In AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative, you must solve the mystery of the Half Body serial killings by diving into people’s dreams to uncover the truth.
Any spoiler can ruin the fun of this game since it relies heavily on uncovering many secrets. So I’ll try to keep this review as short as possible without revealing any elements about the plot.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative is the second game in the series, but it isn’t necessary to have played the first game to enjoy this one. Most of the game plays like a traditional point-and-click visual novel, but when exploring the dreams, players take control of the character and must explore the world. But you must act fast since you only have six minutes to solve challenging puzzles in each unique and bizarre dream world.
There are three difficulty levels which you can toggle at any point of the game. While I played the whole game in Normal mode, the puzzles were sometimes extremely difficult. So if you’re not into puzzles, then I recommend switching to an easier mode since it won’t impact the story.
You start off playing as Ryuki, and his crude yet sexy AI-ball companion, Tama. With Tama’s help, you start to uncover the truth about the Half Body serial killings by diving into witnesses’ and suspects’ dreams by “psyncing” into their minds.
Later, you play as Mizuki and her AI-ball companion, Aiba. Playing between these two characters, you start to unravel a huge story with diverging plots and eventually learn that the truth is not that so simple.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative’s story never felt dull, and you can easily get lost in the story without realizing it. With that said, while this game is a murder mystery, I didn’t feel like I was the detective but rather just a spectator watching the story unfold.
While I loved the story, I felt like there wasn’t a nice balance between the wackiness and seriousness of the game. The teenage-level sexual jokes and cringey humor were excessive, and I found that it started to take away from the story.
All in all, the writing was really good, not to mention the English translation was nothing short of a chef’s kiss. Both the Japanese and English voice acting were spectacular, and I love that there was an option to choose between the two languages. Although the graphics in this game were pretty, since the characters were 3D, sometimes their facial expressions and movements felt stiff especially compared to the expressive VO.
- Amazing JP and Eng VO
- Creative & challenging puzzles
- Thought-provoking and interesting story
- Too repetitive
- Excessive inappropriate jokes
- Unsatisfying ending
I was extremely invested in the first half of the game, but in the latter half, I started feeling the strain of the repetitive gameplay and felt the story waning. With the amount of time and energy I invested, the ending felt rushed and left me feeling unsatisfied. But don’t get me wrong, the ending wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular and left me with so many unanswered questions.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative was a wild ride and honestly, one of the most thought-provoking games I’ve played for a long time. While I wanted to love this series, it fell short of my expectations. I don’t think it’s something that everyone would enjoy, but even so, I still recommend it. AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative is not something you can easily put down, and it makes you want to uncover the truth until the very end. But be warned, “Truth is only an Illusion.”
Replay value: 8/10
Kid Friendly: No
|Publisher:||Spike Chunsoft US|
|Released:||June 24, 2022|
|ESRB:||Mature, PEGI 16|