After years of not hearing anything about Taisuke Kanasaki (director of Another Code and Hotel Dusk) I was very excited to come upon his new game being sold at the Nintendo eshop. Sadly, it’s not what I expected. At all. And this review will tell you why it was so disappointing.
Cold Case is a unit in the police department in charge of, if you’ll forgive the repetition, cases that have gone cold. This means, old cases that were closed yet, for some reason, have the need to be reopened. Our two main characters, the detectives if you will, are Shounosuke Nanase and his assistant Koto Amekura. They suddenly receive a suspicious phone call saying that the explosion that took place five years ago in a hospital, were only one person died, was not an accident but murder. What will the detectives do?
NOTE: This review contains mild spoilers so read at your own risk. If you want to avoid them, though, just jump to “conclusive thoughts”. Still, I don’t really recommend this game so, if you don’t mind, be my guest to read why I think so…but be warned that it contains a bit of “strong language” if you will 😆 and that this is only my personal opinion.
I bought this game yesterday but, since I was quite tired, I ended up finishing it today. However, the truth is the game is very short; it somehow depends on how long it takes you to read through dialogue but it’s a safe bet saying it takes about an hour/ an hour and a half to finish it, which is rather disappointing. Well, actually, what’s rather disappointing is the story itself. The story, the gameplay, the length, the boring characters. Really, if the story hadn’t been so disappointing, I wouldn’t have minded the game being so short. I’d say the music is the only one who truly shines here. Let’s go step by step.
First of all, the graphics. Unlike Hotel Dusk and Another Code, which rely on 2d animations, Chase uses 3d ones. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with using 3d. In fact, 3d animations are becoming more and more predominant in video games, and the great majority of them are breathtaking. The problem I have with the ones in Chase is that they’re poor. Very poor. Detective Nanase and other characters would take like 5 seconds only to sigh, which made me want to slap their faces, and, really, there was barely any animation at all. It was always the same boring expressions. Even the editing was off. Some shots would take like 8 seconds to change to another one, making the pace tediously slow. Oh, and don’t even get me started about the locations in this game. Locations? What locations? The whole game takes place in a single fucking office. Where’s the variation? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the excitement?
Now let’s talk about the gameplay itself. In a sense, it is kind of similar to the one in Hotel Dusk. But only kinda. A very very small kinda. What I mean is, Hotel Dusk offers so much more interactivity! So many more possibilities! With Mr. Hyde, you could go over the hotel, you could solve different puzzles, you could question the characters, you could investigate every suspicious nook and cranny. In Chase, your only real gameplay is finding clues in a couple of old photos, and guessing the correct answers whenever Nanase is questioning a suspect, his assistant (to see if she’s “paying attention”) or himself (to recall certain events, much like in Hotel Dusk and Another Code…but that would have only made sense if the game was separated into chapters, like the previous two). Seriously, what the freaking hell. You only really got it wrong if you weren’t paying that much attention to the game (which I can’t blame you if you don’t cause, man, the game’s so boring and predictable) but it was SO STUPIDLY EASY. Where’s the challenge there? Gameplay? LOL. What gameplay?
As regards the music, this is the only good aspect Chase has to offer. Really, if it hadn’t been for the music, this purchase would have been a complete waste of money. It works well, it sets the mood, it’s catchy. Nothing out of the ordinary but the music is quite nice.
And now, my usual favorite part! Only this time it’s not: the story and the characters. Firstly, Nanase’s design is a copypasta of Mr. Hyde from Hotel Dusk. Main difference? Hyde is cool, Nanase’s lame. I’ll probably review Hotel Dusk sometime but let me share a little something with you: in Hotel Dusk, Hyde has a certain issue in his past which is only revealed towards the end. In Chase, Nanase also seems to have a complicated issue in his past. And this issue comes to haunt him in certain parts of the game where he “remembers something”. Imo, though, it comes totally out of nowhere and you really have no idea what the heck is going on since you, again, only “move” inside the office. No, Nanase’s nothing like Hyde. Nanase comes off as this boring detective who doesn’t have a care in the world and is not interested in anything besides smoking one of his cigarettes…Only towards the end of the story does he actually shows some freaking interest in something. Now Assistant Koto. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CHARACTER EVEN SUPPOSSED TO DO. When I came upon Chase’s trailer, I stupidly thought we could choose between the two detectives or at least play as both. Even though we “play as both”, to some very short extent, this lass was, like Nanase said, an idiot. Really, what is it with game creators and women? Why can’t there be a smart woman detective, for once? Why does it almost always have to be an assistant who’s not even fit to be an assistant? Dude, even Maya from Ace Attorney is a better assistant and she’s not even a detective (not saying this in a negative way, of course, I love Maya Fey <3)! I remember a certain dialogue in the game where Nanase talked about how the victim of the explosion knew about the gas leak, so the point of ignition couldn’t have been a cigarette, since that would have been suicidal. And Assistant Koto very naively asked: “What? It’s…a suicide then?” WHAT THE FUCK, I DON’T EVEN. HOW IS THIS PERSON A DETECTIVE. Then there’s the suspects and a witness (Yuuto Suemura)…honestly, one of the suspects and Yuuto were the only redeemable characters. The case itself is a bit sad but the way it’s told is SO PREDICTABLE, SO BORING, SO LACKING IN SO MANY ASPECTS that, in the end, I can’t genuinely say that I enjoyed it. I did feel a bit sorry for Yuuto, though.
I can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am in this game. It makes me a bit sad, though, since I’m a big fan of Kanasaki’s other works like Another Code and Hotel Dusk (especially Hotel Dusk). But this game…I don’t even know what he tried to do. And I’m not even talking about the graphics anymore. Sure, they’re not the best there are, but I wouldn’t have minded at all if the story had been any good. If the GAMEPLAY had been any good. I don’t even know how to categorize this game. Visual novel? Point and click? Investigation? There’s barely any gameplay for me to actually try to do that. Heck, I wouldn’t even have minded the case being obvious if the characters had been more interesting. I ended up liking the secondary characters more than the protagonists. I admit I sometimes get kind of irritated when they make women protagonists so stupid but, man, not even Nanase is redeemable. Only towards the very end does he show a care for SOMETHING at all. If the writer’s goal was to make this detective look cool by being lazy and apathetic…it didn’t work. On another note, Chase’s ending suggests that there’ll be a sequel but, unless there’s a review that talks wonders about it, I won’t buy it. The game’s around 8 CAD (my 3DS is set to Canada) but, honestly, you’re better off spending this money somewhere else…this game’s not worth it. I’ve played 5 dollar games with a better story and more gameplay than this one. I hope I don’t sound like a jerk, but I know Kanasaki can do so much better than this.
My verdict? I don’t recommend it. If you want to play Kanasaki’s best works, I’d suggest Another Code and, especially, Hotel Dusk (this one even has a sequel).
Anyway, hopefully the next one will be better. I still have to review the Dangan Ronpa and Ace Attorney games sometime!
Hope you enjoyed the ride! See you next post! (≧∇≦*)/