals, but at many times, this game is fun to play while looking genuinely beautiful and cinematic.

    The story reads like a proper Uchikoshi + Nakazawa return to form. The mystery is fair, interesting, meaningful, and complex told satisfyingly. There are many deep ideas, concepts, and themes utilized in thought-provoking ways.

    Gameplay-wise, there are tons of mechanics that are utilized to make each Somnium unique; they all feel designed by love, fair, and reflective of the character through gorgeous symbolism. They blow the first game completely out of the water. Each one is its own experience to explore and a visual delight. There are also tons of mechanics for you to discover that make AI2 a fun game to play.

    The animations, voices, and directing are cinematic; this game is actually breathtaking a lot of the time. It's backed up by great and charming character writing- despite the fact Mizuki is my favorite AI1 character with 0 contest, I grew to like much of the AI2 cast the same amount.

    AI2 is a story about halves and splitting, but also love and coming together- please, see it through until it's whole. I hope and believe you will all fall in love with AI2 like me; AI2 is all I've ever wanted. AI2 is my dream game come true; it's a gorgeous love letter to all Uchikoshi fans who love Zero Escape's puzzles, Infinity's mysteries, and AI's characters and humor.
  4. Jul 4, 2022
    I've tried to keep this as spoiler free as I can but there are still medium spoilers for AI1 and AI2. In case you're still worried about thoseI've tried to keep this as spoiler free as I can but there are still medium spoilers for AI1 and AI2. In case you're still worried about those and want a TL;DR just know that yes, this game is worth it whether you're new to AI or the visual novel/mystery genre as a whole or whether you're a super big fan of these kinds of works.

    nirvanA Initiative (which i will refer to as AINI) has quickly become one of my favourite works from Uchikoshi and among my favourite mystery visual novels of all time. I adored the first game and think that was probably my favourite VN of all time, and I'm glad to say I also believe this ones nearly as good.

    AINI contains really unique puzzles, great locations, amazingly written characters and some really entertaining and fluid action sequences. The presentation and soundtrack are really good and the English voice cast was phenomenal. As a huge Fire Emblem fan, Kozaki Yusuke's spectacular character design was the reason I tried the first game and it has only gotten better for the sequel.

    I loved the first AI game for how personal and close its story felt. This story definitely goes more grand and ambitious, while I still think AINI was really good, I still enjoyed the first game's story slightly more.

    Ryuki and Tama are amazing main characters, I did not expect to like them but they were really funny and entertaining. Mizuki and Aiba are of course as fun as ever. Tokiko and the Masked Woman we're two of my favourite new characters, but this entire cast is really fun.

    The only things holding this game back for me was a lack of interest in the main villain, after AI1's amazing villain, Tearer was a bit of a let down, Uchikoshi's villains have always been some of my favourite characters in his works (999, VLR and AI1's main killers in particular) and I wish we got a cool interrogation scene with them where the mystery came together. I also didn't like the twist revealed at the end of Mizuki Chapter 1 - End Where I Begun. Without getting into major spoilers I feel it invalidates the ending of Mizuki Route in AI1. I also wish it was addressed how the Psync in Mizuki Chapter 4 happens, it felt like a plot hole.

    These are minor complaints however, and combined are less than 30 minutes of a fantastic 30 hour game. Hats off to Head Writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, Directors Akira Okada and Kazuya Yamada, Lead Artist Kozaki Yusuke, Composer Keisuke Ito, English Producer Alex Flagg and all the "shy staff who wont give Uchikoshi their Twitter account" for making another incredibly moving game.

    Though I prefer the first game's story more, AINI is not far behind and is still by far the better video game with its vastly improved animation quality and somnium puzzles. I can't wait to see what Uchikoshi and his team produce with a potential AI3. This has quickly become one of my favourite series since I played the first game in October 2021 and I implore you to check it out so we can see more from this team because they're so incredibly talented.
  5. Jul 8, 2022
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really enjoyed this game, but not as much as the first one. It does have some great characters and an interesting plot, but that fact that the twist was only for the player to experience and not the actual characters wasn't what I was expecting, but was still quite the experience. It was very interesting however, and looking back on certain parts of the game that were part of the twist makes me understand why certain characters spoke and acted in a certain way, which had me very confused when I first played it. There is nothing bad about the twist, but compared to the first game, it was not as impactful to me personally and had zero impact to the actual characters in the game. I do highly recommend this game and the first game to anyone that enjoys visual novels or murder mystery games. Another great game from Uchikoshi and his team, great job Expand
  6. Jul 5, 2022
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'll present my issues for the game in bullet-point format, since it's probably easier to read/digest:

    - In comparison to the first game, it felt like the overall cast were weaker. The stand out additions to the cast are Tokiko, Komeji, Ryuki and Tama. Even for the latter two, they suffer from a general lack of screen time and hasty resolution to their characters. This also extends to their relationships with one another, such as the relationship between the protagonist pairs of Mizuki/Aiba and Ryuki/Tama being largely undeveloped.

    - Building on the above, certain relationships totally ignore their development from AI. This is most noticeable with Date's relationships with the various characters, especially Mizuki and Aiba, who brush past his 6-year disappearance and reappearance with bad emotional payoff.

    - The core twist in the narrative relies on heavy contrivance and needs some pretty heavy suspention of disbelief to work. Whilst i can just about get behind it, I can't blame anyone who is sorely disappointed or upset by it. My suggestion going forward regarding these sorts of twists would be: if you need to bend the narrative and characters in unnatural or unbelievable ways to get it to work, rethink how you twist works or, more drastically, scrap it and start again.

    - Also regarding twists, but there's been a habbit across these two games to provide minimal justification for some the more out-there Sci-Fi ones. In this one I'm talking about everything involving the Frayer. Why do we experience the game as we do? What is our purpose within the simulation? Etc.

    - The somniums in general are an improvement over the last game, with more variety of mechanics, but I'd personally have liked them to be more challenging mentally. I also think they're not as satisfying emotionally / narratively compared to the best of the last game, but there are still some greats among them.

    - There are a few moments in the game where you're asked to input the solution to a puzzle but aren't able to examine the clues / evidence to work things out. There are also moments where you're asked to remember a series of words or a number but there's no in-game means of jotting this down (from what I can remember). Something like the memo pad from the ZE games would be appreciated as a QoL feature.

    - The action scenes last longer than they should and so feel exhausting and, in the case of Mizuki's action sequences, feel low-stakes due to her super-human abilities.

    - Minor complaint, but the song / dance number for this game was overplayed too much. Made the actual final instance of it in the game not be as impactful.

    Overall, though, I still enjoyed my time with game quite a bit. This website doesn't let me input half-scores, but I'd give it a 7.5 or so, higher on a good day.
  7. Sep 6, 2022
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Awful game, play the first and don't look back. If you didn't play the first game, the story doesn't make much sense and if you played this game first, then the new characters will bore you to death. Fan favourite Mizuki gets her backstory hung, drawn and quartered in favour for her OC big sister, BIBI. No longer is it about a grumpy old guy and his surrogate daughter. It's now two sisters with superhuman powers who have to stop mustache twirling scientist, who is dead before the game really starts. Expand

See all 42 User Reviews