The 25th Ward: The Silver Case - Announcement Trailer (PS4, Steam)
Who it Caters to
The last time we crossed paths with The Silver Case was back in last year, when we had the opportunity to dive into a title considered by many to be a cult classic. Sadly, because of its dated visuals and poor approach to narrative, the original started to grow bland very quickly. There were of course some moments that provided a rich immersive experience but overall, we felt that the game just didn’t live up to the hype that it built up prior.
So now we’ve come full circle to review The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, a total remake of the 2005 original that released on mobile devices. The team decided to rebuild everything from scratch to ensure it met the current standards, along with added features to coincide with the PlayStation 4’s mechanics. The core gameplay still remains from the original but with an entirely new cast that tells a new tale in the world of heinous crimes. Anyone who enjoys a dark and gritty detective style visual novel, with comedic humor thrown in for good measure will certainly find The 25th Ward: The Silver Case to be an exciting ordeal. Does it live up to the hype this time around? Continue reading to find out!
What to Expect
As with the original, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case tackles the world of heinous crime in a city that’s mysterious, dark and full of uncertainty. It’s your job as the new hire to work alongside your team of detectives to ensure that cases get solved, and that no one gets hurt. As with any visual novel experience, much of your time will be invested in reading dialogue and reading between the lines to ensure that you pick up on any clues to solve puzzles. Much like the original, the puzzles are clever and really encourage you to memorize a lot of things such as numbers, or colors that must be used in the correct order. For this reason, the game can be quite stimulating as you’re not just sitting there sifting through line after line with no excitement to carry you forward. Each chapter gets grittier and grittier with more plot twists that are thrown at you and it’s all up to you to put all the right pieces together. Nevertheless, it’s still a visual novel and so expect there to be multiple endings and odd moments.
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case takes place seven years after the events of the original, and so the entire team is fresh and ready to take on anyone who stands in their way. A series of murders have been happening and now you need to dive deeper to investigate the origins of each murder, and who committed the crimes. There are three scenarios that you’ll be able to choose from as you boot up the game, ‘Correctness’, ‘Match Maker’ and ‘Placebo’. Each scenario is split up into five different episodes in which you the player must journey through the narrative, and come to a conclusion as to how everything unfolds. Correctness dives into the world of amateur detective Shiruyabu Mokutaro, aka ‘Jabroni’, along with his potty mouthed partner Shinko Kuroyanagi, who must look into mysterious murders that have been taking place in the Seaside area. Many fingers point to a certain group of people who seemed to have some involvement in these heinous acts, but in order to really uncover the truth, you along with the two detectives need to go through various puzzles and memorizing number inputs to move ahead.
Initially memorizing the number inputs can be tricky so we just used a notepad to jot down whatever we could remember, which helped a ton. However we found when we truly allowed ourselves to stay challenged as we played, the experience felt a lot more immersive and totally rewarding. It really felt as if you were analyzing every scene with every detail and tracking down the culprit by using your intellect. Each scenario is quite long and will take you some time to really get through, especially due to the incredibly long dialogue these characters have with each other often. There were some humorous nods to Pokemon during one of the episodes which we found to be quite endearing, but we’ll save much of that fun for when you experience it hands on. Nevertheless Correctness was truly a thought-provoking scenario that really paints a realistic picture (albeit, the Pokemon bit) of the society we currently live in, and how much corruption can heavily impact the world around you.
Match Maker looks more at the life of Tsukino Shinkai and his dealings with the underworld of the 25th Ward. This scenario is a little more tame than the first scenario but still paints a pretty twisted picture. A lot of exploitation happens throughout each episode and the more you get to know about Tsukino the more you start to ponder things. Is it all for real? Was it all meant for something? So many questions start gushing out of your head once you really soak in every episode deeply.
Placebo looks back toward the original story of The Silver Case, which focused on the investigation pertaining to the mysterious Search Goddess. All of these scenarios tie into each other over time once Kamui Uehara, the original game’s antagonist, reappears and that’s when things start to play with your brain. Paying close attention to detail in The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is an understatement. There are so many little intricate details that you may often overlook but then as time passes and you find yourself deep in the plot, that very same thing you passed on hits you right in the face for shock factor. The game does a splendid job of keeping you on your toes as each investigation passes, but unfortunately, where the game starts to grow boring is in the lack of voicing. Much like the original there wasn’t any voicing to really give the life a sense of life. Everything had to be read by you and so, of course, you could conjure up some intriguing imaginations in that regard. However, with much of the current visual novels on the market providing professional voicing it really steals a lot of the energy and thrill away from the experience. You’re sitting there sifting through every line but there’s no real bond that you can build with the characters since all you see are photos.
If there were voice actors/actresses to play roles in the game we’d be overjoyed entirely, but due to lack of voicing to pair up with the very good narrative it makes you want to sleep sometimes.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Ultimately, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case was certainly an improvement over its predecessor but still lacked in the audio category. Visually, the game is still kind of dated when compared to other visual novels, but the scenarios within the game are so thought-provoking that you tend to not even notice. This game isn’t for those who aren’t too interested in swearing because it’s jam packed with excessive curse words every other sentence, especially in Correctness. It’s funny at times but after awhile it started to feel a bit too extra and really started to feel a little childish. The puzzles are still very enticing and learning about each character as you progress is always intriguing. It’s by no means a terrible game but it’s not groundbreaking in any way either. Those who are fans of the series will certainly find the experience to be moving, and we think even those who are new to the series will have their fun with it. Just be warned that things are slow and take time to really unravel, so patience is important.
A nice improvement over the original in terms of story and depth.
Narrative is still solid.
Puzzles are fun and keep you glued to the game.
Three scenarios to choose from add a lot of lasting appeal.
No voice acting really creates a bland atmosphere.
Visuals are still a little dated compared to the more current visual novels.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found our review to be insightful and provided enough insurance to make your purchase decision that much easier. If you’re new to the series then we recommend checking out The Silver Case, which we’ve also written a review for. It will certainly give you a better perspective on the things that take place within The 25th Ward. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest game reviews and more, and follow us on Twitch to catch us playing all the latest games live!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!