After launching for PS Vita last year Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is now on PS4. Is it worth picking up? Find out in our Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Review!
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma – Launch trailer
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is the third entry in the series, but from a timeline point of view, it actually takes place between the first two games. For those who haven’t played any of the Zero Escape games yet, you’re looking at a visual novel release with a great emphasis on the story and the puzzle rooms, better known as escape rooms, that you will need to exit by way of a point-and-click adventure mechanic.
While the two first games have nine people trapped in their story, this time around the 9 people are split into three teams of three people, so you’ll get to see the story from each team’s perspective in fragments which gradually become available as you progress through the story. The goal is to escape, but as they are told by Zero, the evil mastermind controlling the game, at least six people will need to die for this to be possible. With the game being heavily focused on the story, I won’t go any deeper than this so that you can experience the game to its fullest.
The other important aspect of the game is the escape rooms. Fans of point and click adventures, and obviously fans of the series, will find a total of thirteen rooms in this game, with a quite enjoyable level of difficulty. If I had to compare it with, say, Demetrios, a point and click game I’ve reviewed recently, I’d say the game is more challenging, but still enjoyable, but you will need to think out o the box and take notes here and there to find the solutions to the puzzles you’ll encounter.
The game is presented through mostly static backgrounds and slightly animated 3D models during the story parts of your journey. When in escape room sequences, the visuals change to 3D rendered rooms that you can look around from a fixed point of view to explore the different elements in the room as you search for clues that can allow you to survive.
While that kind of look fits a game like this, I thought that the character animations were lacking the range of emotions we can hear in the voice acting. For example, at a certain moment one of the characters was expressing a lot of anger, which I could easily feel from the voice acting, but looking at the character’s model made me realize his lips were moving almost as if he was whispering.
Another thing I noticed, and while it’s a small detail it still bugged me, is that the game didn’t fit my TV screen, and there was no option to adjust this. When opening some menus (the Fragment screen, for example), the title at the top was cut, and there was no way to make it fit. It’s a small detail and not a deal-breaker, but it is something that the developer could have probably worked on when porting the game to the PS4.
If I have to be honest, a visual novel is usually not my type of game. Even though I Platinumed Virtue’s Last Reward on my Vita, I did not really get hooked on the series from that entry. Knowing this, I still went forward to try this one, and while it’s still not my type of game, the story kept me going back for more fragments to uncover all there is to see. The thing I liked the most was the escape rooms and the puzzles they contain. Something else I found is that, compared to Virtue’s Last Reward, the branches in the story based on the decisions you make were easier to follow this time around.
And as far as trophies go, this is a quite simple game to Platinum. Playing through all the fragments and escape rooms will net you most of the trophies, with maybe only the collectibles being the objective that will make you go back to the escape rooms to find them all.
Chime has done it again with Zero Time Dilemma, giving us a game that is a must-have for fans of visual novels, and even more so for fans of the series. The story is just what you’d expect from a Zero Escape release, and the challenge is never overwhelming or unfair during your time in the escape rooms. While the game is a bit shorter than the previous game (around 25+ hours compared to 40+ hours of the second game in the trilogy), it’s still definitely a large game worthy of your time and money.
This Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Aksys Games.