Developed By: Grasshopper Manufacture Published By: NIS America Categories: Adventure, Visual Novel Release Date: 07.06.21
The Silver Case, the first game to developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, the third game in the Kill the Past series of games. If you’ve played the games in this series that did come stateside one way or another, Flower, Sun, and Rain, killer7, and No More Heroes, they all have something linking them together be it themes or motifs. Maybe it’s just an odd sound effect, sometimes it’s a character, maybe the moon. It all leads to No More Heroes 3 in the end…unfortunately The Silver Case, and it’s sequel The 25th Ward, both of which are included in this release never really hit America. That is, until 2016 on PC, and five years later on the Nintendo Switch.
I’m rather fond of the stories in games by Grasshopper Manufacture, let a lone by Suda 51, so instead of going spoilers ahoy, I’ll refrain from discussing too much outside of the intro chapter of The Silver Case, but instead speak on how it feels to me.
The story, rather part of it is about the Heinous Crimes Department of the 24 Wards (a fictional version of the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo, Kyoto, Japan). The other part, about a journalist and his investigation of HCD. Consider these the political visions of a large city, with the status of being it’s own city. A city in a city. The game starts off with a mysterious person attempting a shooting, to be chased into a tower full of more dying or dead bodies, all seemingly out of their minds about something. While this is the Heinous Crimes Department, what’s going on seem stranger than normal, more sinister. Remember the name Kamui, it might come up again in a few No More Heroes games. The second game in this release is The 25th Ward, a sequel and takes five years after The Silver Case.
Characters talk natural, if not a little vulgar or crude. They act and react naturally and with emotion. Nothing feels like a stereotype or just some poor, boring, overused trope. Seeing as The Silver Case is a visual novel, having characters worth getting invested in is incredibly important. Writing is key in these kinds of games! If I don’t give a damn about these characters outside of them being “cute” or “best girl”, then how shallow is the game? Luckily, that isn’t a concern here. The Silver Case comes from when Grasshopper made for edgy, serious, or strange titles as opposed to the wacky ones they’re known by now.
Grasshopper Manufacture should be known for one thing in all of their games. Style. The Silver Case and it’s sequel both overflow with it. Despite being a remake, there’s that almost mystical Japanese PSone feel to everything. It feels modern and slick, but still has a nostalgic feeling to it. The game itself is displayed in the “Film Window” which is a screen in a screen. Giving the style of you being on a computer in the game.
So how does The Silver Case play? It’s the non-boring kind of visual novel that has a lot of interactivity mixed in with long winds of text and cutscenes. When you are in gameplay, you can walk around, examine, interact, and the like. Looking up and down to find things. The game has plenty of puzzles, which you can solve, but also just has an autosolve button, which at first I assumed was the way you were supposed to open some of these door puzzles. All of this in 3D. Environments being in 3D and practically everything else being 2D gives it a unique feel.
The music, being by Masafumi Takada is first-rate. Not to say anything else in games he’s featured in are second class compared, but his music alone is worth playing games he’s involved in. Love, love, love Masafumi Takada’s music. Of course, he’s not alone, with The 25h Ward having the likes of Akira Yamaoka, Baiyon, and Erika Ito. Great music all around.
The issue that comes up with most visual novels is how willing a player is to read a lot of text, massive amounts of text. Some of them have voice acting, either in Japanese or occasionally in English. The Silver Case and The 25th Ward do not have voice acting. This is where the excellent writing comes into play. If it’s nonsense to you, you’re not paying attention. Don’t just play this game trying to play it like you’re top dog, sit and bask in it. It’s absolutely vital to play this as a fan of Grasshopper Manufacture or Suda 51, especially since it’s related to their most recent releases.
Buy Now: $39.99 Digital – $59.99 Physical
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review