Official Website: https://www.spike-chunsoft.com/ai/
Who it Caters to
We here at Honey’s Anime have always loved action/adventure titles like Virtue’s Last Reward—part of the Zero Escape series—and Danganronpa. Games with the ability to constantly put the player into strange settings where they must open their minds to unique takes on narrative are just what we look for in this genre of gaming. That’s why when we heard about AI: The Somnium Files being helmed by Kotaro Uchikoshi-the man behind the previously mentioned Zero Escape series, our eyes lit up with excitement. We finally got our chance to play AI: The Somnium Files and we have our thoughts that we’d love to share with you readers. Keep going to enter our review of AI: The Somnium Files for the Nintendo Switch!
What to Expect
AI: The Somnium Files is a third person action/adventure game with just a hint of first person exploration. Players take control of a special division officer who works for a group called ABIS who must utilize their ability to enter the minds of others to solve a recent crime that hits close to home. You’ll need to talk to various characters to gain an understanding of the situation and solve various puzzles to unravel the mystery behind a string of murders. How you talk to characters, how you solve puzzles and how you obtain your end results when synching into the minds of those you enter all affect the narrative and may lead to various paths while playing. Can you solve this crime and prevent others—especially those close to your character—from being killed?
Six years ago, Kaname Date lost his memories of his past and lost his eye in some unknown event. Despite his loss, Date hasn’t succumbed to despair and works with a special police unit unknown to most called ABIS or Advanced Bran Investigation Section. Using a new AI eye called Aiba, Date uses his skills and abilities to solve cases most can’t figure out. Date will need to muster up all of his skills when a murder case lands on his lap that involves friends/colleagues from his past and a mystery that seems impossible for a normal detective. However, will Date be ready for this case as it begins to bleed into his lost past and current self?
AI: The Somnium Files is quite a mysterious game from the moment it boots up to the first several hours. Players control Date a thirty year old man who works for a special police sector called ABIS. After an accident six years ago left Date with a loss of memory and an eye, Date was given a new AI eye called Aiba who acts as his secondary brain capable of helping with cases and networking feats. Date also is able to sync with the brains of other people and enter their Somnium where Aiba and Date can interact with memories and setting to solve clues and learn the truth hidden in the subjects subconscious. AI: The Somnium Files sounds like a bizarre science fiction film/story, but we will say this. AI: The Somnium Files has to be one of the best action/adventure games we’ve played in some time and might even surpass the Zero Escape series for some of us here at Honey’s Anime.
What makes AI: The Somnium Files so unique is the way it handles gameplay. Rather than be all about a first person point-and-click title—which it has elements of when talking to people or investigating locations—AI: The Somnium Files blends a multitude of gameplay styles together. When you’re exploring crime scenes or areas of interest, you go into a first person perspective where Date can examine people, items and various other things using both his own skills and those of his partner Aiba. Our little robotic eye can zoom into areas and even use X-Rays on various objects that make exploration truly robust and immersive. Yet, this only explores one element of AI: The Somnium Files as there is a separate concept that reveals a whole new layer.
AI: The Somnium Files, as we mentioned before, has Date invading the minds of suspects and various characters in a mental mind game. Players take control of Aiba who gains a very anime-like girl form as they investigate a place called the Somnium. This strange dream-like world has players seeing into the character’s mental psyche and they must solve various puzzles within 6 minutes or else get consumed by the other person’s mind. Aiba will need to choose her actions carefully to solve puzzles as each movement and motion costs the player precious time. There are some neat tricks AI: The Somnium Files gives players in the form of items that reduce the time needed to perform an action, but these items can only be used several times and won’t save a player from making too many poor mistakes. The Somnium also houses moments where players need to make choices to save the other person’s mind cultivating in either rescuing a mind or possibly leaving it damaged. In the beginning of AI: The Somnium Files, this element is left pretty vague, but as you get further in, you’ll learn choices matter greatly and can alter the story.
Another great element of AI: The Somnium Files is the visuals and sound design. The visuals come from Yusuke Kozaki who has worked on numerous games like Fire Emblem Awakening and No More Heroes. In turn, the art for AI: The Somnium Files is incredible with characters being truly unique and settings being stylistic and dreamlike. The voice acting and OST also help AI: The Somnium Files immensely with some truly wonderful voice work—regardless if you choose English or Japanese dub—and some great tunes. You’ll be hard pressed not to want to wear headphones while playing AI: The Somnium Files so you can best experience the soundtrack in all of its glory!
Now if AI: The Somnium Files had any weak elements, it would be that exploration/talking with characters can be a bit strange. Often, you won’t be able to make progress in AI: The Somnium Files unless you exhaust dialogue with characters or examine nearly every item in an area. This wouldn’t be an issue if dialogue was smooth, but occasionally, you need to reclick a specific question several times to fully exhaust a dialogue with a character. We got stuck several times thinking we asked the same question enough times but then learned we needed to ask a few more times before AI: The Somnium Files said we could move on to a new area. It isn’t a big issue, but we do wish dialogue was a bit smoother to avoid this annoyance.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
AI: The Somnium Files is truly a very unique and interesting adventure game that screams with passion and style. Rather than just being another run of the mill adventure title, AI: The Somnium Files makes players think outside the realm of normal when they solve puzzles or even investigate crime scenes. With beautiful art, amazing narrative and a truly fantastic score, AI: The Somnium Files is the best adventure title we’ve played in a long while. We’d love to spoil various events that happen in AI: The Somnium Files to convince you readers this game is amazing, but that would ruin the overall experience. All you need to know is if you love 999 or games like Zero Escape then you’re going to be taken aback by the majesty that is AI: The Somnium Files.
Engaging narrative that feels like a movie and an anime fused together.
Immersive gameplay that makes players think about every action/solution.
Wonderful art style that shines with personality.
Great OST and Voice Acting.
Sometimes exhausting dialogue can be a bit strange and lead to repeated actions to move on.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Adventure games typically follow a very formulaic model that can make them boring and stale. AI: The Somnium Files removes that by being filled with unique ideas and a truly immersive narrative that is captivating from beginning to end. We truly recommend AI: The Somnium Files for those who love the genre and need something different in their adventure gaming lives! Are you going to pick up AI: The Somnium Files when it releases later this month? Comment below to let us know! For all your gaming review needs, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!