1. pikachu66

    OP pikachu66 Member
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    Detective fans. Want to play some detective gameplay? Any ideas?
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    In some ways I find detective games suffer the same problems as pen and paper games making the leap to computer games, which is to say everything is basically put on tracks.

    If you have not played the various things on the DS (phoenix wright and probably especially the prosecutor's path spinoff https://gbatemp.net/threads/ace-attorney-investigation-2-prosecutors-path-final-release.367451/ , hotel dusk, maybe layton stuff, touch detective, probably would skip Another Code but you might like it and the rest of CING's efforts had interesting things, maybe ghost trick though I can see it not scratching the itch even if it is a great little game, this list goes on for a while) then go with them. There are a few PC programs with user made cases, and some even do basically a role play as well which can lead to something actually being more free form.

    I actually quite liked some of the old CSI games. Detective is less of a thing here and they leant into the forensic investigation side of things (you did interrogate people as part of it but eh). This meant it was more of a point and click than anything else, though a nicer modern one (you put luminol on blood sort of thing rather than try to figure out the random logic of the game designer).

    LA Noire actually had some decent ideas, shame it was wrapped in a mediocre open world effort. Deadly Premonition on the other hand might be a dodgy engine but I liked it a lot and the sequel appears to be doing something right for people.

    The Wolf Among Us could be something to look at.

    It might take a bit of an effort to find a copy and get it running and even then the humour might not do it for you but if I did not mention Discworld Noir in such a discussion I would probably be banned.

    Various things called Sherlock Holmes can either be awful or be actually pretty compelling, and that will change again depending upon how much you like the character (or various tellings thereof). Same again for the billion nancy drew games, though those vary a bit less.

    The Runaway series could be something you want to do. I quite like it and investigation is its central premise but whether it is straight detective or not I don't know.

    The recent resurgence in interest for the 1997 Blade Runner effort is not without cause. Know what you are getting into and you might do well for it.

    I once reviewed a game called Virginia and upon checking a list of such games to make sure I had not forgotten one I saw that mentioned. Technically you do play through a case and career for a FBI agent but I would say more more as an interactive story (or dare I say "experience") than any kind of detective gameplay, not bad at all for what it is but if that is a detective game then so is Max Payne.
     
  3. IsaOfTheWorlds

    IsaOfTheWorlds Advanced Member
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    If you're genuinely dedicated to the concept of "fair, fully-clued mysteries" in the tradition of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, or are a diehard fan of the Holmes canon (who existed prior to the Golden Age) I can't in good conscience recommend many detective video games I've played. I feel like the detective fiction aspects are often half-baked and ill-informed in these sorts of games, the point of the genre entirely missed, and the logic oftentimes shaky at the absolute best. There are only a few games I can suggest you play if the "the puzzle of the crime and the methods of the killer are of utmost importance", fully-clued Golden Age mysteries are your thing.

    1.) The Ace Attorney series - As the series goes on, Ace Attorney (aka Gyakuten Saiban in Japan) gets progressively more in line with the traditions of the Golden Age of detective fiction, often oscillating between being howcatchems, whodunits and howdunits. It's a rare case where the focus of the case isn't on the convoluted methods the killer employed to commit the crime, avoid detection and frame your culprit, and some cases can even be considered "locked room mysteries" if you want to stretch the definition just a bit.

    2.) SHINRAI - Broken Beyond Despair - An English visual novel created by German men in a Japanese anime art-style. The art isn't the greatest you'll find in video games, and the opening segment of the game doesn't inspire confidence in the player, but pushing past it the game presents a fantastic, pure take on something like an "English manor murder puzzle mystery" and it makes fantastic use of a Halloween party, a setting weirdly underutilized in the genre. The solution is intricate, superb and fully-clued.

    3.) The Danganronpa series - I don't actually think most of Danganronpa's mysteries are very good, as I have a significant amount of issues with the series's approach to the mechanics of cluing. However, in format, even if not in style, the series draws a lot from "closed-circle" (unchanging cast of characters) Golden Age mysteries, and it's possible to predict the solution -- both the killer and their methods -- before the trial of every single case, and may be a good introduction to the genre for newcomers.

    4.) The A.B.C. Murders (PC, PS4) - Faithfully recreates the novel of the same name, has some of the least bad deduction systems in any of these sorts of detective adventure games but the logic is still shaky and the insane amount of puzzle box minigames may be a turn off.



    If you're just looking for anything that features a detective, and the format and style and mysteries are arbitrary to you, some decent games exist too, though I don't feel strongly enough about any of them to earnestly recommend anything. The best I can manage is Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, a fun puzzle game with an intricate occult mystery narrative written by Shu Takumi, the creator of Ace Attorney.
     
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  4. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter
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    I wouldn't have thought of it, but indeed: 'the wolf among us' is certainly a detective game. And a pretty good one at that as well (yes, it's set in the "Fables" universe and deals with some occultism, but nothing that'd break the immersion).

    '999-series'. I swear, one of these days I'm going to make time to play the sequels. Thus far, the first entry stands as a pinnacle of non-linear story telling (okay, the story's a bit farfetched at times, but still...a pinnacle, I tells ya).

    Also: Darkside detective. It might be a simple point 'n click, but the humor reminds of the best days of Lucasarts/monkey island series (it's rather painfully that I played thimbleweed park in the same time period, and just felt bored almost instantly. Still: that's a detective game as well).

    Havent played, but I'd certainly check out:
    -Return of the Obra Din: the idea is that everyone on this ship is murdered, and you have to find out how and why by using a thingy that lets you see the past. Well praised, and certainly more open ended than the 'on rails' description that the genre usually devolves in, but haven't found the time for it yet
    -Her story: erm...somewhat the same thing, perhaps? :P Something has happened, and it's up to you to use video archives to point out the what and how.


    Oh, and...probably relevant: what platform(s) are you looking for?
     
  5. pikachu66

    OP pikachu66 Member
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    PC or Game console?

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    4.) The A.B.C. Murders sound interesting. Is it available on Switch?
     
  6. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks
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    I'd recommend LA Noire and the Sherlock Holmes series.

    Really great games.
     
  7. IsaOfTheWorlds

    IsaOfTheWorlds Advanced Member
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    I don't believe so, no. Honestly, A.B.C. Murders is the one I recommend the least of all of them. I'd say read the book instead.

    The game epitomizes the traditional "3D detective adventure game", and I included it as my least least-favorite example of that sort of detective game. Mostly because a lot of the issues I have with games like the Frogware Sherlock Holmes games are fixed in this game due to the story having already been written, but the writer still tries to fill some gaps with gameplay and deduction and it's still weak in that department.

    I want to go ahead and throw my two-cents in, but if your heart is set on a detective game that presents fully-clued, fair mysteries that you can puzzle out, I'd recommend straying far away from the Sherlock Holmes games. The games somehow manage to be both of boringly hand-holdy, as well as unintuitive, and oftentimes you'll be punished if you actually figure stuff out before the game expects you to because the game doesn't let you "reason stuff out" in its deduction system until it wants you to. And oftentimes, if you CAN use the deduction system, it becomes a guessing game of what the game wants you to say because there's often a million different viable connections between clues but it only takes one (another symptom of the game getting mad at you for being ahead of it).

    The games issues mostly come from what I think is a strong familiarity with Sherlock Holmes but an otherwise lacking experience with the genre they're trying to emulate. Sherlock Holmes is canonically not meant for the reader to solve -- Watson himself admits to hiding evidence from the reader to make Holmes look even smarter, because he sees his job as being something like a hypeman to Holmes. This comes from the fact that often times Holmes's deductions aren't 100% possible to follow until he explains them, and sometimes not even then (because we don't have all the information anyway). A good example is the story "The Red-Headed League", where Holmes mentions that a man's knees were dirty -- this being information we're not privy to until the denouement. And, oftentimes, Holmes's observations are accompanied by a strong library specialized information -- information he either already knows, or has documented.

    The ability for the reader to solve the crime didn't come about until about 1917, around when the "Golden Age" of mystery fiction began. From 1917 to sometime near the 1970's, mystery novels focused entirely on being fairplay and fully-clued, allowing for the reader to deduce the same things the detective does -- being able to solve the crime, not only naming the culprit but also explaining the complex methods they employed to commit the crime.

    The problem is that Sherlock Holmes-styled clues aren't very conducive to a fairplay, the-reader-solve-it mystery, and the games are shockingly faithful to Holmes. The game asks you to solve the mystery as you play, but problems come in two forms:

    1.) The most important clues being too obvious, so you're way ahead of the game in terms of where the mystery is going, but the game won't let you get there until the little shit is pieced together.
    2.) The little shit's clues are often times unintuitive and it's hard to find out which of many combinations of likely deductions the game wants you to do.

    There also seems to be a lack of working knowledge of a lot of the conventions of cluing and mystery fiction present in these games. Red herrings are often the most basic and transparent they could manage, and a lot of the clues don't have many fun alternative interpretations besides the most obvious one.

    Basically, I can't recommend them to you as a good introduction to detective games unless you're a die-hard fan of Holmes who needs to consume all Holmes media, and even then I'm not 100% sure the games will be a satisfying exercise in solving for you.


    The ABC Murders game addresses these issues slightly because, being a Golden Age mystery, the original novel makes its deductions apparent and intuitive. But it still suffers from a lot of the genre-unaware issues that I feel plague the Holmes and Frogware Holmes games.
     
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