What is AI: The Somnium Files?

January 2, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


New video games and consoles are always emerging, keeping avid gamers on their toes and eager to test out new storylines and characters. For example, some recently released games include Madden NFL 23, Marvel’s Spider Man, NBA 2K23, Splatoon 3 and Hardspace Shipbreaker. 

There are numerous video game genres, from sports and strategy to role-playing and casual. According to the 2022 Statista Global Consumer Survey conducted in the U.S., around 33% of respondents prefer playing adventure video games. Additionally, the survey reports that 24% of gamers prefer action-adventure games and 38% prefer the action genre, including fighting or platform games.

One popular adventure game released in 2019 is AI: The Somnium Files. Learn more about AI: The Somnium Files, why it receives such high ratings and more information about its sequel, AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative.

What is AI: The Somnium Files?

AI: The Somnium Files was developed and created by Spike Chunsoft, Inc. and is available on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Playstation 4. On Steam, you can play AI: The Somnium Files on your phone or tablet using Remote Play. If you play on a gaming PC, you can buy the game and other optional bundles on Steam’s website.

The game is for single players and is rated M for Mature (17+) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). It receives this rating due to blood and gore, intense violence, strong language and suggestive themes. You can purchase the game for around $40.

Here are some of the system requirements for AI: The Somnium files:

  • Minimum 64-processor and operating system (OS)
  • Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.40 GHz or better
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or better
  • 20GB of storage space
  • 2GB of VRAM
  • DirectX Version 11
  • DirectX-compatible soundcard or onboard chipset 

It’s important to know the specs of your video games to ensure your gaming PC has the minimum requirements because it will provide you with the best gameplay experience. 

A Basic Overview of AI: The Somnium Files

Now that you know more about the specs, system requirements and where you can play AI: The Somnium Files, let’s discuss the game’s plot, setting, gameplay details and other important information.

AI: The Somnium Files is set in near-future Tokyo. You play the game’s protagonist, detective Kaname Date, a special agent in the police department’s Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS). 

He is currently hunting down a mysterious serial killer. Date must investigate each individual crime scene to get any relevant clues about the killer’s identity. The detective uses an essential tool during his mission — an artificial intelligence (AI) unit called Aiba with X-ray vision and zooming capabilities. 

Most importantly, an interesting aspect of Date’s mission is that he can enter a suspect’s memories to extract information, which helps him progress through the investigation. On the game’s website, an eerie quote states, “The Mind Never Lies,” alluding to Date’s ability to enter potential suspect’s dreams using his Psync Machine. 

Luckily, Date’s Psync Machine is extremely helpful, as it forces key witnesses to share critical information with Date. The memories are in the form of dreamscapes, called “somnium,” and provide clues to help him solve the puzzle. 

Unfortunately, Date can only remain in somnium for six minutes, forcing the player to make careful decisions about what actions they take. Aiba, Date’s AI-powered machine, takes humanoid form in witnesses’ dreamscapes and is the player avatar.

Where AI: The Somnium Files Takes Place

First, you start playing AI: The Somnium Files to find yourself outside on a rainy November night. A woman’s body is found inside an abandoned theme park, where the perpetrator mounted her on one of the horses on the merry-go-round. Creepy, right? Unfortunately, the female victim suffered multiple stab wounds, and her left eye was gouged out.

Date, a detective with Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department, arrives on the scene and, much to his surprise, recognizes the victim. Suddenly, Date hears a strange noise from inside the merry-go-round. He enters the center column of the ride and finds a young girl who happens to be holding a bloody ice pick.

AI: The Somnium Files Gameplay and Characters

AI: The Somnium Files splits into two sections: investigation and somnium parts. 

As you play the game, the story progresses on branching paths, leading to various endings based on the player’s choice. If you’ve ever watched the interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, starring Will Poulter, you understand how your choices will determine different outcomes.

However, the only way you can see a full view of the game’s story is to play through each route. Thankfully, you can avoid restarting the game from the beginning to see each ending. In other words, you can skip directly to different branches of the route by following an in-game flow chart.

In addition, the game’s supporting characters include:

  • Boss
  • Pewter
  • Mama
  • Ota Matsushita
  • Mayumi Matsushita
  • Iris Sagan
  • Hitomi Sagan
  • Mizuki Okiura
  • So Sejima
  • Shoko Nadami

The game generally receives positive ratings — on Steam, 92% of 5,328 user reviews are very positive. It was also considered the 12th-best Nintendo Switch game of the year in 2019. Game reviewers point out a few notable, positive aspects of the game, such as:

  • Strong plot and writing
  • Cerebral and thought-provoking, yet accessible and easily understandable
  • Superb voice acting
  • The somnium (dream sequences) were creative and inventive
  • Positive reviews of the art and character design

Despite its positive aspects, some game reviewers suggest that some of the game’s jokes were in poor taste or unfunny. Some players think Detective Date is unsympathetic and consider him an “oaf.” 

AI: The Somnium Files Sequal: Nirvana Initiative

In 2022, a sequel to the original video game entered the scene, called AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative. The game is a well-paced visual novel focusing on ABIS special agents Mizuki and Ryuki. Both agents use AI-powered machines, Aiba and Tama, to assist with their investigation.

Their goal is to solve a bizarre series of murders, where only half of the victim’s body is found. Additionally, the two agents also use the same Psync machine that Date uses in the original game.

Use AI to Solve Mysterious Murders in Tokyo 

Spike Chunsoft, the creators, developers and producers of AI: The Somnium Files deserve a pat on the back for releasing such an exciting, adventurous game. 

While the entire game does not revolve around AI technology, it does play an important role in helping Date identify the suspect of vicious murders in a futuristic version of Tokyo. Consider playing AI: The Somnium Files for an engaging, investigation-based experience. If you can’t get enough of it, move on to AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative.