I’m back in the land of the visual novel, this time with tripartite Perseverance, which is a more Western-style horror story. The story is ultimately enjoyable, even if you aren’t going to find many surprises along the way, but the title has some issues that could be off-putting. If you’re into end-of-days fiction, however, this may be a game up your alley.
Perseverance blends two primary storylines into one rather bloody conclusion. You begin Part I of the game as Jack Cutter, a resident of Grey Ville, a town whose primary claims to fame are a military base and a hospital. Those facts are rather important as the military may have been experimenting with human subjects that wind up zombified.
Jack is meant to be an average guy. He’s got a wife, Natalie, who works as a nurse at the local hospital and a daughter, Hope. He finds an escape from his rather humdrum life in his father’s cabin, which he uses as a base from which to go hunt in the local woods. In fact, the game sees him insulting Hope before going to spend time in said cabin.
You play Part II as Karen Stamp, a femme fatale who’s an assassin for hire, that has been dispatched by her agency to retrieve a research subject. She’s also got some real interest in the local gas station owner, which bears some fruit later in the story. Part III represents the intersection of these two stories, and it’s up to you to choose the outcome.
Perseverance began life by being released in stages over several years, and I have to admit, I cannot imagine sticking with the title if I’d only played Part I, which ends very abruptly after about an hour of gameplay. Over time, the two succeeding chapters were released.
The Switch version that forms the basis of this review is the complete story, which is really nice. However, given the length of time Perseverance has been in development, I cannot understand why there are so many grammatical errors. Were it not a visual novel, its lack of proofreading would be a minor inconvenience, but the entirety of the gameplay involves reading. The errors are especially prevalent in Part I, but first impressions matter. Part I doesn’t really give a good one.
The game’s UI is simplified and clean, which is nice, but I would have liked a “go back” or “rewind” option. For players who prefer to play in handheld mode or who like to use the touchscreen, Perseverance does not offer those features.
I did really like that in the event you choose poorly enough to end up dead, Perseverance will automatically respawn you at the last choice you made with the fatal one eliminated. You don’t have to worry about saving your game in that context unless you’re in Part III. Fatal decisions in the final chapter are literal game-enders, so definitely take advantage of the save option if you get that far.
Visually, Perseverance has a very “dark comic” art style, which suits the narrative nicely, and the sound fits the story nicely if it occasionally becomes overpowering. There’s very little voice acting, so be aware that you will be doing the reading. Grab your glasses, folks.
The title opens with a warning that its content is not suitable for all viewers, and that’s quite true. It features adult themes and activities certainly, but be prepared for gore. You are, after all, playing a zombie game, but parents should be aware of that if kids want to give Perseverance a go. Some of the choices you make will determine which characters live and which do not, and that can be a lot for some players.
In terms of the story and dialogue, Perseverance isn’t breaking new ground. In many cases, you’ll be able to tell which way things are going by the foreshadowing, but there are a few twists that you might not anticipate. Still, there are worse ways to spend sixish-hours and the $11.99 you’d spend on it in the Nintendo store.
- I found getting through Part I to be almost impossible because I had exactly zero patience for Jack.
- The game does stray a bit into the “Magic Indian” trope, just so you’re aware.
- There were moments in the dialogue when the speaker wasn’t entirely clearly identified, and that made parsing the story difficult.
- Note that Titanite Novels, the developer, is based in Poland, which explains some of the strange language in Perseverance.
- The title also tended to glitch for me in parts one and two.