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AI: The Somnium Files review
by GarnetSunset

Ai the Somnium Files is the best narrative based game I've played since Portal 2. 

To set the stage, this is an Anime based, brand new IP, from the studio that brought you Danganronpa. 
For me, personally, those were each marks against my surface level interest in this game. But somehow I pushed past my predisposition and took the dive on this game. 

It was worth it. A thousand times over it was worth it. 


The voice acting, emotive, fitting with each characters role, emotion is brought out via inflection that nothing with an anime art style has done, in my somewhat limited knowledge has done, since Cowboy Bebop. Looking up a clip of "The Boss" (played by Allegra Clark) shooting the shit never fails to make me feel like I'm listening to a ""real"" person, with emotions and a purpose. 

The gameplay. This is a noire detective story set in the near future. Where your prosthetic eye has a personality and can help you solve mysteries with the help of a machine that allows you to delve into suspects dreams, aka their "Somnium".  This isn't an action game. This is very much more of a streamlined system akin to LA Noire. Find clues in a setting, with a locked camera. Use those things to build your case. Very well thought out and compelling gameplay on that front, but, there's another degree to this. I mentioned it before but, you enter your suspect's dreams. When you do delve into a Somnium, you're greeted with a completely new gameplay formula. A third person, over the shoulder puzzle game, where time is ticking down, and every choice you make in these "dream-logic" puzzles, ticks time down a little more. Think of the director's previous work on the Zero Escape series, in 3D space, for an example of that. Truly phenomenal. 

The style. I personally love the style, designed by the character designer for No More Heroes. The somniums are a high point too. You'll see. 

The writing. Characters just "work", you learn to LOVE how these people interact. You want to hear each character reacts to something you say. The writing is punchy and funny, sweet and emotional, and depressing and touching. It's a truly human game in an anime shell. Sometimes if you decide you want to press your luck with a certain dialogue option, sometimes the game with reward you with a fantastic little funny sequence. 

The story. Surprisingly touching, surprisingly coherent, surprisingly poignant. Love this game's story. That's pretty much it. You'll feel happy. You'll feel fulfilled.
«Blew my mind»
«Liked before it became a hit»
«That ending!»