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AI: The Somnium Files - New game from writer and director of Zero Escape series - September 2019

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Issues whilst docked? Wow that's bad.

 

When Wiper mentioned locks, I suppose I should have said I've reached a "lock" rather than a proper ending.

 

I looked up the game's composer and was suprised to see he never worked on any of Uchikoshi's previous games (his name is Keisuke Ito). He's worked on a number of games including Yakuza 3 and the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. Credit to him for nailing the feel of Zero Escape's music and there's some really catchy chillout tunes in there too.

 

Also I love the nod to Zero Escape with the sound effect for the mental locks. I forget what the sound effect was used for in Zero Escape, something to do with the escape rooms? Anyone remember?

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Only discovered this yesterday, went ahead and bought the physical copy from Amazon and it will be here today, can’t wait :) 

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Now I've finished a couple of games in my backlog, I've finally started this. I'm only about 3 hours in (Just started Day 3), but I'm enjoying it immensely. The story and characters are decent and things seem to progress at a fair rate. I've had a couple of instances where I've been stuck in a room not knowing what to click on to move the story along, but that seems the only minor inconvenience I've had with it so far. 

 

It's a shame it seems to have bombed everywhere. It's definitely different enough to deserve interest. 

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This game is properly mental, I love it. Its a real shame no one else seems to be playing it as it's definitely one of the highlights of the year for me. 

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I really enjoyed it but there aren't nearly as many kerblammo moments in comparison to VLR. It's presumably due to VLR largely being a visual novel but it is a shame. There were a lot more things that I thought were going to happen in the way his previous games did but this one just doesn't. Still good and fantastically bonkers but I prefer the multiple locks and different paths of the previous games. 

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What's the actual gameplay like? Trailers and promos makes this look like a visual novel, but some of the discussion on here makes it sound like it has more meat on the bones. 

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2 hours ago, Rayn said:

What's the actual gameplay like? Trailers and promos makes this look like a visual novel, but some of the discussion on here makes it sound like it has more meat on the bones. 

The main bulk of the game is similar to the investigation parts of Phoenix Wright - you go from location to location, interacting with people and looking for clues to further the story. Occasionally you will have to Psync - which is where you enter people's dreams and you have full control over the character to figure out your way through. These are the weakest parts I find, though. You have 6 minutes to figure them out (although that is pretty flexible) and because it's a dream, some of the solutions feel pretty random. 

The story itself is the main draw for me. Apart from being batshit mental, I'm enjoying the 'not sure who to trust' aspect. It is very twisty and turny. 

I'm about 11 hours in so far and enjoying it more than the Virtues Last Reward. :ph34r:

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I've just picked this up for my Christmas game based on the general positivity in here, having long accepted that 999 and VLR are probably never going to be equalled for me given they were my first experiences of that type. I still barely understand what AI is but that's because I don't want to read, see or be told much so an Uchikoshi game that's not terrible sounds good enough to me.

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Finally finished this a couple of days ago with 21 hours on the clock and I'm genuinely amazed that they managed to make the story work. At the halfway point there was that many loose strands and plot twists that I just couldn't fathom it coming together. But they did it. And with style as well. I half expected the conclusion to be ridiculous, but they managed to make it work within the story.

Yes, as a game it isn't quite up there with Virtues Last Reward, but this game has far more heart. You care for the characters and what happens to them. They're fun and well written (apart from the porn obsession the lead character has - they keep pushing that but it never works). It's pretty graphic in places as well. 

I've already posted about it in the 2019 GotY voting thread. It's a real shame it's been overlooked by pretty much everyone. It deserves way more recognition.

 

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I'm holding out for a sale but very interested in it, and I've enjoyed reading your thoughts intermittently. I've had an inkling recently for something story driven and visual novelly despite having never played/read a visual novel before. Anyway, I got Steins; Gate and was surprised it was basically reading and watching some little animations, virtually no game to it at all. I suppose there's a clue in the word 'novel'. Anyway, I downloaded the demo of this and it seems much more involved, kind of like Phoenix Wright. Just waiting for a sale now because I've bought way too much recently but it seems really intriguing. 

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Really hope I manage to find the time for this. It's on the Christmas list, but I've still got 428 Shibuya Scramble unplayed in'all :unsure:

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If you are in the us/travelling Gamestop has the switch physical for 29$ currently ... Grabbed it! Will start after Tangle Tower! 

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On 25/11/2019 at 15:10, mdn2 said:

They're fun and well written (apart from the porn obsession the lead character has - they keep pushing that but it never works). 

 

Just came to post this, the main char, the boss, side chars all really perverted its really unbearable for me. If it was just one char it would be okay but most members join in (even your "daughter") with perverted "jokes" (really not funny at all). This is by far the worst game of the writers I have played so far... 

 

About 8 hours in and will continue, but mass pervertedness, another thing.... The multichoice options all the time... But it's used when the dialogue is linear... So for example I didn't what to as an old lady her age as it would be rude so avoided that option,but had to select that option anyway to progress the game :/

 

I'm continuing as the mystery seems cool but it's will really need to pick up for me to save itself. 

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On 25/11/2019 at 21:52, Jolly said:

Really hope I manage to find the time for this. It's on the Christmas list, but I've still got 428 Shibuya Scramble unplayed in'all :unsure:

 

Get that played. It was on my list for about half a year before I got around to it, and it's genuinely fantastic. Takes a little while to get into the swing of things, learning the branching system and all, but... yeah. Superb stuff.

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Really enjoying this a couple of hours in. Having just finished the delightful, short and rather emotional Planetarian HD, this is definitely a more light-hearted and funny experience so far aside from:

 

Spoiler

A woman having her eyeball torn out while she's still alive

 

I really like the tone of it and I'm totally on board with Date's personality although I've not seen much perversion so far. I don't personally have any problem with that kind of thing as I am quite a puerile 39yo but I may well be back in this thread clutching my pearls (oo-err!). 

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Loving this, even the perversion, which is just leaned into completely.6 hours in and things have gone where I really hoped they would. Still completely cold, not reading any intial thoughts or anything until the very end.

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We're probably around the same bit. I'm really enjoying the story and I knew this wasn't going to play anything like Zero Escape but I was still pretty surprised to learn how much of a visual novel it is and I don't generally enjoy them. I think the localisation is pretty funny for what it's worth and kept me going through the first few hours when I wasn't sure about it, but I don't like the somnium bits at all unfortunately - they're tolerated to progress but they should have been either less random or dropped the time limit.

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I think the somnium bits could have been more interesting if you could get them more wrong or finding certain things (or intentionally not finding certain things) to affect the flowchart would have been an interesting way of doing it but they pretty much end up being the equivalent of the puzzle room parts of VLR to a certain degree, just there to make it a bit less of a strict visual novel. 

 

I was really thinking that was what would happen but it never really was, even on a few of them were you could pick different paths or order of clues, it never really ended up having that much of an interesting effect on the bigger picture. 

 

I think, although it's a much more pure visual novel (and reminds me of Eagle comics photo stories) I probably prefer shibuya scramble in the end... or maybe just because I finished that one the other day. 

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Just finished it, really enjoyed it, although it's gotten to the stage where you absolutely can't reccomend them to anybody who isn't prepared for them. Some spoilery thoughts below:



Far less of a mystery, with far fewer Kerblammo moments than Zero Escape. In ZE you're consistently having the rug pulled from under you, but in this it's pretty direct from the start that you were involved in the murders 6 years ago, and the game is just piecing that together. Beyond body swapping, there are no real shenanigans that completely turn your thinking upside down (Manaka instead of Iris perhaps). As a result, it's possible as the player to reach the ending long before the protaganist, which always harms the pace of tales like these. (my first ending was the lock where you see 'Date' as the Cyclops Killer in the Somnium. I then had to play through every other ending, ~20 hours, before he then realised that it was his body doing the murders). That said, it was still enjoyable, with twists and mysteries, and unlike ZE had complete internal logical consistency and wrapped up nicely.

 

The few issues I had were flashback related- the Switch struggled with this, and there were uncomfortable pauses during conversations when the game loaded up previous character models and backgrounds, all wholly unecessary as they weren't needed. I didn't need to see Manaka getting stabbed repeatedly, or reminded of conversations I'd had recently either.

 

I also felt the multiple storylines didn't work as well as in ZE. I hope for the next game he does something not including parallel worlds- such as in R11 (or the absolute hatstand that was Ever17). Without tying the flowchart to the story it's just sort of there and awkward. I also forget who had betrayed who in each timeline.

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Got one ending (awful, does everyone get that first? I can never get my head around the permutations) and found one locked route. Despite still hating the somnia themselves (I'm using a guide now and enjoying it just fine) it has thoroughly rekindled my love for Uchikoshi's stuff. Even with a reduced budget (I'm guessing - I know the Zero Escape games didn't do great and the poor performance and lowered interaction of this suggests that to me) I can't get enough of the way he tells stories in this medium. One of the few examples of a creator actually getting what games are uniquely suited to and working with it.

 

The translation is almost Dragon Quest XI good too btw. Aiba is a wee gem.

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