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Review: The Silver Case

Suda 51, the man responsible for great games like No More Heroes, Killer 7, Shadows of the Damned and a lot more, once started his career with a game called ‘The Silver Case’. This game originally released back in 1999 but received an HD-remake on PlayStation 4. It’s not the most modern game out there but it’s interesting enough to check it out.

Same story, told twice

Gamers who are familiar with the work of Suda 51 already know that he’s not a traditional developer. He’s always trying to find new ways to tell a story and always adds some innovating mechanisms to make things interesting. Since The Silver Case was his first game, he kept things safe but already managed to think outside of the box. Created back in 1999, the actual game also takes place in that same year.

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You’re part of a city called 24 Wards, a city that’s currently under a lot of stress due to multiple murders. There’s a serial killer running loose and it’s your job to stop him. The  High-Degree Murder Division (HMD) is forced to take on the case, hoping to finally bring down the killer. Seems like a traditional plot but it’s filled with the unexpected. The best thing about it all is that you’ll witness the events from two different angles.

Read and search

The most interesting mechanism in the game is the two different scenarios you’re following. You start with the ‘Transmitter’ story, where you’re part of the investigation team. During this chapter, you’ll visit multiple crime scenes where you’ll need to search the rooms for hints. This is the more action packed approach and feels most like a regular game. It’s fun to discover the different rooms and investigate them for clues.

The second scenario is called Placebo and focusses on the same scenes but this time you’re a freelance journalist. During these chapters, you’re playing a visual novel. As a freelance journalist, you’ll read a lot of mails to discover more about the events or you can have some useless conversations with your turtle, whatever works best for you.

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The fun thing about this approach is that you’ll get sucked into the story without any problems. Seeing the events from two different perspectives only gives more depth to the story, making it more interesting than you thought at first sight. Suda 51 is known for strange stories and The Silver Case isn’t an exception.

Not the best presentation

Although the story is interesting enough to keep you hooked to your screen for a couple of hours, I couldn’t help but feel that ‘The Silver Case’ isn’t the best game on the market. It struggles to deliver on graphics and dialogues. We know Suda 51 is fan of strange and unnecessary dialogues but in a visual novel, it’s a bit of a shame that a lot of the dialogues are mere fillers to stretch out the gameplay. The game is filled with useful dialogues and strange jokes that just miss their purpose. You’ll be clicking away a lot of text since it’s of none importance for the story. A bit of a shame to honest since the story itself is actually rather interesting and worth discovering. Too bad the dialogues aren’t always as strong as they should.

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The same can be said about the graphics. It’s a good idea to support the story with different floating panels, showing the events. What isn’t such a good idea however, is trying to use different styles. Some panels are hand drawn, others are 3D or even anime. It’s strange to see those styles combined as one and to be honest, it doesn’t always works. The game also like to recycle a lot of things so you’ll see the same building multiple times or meet the same characters over and over again. This is something that could have been a lot better in this HD-remake.

Conclusion:

The Silver Case isn’t the best visual novel on the market and struggles to deliver a strong presentation or memorable dialogue. The story is interesting enough to give it a go but the game itself feels a little too old to really be enjoyable. If you’re a fan of Suda 51’s work, you’ll like this one, if not, it’s not really worth checking out.

6/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.