Aksys Games brings a new detective story to the Nintendo 3Ds. Released October 13th in North America, Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories, lets player step into the role of two detectives, Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekuru, to unravel a mystery of the past.
Tipped off by an anonymous phone call, detectives Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekura must re-investigate an explosion that happened five years in the past. The detectives must uncover whether or not the explosion was an accident or a crime scene by re-examining the evidence and interviewing their suspects.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is a visual novel adventure. As you play through story, you must pay close attention to the dialogue to uncover the facts and find the clues that will lead to the perpetrator. Most prompts have no more than four choices. If you guess wrong, your meter will deplete. Aside from the prompts, you must identify clues hidden within photos of the crime scene.
Pros: The game has a strong enough story to keep players interest. Through re-examining the clues and speaking with the suspects you uncover the truth and learn to stop working based on assumptions. The story is very fitting for those who like the detective genre and there are just enough layers to the story to keep players in the game until the end.
Cons: While the story is intriguing, you don’t get enough of it. Gameplay is about two hours, more or less, and the ending is so open ended you feel like you missed something. I wouldn’t call this a complete game since it felt like it was a prologue to a bigger, longer game. Shounosuke Nanase feels like a complex character with secrets of his own, but they are never revealed and cannot be revealed because of the length of the game.
Unlike other detective titles that challenge your skills of deduction, Chase walks you through the mystery. If you were reading the dialogue, choosing the right answer when prompted and uncovering the right clues is extremely simple. The meter, which depletes when you make the wrong selection, feels like it’s just for show so the game feels like a “game”; there’s really no way you can actually get a “Game Over” unless you weren’t paying attention to the dialogue.
If you want great, in-depth characters, this is the wrong place to look. The characters are flat, and while they are driven by their emotions because of what has happened in the past, they’re pretty straight forward and fall into basic archetypes. Shounosuke Nanase is your basic, apathetic senior detective, and Koto Amekura is your basic up-and-coming detective ready to prove herself.
For the price of $5.99, you get what you pay for. I recommend the game for those who enjoy the detective genre, and are fans of director Taisuke Kanasaki, but not for anyone who is looking for a detective title that can sit beside Pheonix Wright. Do you like mystery games? Which is your favorite title? Let us know in the comments!