Reviews// The Silver Case

Posted 13 Apr 2017 18:01 by
Sometimes a game should be remastered not because it was a good game, but because it is a historical curiosity, The Silver Case is such a game.

Set in a crime-riddled area of Japan, The Silver Case follows the investigation of a series of murders from the perspective of two characters. Primarily the story is told through text with striking 2D artwork to support the grim tone of the story.

This is a visual novel game through and through with no voice acting and very little in the way of motion graphics outside of sparse live action videos and some truly horrible looking 3D models that have been made worse, not better, by upping the resolution on their textures.

There is some actual gameplay to be had from a first-person perspective where you move around an environment looking for clues and solving puzzles. The Silver Case reveals its age here because the clunky controls are obviously designed around gamepads without analogue sticks - looking up and down requires the use of shoulder buttons. The commands for interacting with these environments are maddeningly overcomplicated, you have to jump through hoops just to touch a wall panel or examine something.

For a game that requires so much reading I find the choice of font puzzling. Designed to resemble lettering from a typewriter and accompanied by the sound effect of clunky keyboard keys clacking constantly, the two effects combine to make reading the text almost as jarring as that little piece of alliteration.

This is further compounded by writing that belongs to a by-gone era of video games. Some people may like the localisation, first seen last year when this game initially launched on Xbox and Steam, with poor dialogue and walls of text explaining why I should be fascinated with the titular Silver Case without really saying anything worth remembering.

With all this said I still enjoyed the story in its broad strokes, even as my eyes glazed over during long sections where there was nothing but text. I think any fan of the visual novel genre should give this a go, especially if they are Grasshopper Manufacture fans because the main draw here is that this is Goichi Suda's (more commonly known as Suda51) first game as writer and director with the developer.

Having now played The Silver Case in its entirety I wish they had gone with a remake rather than a remaster because it hasn't aged well. The artwork is still beautiful, but the rest of the presentation is archaic and will only frustrate players who don't have fond memories of text adventures from the 80s and 90s.

The upside of re-releases such as this is that The Silver Case, and games like it, can be preserved and enjoyed by new generations of gamers curious about the stepping stones developers took to get to where they are today.

Pros:
+ Interesting story
+ Striking 2D artwork

Cons:
- Archaic gameplay design
- The font choice is uncomfortable to read for long periods
- Dialogue is dated and cliché

SPOnG Score: 6/10
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