Though technically a sequel of the DS game, 999, Virtue's Last Reward stands on its own merits as an adventure/visual novel game.
The story is wonderfully dark sci-fi adventure, which puts you in the role of a character imprisoned in a factory filled with puzzles that you'll either have to solve or die trying. The depth of the characters and the way that the story's twists and turns lead up to a grand finale is just amazing. It stands on its own merits as a visual novel, let alone as a game.
As a game, though, there is more to the title than story. Large portions are made up of puzzle rooms, in which you and other characters must solve in order to open a chest with a cardkey. Puzzles often have you looking in all areas, going over every tiny hint. If you're on an easier mode, other characters may make additional comments or clarify an important aspect of the puzzle. This can be shut off by playing in a harder mode, but if you're new to adventure games it is probably a good place to start.
Aside from the physical puzzle rooms, there are booths that you'll enter and have to make a very important choice. You'll either choose to betray an friend who helped you escape the room, or you'll choose to ally with that friend. Your choice here determines both you and your opponent's fate.
Once a choice is made, you may end up revisiting old timelines and making knew choices. The game has so many specific bits of story that you'll end up travelling to the some of the same bits of time more than once. Essentially, the game becomes about moving back and forth in time in order to get the best possible or 'true' ending.
Playing over and over to find the 'true ending' is fun, and adds a lot of replay/value to this game. It isn't something you'll play for only a couple hours.
Overall, this game is a real gem due to it's fascinating story and characters. It stands on its own merits, but also adds a new perspective to the story line of its predecessor, 999. Just a gr
First of all, this game has one of the most unique gameplay styles I've ever experienced. It's setup as mostly an interactive movie with great storytelling and puzzles setup between the lengthy (but good) narrative pieces. Saying anything more will just open up to spoilers so I'll leave it at that, but be prepared for a very enjoyable time.
However there is one very game breaking flaw that forced me to return this game early. There is a room in this game that if saved in can potentially corrupt your save file. I looked it up when this happened to me and there still is no patch or fix to this so buyer/renter beware. The exact room in question is called the PEC room, do NOT save in this room. Other victims to this glitch report that saving in other rooms in this game have led to bugs as well so it is recommended that you only save at the end of story pieces or in the warehouse. Below is a semi spoiler that I would recommend reading just to better prepare you for the bug that crippled my gameplay experience and lost me 20 hours of time (of which I just don't have the heart to repeat therefore my early Gamefly return, I may rent or buy the game in the future but I just can't replay all that this early).
QUASI SPOILER: I recommend taking the story path to the PEC room first thing you do in this game to guarantee getting passed this glitch right away. That way you don't spend 20+ hours on the other story arcs as I did only to have it all ruined. The story arc to take is to ally with the character Tenmyouji both times leading you to the dreadful PEC room. Once again don't save in this room and hopefully you will be able to enjoy the game as it was intended.
I love puzzle games and this was hard. Not only are there puzzles in the game, but each choice you make determines a different outcome of the game. There is only 1 or 2 outcomes where you escape, so your choices really matter.Overall it is a good game.
HOWEVER!!!! This also has ALOT of little movies that you CAN NOT skip through. It may take 10-15 minutes to clear a puzzle, then there will be 10-15 minutes of you watching people talk. AND..... if/when you make the wrong choice and someone else escapes, it starts you from the begining and you have to watch them all over. I learned to save after everything I did.