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Can you play AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative before playing the first game? Answered

Dive back into the surreal world of mystery and murder.
This article is over 2 years old and may contain outdated information

AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative is a visual novel and puzzle platformer that follows the efforts of Special Agent Ryuki as he attempts to solve a gruesome set of murders. It is a sequel to 2019’s AI: The Somnium Files, which followed a different protagonist through a different series of murders. Both games feature returning characters and mechanics, but can players skip the original to play AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative first?

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Do you need to play AI: The Somnium Files first?

Screenshot by Gamepur

The simple answer to this question is yes. The newest game in the AI: The Somnium Files series sees a fresh protagonist in Ryuki, who is assisted by Date’s AI assistant on his assignment to solve the Half Body Serial Killings. Much of AI: The Sominum Files – nirvanA Initiative’s gameplay follows the same formula as the original, with investigative sections playing out in the real world followed by puzzles taking place in the suspect’s dreamlike subconscious.

AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative goes out of its way to be very welcoming to new players. Early on, it asks the player if they are familiar with the first game and lays out specifically what answering yes or no to that question will mean. Answering no means that spoilers for the first AI: The Somnium Files game will be removed from dialogue options, allowing players to enjoy the new title without ruining some of the important twists in the previous entry’s plot.

Answering yes restores that information to dialogue options, giving players a more organic experience, but AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative remains a stand-alone game. Though it is set in the same world and features many of the same characters, it doesn’t require players to have experienced the original before diving into the sequel.

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Trent Cannon
Trent is a Freelance Writer at Gamepur. He has contributed news, guides, and reviews about video games for over a decade and has a special place in his heart for JRPGs, Splatoon, Sea of Thieves, and anything that's a bit silly, really.