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AI: The Somnium Files review. Just as awesome as the Zero Escape series, with more eyeballs.

1 post in this topic

I just heard of this game last month from one of my regular mates while I was at my local FGC hangout, and I am so excited to finally play this game. The next game from the creator of the mindbender that is the Zero Escape series. Surprisingly a lot funnier than I thought!

Image result for ai the somnium files


The plot of this game starts simple enough. There's a murder that just happened involving a woman tied to a horse ride in an abandoned amusement park, who is also missing her left eye. You play as a detective named Kaname Date, a guy who lost his left eye & memories 6 years before the game begins, and ever since then he had been working at a special police unit called the Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS). Why that name? Well that's because his unit solves crime by entering the minds of suspects with a dream machine called Psync. It's like Inception, but more trippy. Of course this being the game made by the creator of Zero Escape, nothing is as simple as it looks. And so begins another mind bending adventure filled with twists, great characters, lots of eyeballs getting taken out, and surprisingly a lot more humor than I expected. AND IT IS GLORIOUS! 


Now let me get one thing out of the way. This game is set in an entirely different universe than the Zero Escape games. For now. There are cheeky dialogues and things that reference Zero Escape though, so time will tell if this game is indeed in the same universe as that or not in the sequel, if there is any. Of course, this game would not be a Zero Escape esque game if you don't have a quirky main character. Junpei from 999 likes to make bad puns, Sigma from Virtue's Last Reward is a giant perv, and Date here is........ damn. He makes bad puns AND is a gigantic perv. Hitting on pretty girls, making inuendos at everyday objects, having adult vi ahem I mean "animal husbandry" videos (raising livestock vids, HAHAHAHA yeah right XD), actually have the ability to activate super-speed when he thinks of a porn mag, but he's not a lolicon. Which doesn't make him THAT bad. :D He is still a good detective though, and he has a pretty cool gun named Evolver which uses different bullet types depending on the situation.


Since he lost his left eyeball, it's replaced by something FAR better: a prosthetic left eye robot partner named Aiba, which can do so many stuff.

Image result for aiba somnium

When she ejects herself out of Date's eye, she looks like a one eyed bear/hamster thingy that can somehow walk around and interact with other stuff. Other than that, she's basically a sentient Siri, with a lot more cool features. Make calls? X Ray visions? Watch youtube videos? Search criminal database? Analyzing the surroundings to think of actions that can help you get out of a tight firefight like Sherlock Holmes? Transform into a holographic cute girl that makes banters with you, makes references to popular movies, likes bugs hiding in plants & find an overpowered pick in Minecra I mean ShovelForge? You bet your ass she can do all of that stuff. 


Other than these 2, this game is filled with a lot more great characters, and every single one of them has their own backstories for you to discover. My favorite is a tie between the cute pink haired idol Iris & Mizuki, who's pretty much like Date's little sister after her good for nothing parents decides to have Date become her guardian since they're too busy with their work. These 2's routes make me tear up because they have the sweetest interactions with Date, and that's awesome.


Even the side npcs have their own interesting background once you unlock their character bios. Like this inspector who you see in every crime scene, and the game likes to poke fun of him by giving you the option to ask his name over and over and over again. Poor guy. XD

Gameplay in this game is split into 3 parts: investigation, dream exploration & shootout QTE sections. The investigation part is like one of the Zero Escape games where you point at an object or person and interact with them. I love how you can point at an object/person & Date + Aiba + whoever is with you almost always have something funny to say about them. In a couple of these, Aiba will get out of Date's eye & you can see Date's own face. Funny thing is you can bob your head all over the place & just talk to yourself, and Date loves doing these a lot. XD


Dream exploration is where a lot of the usual puzzle-solving is done. You enter the minds of suspects/ witnesses and you have to solve puzzles by tinkering with objects inside the dream. Nothing makes sense so most of the time the solution to the puzzles are outright WTF, like one puzzle where in order to get rid of an obstacle, you have to go to a control panel and input a "fighting game move command" to it. You can only be inside a dream for 6 minutes which the game keeps tracks of, and each action cost time, but also give you a time modifier which helps reduce the time you spent on an action, unless you do something which has a red skull time multiplier in which case you need to get rid by doing actions that doesn't take that much time. Standing still pauses the timer so it's best to think of what you want to do before moving. Some of these sections have branching paths depending on what you did in the dream, and it's necessary to do all the paths to see everything the game offers, and of course to see the answers to the big mysteries surrounding this game.


The shootout QTE sections are where this game just go off the walls cartoony, which I did not expect. These sections are the part I mentioned where you're in a combat situation & Aiba will think of a way to get out of it. Half are QTEs where you press the right buttons, while the others are where you have to aim your cursor to a spot & shoot your gun. Now it's a shame that this section isn't played like a rail shooter because that'll be awesome, but it's still pretty fun & it's funny how in these sections, a porn magazine is always involved. You'll know what I mean when you play these parts.


Just like Zero Escape, the game encourages you to play through every path available. Some parts may be locked because you haven't played the other parts which usually ends on a big cliffhanger, but don't worry. Everything has a reason & by the end of it, every mystery will be answered in a way only these devs know how. Only one mystery remains after the end, but that is already answered only for people who had played the Zero Escape games before. The game also ends surprisingly on the happiest note compared to those other games, and that's awesome! I can't stop smiling after I finally reach the end of the game. Now all I need to do is go back to these dream sequences and do every dumb thing I can find because there's so many of them!


I can only find 1 thing that I feel is kinda annoying about the game: multiple save files don't collectively save your progress. For example: I saved my game at a moment where there's a branching choice which branches out to another route. After picking route a and made good progress on that route, I load my save file to pick route b and finish that route. But unfortunately that save file didn't save my route a progress, so after I found that out, I had to do route a all over again! It's a good thing I noticed this before I completed that route because I would've been boned! So the lesson here: don't use multiple saves like thinking this game is a normal visual novel. Just have 1 save file. If you want to do a different route, use the game's time flowchart.


There ya go, another game from the Zero Escape dev, and it's just as awesome, with more humor to accompany the mystery. Definitely one of my top 10 games of 2019. I give this game the rating of "so awesome I will play this game again to get 100% completion, and to see Aiba doing more silly stuff in the dream world" with a badass seal of approval.


Actually you know what? This might be my GOTY of 2019. Days after finishing this game and I actually youtube other people playing this game to see if they can figure out the plot of this game, and it's like the 10th time I do it. I can't get this game out of my head, and that's AWESOME!!


What's next after this? Will there be a sequel to continue the plot after pretty much everything is resolved? Well, we shall see. Nevertheless, I can't wait to see more of what these guys do next!

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