Let’s get one thing clear; VA-11 HALL-A is one of the best adventure visual novels that I have played to date. Its simplistic way of storytelling centered around creating alcoholic beverages set the stage for one of the most engaging titles of the genre. I guess it’s easy to see why I was so eager to get my hands on the game’s sequel N1RV Ann-A, which takes place in a new setting, with new characters. After playing through the demo, it hits similar beats to its predecessor but shows an entirely different side of this world. Also, there are some new mechanics centered around, you guessed, making alcoholic drinks.
N1RV Ann-A takes place on an artificial island known as Saint Alicia. The island is full of the wealthiest citizens who come to the island to be free of their wealthy and successful lives. It’s all surface-level though as you happen to find out after assuming the role of Sam, a bartender at the Nirvana Bar. Interacting with patrons reveals truths about these people’s daily lives and the struggles that they face. However, this is a complete parallel to the issues that were brought up in VA-11 HALL-A.
These citizens aren’t struggling to pay rent or answering to a boss. Now, these people are the boss. It makes for some new topics that get brought up in conversations that just wouldn’t fit in the first game. The stories feel fresh, and the characters are just as enjoyable. Sure, they might look like they have it all figured out, considering their status. But after talking to them, you see the more important things that impact their lives.
To get the characters talking, players will need to play as the bartender. N1RV Ann-A has new drinks to make and a different way to make them. However, this time, players have more control over what they serve the patrons. While this might create more room for error, it did make situations a little more fun to watch play out. There were times when I was told an exact drink to make, but the customer also just gave their preference. I want to play around with this feature more since VA-11 HALL-A made it a large part of the game’s overall storytelling and this title is shaping up to do the same.
I enjoyed my time with and look forward to seeing more of this new setting. However, there is another character in the game, Leon, a gangster, who I didn’t get to play as and will surely offer a different perspective. As it is now, I’m enjoying the differences found in these new patrons and can’t wait to continue my career in making great drinks for waifus and husbandos.
N1RV Ann-A is in development for PS4, Switch, and PC set to release in 2020.
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