You know you’re in for something special when you play a Suda51 game. Suda51 decided to re-release one of its older games, The Silver Case 2425, for English players, in light of its recent successes. The game, which is available on Nintendo Switch, is a compilation of two licensed titles.
While we understand his desire to introduce his older work to new audiences, the game hasn’t held up well over time. The creator’s signature style works well in action games where you can have fun just by playing. Even if you have no idea what’s going on.
In a game with very little actual gameplay and an almost impenetrable storyline, the same cannot be said. Some will call it artistic and stylish, and they will not be wrong! However, that does not change the fact that it is. At its core, a fairly difficult game (and not in the traditional sense of the term).
The Silver Case 2425 features a young police officer named Akira, but you can give him any name you want. Akira barely survives an attack by infamous runaway serial killer Kamui on his team.
Inspectors from the heinous crimes unit, which includes the majority of the game’s characters, find him. These detectives, for some reason, decide to include Akira in their investigation. Eventually, they decide to hire him as a member of their team. This struck me as odd because it’s clear from the start that Akira is so shaken by his encounter with Kamui that he’s practically speechless.
When that changes, the game never seems to work out. The detectives continue to treat Akira as if he were a full member, despite his silence. Of course, silent protagonists are common in Japanese games. However, they are usually chosen for that reason. This isn’t likely to be the case in this instance.
Akira’s investigation method consists of walking around, talking to people, and inspecting points of interest from a first-person perspective. This approach isn’t unique, but it fits the universe perfectly. You must switch from Movement Mode, which allows you to actively observe as you move. Interaction Mode, which allows you to examine your surroundings. This shift is unsettling at first, but you get used to it. Especially since the interaction scenes are set up so that you can see everything.
To progress through the story, you will have to explore an environment or building multiple times. Keep an eye on what’s going to happen next because it’s right under your nose. In another segment, you must knock on the doors of no fewer than four floors of apartments and inquire about a recent death, but not every resident will have an answer for you. These types of segments, in my opinion, quickly become irritating. Even so, those times are preferable to when you have no idea what to do next to advance the plot.
When you’re on the right track and the story is moving forward, it tends to go on for a long time. Given what they teach you, the characters’ conversations seem to last twice as long as they should. Overall, the title is lengthy, if not excessively so. Many passages exist solely to provide and slow down the completion of a task.
There are also “Placebo” passages. These are similar stories to Akira but told from the perspective of a journalist, Tokio Morishima, who primarily spends his time checking his emails or conversing with his turtle.
He leaves his apartment now and then to conduct an interview. Although I understand that this game is essentially a visual novel, the amount of text to read in comparison to the minuscule amount required to complete the game is mind-boggling. The first chapter, Placebo, is very intriguing. It takes about 45 minutes, most of which you will spend watching Morishima learn everything I’d learned in the first part of Akira. It was a very aggravating experience.
The chapters in Akira’s book are about more than just reading. You may occasionally be required to crack a series of codes with the assistance of your partner, or you may be required to use an object to overcome an obstacle, but these situations are extremely rare. Knowing where to go and who to speak with is the closest thing to a “puzzle” most of the time. There isn’t even much of a dialogue selection, limiting interactivity even further.
The artistic direction is top!
All of this isn’t to say that The Silver Case 2425 isn’t having a good time. The hand-drawn gory images in the murder scenes, in particular, are truly disturbing. The character models are also excellent, giving each character a distinct appearance although they do not change their expression in conversation, which dulls their personality somewhat. Other illustrations in this style are often in a box on a portion of the screen, giving the presentation the feel of a graphic novel. There are a few short sequences here and there, as well as a few FMVs.
The various pieces adapt well to the game’s various moods, even if the main score, which is very rhythmic, appears to be much more energetic than the scenes it usually accompanies. With a good amount of keyboards and synths, this is a throwback to a more ’90s style of video game music. The musical atmosphere is truly unique, with a rich history spanning decades.
The Silver Case 2425 is a beautiful and musical game, but the interactions are too few (which is to be expected in a visual novel). I can see devoted fans of visual novels appreciating the game’s artistic nature without being put off by the lengthy dialogue sessions. Overall, I enjoyed the game, but I would advise anyone interested in purchasing it to do so!