VA-11 Hall-A was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. A cyberpunk bartending visual novel? That’s what gripped a ton of people, myself included? Well, yeah. The surprise hit has a sequel, N1RV Ann-A, on the horizon, and I had the chance to check it out at PAX West. It made me immediately feel at home, bringing me right back to my time with VA-11 Hall-A. If you loved the first game, I can’t imagine N1RV Ann-A disappointing you.
I actually don’t have a ton to say about N1RV Ann-A, as I did only see it for 10ish minutes. This time, N1RV Ann-A takes place in a more high-class bar, so the clientele is a lot different, as are the drinks. You’ll have access to a lot more liquors and other things to mix in, including some real high quality stuff.
This time, rather than Glitch City, N1RV Ann-A takes place in Saint Alicia, an island in the Caribbean. It’s in a boom right now and all kinds of big companies are working there, so there’s a lot of money going around. You play Sam, who is the bartender at the Nirvana bar, as she and her boyfriend, Leon, struggle together in the megacity. One twist, however, Leon is a gangster trying to find out who he’s really loyal to. Can’t imagine that having a lot of drama.
Based on what I played, the tone is still great and mostly the same, the writing was a joy to read, and I just wanted to sit and keep playing. I think I went through VA-11 Hall-A in two, maybe three, sessions, and I imagine that’s exactly how it will be with N1RV Ann-A. It was immediately engaging, and I was hooked right away.
Other than playing the game, I had the chance to speak to Writer and programmer Fernando Damas. He told me the goal with N1RV Ann-A was to try to do something the complete opposite of VA-11 Hall-A. I took that to mean in terms of the writing. Fernando said he’s interested in exploring new avenues of story and characters, which should be very different than what we saw in VA-11 Hall-A. Based on just the massive differences in setting, I think he’ll hit that goal.
N1RV Ann-A is set to release sometime next year on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC.