Imagine a city that could help prevent violence and crime with the help of dreams. But as you are able to see those dreams of our past memories open through the doors of those dreams. But what if, something within the city did not go how it was supposed to and something horrible was committed, would it be left alone and unsolved or could it be stopped so it could end? When you think about all the possibilities, how many of us would be intrigued by those possibilities? But does the developer, MyDeartest, show us what it’s like to rewind time and investigate in order to find the truth of what’s really going on? Let’s find out with DYSCHRONIA: CHronos Alternate – Episode 1 for PlayStation VR2.
DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 is a fully interactive, futuristic sci-fi cinematic visual novel adventure game set in a dystopian future city called Astrum Close, where people can enter a virtual world that can predict crime before it ever happens, called Augmented Dreaming (AD), and has a crime rate of 0.001%. So before you dive in and solve the mystery like you were part of some meddling kids, there are a few things to know. First, find your favorite place to sit and get comfortable as you will want to find out what happens. Second, since there are a lot of narratives here, I will not show footage of the later parts nor will I tell too much of what happens as I do not want to spoil anything for anyone. This is a story that you will want to find out what happens on your own. Third, make sure your Sense controllers are charged. You don’t want to be trying to solve a mystery or puzzle only to get stuck because you forgot to charge them. And finally, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…
You play Hal Scion, and you are an investigator with a difference. You are known as a “variant human”, a person who has the unique ability to both see into and alter the past. And your unique skills are exactly what is needed now. I am going to say this right from the beginning, that the visuals here are really beautifully done and you will experience this from the title screen and throughout. When you first start, you are thrown into the tutorial on how to move in this space-like environment as if you are a soul waiting to be called for a body of your own. When you finally are in the city, it’s not like a city you would expect, but one that has been through destruction and loss. This is where you first meet Lily, your navigator robot and now a partner in crime, who lets you know that you need to get to the Beuraue. But in order to get there with all going on around you, you must follow Lily.
But as Hal Scion, who you learn, is an experiment, graduates to become a supervisor in the artificial Astrum Close City. But you start to learn that you have the ability, that when you touch certain objects, you can access the past and interfere with other people’s memories. The thing is, being subject to experimentation, you have no memory of what your life was like before. But as you progress, you start to remember what did happen.
But what seems like a bad nightmare of what may become of the city, you are awoken by Ash Shepard, your friend, who knows the layout and tries to look for the best in people, he is someone who has everyone’s best interest (well, depending if he comes across some women and then he is focused on one thing) at heart. It is with that communication that things come both strange and familiar. One of the things that add to the change in the environment is being able to connect to the Augmented Dreaming and connecting with those in the dream state.
We learn that there has been a murder of the city founder, Albert Rumford. You set out to investigate what happened and how the city is supposed to have a lack of crime. With your ability called Memory Diving, you can go to the past and interfere with other’s memories, you have a bracelet on each arm. Your right bracelet lets you scan items, while the left bracelet suppresses your interference abilities. With your bracelets and your skills, it’s up to you to talk to a variety of characters and gather clues throughout the different sections of the city. And when I say talk, you will want to talk to every character possible, including Lily, in hopes to learn where you need to go next, finding & linking the clues, and trying to put everything together to try and solve this mystery. However, keep in mind that you will probably miss some clues and some of the choices you make may affect the story.
But as the story progresses over the few days, there is a more important matter the end of time as we know it will end in seven days. So not only do you have to try and find out the motive behind the murder but solving puzzles and interacting with objects, while interacting with the time loops, throws a lot at you and immerses you in its story of characters and mystery that just when you think you know what is going on, twists are thrown your way.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The characters really pop with the anime style in Virtual Reality. Colors of the world, especially in connection with the Augmented Dreaming parts, give this immersion that, again is beautiful, makes you part of the story. This is the world I would love to visit and escape to and when add the haptics of the headset along with the HonsVR lenses, it only elevated the experience. With the sound, I will say, the opening credits the music hit me from nowhere and made me pay attention even more which really brought the highs and lows of the sound with the Pulse 3D Audio headset. It was a smart way of keeping the movement going and segway it into the story aspect of it all. From the voice acting to the music that is used, it really does immerse you in this visual novel of an experience.
There are a few things that I would like to see for episode 2. More choices to choose from. Having choices that can alter the ending is always fun to have as it makes you want to see what happens if other choices are made. And finally, more interactions and time loops. I love being part of the story from moving around to interacting with the characters. Adding time loops added an interesting aspect to my time and I wanted more. I do hope that episodes 2 & 3 bring even more of this to the mix.
DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 continues the tradition that MyDearest has set by allowing these visual novels to be shown in their truest form and invites you to be in the story journey and for everyone to enjoy. At times when we are used to our normalcy. It’s great when we have the ability to escape into a story that is not our own but makes us feel like we are part of it to add to the tales that we can tell. And with everything going on in the world, couldn’t we all use a little more feeling like we are part of something?
DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 is out now for the Quest/2 on the Oculus Store and for PlayStation VR2 digitally on the PlayStation Store and as a physical release with the partnership of Perp Games at a retailer near you or on the Perp Games Store. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to see if I missed anything.