If you had suggested us in January that an FMV execute-mystery title would become regarded as one of our most memorable experiences on the Swap this three hundred and sixty five days, we’d own looked at you as whenever you happen to had been regarded as one of The Centennial Case: A Shijima Narrative’s top execute suspects. Directed by Koichiro Ito (scenario style designer for Metal Gear Solid V) and produced by Junichi Ehara (NieR: Automata) at Square Enix, it in a single scheme slipped our scrutinize for a while fancy a artful killer skulking about within the night, but we’re cheerful to own lastly caught this offender.
The Centennial Case revolves around Haruka Kagami, a mystery novel author, and Eiji Shijima, a scientist learning the cell increasing older direction of. After a skeleton is unearthed at Eiji’s ancestral dwelling, he asks Haruka to chase with him to analyze the mysteries that surround his family, while he himself searches for a fruit handed down in his family that can quit the increasing older direction of.
Things run snappily awry at the Shijima estate, thrusting Haruka (and by extension the player) into the role of execute detective. These murders don’t happen absolute best within the novel; through artistic device devices — corresponding to Haruka reading a pair of execute which occured a century prior — circumstances from quite a lot of a long time play out fancy episodes from a Netflix drama with above-moderate production values. The revelations of these historical crimes present context to the predominant fable with a glorious, blood-stained bow.
We won’t smash to any extent extra than that. The complete pleasure here comes from uncovering the mysteries and solving the murders for yourself – belief us.
The Centennial Case arrangement a diminutive solid of Jap actors and actresses taking on several quite a lot of roles. As an illustration, Nanami Sakuraba performs each 28-three hundred and sixty five days-prone Haruka Kagami within the novel and 17 three hundred and sixty five days-prone Yoshino Shijima from a quite a lot of timeframe. An actor taking part within the sufferer in a single decade may per chance effectively be the offender in a single other, and this is ethical of the final solid. All solid individuals give admirable performances in each of their quite a lot of roles. No longer as soon as did we uncover ourselves stressed as to who became as soon as who.
[Author’s note: my wife is Japanese and knew the whole cast quite well. Square Enix surprised her at the impressive amount of talent they had wrangled together here.]
The gameplay loop of The Centennial Case consists of three phases. The Incident Portion showcases the events surrouding a execute. Within the course of this piece, dialogue decisions regarded that allowed us to prefer Haruka’s response, but this had no discernible discontinuance quite a lot of than keeping us engaged with the fable. Normally, prompts to win clues – pressing the ‘X’ button – regarded as effectively, but these distracted us from the parable more than the relaxation. Hundreds of more important clues passed by with out a suggested which rewarded us for paying rapt consideration. Luckily, we may per chance also cease, rewind, or skip forward at any moment.
And hear we did for the reason that murders dedicated are wild. An early case arrangement a monster that wouldn’t be out of space in an episode of Scooby-Doo. Resourceful killing contraptions and purple herrings abound to distract you from uncovering the particular offender. It’s all a bit campy within the absolute best system that you just may per chance bring to mind, especially for the reason that solid performs it straight, although we stumbled on — fairly ironically given the detective work at hand — that a puny suspension of disbelief became as soon as required to hurdle some questionable leaps in common sense.
The following piece, nonetheless, is the set our predominant criticism arose. After the incident occurs, it’s up to Sakuraba’s character – whether or now not Haruka or someone from a quite a lot of decade – to share collectively the clues within the Hypotheses Portion. This performs out as a truly easy matching minigame the set we needed to pull important clues from the splendid-hand facet of the conceal and tumble them onto a hexagonal grid. Symbols strengthen each tile to do this more uncomplicated, and we may per chance also rewatch the full scenes at our leisure, but the approach had the full charm of a listless jigsaw puzzle. We normally had a thought of what occurred and who the suspect became as soon as, but we peaceable needed to pull and tumble tiles for 20 minutes sooner than we may per chance also transfer onto the conclusion.
Following this, we entered our favourite piece – the Solution Portion. Here, a dramatic musical ranking builds rigidity as Sakuraba’s character speaks to the gathered suspects, revealing clues sooner than declaring the assassin. It became as soon as up to us to make a choice from the hypotheses shaped to infer what had occurred. We in most cases stumbled on the outline of the hypotheses too vague, with several decisions practically indistinguishable from the others, causing us to do a demanding mistake.
When a mistake became as soon as made, silly or admonishing scenes came about sooner than the sport booted us lend a hand to the Hypotheses Portion. Luckily, we may per chance also snappily forward lend a hand to the set we screwed up. There are now not any alternate endings or divergent paths here – we needed to describe the singular line of reasoning to attain the device. This added a puny rigidity to our decisions, in dispute that when we selected accurately we felt fancy absolute geniuses.
Our reward, which we adored, became as soon as when the villain (there’s absolute best one per case) stole the highlight as soon as printed to present an over-dramatic clarification of their motives, drip-feeding us more mysteries that we craved answers for. After each Solution Portion, we couldn’t wait to transfer onto the next incident the identical system we can’t lend a hand but to find ethical one more episode of a hit TV series, no matter the tedium that awaited us within the Hypotheses Portion.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Narrative is more fancy staring at a campy execute-mystery drama than taking part in a video sport, and what gameplay there may be in overall kills the parable’s tempo. Whereas we loved our time with it the full identical, you’ll must place a matter to yourself how eager you may per chance per chance presumably even be in staring at what amounts to a ethical Jap TV series with mediocre interactivity. For us, we won’t let one other FMV execute-mystery developed by Square Enix safe away our scrutinize again, although we surely hope they rework how we describe the culprits.