If you aren’t already familiar with Sukeban Games’ first title, VA11 HALL-A, you certainly can be forgiven for wondering what on earth a “cyberpunk bartending action game” is. VA11 HALL-A saw us take up the place of Jill – a bartender in one of the few clean bars of an increasingly dystopian nightmare society. Throughout VA11 HALL-A’s story, you chat with patrons and challenge yourself to meet their drink requests – no matter how ridiculous or vague. The majority of your gameplay will be drink-mixing, but the dark and fascinating understory of the game is the real star.
Since I just recently started playing VA11 HALL-A on stream and have been having a great time, it didn’t take much to convince me I had to check out the upcoming sequel, N1RV ANN-A.
Welcome to Saint Alicia – a tourist paradise far removed from the dangers and drudgery of Glitch City. Unfortunately for Sam – mother to an 8-year old son and girlfriend to a Yakuza member – trouble lies beneath the surface of this perfect little world.
A lot of N1RV ANN-A’s aspects will be familiar to players of VA11 HALL-A, but there are definitely some updates to the game’s mechanics and feel.
Of course, it’s only a demo, so it’s difficult to say, but I definitely noticed a little less emphasis on crazy dialogue, and a little more story-telling. It was a nice adjustment from VA11 HALL-A, which sometimes had dialogue so obscene and unbelievable that I had trouble even voicing it. Still, part of the charm was the ridiculousness, so I can’t say I’d be put off if it didn’t have major changes.
Another big, big change is that there’s much more interactivity this time around. As conversations happen, you can choose Sam’s reaction in the dialogue. There are also a lot more drink options and a new shaking element (by moving the mouse) at play. They’re small details that help make N1RV ANN-A feel much more player-involved.
Of course, it’s hard to tell from a small demo what exactly we can look forward to as N1RV ANN-A shapes up, but it should be exiting to see! Fans of VA11 HALL-A can expect engaging new characters, and incredible soundtrack, and some new mechanics and challenges along the way.
You can take a further look at N1RV ANN-A on the official website! At PAX West? You can find Ysbryd on the 4th floor, and try it out yourself!