Admittedly Chase: Cold Case Investigations - Distant Memories is a very short game, but it has a lower eShop price point and delivers a good if short experience for fans of visual novels.
I have been a big proponent of visual novels for years now, and I think the handheld console market is a perfect place to house them. Almost like digital, interactive books you can shove in a pocket and play on a bus or while in the back seat of a car. Visuals are a part of the package of course, but the expectations for the visual novel genre are somewhat different. You want some pleasant art work to look at, but generally don't need the kind of photorealistic visuals you get from some of the best action games on the market.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations - Distant Memories is a spiritual successor to the developers of Hotel Dusk, Cing. While they closed up shop several years ago, the same team has come together to craft a very good story about detective Shounosuke Nanase and his partner. Nanase is the typical detective, with a sort of laid back attitude but rough around the edges that makes him more memorable than he might otherwise have been in different hands. His trainee Koto Amekura is a bit more predictable early on, but they make for a good team.
The story itself does not surprise as the title indicates they will be digging into a cold case from a few years prior. However, while it does not surprise, Chase: Cold Case Investigations - Distant Memories also does not disappoint. Strong writing and a good central mystery make the briskly paced adventure an entertaining one. While this is a visual novel - and that means loads of reading text - there are some interactive scenes as well. Generally these involving being a detective and searching for clues, and while none of them are particularly inventive or even remotely challenging, they do help to sell the theme that this is an investigative tale. That being said, pixel hunting is not always a popular gameplay mechanic. There are some dialog choices along the way as well, but they don't seem to be particularly impactful on the game's events most of time, but are there more to give you a sense of ownership over how the tale is unfolding.
The biggest issue however, is that there is just not a lot of content. You really are not influencing the narrative in any meaningful way, and while I appreciated the game's pacing and that it did not feel the need to add fluff to pad the time, ringing in at just under two hours does not make for the most robust of visual novel experiences. Also, the ending has some punch, but drops off too quickly. Clearly there is setup taking place here with room for more. It is a cliffhanger ending and I would much rather see a slightly larger price tag with more complete (and simply more) content than a reasonably priced first installment that may or may not yield follow-up titles.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations - Distant Memories has nice visuals and sound to compliment a good mystery tale. However, the puzzles are pretty dull and the game is light on content with a short playtime and an ending that did its job - leaving me wanting more - but without knowing if more will ever actually be forthcoming.
Arc System Works
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Article by Nick