Review: Chase: Cold Case Investigations (Nintendo 3DS)
- Release Date (NA): October 13, 2016
- Release Date (EU): October 13, 2016
- Release Date (JP): May 11, 2016
- Publisher: Aksys Games
- Developer: Arc System Works
- Genres: Visual Novel
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Hot on the cold case trail
Arc System Works has released their latest title, Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~, a visual novel adventure game directed by Taisuke Kanasaki, known for his work on titles like Hotel Dusk, Trace Memory, and Another Code: R. Chase: Cold Case is very much like Hotel Dusk, and could even be considered a spiritual successor to the series, with its gritty, film noir detective feel, and protagonist that is eerily similar to Kyle Hyde.
The game stars two detectives from the Tokyo Police Depatment; Shounosuke Nanase and his partner Koto Amekura, as they get wrapped up into investigating a five year old case involving an accidental death. There’s more than meets the eye to the investigation though, as the two receive an anonymous phone call claiming that death was actually a murder. It’s your job to clear up all the misinformation and find the truth of what happened five years ago.
Though the title suggests that there are multiple “investigations”, Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ is a short game, taking about 2 hours to complete in its entirety. This is excusable, seeing as the game is a $5.99 e-Shop digital title, but it’s a shame that there isn’t more, seeing as what’s offered here is pretty good.
In terms of gameplay, this is your standard type of visual novel. You read the text on screen, and occasionally there are questions regarding the murder which you must answer. These questions occur during interrogation sequences, where suspects and witnesses will tell their stories, and you must point out lies or try to obtain more information from them. Of course, should you respond with the incorrect choice a few too many times, you will get a game over, which boots you back to the last checkpoint. It’s unlikely that will ever happen, though, as the questions are ridiculously simple, and if you are paying the slightest attention to what’s going on, you shouldn’t miss any. There’s also a handful of segments where the player must scrutinize the crime scene and point out inconsistencies in order to move on with the story. The game doesn’t make an effort to tell you what you can click on, unlike many other entries in the genre, which can lead to awkward clicking about an object, hoping that you’re looking at the right thing. The text also looks a bit too stretched out on a 3DS XL, as if the developers weren’t intending for people to play on a larger screen. These are just nitpicks, but it doesn’t help alleviate the feeling that this is clearly a budget title.
Chase: Cold Case does a nice job with it’s art style, mostly black and grey visuals, which add to the gritty look that the game is trying to go for. It also helps that the protagonist is gruff and sarcastic, really nailing that classic detective movie style. Character animations are basic, but smooth, and lend a bit of personality to each of the cast, from Shounosuke’s abundant cigarette lighting, to Koto’s exuberant enthusiasm in trying to motivate Shounosuke. The narrative is nicely written and captivating, while the characters are all amusing in their own ways. Those familiar with games like Hotel Dusk or Ace Attorney will feel right at home here.
For the short time that players get to experience Chase: Cold Case Investigations, you get a nice, succinct story, with intriguing characters. The game lacks a little polish, but it’s still a fine experience. Hopefully, we get to see more work from Taisuke Kanasaki in the future.
+ Good mystery
+ Solid writing
- Text is a little blurry on XL screens
- Having multiple answers to questions is kind of pointless
The art style is nice, boasting some quality 2D visuals, as well as having great character design. The animations, though they can feel recycled at times, are solid, too. The jazz-styled soundtrack, while only having a few songs, is fun to listen to, and fits the mood perfectly.
Seeing as this is a visual novel, there's not much to the gameplay. Incorrect choices don't offer any extra dialogue or paths, except for a simple reprimanding that just asks you the question again. It's very basic, and doesn't require much thought or input from the player.
While the game is quite short, and definitely could have done with more content, it's hard to ask more from a game that only costs $5.99. There's no replayability factor, but you get your money's worth here.
out of 10
(not an average)
Though Chase: Cold Case Investigations doesn't last long, it's still a fun game. The game doesn't pad itself out unnecessarily just to lengthen playtime, and knows exactly when to end, as well as having a good enough story to keep players interested the whole time through.