Virche Evermore -Error:Salvation- Review (Switch)
I’m with Ankou, Yves x Ceres is my OTP.
Available on: Switch
Genre: Otome Visual Novel
Publisher: Aksys Games
It’s that time again, A new otome game releases and I’m right there ready to get another fill of my favorite genre. This time, it’s Virche Evermore -Error: Salvation-! This was another visual novel I wasn’t too sure about, but the premise sounded so interesting and after having played a lot of lighthearted games in a row I was long overdue for a dark game. So, was it as dark as I heard it was and did I enjoy it? Let’s find out.
There will be slight spoilers, but I’ll try my best to not reveal any of the twists or big plot points. This game gets absolutely crazy and you have to experience it without knowing what’s ahead.
If you thought Virche Evermore was going to hold off on its dark aspects until later, you would be wrong. The game opens to our protagonist standing in the middle of a field filled with black lycoris flowers reflecting on her life before she ends it with a stab to her own throat. Though someone mysterious does come along too late, showing that despite what she thinks, there is someone that would miss her. Don’t worry though, as this is only just the prologue and we do go back to see the events that led up to this decision.
In Virche Evermore, you jump into the tragic shoes of a young woman who is known as Death by those that live around her. You can, of course, rename our lovely protagonist, but I will refer to her by her canon name, Ceres. So why is she known as Death here? Well, that’s a question that you’ll first need to know about the island this game takes place on. Ceres lives on an island called Arpechele. However, this isn’t just some regular island as it has been cursed by Death. Everyone that is born on this island is doomed to die before they’re 23. This is due to Death’s Curse, a mysterious disease that, once manifested, gradually eats away at your lungs. Symptoms normally start when someone reaches 20 and if by some miracle you’re still alive on your 23rth birthday you’re basically at Death’s door. Luckily, before the population dwindled too much, a breakthrough was made and the island’s scientists were able to develop a way to extend people’s lives. As long as you backed up your genes and memories before you die, you will be cloned after your death and your memories will be transplanted into said clone. The Curse still affects clones, but at least you have 23 more years. Those that are revived are called Relivers and have a unique tattoo-like mark to show for it. As long as you follow the proper procedure, you can revive as many times as you like.
Not everyone becomes a Reliver. It is up to each individual whether or not they want to and it does cost a lot of money. However, there are downsides that you might not realize. Sure you get to live longer, never physically age, and get a pretty mark, but you stagnate and strong emotions such as love are lost in the Reliver process and are just kept as a record in your memories. You may love or hate someone and then just feel nothing towards them once you revive. For that reason, while some view this process as a way to escape the curse; others see it as unnatural and disrespectful as they would rather live their one life to the fullest. Some even view Relivers as demons in human skin and detest artificial life.
So, with the history of the island out of the way, why is Ceres called Death? Well, that’s due to the fact that a lot of people that were around her died. It seemed that everyone that got close to Ceres for an extended period of time ends up dying early due to an incurable illness. Not to mention that seven years ago a huge fire mysteriously started at an orphanage Ceres lived at where she was the only survivor (thanks to a visitor risking his own life to save her). So it’s not surprising that mostly everyone detests her and even Ceres doesn’t think she has the right to continue living or to be happy. Recently, though, it does seem like the effects of her curse has lessened, she was able to live at a new orphanage for quite some time, and the matron, Sister Salome, even has become like a protective mother figure for Ceres. She even has a foster brother that treats her normally.
Of course, tragedy is bound to happen. Just when Ceres thinks she can spend her last few years in peace, reconnects with her foster brother, and meets the man that saved her all those years ago (who also treats her like a normal girl and doesn’t believe the whole “hosting Death’s soul” thing), a series of unfortunate events happen. One day as she’s heading back to the orphanage she stubbles upon an incredibly bloody scene which she gets blamed for and her curse comes back by causing an explosion to happen at the orphanage. We see what led up to the events of the prologue, but this time someone interrupts. A mysterious man named Ankou calling himself the Watchman of Death is here for a propose a contract. There have been far too many deaths lately and if you assist Ankou in reducing the numbers and finding out who is going on a killing spree and why, he will turn Ceres into a normal girl.
Ceres, of course, takes him up on that offer and she sets out to catch whoever is causing all these deaths. Ceres pretty much shocks everyone by how proactive she’s being, but she’s added to the team nonetheless. Ceres teams up with all of the love interests one way or another and she learns that the mass murderer is known as Bourreau. They learn that Bourreau has been killing for years and he is so strong that he can easily overpower two of the best fighters attacking him at the same time. It also seems there are two similar, but different, ways the bodies were left, which causes some speculation on there being two mass murderers. You’d think victims that got revived could help in the investigation, but sadly since they get their memory backed up before they die, they won’t have any memory of it. So, the only thing they can do is to find a way to trap Bourreau and overpower him.
Well, I should have known I couldn’t do a quick summary, but yeah, some crazy events happen during the Common Route. I liked the Common Route, though it did take me longer to get through it as the game didn’t seem to hook me until I got into the routes. It really lulls you in a false sense of security making you think the game isn’t as dark as you’ve heard and were probably bracing for. Despite the despair that plagues Ceres, the Common Route is pretty light on the dark aspects and there are even some funny moments. I liked how everyone got together, the conflict and time restraint of trying to capture Bourreau, the threat of Bourreau and the possibility of Ceres’ curse striking, the differing opinions everyone had, and just how everyone interacted. I came out of the Common Route liking all of the LIs, though Yves came out on top. Well, unless you count Ankou. I also loved Ceres. I want to grab her and protect her from all of the bad things that happen to her. You also gotta love a proactive protagonist. Ceres is really sweet and kind despite everything that has happened and it’s heartbreaking hearing how beaten down she is. It’s even more heartbreaking when you think everything that has happened around her is just a coincidence, but you’re told it’s not. While Ceres doesn’t try to preserve her life, it seems she’s holding out for the few good aspects in her life and I love the growth she has throughout the game.
The worldbuilding here was really interesting, both in how we are introduced to it and the world itself. It was an interesting choice to feed us pieces before giving us the whole explanation as it just asks you to try and figure it out. I also thought it was really interesting how Arpechele’s answer to fighting off Death’s Curse by cloning, what people thought of Relivers, how the image of reviving being great is shaken, and how it affects the island. The themes and questions Relivers bring is brought up in the LI routes, but I will say now that I thought it was interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives on it.
Virche Evermore does make use of perspective changes here as well. You do see the majority of the game through Ceres’ eyes, but there are instances where it switches to another character’s perspective or even a third person perspective. These were used pretty well and can even bring in more despair into an already tragic situation. Or a cute moment when the game is giving you a reprieve.
Luckily, in this VN, you don’t have to worry about replaying the Common Route as you get to pick which route you want to go into at the end of it. This aspect was nice and does fit with how the story is structured. The Common Route basically acts as an introduction (or re-introduction for half of the LIs) and it would be weird to split the focus between the danger of the mass murderer and hanging out like there isn’t a time constraint.
Virche Evermore is a bit different than other otome visual novels in the endings department. You have the usual locked route (actually two here), but you can’t get any of the good endings, or Salvation Endings, when you’re going through it. You must get all the bad endings, or Despair Endings, and complete the Le Salute route before Salvation unlocks. There are also mid-route endings, called dead end endings, but you don’t have to get these to unlock Salvation.
Well, it’s time to go into all the love interest routes! As always, I’ll talk about them in the order that I did them in.
I went into Mathis’ route first and he’s a cute little bean that’s the sole heir in his family. He isn’t alone in his big house though as he does have a butler, Jean, who views him as a little brother since they’ve known each other for forever. Mathis actually comes from a wealthy family and he would have been the most well off LI if it wasn’t for Scien. He’s timid, shy, and a bit frail for a 17 year old since he rarely leaves his estate and passes his time with reading and writing his own stories. Just by looking at him you wouldn’t think he’d have a depressing past, but he sadly does. It turns out that his parents locked him in the basement for most of his life as he didn’t have any skills, but luckily his brother and his butler Jean routinely went down to take care of him and hang out. Mathis also has a dark side, as Bourreau killed his brother a couple years ago and ever since he’s been on the path for revenge. At first it just seems like he’s obsessively looking into the case, which his notes really helps out the group, but once there’s a clear opportunity to get Bourreau, he gets tunnel vision and switches to a more aggressive person.
When you start his route, it’s pretty peaceful starting out. It’s been a while since the Common Route and Ceres isn’t being openly hated anymore. However, Mathis has been taking it hard as he seemed to lose his will to live and locked himself in his room after not being able to get his revenge. Jean, hoping you’d revitalize and cheer him up, employs you as a maid. This is where you learn Mathis’ backstory, history on his family and the family business, how he’s writing a story based on Arpechele, and how self deprecating and thoughtful he can be. Some mysterious also pop up like Jean’s secret girlfriend, what’s going on with Mathis, and what actually happens to the missing women when they’re picked up by someone named the Deliverer.
I had no idea what to expect when going into Mathis’ route and even though I formed my own theories, I did not expect the twist. It looked like it was focusing on the mass murderers and while it did, it wasn’t just about that as it’s also about Mathis and Jean. This route is a total mindfuck as you try to make sense of everything and then you’re completely thrown off once the twist comes in full force. It has so many sweet moments with sweet Mathis, but so many crazy moments and reveals. I love it. And oh man his Despair endings.
I went for Lucas next and he’s the oldest non-Reliver LI at 22 (wow). Lucas is surprisingly in good health, considering others around his age are either bedridden or dead. Anyway, Lucas is a devout follower of the church and a teacher that goes around all of the orphanages to educate children. He not only teaches the core subjects, but also tries to educate the children on Relivers as he wants them to know the pros and cons so they can make an informed choice when it comes time for them to choose if they want to revive. Lucas is a sweet man as he’s thoughtful, polite, and patient. He worries about every kid he teaches since he can’t give every one of them his full attention in the limited class time he has. Though, despite his thin frame, he is surprisingly strong. Funnily enough, Adolphe is the only one that happens to see Lucas using his super strength and everyone sees it as Adolphe joking around. I could swear Lucas found it funny too.
When you go into his route, it starts out peaceful. After the events of the Common Route, Ceres is now in a good light after being seen chasing Bourreau and now people only whisper about her rather than openly glaring and telling her to move out. After one of his lessons, Ceres sits down with him to have some tea and Lucas has a coughing fit so bad there’s blood. Ceres, and by extension me, gets worried and Lucas tries to wave it off since he doesn’t want anyone to worry about him. Well, you end up becoming his teacher’s aide partly to help him out and partly since Ceres wants to investigate Bourreau since another killing happened right in front of her. The route is honestly a cute one, before all the despair comes in of course, as Ceres gets the hang of teaching children, gets closer with Lucas, see that Lucas keeps his cool while you’re around and when you leave get all flustered and fawns over Ceres, and his cute little sister. As the route goes on, you’ll learn more about Lucas as Ceres learns about his hospitalized little sister and their sweet relationship. His little sister is the sweetest. You’ll also eventually learn about his parents which he keeps a secret for as long as he could and why he’s so strong. There’s also some cuteness with the other children at Ceres’ orphanage being so jealous that Ceres is hanging out with Lucas and children at other orphanages and not playing with them. This route also puts a focus on Relivers, the technology, and the affects it has had on the population’s views; which I really liked. It does bring up some good aspects, but it really questions whether it was a good thing as you see how the population’s altered view on death personally affected Lucas and his sister. If you didn’t understand why some people didn’t want to become Relivers, this route will bring it more into light.
I went into Lucas’ route thinking he was a vampire, especially after Mathias’ route, and well, the twist was so much worse, brutal, and crazier. You can’t blame me for thinking that he’s a vampire, he’s not only super strong but he was purposefully drawn with longer canines than any other character and he was suspiciously healthy. I also kind of thought his route would lean more towards going way overboard on being protective since Ceres looks similar to his little sister. Boy was I wrong and you should have seen how shocked I was when the truth came out. This route was even crazier than Mathias’ and I was glued to my Switch. I know it’s wrong, but despite everything I can’t help but still love Lucas (plus he looks really hot in a certain spoiler-y outfit). The Despair endings are also pretty crazy and depressing, especially the one you get when you have high affection with him.
Also, this probably classifies as a spoiler, if you played Amnesia Memories you’ll get flashbacks to a certain LI in that game while playing this route.
Next up is Scien as he’s one of the most important people at Arpechele. Scien works at the National Research Institute as a Director and a Researcher. This is where the Reliver technology is held and Scien was actually the creator. There’s a pretty big age gap between Scien and Ceres. He’s the first person to become a Reliver and due to this he’s around 83 years old. Well, at least you’re told Relivers stagnant when they revive so I guess it’s not so bad. Anyway, despite being a genius scientist that pushes his body to the limits, will experiment on himself, and speaks matter-of-factly, he is pretty messy, doesn’t care about disrespecting people, see emotions as a waste, and see bodies as just vessels and finds it silly that people care about dead bodies. It doesn’t seem he’s all void of emotions though, as there are funny moments like how he loves to get back at people and his interactions with Salome.
Also, he has a pose which showcases his butt which is weird but so hilarious.
Anyway, it’s time to go into his route and as you can guess, it’s peaceful. Ceres is trying to get used to her new positive public image and you get roped into being Scien’s maid again when he sees you delivering another letter. It turns out that he’s way messier than you thought as it only takes him three days until his room is so messy it starts stinking up the hallway his room is in. The other researchers even call his room a biological hazard. So why wasn’t it as clean as it was during the Common Route? Well, Dahut usually cleans his room, but after seeing Scien seemingly trying to go for a record for how fast he can mess up his room he basically went “You can sit in your filth until you appreciate every thing I do for you, see ya ★”. Scien, who doesn’t see the use of cleaning, employs Ceres as a personal maid after she proves herself and some light blackmailing. This does allow you to learn a lot of things that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. You get to see deeper into Scien’s thought process, see the office (lab?) politics that goes on in the Institute, see how the royal family members actually are after hearing about them for so long, and the truth on the relationship between the royal family and Scien. You also get to see and learn more about the Reliver technology (even the dark side of developing it) as well as some backstory and answers to some previously unanswered questions. Not to mention you get to see Scien actually grow and go from wanting Ceres to stay working for him to keep his room clean to being okay with gaining emotions if it meant Ceres can stay by his side. Romantically.
You wouldn’t think this route would be as interesting as it was, but the combination of Scien and the interesting worldbuilding really helped.
Scien’s route was pretty nice. It’s a slow burn type of route and a must needed reprieve from the craziness of the previous two routes. There are still some crazy aspects and good reveals, but it’s more of a depressing atmosphere with a dash of despair mixed in. It was interesting seeing the office (or laboratory?) politics, getting to see the royal family after hearing about them this whole time, and Scien low-key falling for Ceres.
Man, I really know how to pick LIs in otome games. Yves quickly became my favorite LI and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that his route was locked. You need to do Mathis, Lucas, and Scien’s routes before Yves’ unlocks. Yves is the same age as Ceres, 18, and he was the one that saved her in that fire seven years ago. He did make it out alive, but part of his face was heavily scarred. It isn’t until the start of the game that he reunites with Ceres. Yves ended up becoming a member of Corps, a vigilante group that aims to protect, and is the owner of a handyman business called Courrune. It gets pretty confusing considering Yves, Adolphe, and Huge are both in Corps and Courrune and they often use Courrune as a cover when they don’t want the public knowing they’re doing work as Corps. Despite what happened seven years ago and being discriminated against due to his scar, Yves is really sweet and his holds nothing against Ceres. Yves actually came to love Ceres+ and sticks up for her as he doesn’t believe the whole “she has Death’s soul” thing.
It’s finally time for Yves’ route and it, of course, starts out peaceful as Ceres’ presence is somewhat accepted and the other orphan children are talking more to her. We also learn that Yves has been visiting Ceres every chance he gets, but today he’s here for a proposition. He wants to hire Ceres as a temp at Courrune to help manage things and general upkeep since requests have skyrocketed after the events of the Common Route. Ceres says yes partly to help him out and partly so she conduct some Bourreau research and be there if anything happens. While little headway is made in the investigation part, Ceres does end up helping with Courrune requests which in turn helps Ceres’ image as people find out she’s nice. It even gets basically everyone to start teasing them and how they need to start dating already. Well, until the despair comes back of course and everything starts getting crazy. This route lets you get to know Yves on a deeper level, get some backstory on some characters you haven’t yet (including a bit on Ceres’ parents), how quickly Relivers go from liking you after all you did for the community to hating you again despite all that you did for them, hear and see what Yves had to go through after that fire, and some reveals that would have classified this as the truth route if the game wasn’t structured in a way that it reveals and answers questions in each route.
I think I can safely say that Yves’ route is the most fluffiest and the most brutal route of them all. I guessed Yves would be my favorite LI before starting my playthough, he did become my favorite as I loved him in the Common Route, and he won me over even more once I unlocked his route and started it. I loved getting to know Yves more, having them fall in love with each other, and how funny it is that everyone else started teasing them. All this makes what happens once the peace is disturbed by death and despair all the more heartbreaking and the ending depressing. I do think the route dragged a bit towards the end and you really just have to go along with the science, but this is a great route with the best LI. For me, this was my favorite route.
Yves is such a sweetheart and after playing his route I can’t believe he isn’t who Ceres ends up with canonically. He goes through so much just to be loved. With how the route ended aside, Yves and Ceres is my OTP. Also, Ankou approved so I’m not the only one that thinks this.
Le Salut (Adolphe and Ankou)
The last route here is called Le Salut, which covers Adolphe and Ankou. It is an outlier, considering it focuses on two characters, but you’ll know why once you go into it. Adolphe is the leader of the Corps and he used to live at the same orphanage as Ceres before he moved out. He’s really distant to most people, which does make others think he’s mean and rude, but he is close to a few select people which reveals he is a kind, reliable guy. Ceres is one of those people that is close to him and Adolphe is also one of the few people that don’t believe the whole “she is Death incarnate” rumor. Ankou is a mysterious figure for the majority of the game, but he is the one that stopped Ceres from killing herself in the beginning of the game. We also know that he’s the “Watchman of Death”, regenerates quickly no matter how bad the injury is, and he is hands down the best looking character in the game. Also gotta love all of his poses, especially the one where he hides his mouth. I do like Adolphe, and this route did make me like him more, but I love Ankou. Ankou is so unhinged I love it. Not to mention how he talks and how much he teases the other characters.
Le Salut is the last locked route of the game that requires you to finish all the other routes. Le Salut resolves the last few mysteries that were left as well as acting as the true route and the finale. I won’t go into much detail for that reason, but this is essentially an alternate timeline. Instead of going to the orphanage after meeting Ankou like in the COmmon Route, Ceres instead has a little cry in an alley and is found by Adolphe. However, he takes you to where he lives so it looks like he’s detaining you to keep the citizens from going after you or the orphanage. This does let you hang out with Adolphe, but it also keeps you in the dark with what’s been happening and events do happen a bit differently since you weren’t there. Also, Ankou joins in and has more to do as well, since Adolphe’s actions upset him enough. In this route, you get to have some nice scenes with Adolphe and Ankou, learn their backstories, have an alternate timeline where events happen differently, and have the last mystery that was hinted in each route revealed.
Before I went into Le Salut I learned that it has some mixed reception, which made me a bit nervous. Though, I came out really liking this route and the ending. This probably doesn’t make sense, but it’s so crazy and weird that it just works. However, this route does not start out strong, but tiring instead. It retreads the beginning of the Common Route to the point where I’m pretty sure it’s the same exact text. It’s not until the meeting with Ankou where it really diverts and it does take a couple chapters for it to recover. There are two new, short, scenes that are added, but I feel it would have been better to either re-order these scenes (one could have been in the common route, with the other put in with the backstory reveal) and have this route start right at the scene where Ceres meets Ankou or give a quick rundown like what Radiant Tale did. I also do wish Ankou got a Salvation ending. His story is depressing, all of his endings are depressing, and I loved his character so much. I just want him to be happy after all the suffering he endured and it makes me sad he was kind of done dirty here.
Overall, I loved the story, all the routes, and the endings. There are a few lows, but the majority of Virche Evermore are highs and had me absolutely hooked. I was pretty surprised that even the Despair endings were pretty fleshed out (and a few dead end ones were a bit more detailed). There was only one Despair end that felt like a dead end ending. Also, I know I said the Salvation endings were the “good endings”, but they aren’t necessarily good endings if that makes sense. They’re good/happy endings in relation to what happened in that route (which can include the death of some of the characters). Nonetheless, I liked going back to play these and it was a nice cherry on top. They all made me so happy and so sad at the same time; so I guess it’s more accurate to call these bittersweet endings.
Other than that, there are a few features that I feel are worth pointing out. Like many Otomate otome games, this has the Love Catch feature. Every time you pick an option that would give you an affection point, it would be represented by a lycoris flower with the color that matches the LI you’re going after. There is also a status screen, but it’s not that helpful. The only thing I noticed different was that it slightly flashes when you successfully got most of the affection points. This also has a flowchart, which is really helpful. You not only can start from that scene, but you can see what main characters appear, if there’s a CG, any unread text, and if there are any unchosen choices. Though, it fills out as you go along so you won’t know how many scenes you have left or when it branches. There is a Scene List in the Extras menu, which lets you read individual scenes by themselves and basically grays out unseen scenes, but I still wish you can view the full flowchart before completing the whole route/game.
At the end of the high affection routes, you’ll also get something special when you’re sent back to the main menu. I was not expecting this and it was a really nice addition to each of the high affection route endings.
The translation for Virche Evermore -Error:Salvation- was pretty great, though there were some mistakes sprinkled all throughout like using the wrong version of a word, changing perspective for one line of text, and seemingly missing the middle of a sentence early on (which is the only one that will really cause confusion on what it was supposed to say).
To close it out, I have to say that the art and music was on point as ever. The music was wonderful, even the more gloomy tracks, and the opening and ending songs were especially beautiful. I know I can’t understand what’s being sung, but I can still tell they fit wonderfully. The artwork was also beautiful. There were a few that was a bit hard to tell what was going on, but I loved the art style here and everyone and everything looked beautiful. We even got a good helping of CGs featuring Ceres! We even get to see her sprite, usually when you’re in someone else’s perspective. There was one outfit I wished we got to see, the Institute researcher outfit, but I’m very happy with how much we got to see Ceres.
I’m so happy I decided to play Virche Evermore -Error:Salvation- in the end. This game does have some negatives, like the few lows in the story, you’ll just have to flow with the scientific explanations, Ankou not getting a Salvation ending, and a part of me wishes it did have fantasy elements; but the story was great, the LIs and their routes were all fantastic, and the music and visuals were beautiful. I also felt like the action was written pretty good as it’s easy to visualize, follow along, and keeps the tension of the scene high. Most important of all, I was obsessed with this game and couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I haven’t had a game that broke me down with despair, built me back up with hope, and broke me down again like this in a long while. It definitely lives up to the hype.
Virche Evermore isn’t going to be for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend this to those that don’t like or can’t handle dark stories that really know when to kick you down, but for those that do or don’t mind, this is a must read.