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NIS America The Silver Case (PS4)
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The story takes place in late 1990s Japan and is essentially about a serial killer and those connected to the killer. The game is split up into several cases and you follow a detective and a journalist as you investigate several different murders; you see each case from both the detective and journalist’s point of view so you get two different perspectives on each case. My main criticism of this approach is that sometimes I played a case from the detective’s point of view and got a good grasp what had happened and who was involved, but ended up with a limited understanding of why something had happened or why the culprit committed the crime. It was only when I played the same case from the journalist’s perspective that things started to make a bit more sense, however, in some cases this approach got repetitive as the journalist covered the same ground as the detective for a good portion of the case.
The game has a few puzzles but none really stood out to be worth mentioning. The majority of your time playing is spent reading text, moving around and interacting with objects (honestly in the journalist segments about 85% of your time is spent in his apartment logging onto a computer and finding out information from characters and others via email and chat). Being a visual novel the game is obviously very text heavy. I usually wouldn’t comment on the writing unless I felt it stood out for some reason but in this instance I felt the writing was not as good as it could’ve have been. At times I felt the text was padded with too much waffle and useless information without getting to the point; at other times where I wanted more information the writing would be purposefully vague and avoid the issue at hand. Furthermore, sometimes the presentation of the text made it difficult to follow what was going on which made the problem worse. Often you will get two characters talking for a lengthy period of time with no character portraits to show who is talking – in these instances the only thing you have to go off is a still illustration of the two characters with each character highlighted in faint crosshairs. Sometimes this isn’t a problem when you can easily recognise the characters but as characters are often drawn differently in different illustrations, or are presented from a distance, or are newly introduced, it can be very difficult to determine who is saying what. I feel this is something that could have been easily remedied by consistent character portraits being placed next to the text all the way throughout the game. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a lot of swearing in the text and whilst this didn’t bother me it occurred so regularly that it stood out to me.
Although I had some problems with the text and structure of the story, the overall setting, story and characters kept me interested enough to keep playing. Each individual case was interesting and kept me invested in the story. The characters are interesting and there are some good interactions between characters during the story. There are also a good few twists and turns that left a lasting impression after I had finished the game.
Being a remaster of a PS1 game I wasn’t expecting too much in regards to the graphics and sound, however, I felt that overall the game did a decent job here. The graphics, you won’t be surprised to hear, are not amazing but everything looks relatively clean and well presented. There are some segments which are shot in actual film which are a low resolution but there was probably little that could have been done to prevent that. The soundtrack is mostly good (with the odd exception) but there is an annoying typewriter sound when text flows across the screen which you can either grow accustomed to or reduce the volume in the settings. The user interface can come across as clunky at first but I quickly got used to it and went through menus and navigated the game with relative ease. I should also mention that there is an option of changing the games settings so it plays similar to the original PS1 version – but having never played the original I saw little benefit to doing so expect to get a trophy.
While I did enjoy the game it did have some shortcomings. Ultimately, this is a fairly decent port of a PS1 game that fans of the genre may be interested in. If you’re looking for a story and setting that’s interesting and a little different then this may be worth a shot, however, if you go in expecting an extremely polished game you may come away a little disappointed.