Title: Virche Evermore ~ErroЯ:Salvation
Developer: Idea Factory
Release Date: November 9, 2023
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Aksys Games
When it comes to the otome genre, various themes are explored, but only a select few delve into more tragic narratives. That’s precisely what Idea Factory aimed to achieve with Virche Evermore ~ErroЯ:Salvation. After waiting for over two years since its release in Japan, we finally have the Western version. I would argue that this is one of, if not the darkest otome game I’ve ever encountered.
The Cursed Island of Arpéchéle
In Virche Evermore, our story begins with Ceres, a young girl living on Arpéchéle, a cursed island where everyone is fated to die at the young age of twenty-three. After years of research, a scientific breakthrough led to the creation of the Reliver system, allowing individuals to continue living as clones even after their bodies perish, effectively postponing death for another 23 years.
“I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart, as a single route alone contains numerous content warnings, including extreme violence and blood. The mature rating on the box art is not just for show.
However, Ceres carries a deadly curse. Anyone she interacts with is doomed to an early death for an unknown reason, whether through disease or sudden accidents. This has caused many villagers to shun her as the incarnation of the Reaper. After witnessing numerous deaths, she becomes distraught because of her curse and attempts to end her life as a form of atonement. Before she can do so, she is visited by Ankou, the Watchman of Death, who offers to suppress her curse on the condition that she uncovers the truth behind the curse plaguing Arpéchéle.
One of Idea Factory’s Darkest Games
The plot of Virche Evermore is perhaps one of the darkest I’ve seen from Idea Factory in a while, with the last comparable title being “Psychadelica of the Black Butterfly.” I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart, as a single route alone contains numerous content warnings, including extreme violence and blood. The mature rating on the box art is not just for show.
Among the routes, my favorite is Yves, thanks to his kindness and gullibility. His love for Ceres feels the most genuine, especially when you learn more about his true self.
The game’s art style and world-building contribute to its somber and dark atmosphere. Muted colors and a UI featuring a spider lily motif, known as the flower of death in flower language, enhance this theme. The game also combines futuristic and retro elements, such as old cars and European-style mansions alongside high-tech gadgets used by the characters. The character designs are expressive, although some still images have minor proportion issues.
Routes & Progression
Virche Evermore features four routes, with a fifth final route unlocked after completing all four. Endings are categorized into Despair (bad endings) and Salvation (good endings). One of my main concerns is the length of the common route, which takes quite a while to pick up, with certain parts feeling like needless padding.
Among the routes, my favorite is Yves, thanks to his kindness and gullibility. His love for Ceres feels the most genuine, especially when you learn more about his true self. Scien’s route is well-executed, with a slow burn that evolves into a surprising twist. However, one major annoyance I found is that “Virche Evermore” requires you to view the Despair endings before accessing the Salvation ending for each character. This was unexpected, and at times, it felt discouraging to make choices, as I had to endure the bad endings first, regardless of whether my choices affected the love interest’s affection or not.
One of my main concerns is the length of the common route, which takes quite a while to pick up, with certain parts feeling like needless padding.
A Mesmerizing Finale
Nevertheless, Virche Evermore redeems itself with a mesmerizing finale route. Without diving into spoilers, it’s one of the most heart-wrenching finale routes I’ve seen in an otome game. The way the story connects in this route makes perfect sense and serves as a “light at the end of the tunnel” after all the bad endings you’ve witnessed. It’s a truly captivating experience that’s hard to put into words.
Furthermore, Aksys’ translation team did an outstanding job conveying the dark tones with appropriate accentuation and terminology across the routes. Although I encountered minor punctuation and line-breaking issues, they didn’t significantly affect my experience. The personalities of the characters align seamlessly with their mannerisms, and the excellent voice acting adds a final touch to the game.
A Masterful Blend of Tragedy and Otome
Virche Evermore ~ErroЯ:Salvation skillfully blends a tragic story with unconventional romance. It’s not without its flaws, as the forced bad endings and the lengthy common route can be a minor inconvenience. However, the heart-wrenching ending route is so mesmerizing that it makes it worthwhile, provided you have the emotional resilience to endure the bad endings.
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