All of us love the ‘reveal’ trope, proper? The detective gathers all of the suspects collectively and recounts what occurred earlier than declaring who the assassin is. The suspects sit there stewing of their anxiousness, and whereas some will appear calm and picked up, others exude probably the most hammed-up presentation of worry you’ve ever seen and, at that very second, you’re onto a winner. Movies and TV dramas pull these scenes off fairly properly, however it’s typically far much less climatic in video games. You possibly can’t assist however consider L.A. Noire or Ace Lawyer, the place the suspects often give themselves away with large, fearful eyes roving all over and different over-the-top responsible tells.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story options detective gameplay blended with live-action footage. On the subject of deciding on a suspect, you possibly can change between the characters to view them, and also you’ll shortly spot that some look shifty as hell. I assumed there was a very good likelihood this is able to fall into the identical pitfall as many different detective video games of constructing all of it too apparent who the wrongdoer is, however I used to be fallacious. Because it seems, some harmless individuals simply look responsible typically. It’s a very good job I’ve by no means performed jury responsibility.
The plot follows thriller novelist Haruka Kagami as she seems right into a 100-year-old homicide on the Shijima household property. In a “shock twist” that homicide thriller followers will completely see coming a mile away, one other homicide occurs whereas Kagami is visiting the property. Because it seems, this household has loads of skeletons in its closet, particularly murders, and it seems as if they’re all linked to the household secret surrounding the Tokijiku, a legendary fruit stated to grant everlasting youth. As Kagami investigates the Shijima’s previous, the participant is taken by means of completely different time intervals to play out numerous homicide mysteries and finally remedy every one with the goal of slowly piecing collectively the larger image of the Shijima household secret.
The Centennial Case closely leans into its two core parts — homicide thriller and TV drama, and it does them each with a good serving to of cliché and campiness. Nearly every little thing about it’s tremendous tacky, however then all the very best homicide thriller reveals are. It has all of the staples of a traditional whodunnit, stereotypical characters, misdirection, refined clues you could look out for, and the standard conundrums in relation to alibis, disguises, and naturally, grisly and sometimes far-fetched murders. Pair this with the overly dramatic aptitude frequent in Japanese dramas — brooding moments, over-acting, and characters swishing their robes round in a theatrical method — and also you’ve obtained a successful mixture.
The solid performs a number of roles throughout a number of time intervals, an attention-grabbing alternative that I wasn’t fully offered on at first, however it grew on me. I just like the idea that Kagami is studying the accounts of previous murders and so imagines individuals she is aware of within the roles of the characters. But on the identical time, if you see a younger actor with drawn-on brow wrinkles and a little bit of grey dusting on his head, you lose greater than a little bit of your keen suspension of disbelief.
Like most FMV video games, you’re going to spend most of your time watching numerous scenes play out with the odd query thrown in, generally known as the Incident Section. As a fan of tacky dramas, I completely loved this and I believe having a supernatural ingredient made it all of the extra intriguing. The completely different plot threads and mysteries scattered throughout the years weave collectively to create one bigger thriller that I failed to totally guess. To provide credit score the place credit score is due, you’ve obtained to understand it when a thriller sport manages to efficiently bamboozle you.
When it got here to particular person murders, I typically struggled to totally piece them collectively earlier than it got here to laying all of the clues out. Greater than as soon as, I appropriately guessed the killer however not the precise motive behind it, with multiple having a extra unbelievable rationalization than what I had initially thought.
The actual gameplay comes from the Reasoning Section, the place you pair up clues and mysteries to give you numerous hypotheses, earlier than heading into the Resolution Section — that all-important reveal scene the place you break it down for the characters and title your killer. Nevertheless it’s within the precise gameplay the place the sport shoots itself within the foot as if it’s afraid of being too difficult.
Through the Incident Section, clues seem on-screen as scenes play, and you’ll react to them to take notes. The factor is, it doesn’t matter for those who don’t trouble doing this, no matter whether or not you hit the immediate or not, as a result of they seem within the Reasoning Section anyway. So why trouble? It appeared fairly pointless and I didn’t waste my time on this.
I beloved the Reasoning Section, which presents a sequence of mysteries — questions that want answering — so that you can match numerous clues to, leading to a number of hypotheses. Typically these included CGI recreations, actually primary graphics, but fairly becoming contemplating they have been harking back to how proof is offered in a courtroom.
My subject with this section got here once I shortly realised that the clue tiles have patterns that correspond to the perimeters of every thriller tile, so that you don’t even have to trouble studying any of them to match them, you possibly can simply play sample snap to unravel every one. It’s simply too simple. If you wish to embrace that as an elective assist setting, nice, however at the least let the gamers resolve in the event that they need to make an attention-grabbing gameplay function out of the blue turn out to be redundant.
Thus far, you would haven’t bothered to observe any of the scenes or learn any of the knowledge and nonetheless be properly in your approach to fixing every homicide. So what’s subsequent? The Resolution Section. The primary a part of this has the 2 protagonists positing hypotheses to try to work out what truly occurred. It’s yet one more pointless function: it doesn’t appear to have an effect on something and also you solely have to do that for one thriller earlier than you possibly can transfer on to the very best a part of the sport — the reveal.
That is the place it will get good. You need to select the proper hypotheses so as and typically navigate a personality’s rebuttal to your model of occasions. Even for those who watched each scene intimately and remembered all of the clues, you’ll probably nonetheless journey up a few times as typically the characters will shoot down what looks like a superbly legitimate rationalization, whereas different instances the proper reply presents itself in a misleading means. It doesn’t matter for those who get one thing fallacious, as for those who make a mistake, you possibly can simply re-try it and simply take a penalty in your finish rating.
I used to be pleasantly shocked by simply how lengthy the sport was and it was all too simple to lose myself as if I have been engrossed in a brand new TV present. Ultimately, a immediate would seem to remind me I wanted to truly participate within the story, although regrettably, these few throwaway selections you make in a lot of the sport haven’t any impression in any respect on the story, regardless of presenting itself as if it would. The dialogue is barely completely different, however the scenes play out precisely the identical, which looks like a missed alternative. It will have been higher if gamers might probably uncover or miss clues based mostly on their selections, making their last case in opposition to the killer stronger or weaker because of this.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is a killer mixture of homicide thriller meets TV drama. Whereas the puzzle-solving features have a tendency to come back with an excessive amount of pointless steerage that can assist you alongside, it’s completely pleasant to have the ability to channel your inside Poirot and work out the occasions of the crime earlier than dramatically unveiling the assassin to all concerned. What the sport lacks in a problem, it makes up for with its thrilling plot that ticks all of the traditional whodunnit tropes that thriller drama followers like to see.
Rating: 3.5/5. A evaluation code for PlayStation was supplied by Sq. Enix.
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