The Silver Case originally saw a release on the PlayStation back in 1999, and marked the debut of Suda51 in the industry. Fully remastered yet still attempting to retain the same feel and atmosphere of the original PSX version, does the game come across a little half baked or does it manage to get things right? Lets find out..
The year is 1999 and the 24 wards are plunged into a series of grisly murders, with all eyes on one man: Kamui Uehara, legendary serial killer and assassin of a number of government officials 20 years prior in the now infamous “Silver Case”. You play as the protagonist, who finds themselves alone after an attempt to apprehend Kamui fails and your team is wiped out. As the sole survivor, you’ll eventually team up with the detectives of the 24 Wards Heinous Crimes Unit for their manhunt. But things aren’t as they seem with Kamui. Who is he really? Or should I say what is he? Thats just one of the stories mysteries.
The story is probably the best aspect of the game, it’s eerie nature and constant investigative nature will keep you interested. There’s plenty of story to get through as well, which can overwhelm with information on occasion, as conversations between characters make up most of the game as they race to stop Kamui. There’s plenty of grisly detail to the murders & swearing during conversations, some things said may even get the pearl clutchers irate – but it’s all the better for it. The story feels very 90’s , lacking the shoehorned politically charged narratives of today – with it’s pure storytelling keeping you intrigued till the end.
Considering this is a remaster of what is effectively a PS1 game, it can look better than expected on a regular basis. Saying that, if your feeling nostalgic or want to see how things used to look, you can switch the graphics over to the original. A simple menu allows you to switch different aspects of the graphics should you like a mix of new & old for your experience. The small windows feature cutscenes & gameplay as things tick along, with a nice detail boost over the original without going overboard and changing the games style during the in-game moments. The overall look of the game is quite engaging as there’s plenty of dynamic effects in the background too. It still looks like an old game though, but welcomed improvements to aspects such as lighting definitely adds to the atmosphere of the game.
The games audio can also be good on occasion too, with some eerie music that plays at just the right moment. There’s no voice acting though, given the age of the game its no surprise. My only real gripe with the games presentation came with the audio. During dialogue the words come onto the screen gradually like a split-flap display of old, with audio cues to match. Visually it’s fine, but audibly it seriously starts to grate after a couple of hours. The only way to stop it is to turn down sound effects, but then you lose almost all audio during the game. So what do you do? Grit your teeth and put up with it I guess.
Silver Case is primarily an adventure type game, and it is in its gameplay that you’ll see this the most. In between story sections the game takes on an old school adventure viewpoint, if you’ve played any retro dungeon crawlers you’ll feel right at home, as you explore areas in a first person view looking for clues to get through the investigation. The game is heavily contextual based, so finding the right spot to access a new area or advance the story along is paramount. Even combat is handled in a similar way, playing out like the turn based dungeon crawlers of old. Finding the important spots to advance progress can sometimes be elusive though, as they can be located above or below you and require a shift in perspective using R1 & R2. The game will usually display arrows next to the contact point notification to let you know which direction to face. It’s pretty simple if you use the new UI, the original wheel system can get confusing. To be honest though, the game can feel a bit dated at times – which is hardly surprising given its roots. Sometimes it can feel laborious even doing the most basic tasks due to its contextual base and slow paced movement. It may be enough to put some off, but as long you’re aware the game is a PSX release you’ll likely be more forgiving.
Yes, the game can feel a little too dated at times – even with the remastering work. There’s still a really good story to sample here though, and its paced surprisingly well with the gameplay sections to keep you entertained till the end – if you can overlook some of the other nuances. Suda51 fans will get the most bang for buck here as it offers the best way to sample his earliest work and features extra chapters over the original, with a recommendation also going out to those seeking a supernatural detective mystery.
The Silver Case (PlayStation 4) - 6/10
- Suda51’s debut work
- Faithful remaster of the original
- Intriguing & eerie story
- Additional chapters over the original release
- Gameplay can feel dated
- That dialogue sound..
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