And by “last”, I mean my last new game.
Warning: image-heavy post ahoy!
ROOT√DOUBLE -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition
ルートダブル~Before Crime After Days~Xtend edition
Regista / Yeti / Sekai Games / eastasiasoft
Release Date: November 2020
MSRP: $34.99 (Steam), $45.99 (Switch, digital), $49.99 (Vita, physical)
ROOT√DOUBLE -Before Crime * After Days- (pronounced “Root Double”) is a visual novel set before and after a research facility has a nuclear meltdown. It was a Windows/Xbox 360 exclusive originally in Japan in 2012 before getting an enhanced port on PS3 and PS Vita. In early 2016, Sekai Games ran a Kickstarter to release it digitally on PC and Vita, which was successful. In eastasiasoft published a physical edition of the game in English with a soundtrack, which is limited to 2000 copies worldwide and only available through Play-Asia.
I don’t think I had heard of this game before I reviewed the novel released by Cross Infinite World, which I loved. But most of you know I’m not a PC gamer unless it’s really, really, really cheap, so I had no intentions of picking it up until I found it for cheap, like if it popped up in a Humble Bundle again, which I only just found out. But as I was browsing Play-Asia recently, I was shocked to see a Vita version upcoming. It’s especially shocking since Sekai Games said the game was too big to fit on a Vita cartridge, but eastasiasoft worked with the developer to make it fit. Doubly amazing since Europeans only got a digital release in early 2020, two years after North American gamers and four years after PC gamers. So bravo to eastasiasoft for doing what Sekai Games couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
When I discovered this Vita version, I looked up whether, like a bunch of Vita games, if a Switch port is coming. The answer is yes. It’s being released as another store worldwide exclusive, this time, the European Strictly Limited Games. They are releasing it as a day one-like release with a reversible cover and mini artbook, a special edition, and the special edition with a pillow. The costs are €49.99, €79.99, and €119.99 respectively plus shipping (€6.49-9.99 to US). There’s also going to be a retail game-only edition, but I don’t know where that is going to be available. Anyway, Strictly Limited Games’ Collector’s Edition is far more sophisticated with an artbook, standee, and more, the price also pushes it up significantly. As of this writing, all the versions still have about 85% or more left, so it’s got a while before it goes out of print. At worst case, I figured I could still file the Vita version as a rare game. I’ll keep an eye on the Switch version though.
So Play-Asia puts the sealed game in sealed plastic, and in that plastic comes a little card showcasing it’s an exclusive. Evidently, it’s #70, so they’ve had more than I thought.
You have the box front and back. Both sides are the same. Top is just solid blue, but bottom continues the fire scene.
I got #613 out of 2000. A pretty decent number considering I didn’t preorder this that far out in advance (October). Most of the people I see reselling this game have higher serial numbers, so it seems to be random what you get.
It’s a very tight fit in the box. Almost afraid I was going to rip it.
First up is the certificate. The text you can see is embossed, so the raised text gives it a nice tactile feeling on this card.
Next, the game. Cover art is different from the box, but it seems like this is the main visual for this game. I always like it when the back of a game in a special edition is detailed (summary, etc.) like it was a standard retail edition instead of art.
Is… is that what I think it is?? A manual!! I thought they were extinct like dodos! I see it shows so on the product page, but if I noticed that when I ordered, I didn’t remember.
Open it up, and you get what each button does. Which, even as a visual novel with an unusual system, is pretty self-explanatory. Next comes the story summary. Then there are several pages of character introductions. Then there’s a trophy list. Finally, the manual ends with lined pages for notes.
Finally, the CD. Two CDs, which I wasn’t expecting. Yes, now I realize it shows it on the product page, but I think we’ve already established I either didn’t read the page or I didn’t remember. Doesn’t say on the package 2-disc, so I just assumed one. But it looks like the second is like the theme song single maybe? Either way, nice insert art. The back of the CD insert is just the same as the back of the case. Also notice how the two sides of the case are red and blue, one with the title going up and the other going down. A nice touch.
Honestly, the manual took me right back to my childhood. Yes, I know it hasn’t been that long since physical manuals stopped becoming a thing in games. But especially in RPGs, manuals were so cool. Obviously, they explained how to the game, but they also tend to function as mini-artbooks or character guides. Basically, it was a way to get me hyped up, to feel like, “Cool! I got a new game!!” Maybe some of you know of other recent games with manuals, but for me, it’s been a really long time.
Otherwise, this was a pretty straightforward unboxing. There’s no game-only version, so if you’d rather have paid around $40 and dropped the CD/manual, well, too bad. Even then, considering it was $40 for the now-unavailable Vita version and work had to be done just to get the cartridge release, the price isn’t too bad. Don’t know if that means it’s compressed versus the digital version, but I can’t imagine it’s that different. Just happy to have a physical copy even if I do eventually double-dip.