It has been some time since I've read a Visual Novel. And now I've finally found the time to play a game that has been in my Steam library for some time: Root Double. If you're familiar with the VN landscape, Root Double is made by the team the made Ever17. And knowing how the mind-blowing the game was (even if the starting was bland), I was expecting the same thing with Root Double. And as I reached the ending of the game, I was fully satisfied with the experience I've gotten.
Now, it's really hard to explain the game without spoiling it in any part. So if you're just looking for a mind-blowing Visual Novel, just get this and play it blind. It's not as emotionally heavy as the other heavyweights (like Umineko for example), but it is certainly good and worth your time to play it.
So, on to the review. And yeah, I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, so I'll mostly explain from an emotional standpoint rather than the plot.
So, the game starts off with you as a random person trapped inside a facility with fires everywhere. And you're pretty much helpless on what the hell is going on, because somehow you have amnesia and you have forgotten everything.
Slowly, you find other survivors and found out that you are actually the captain of a Rescue Squad, even if you have no recollection of it. A nuclear facility inside the town your were assigned was having a nuclear meltdown, and you are to rescue survivors inside them before they, and you by extension, die of radiation. Except, now the safety system kicked in, closing the bulkheads to the outside forcefully, and now you're stuck inside the facility with the other survivors having to escape the fire and somehow survive the radiation.
Fortunately, thanks to the progress of technology, there are anti-radiation injections that help stave radiation effects for 1 hour. But, there aren't enough for everyone to last for 12 hours. So, who survives and who doesn't?
...And so, the game starts. Yep, don't worry, it feels like I've explained the whole plot (people trapped, then one by one dies), but nope, I haven't. This is the information you get within the first 10 minutes of playing the game.
The game is HEAVY on misdirection and lots and lots of unreliable narratives spread around here and there with lots and lots of foreshadowing, which all makes sense when it finally makes sense.
You are going to feel sad and crazy by the end of the first part of the story (Root After), because nearly nothing makes sense. I mean, they do make sense, but they don't make sense at the same time. You will start mistrusting yourself.
And then, the story switches perspective and you start watching the whole incident in-the-making from a different perspective, and you start getting your mind blown and just a tiny bit closer to the truth. But, you will then again question your self and whatever you have read. Is this really true? Can I even trust whatever I'm reading right now? And with the people keep telling you "The brain only listens to whatever you want, makes up whatever it wants to see/hear and blocks out the others" certainly doesn't help you (or you might even NOT want to know the truth).
Now, if you're looking for another mind-blowing story, Root Double is a good addition to your library. Take your time to experience this Visual Novel and explore the nooks and cranny of the human experience and memory.
If you decide to play it, let me explain first because it was quite confusing to me in the first place. At the start of the game, you can choose from 2 storylines, Root After and Root Before.
You are supposed to play Root After first. Finish it until you reach the ending of the Root After. No, not the Bad Ends (you're probably going to reach the Bad Endings first). There's a "Non-Bad Ending" you need to find first. AFTERWARDS, play Root Before. You will then start unlocking the other "Roots" that continues the storyline.