Remember 11 -the age of infinity-

 

After finishing Never 7 and Ever 17 I started the next in the series; Remember 11. I finished the game ~1 year ago in English on PC. I hope this review will help a lot of people get an idea of what to expect of this novel. Remember 11 -the age of infinity- is a visual novel written by Nakazawa Takumi and Uchikoshi Kotaro. Contrary to Ever 17, even though Uchikoshi is credited for writing some parts of the story, direction and scenario are entirely by Nakazawa. The VN was first developed and produced for PS2 and later also released for PC and PSP by KID. There is no official English translation available, but a fan translation has been made by TLWIKI. This review does not contain any spoilers.

Infinity series

Remember 11 -the age of infinity- is the last successful visual novel in the 「Infinity Series」. Officially this series consist of 4 games; Never7 -the end of infinity-, Ever17 -the out of infinity-, Remember 11 -the age of infinity- and Code_18. However, only the first 3 are generally accepted to be part of it. This is a result of Code_18 being released much later, being produced by a different company (CyberFront), being written by different writers and not sharing the same universe as the other 3 VNs.
Another game closely related to the series and part of the 「Infinity Plus」 PC box is 12Riven -the ψcliminal of integral-, which should have been the first VN in the 「Integral Series」.

Description

A plane to Hokkaido – A third-year sociology major boards with 30 other passengers. For unknown reasons the plane crashes and she and 3 others are the only survivors. In the mountains, not able to communicate to the outside world, they are locked up in an empty shelter cabin, waiting for the heavy snowstorm to pass…

A clocktower at SPHIA – A graduate student in quantum physics is pushed from the tower and later regains conciousness in the SPHIA facility where 3 other people are staying. Not being able to leave because of a heavy snowstorm he tries to regain his memories and figure out who of the present people wants to kill him…

Soon however, both realize their persona and locations share an important connection…           「who are you…?」

Art is done by Hidari and music is by Abo Takeshi. This opening is 「Little Prophet」 by KAORI, the singer that also did the opening for Ever 17 (LeMU). I read Remember 11 before I/O Revision II, however both share a certain style, possibly because they have the same writer. If you already read I/O you might have a better idea of what to expect from this VN.

Note that there is no sexual content in this story, actually romance in general is negligible.

Game structure 

The story of Remember 11 consists of 2 routes which both have their own bad endings. The 2 routes are pretty straightforward and can only be played in 1 order the first time. Both only have 1 “normal” ending. However, the choices you make in one route will greatly influence the events in the other route and the other way around. Together there are 33 endings (bad endings included) and some are really tricky to get, because you need to have certain conditions in both routes. It is hard to 100% complete this game (getting all the bad endings) without a walkthrough. After finishing 1 route, the tracking system will be available. You can see what endings and tips are still open. Also if you finish a route but have not yet seen everything, a message appears at the end of the route before you return to the title screen.
Contrary to a lot of other VNs, the bad endings in Remember 11 are really important to understand the story. You will miss a lot of information and probably be left in the dark if you do not read them.

Story

The story begins at A.D. 2011 1/11 Tuesday,  at 2 different locations with 2 different persons as the main character. Here the 2 routes split, each describing 1. The timespan of the story is 7 days.

Kokoro route

kokoro1In this route you will be playing as Fuyukawa Kokoro, who is trapped in an empty shelter cabin while outside the storm is raging. Kokoro begins as a somewhat lighthearted character, even though the reason of her flight to Hokkaido is quite dark and interesting. In these hard times Kokoro’s best support is Yuni, a young boy she met on the plane and also survived this disaster. In the first days you won’t really feel the seriousness of the situation as a reader. You are trapped and have a high chance of dying. However, jokes are still made and the mood feels somewhat careless. Besides being trapped a strange phenomenon is going on between Kokoro and the main character of the other route, Yukidoh Satoru. When the days pass, the story will gradually get more serious and the mystery behind what is actually going on only grows. Kokoro route won’t feel that mysterious and is quite easy to follow until you realize that in the end of the route nothing makes sense anymore. With these feelings you will be starting Yukidoh route, searching for answers.

Yukidoh route

Yukidoh1In this route you will be playing as Yukidoh Satoru, who is trapped in SPHIA facility. The atmosphere in this route is a lot more serious from the beginning, which is caused by firstly Yukidoh’s personality and secondly the fact you are looking for answers to the questions generated in Kokoro route. Yukidoh notices the connection between Kokoro and himself really soon and tries to figure out what is going on. Reaching the end of this route you will find some answers to all those questions build up in the entire vn, but many more questions will be generated by this. And this is how Yukidoh route ends.

Completion

RememberPuzzle

The line of non-completion is the only thing left for you at this moment. And you can eventually find a lot of answers in the rest of the remaining lines and scenes. This is where the bad ends come in. If we imagine this game as a big puzzle, you can see the 2 routes as its border. You always first lay the main border, it is quite simple since its easy to see what pieces to pick. After that the hard work starts, you need to fill up the big empty space in the middle. Your only hint to what pieces to lay is the border already set. The bad ends are the random puzzle pieces you get to see and you have to put them in place yourself to complete the picture. In other words, you have to answer your own questions based on the  pieces of information you find in the bad ends. After completing all content, there are still some things unconfirmed, and you can only theorize about it.

Positive points

Story: Remember 11 has a really interesting story which gradually turns more complex. It is fun enough to keep reading and even with only the bad ends as completion you can make a solid theory.

Characters: Every character gets a little bit of development somewhere in the 2 main routes. Some facts you will only find in the bad ends though, but these are mostly connections between certain characters. All the characters are voiced, main characters included.

Art: Personally I liked the art, so this is a positive point. This VN also features lip-sync, you will be shown a lot of the same backgrounds, so this should make it feel less static.

Negative points

Story: A negative point of the story is that it feels really incomplete, because this is in fact exactly the “problem” with this VN. It lacks a route where the full puzzle is presented to you, or at least all of the information you need to properly finish the puzzle. There are a lot of theories about the unconfirmed mysteries in Remember 11, they are interesting in their own way. This way the bad ends are kind of making up for a missing last route, but the visual novel is still considered incomplete by many people. Which brings me to the game structure.

Game structure: Originally it was planned to add much more content but this was not possible at the time. This makes the structure a bit annoying to deal with. You can’t get the information to finish the puzzle without having to go through an “infinite loop” of repeating the 2 main routes. Maybe this actually fits the story, and maybe this was the best solution they had at the time, but this is not the optimal structure for a story as deep and complex as this was supposed to become.

Characters: A negative point for the characters might be that none of them really stood out.

Music: The music was not bad at all, but just nothing special. It often felt a bit plain and didn’t add too much to the atmosphere at those times.

My rating: 7.5/10

Should you read this visual novel?
If you are never playing bad endings and not interested in reading them in R11 either – No, it’s not worth it.
If you loved Ever 17 and are looking for a visual novel like it – You might get disappointed: R11 has a really different style and has no true route.
If you love these kind of scifi stories but are not willing to spend too much time to get all of the bad endings – Yes, it’s still worth to check out: you can still find a lot of discussions about R11 on forums and some people wrote down their entire theory (here for example -> mind spoilers!). This is also a way to complete the puzzle.

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