9-nine-:Episode 4 Review – A Standout Finale

    Title: 9-nine- Episode 4
    Developer: Sekai Project
    Release Date: March 19, 2020
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Palette
    Genre: Visual Novel

We’ve finally made it to the conclusion of the 9-nine- series. Before I get into 9-nine-:Episode 4, I’d highly advise that you play through the other chapters before this one. The previous entries could be played out of order, but I feel this requires you to play them to understand even the first hour of the game. Without wasting too much time in this intro, let’s just get to the review.

9-nine-:Episode 4 begins with Kakeru attempting to understand his power as the Overlord. This allows him to jump timelines to figure out a way to defeat Iris and the Evil Eye’s User. The opening moments give a quick recap of some of the bad ends, but now with Kakeru’s memories installed, he discovers what is needed in a new timeline to complete the mission for good. I appreciated this approach because it set a significant reason to spend more time with the chuuni waifu of the group Noa Yuuki.

The narrative requires an understanding of the relics and the powers of each user. In this timeline, Kakeru has to make sure he hits all the significant story points with the other girls so that they trust him enough in the final battle, but the toughest nut to crack is Noa. The recap moments can be a little bit of a drag since you want to get to the resolution as quickly as possible, but it builds up rather nicely to the final battle.

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One of the best parts of 9-nine-:Episode 4 is the timeline system where Kakeru can view the events as they happened. For this reason alone, you should probably play the other games because it spoils everything. This entry also really goes into detail about the artifacts and the lore behind their power. However, it knows when to slow down and focus on building relationships between these friends.

Since this is the finale, I appreciated that it’s also the most significant in terms of character growth. Even though the episode is focused on Noa, you still get plenty of interaction with the other characters. It’s evident there’s a romance route available with Noa, but the story doesn’t force this by having only scenes with the two of them. It includes the entire group, and Noa just ends up being the lucky girl. That said, there are some exceptionally cute moments of the two lovers hanging out that made Noa my favorite character overall.

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It’s bittersweet in a way as you approach the conclusion and think about the previous chapters and how they built up to this. So much has happened, and the narrative really tries to cover up any plot holes. As the main protagonist, Kakeru is used to clear up a lot of the confusion as he simply talks to himself for some moments of the story.

It works for this story since he is such a capable lead character. His character isn’t put into any pervy or overly confused tropes, but I feel like the maturity he’s gained from his previous memories would affect his outward presence more to where his sister and close friends would take notice. I would just expect him to be more traumatized, but he still holds true to his cool and capable personality, which works either way.

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9-nine-:Episode 4 is all about tying up loose ends, saving everyone, and defeating evil. However, it’s not always that easy, which sparks some of the more emotional encounters, especially with some of the previous entries’ villains. The pacing was staggered, but I felt the narrative balanced the bulk of these beats wonderfully, which left me satisfied with the outcome.

The art returns from the previous titles, including backgrounds and music. Still, there are some unique CGs that are as beautiful as ever. The artist, Izumi Tsubasu, gives this series a layer of quality that only makes it better. There’s an all-ages version that is perfectly serviceable on its own, but the adult patch is needed if you want to get the full Noa shipping experience; these scenes are also slightly animated. Further, the voiced audio is led by some of the best in the business, and have the main protagonist being voiced is an option I wish more visual novels would have.

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9-nine-:Episode 4 is a great conclusion to the series that only stumbles in the pacing of a few points of the narrative. Honestly, I enjoyed practically every second of it. It enhanced the memories made in the previous entries while building a new timeline of events to provide a unique experience to readers.

If you haven’t read this series, I highly advise reading through each chapter to experience this epic conclusion.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.