When I first downloaded Cold Case Investigations, I honestly didn’t know much about the game. I knew that it was set in Tokyo and centered on two detectives working in the cold case unit. I thought it sounded interesting, but past that, I didn’t know what to expect.
Because of this, I went into the game with an open mind. I figured it would be like a Phoenix Wright game, and in a few small ways, it was. But after playing from start to finish, I have some mixed feelings about the game. There was a lot to like and I really enjoyed playing it. But at the same time, there is a lot to be improved upon.
Below I go into detail about the main facets of the game: the gameplay, story, sound, graphics, and replay value. Everything here is my personal opinion, I describe how I feel and explain why.
As far as gameplay goes…there really isn’t ANY. Almost the entire game is simply pressing the ‘A’ button, reading through the dialogue between the characters. A lot of dialogue isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case, reading was the biggest part of the game. It was hardly a game, it was more of a glorified story.
There are a couple of very short parts where some player input is required, but these are all simple things. For example, there are some questions that Shounosuke (one of the detectives) is asking himself while thinking about the case. The player simply selects one of two options, and if the answer is incorrect, they get to try again.
This makes the game incredibly easy, to the point that you may as well be reading a comic book. Maybe some people will find that entertaining, but I personally want a challenge in a game.
But the worst part about the gameplay is the length. I thought I would be playing something that would take me a few days to complete…WRONG. I finished it in an hour.
Maybe I’ve been spoiled by modern games. But I really don’t see why anyone would want to play a game that lasts an hour. Especially if the game ends with a cliffhanger, and provides no assurance of a sequel. That just isn’t something I would want to invest my time in.
The story in Cold Case Investigations can be divided into two parts: the murder case, and the detectives.
The case was actually pretty interesting. Basically, a mysterious tip is given to the two detectives, leading them to reinvestigate an accident from five years before. The accident is quickly revealed to be a murder, and seems to be connected to several other ‘accidents’. This was the most interesting part of the game, and I enjoyed it.
But then there are the detectives. Personally, I thought that they were just…strange. Koto is an energetic young detective who wants to work hard and live up to the reputation of her older brother (who is also a detective, but doesn’t appear in the game). Unfortunately for her, the cold case unit in the precinct doesn’t get a lot of action.
And then there is Shounosuke. For most of the game, he sits in his chair with his feet on the desk, looking at a deck of playing cards while smoking a cigarette. He isn’t even playing with the cards, just looking at them. It takes a lot of effort for Koto to get him to do anything, but he’s actually a really great detective, once he gets going.
But the most confusing part about Shounosuke is this: every once in a while, he has these strange outbursts. I’m honestly not sure what is happening to him. Maybe he’s just having a completely random, unexplained panic attack, or he has some sort of PTSD, or some other related medical or mental problem. My guess is that something happened to him, likely an intense case, that changed him forever. Of course, this is just a guess; the reason is never explained in any way. It’s hardly even acknowledged, everyone just moves on like nothing happened.
Despite the mystery behind their backgrounds, the characters are still enjoyable. Sure, Shounosuke is often rude, and the player really doesn’t get to know Koto very well, but they are somehow likeable, in an odd way.
In my opinion, the game does a fair job with the story. Parts of it are predictable, and others are completely unforeseen, but I really liked how the game handled the mystery. It may have been short, and I don’t believe the events that take place in the game would ever happen in real life, but I feel that this game could go on to become part of something much bigger.
Sound & Graphics: Amazing
I really enjoyed both the sound and the graphics. The music was fitting to the tone of the game, and the graphics just looked cool.
Even though the game is released on the Nintendo 3DS, there are no 3D capabilities. For whatever reason, it wasn’t built to include this feature, which is disappointing. Despite this, the characters are made to look 3D on the 2-Dimensional screen. This provides a surprisingly cool effect, which worked very well on the system. In my opinion, it really added to the game.
Replay Value: None
I honestly wouldn’t play this game twice. I got everything I’ll ever need from it the first time I played! Besides, the game took just a little more than an hour to play, start to finish. That’s…just sad.
However, if the entirety of Distant Memories were to be included in an actual full-length game (and not this seemingly uncompleted lone episode), I would definitely purchase and probably even replay that game.
Final Opinion: Skip It
I liked the game, I won’t deny that.The story was captivating, and the characters were interesting. I believe this game has a lot of potential and I sincerely hope to see the story expanded someday. If a sequel is ever made, I will definitely check it out, and I advise you to do the same.
While many parts of the game are fun, in the end it really doesn’t have much to offer. Personally, I would never pay $6 for a game that lasts an hour. I would much rather spend my time and money on something else, something more challenging and lengthy.
Of course, the choice is yours. If you are fine with the price and length, the game is pretty cool. But be prepared for a lot of reading!
What do you think? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!
Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen
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The cover image is taken from Aksys Games: