The Silver Case plays out like a visual crime novel with the game allowing you to participate in cases in order to dig up evidence, which allow you to determine who the culprit is. It takes you on an adventure not only visually but emotionally as well, and so if you’re into really thought provoking narrative then The Silver Case is certainly right up your alley. The game is very detailed oriented and so reading through every part of the dialogue will be imperative to truly enjoying the deep plot. It’s also the first time the game has seen a western release, since the game had been a Japan exclusive for quite a number of years. If you love a dark gritty story full of twists and turns, then we suggest grabbing this exclusive title from Grasshopper Manufacture and ASCII Entertainment.
What to Expect
As aforementioned, there’s a lot to digest in this game because a great deal of it places attention on having to read a lot of dialogue. The art style of The Silver Case is still very much intact from its original, with visual upgrades to match with the current times. The uniquely styled panels give off a very movie-like feel, with cutscenes used to further emphasize certain episodes that occur during each chapter. All of this adds a lot of plot and character to the overall game and it can really draw you in very quickly. The gameplay itself is very simple in that, you mostly rely on using your d-pad to walk around and gather whatever information you can be it through contacting specific characters, or having to crack codes in order to enter secure areas. We’ll go into more detail later within the article, but for now this is what to expect as you play through The Silver Case.
The game begins with lead detective Tetsuguro Kusabi, as he drives his car down a straight road and is suddenly taken aback by a shadowy figure that stands in front of his car. When he slows down, Kusabi notices a tall young man who’s wielding a revolver, and aiming right towards him. The mysterious man fires a shot off only to miss Kusabi by just a few inches, and this suddenly prompts Kusabi to contact his team back at the 24 Precinct. However as soon as he looks back up the suspect vanishes and is nowhere to be seen. Three officers are then dispatched to the location of the abandoned Cauliflower facility to find out what’s happening, and to try and apprehend the suspect. What happens next is more chilling, are you prepared to solve The Silver Case?
Much like the photo above, you’ll probably be asking yourself that very same question as you progress. The Silver Case requires a lot of your attention and so if you’re the type to fidget around and drift off into space, then perhaps you’ll lose out on the content. As you progress through the story you’re introduced to a wide variety of characters, all of whom work for different departments with their own experience tied to it. While you only really have to read through the dialogue as you play along, the game does encourage you to play through certain cases which use what’s known as “Contact Points”, that allow you to interact with objects around you and save progress when necessary. Additional items can be found along the way which are known as “Implements” which can sometimes add more depth to the plot, but from what we experienced didn’t actually change the story in any significant way. Puzzle elements are thrown into the mix as some contact points require you to solve some numeric code, but for the most part are quite simple and don’t really put a strain on the brain.
While that may speed things up a bit, we actually would’ve liked the puzzle elements to provide more of a challenge just so that it gives us something to do. With so much reading that we have to go through, being able to change the pace a bit with something thought provoking would’ve been a plus. Be that as it may the game still cruises along and tries not to jeopardize the story in any way, which is a good thing. The entire game consists of Cases and Reports, and they’re split into two categories one being “Placebo” and the other called “Transmitter”. The game starts you off with the Transmitter and each case comes with a plot that explains a certain timeline of what’s occurring. In total there are about 14 parts to the overall plot that must be completed, 8 of which are found in Transmitter while 6 are within the Placebo. One thing that actually turned us off a lot was the excessive swearing within the dialogue, since it really didn’t provide any extra element of emotion and became more and more dull as we progressed. Kusagi seems to have a grudge against just about everyone, with him uttering the F-word two to three times in one statement. It just came off too brash and didn’t really help to make the story any more interesting, which to be honest starts to drag its feet along the floor as you start to go deeper.
We loved the first half of the cases because they really helped to escalate the plot, but as you start to near towards the end it honesty starts to feel a bit dry. The Placebo reports really didn’t seem to help alleviate the matter but rather just instigated it even more, which started to turn us away from everything. That’s the sad thing because The Silver Case has a lot of charm to it, seeing that for more than a decade the game had been exclusive only to Japan. It was like an exotic gift from the heavens but the more we started to see how things unraveled, the more we realized there wasn’t much to the overall appeal. The graphics were updated to fit the current times but you can clearly tell that’s the only thing the team really updated. The cutscenes were still stuck in the 90’s which gave it somewhat of a retro feel, but it just didn’t seem to sync well with everything else which was unfortunate. Since this is a game that heavily emphasizes reading it would’ve been nice to have some voicing behind some of the characters to really produce more depth. Sadly for most of the game you’re stuck reading through silently and while it certainly had its finer moments, it started to really affect us down the road. Voicing would’ve really brought the characters to life in such a remarkable way, and despite the game just being a remake this should still have been a thought in the minds of the developers going forward.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
There was a lot of hype behind this game which really is unfortunate because, now that the game has been out for some time a lot of that luster has drifted away. On a cultural level we can see why the game was such a hit in Japan, but bringing over a game from the east can sometimes come with setbacks and sadly The Silver Case came with a few. Of course the setbacks aren’t game changing nor do they really ruin any part of the overall experience, but these additions such as implementing voice acting and creating a more challenging puzzle grind would’ve really helped the game to maintain it’s value. It’s hard to recommend this game to anyone who hasn’t really dabbled with visual adventure titles such as The Silver Case, but for those who do fancy a great story may find the depth to be just the right fit. We’re not saying The Silver Case is terrible, because it isn’t, it just doesn’t grab you enough to keep you going simply because you’re only reading words and so the emotion behind those words start to lose meaning if you’re just reading them to yourself.
Very thought provoking story and character development.
The game takes time to clear so that’s a plus.
Even with the visual upgrades the game still felt stuck in the past.
Lack of voice acting really takes away a lot of the emotion these characters exhibit.
The Placebo reports section isn’t as compelling as the cases.
Honey's Final Verdict:
After we closed the case we didn’t want to go back to it, because well there’s nothing left after it. There’s no replay value within the game unless you want to go back and re-read everything, which is your own choice. Overall The Silver Case was a move in the right direction but it slowly veered off course at times, which eventually led us away from wanting to really go back for another run. If you had a chance to play The Silver Case, tell us what you think in the comments below! Be sure to also follow us on social media to know when we drop the latest reviews or updates on upcoming games. Also, follow us on Twitch to know when Honey’s Gaming goes live and come chat with us and get to know the team better.
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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!