Some of my hardcore fans (if any) will know that I’ve not actually posted any reviews for some time now. I suppose the past few months of slaying bosses and trawling through dungeons on other games has finally taken its tole on me, so I’ve actually been looking to review something a little less hardcore than the usual mainstream games out there, and I’m pretty thankful that I have The Silver Case to take my mind off things for a while.
Some of the more hardcore gamers among you will probably recognize the title already, if you have then congratulations, you’ve just gained +1 nerd skills. If not, then it was originally a release back in 1999 on the PlayStation 1, but never actually managed to make it outside of Japan. The version for this review will be a HD Re-master, still developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, but ported by NIS America for us all to enjoy.
The Silver Case identifies itself as a point and click, adventure text based novel, so you should probably already have a pretty good understanding of what the game will be like from that. You can expect to see a great story, chill out on your sofa and nibble on some popcorn, because things are about to get insane. Before you go getting the wrong idea though, this game does involve some action and movement, so don’t go thinking you can just keep hitting that X button for the next few hours.
There is no wasted time when it comes to building the atmosphere of the story and after a brief description on the current state of affairs in Japan, the story them jumps to the main character being shot at whilst driving home from work, before long a special unit will be dispatched, and guess who’s among them?! You! After chasing the suspect to a radio station, you’ll jump right into action. Before long, you’ll be in your first facility, moving around and interacting with things at all.
After a brief stroll, some puzzles and managing to get to grips with the unique control system, the plot will become deeper and, well a lot stranger. The psychotic breakdowns of people are linked to the return of a demon, the cauliflower station is filled with psychopaths who seem to be processed and covered in blood, spouting out nonsense and trying to kill everyone, and the game introduces you to more political matters involving the special “dispatch” unit that intend to solve the mystery once and for all.
I won’t dive too much more into the plot, as it would ruin the surprise of anyone who wishes to follow this gripping and intense story line, but needless to say that things get better and the mystery begins to unfold.
One of the main positive aspects about The Silver Case is he gameplay feature that features two linear scenarios. After each mission, you’ll be able to proceed with quests from the “Transmitter” scenario, which will see you control your squad and play through the mysterious murders that are taking place. There is also the “Placebo” scenario, which will give you control of a freelance journalist that is covering the investigation. Both are the same in terms of actual gameplay, but they both offer unique information regarding the mysterious storyline.
The controls for this game take a bit of time to get used to, and in all honesty could be made slightly better in order to improve the general gameplay. You have a wheel towards the bottom right of the screen, you move the wheel to either M, I, C or S, and then click on X. The M will allow you to move around, however you’ll need to make full use of the up, down, left and right arrows to do this. You can’t move too freely either, as turning left or right will cause you to spin 90 degrees, and back will flip you a whole 180 degrees (time for some dancing!). Moving to the I will allow you to implement certain objects like your gun, C will allow you to interact with objects to progress further and S will allow you to save. It can be a tad confusing at times, and does take some getting used to, but once you have a grip on it you’ll be just fine.
The graphical aspect of the game is not too bad. Most of the elements from the original game have been brought up to HD standard and It is definitely noticeable. There are a few downsides in that the window where you move your character is only about 30% of the game screen, the rest is used for floating text and character speech, however it’s not exactly a deal breaker. There’s also the implementation of live video into the game, so you actually get to see some real life filming. Needless to say, whilst the graphics could do with a little pick me up, they are definitely not bad by any means.
As far as sound goes, the sound is pretty decent. The background music that plays is usually very catchy and representative of the current atmosphere that the game is trying to portray. That said, there is a slight annoyance in that all the text has an audio effect which sounds like a typewriter. It doesn’t really add anything to the game, but with the massive amount of text to read, it becomes slightly frustrating after a while to have to hear it over and over again. With all the above said, the sound of the game isn’t half bad at all, and whilst the only problem with the sound is a bit of a nuisance, it won’t be long before you can enter the game settings and switch it off completely, so no need to fear too much.
Overall, the game has some real potential, and whilst the HD Remaster is great, I think the game would be better off with a complete overhaul. The plot line to the story is great, and whilst there are some elements of the gameplay that let it down, if you’re after a pretty basic gameplay with some good graphics and quality sound but with an amazing plot line then this is really the game for you.