As someone who has multiple mental illnesses and has been in therapy, the premise of Eliza immediately intrigued me. This is a visual novel that centers on a woman named Evelyn who becomes a proxy for clients while using an AI to guide each individual to the best therapeutic practices for them. Zachtronic’s Eliza is an experience that isn’t afraid to elicit deep thought from the player, and encourages you to make your own decisions about what’s right and wrong. If you’re a fan of visual novels and are interested in the topics of mental health and AI, this will be right up your alley.
I adored the art style of this game. It’s soothing yet beautiful, simple yet full of small details that accentuate the narrative. The character models are especially striking, while the environments are subtle but are perfect for each segment. The voice acting is also excellent, featuring the talents of Aily Kei, Krizia Bajos, Cissy Jones, Roger Craig Smith, and other amazing actors. Each voice felt perfectly suited to each character, and really made me connect with everyone I encountered during my playthrough.
If you’re expecting a lot of gameplay with Eliza, you’ll be disappointed. The three to four hour story involves just reading, interacting with a few items in the environment, and selecting dialogue options. You also have a smartphone in the game, but you can only really interact with it when you receive a new email or text or a meditation app prompts you to open it. I loved this aspect, but some players may feel short-changed or bored if they’ve never played a game in this genre before. A plus, though, is the fact that Eliza has multiple endings and a chapter select so you can jump in and select different choices without having to start completely over from scratch.
The only tiny gripe I have with this game is the fact that the dialogue sometimes doesn’t match up perfectly with the voice acting. This is just a tiny nitpick, but I felt like I should mention this in case you have OCD like I do. Overall, this is a visual novel that should be experienced by anyone in love with the genre, and/or are interested in the fields of mental health and technology. Excellent voice acting, an intriguing narrative, beautiful visuals, and interesting characters make this an absolutely important gem.
-Top-notch voice acting
-Isn’t afraid to delve into topics such as mental health
-Won’t convert anyone who doesn’t like visual novels
-A few lines of dialogue don’t match up to what’s written
*Thank you to Zachtronics and Alliance Media Holdings for providing me with a review code.
**All images and videos belong to Zachtronics and Alliance Media Holdings