Process of Elimination-PS4 Review

Process of Elimination by developer Nippon Ichi Software and publisher NIS AmericaPlayStation4 review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 6 minut
Have you ever wanted to be a detective? How about moonlighting as an investigative manager? A contestant in a death game where you don't know who your allies are? Well, maybe Process of Elimination is the new NIS title for you!

Process of Elimination stars you as a young aspiring detective in a world rife with crime. Before the events of the game, a mysterious person called "The Quartering Duke" emerged to terrorize the populace. With the Duke's revelation, the crime rate started to spike, seeing an increase in detectives to help combat the rising crime spree. As the aspiring detective you are, you want to be able to number yourself amongst the 100 best detectives, brought together in the Detective Alliance. Luckily for you, you get a somewhat forceful nomination to the select group of individuals from the Detective Alliance being brought together to catch the Duke. So begins your investigation as you're now trapped on an island, with the possibility of the Duke himself being one of the members of the Detective Alliance.

Process of Elimination is a really interesting title. Many of you who are interested are probably thinking it'll be like Danganronpa, mainly on account of a rather similar premise. While there are a few parallels in the storytelling aspect, Process of Elimination is largely a Visual Novel, with a sort of "Clue"-esque investigation phase. The game follows a pretty standard format, where you have a large dialogue section where an incident takes place, then a sort of grid-based investigation, followed up by a resolution and exposing the culprit.

The dialogue segments are very Visual Novel style, with the occasional choice option, but largely will just be talking or explanation. The investigations, on the other hand, are a bit of a weird take, as they are both weirdly self playing at some times, and require a lot of interaction to really hammer down. During an investigation period, you are in charge of giving other detectives orders. You will have a grid-based view of the area you are investigating, and can select detectives and give them movement and action instructions. Some detectives won't trust you right away however, and will act on their own. Failing to give detectives directions when you can will also have them act on their own.

Detectives have different stats: Infer, Analysis, Investigation, Assistance, and Movement. Movement is pretty self explanatory, indicating how many tiles you can move. Infer is used on mystery points around the map in order to discover clues, while Investigation is a range that you can "examine" objects in. These objects or points of interest usually need to then be analyzed by someone with an equal or higher skill threshold in order to turn them into evidence. Assistance will allow you to help out another detective's action, adding their assistance value to the other detective's ability score.

You have a limited number of turns in which to discover all the evidence you need, but once you do, you can then move on to the other visual novel-esque portion where you put together statements by choosing correct answers to dialogue options, and then picking out the guilty party from the line-up of suspects. If you're finding the investigations a little too easy during the tutorial, you should know that there are additional dangers to be aware of. Occasionally there could be traps or enemies in the investigation zone, and the detectives will need to make an inference check to resolve the danger. Any detectives that end the turn in the range of the obstacle will result in a game over, meaning you need to restart the investigation. Additionally, there are bonus points on the maps that are either special scenes with the characters, or keywords you can pick up to get added to your in-game dictionary.

Now, I'm a little on the fence about how I feel about Process of Elimination, not because I have particular qualms about how it's put together, but rather the amount of each. The Visual Novel style segments are really long. Like, really long. It takes a very long time to get to the first non-tutorial investigation, and even then there's a massive amount of dialogue between investigations. I really wanted to see more investigations, as I actually really enjoyed them. They're like a weird combination of turn-based strategy and, I don't know, IRL board games? It's weird, but really fun. I mean, this isn't to say it was bad or I didn't like it. In fact, I actually really enjoyed the game, but I would've also appreciated a few more investigation segments, or even mini investigations just to spice things up a little more.

Now, a game like this is heavily dependent on the story telling, as it is mostly Visual Novel. Thankfully, Process of Elimination features a wide cast of characters that are both really interesting and quaintly unique. I honestly thought that all of the characters were good additions to the experience, and the story playing out was a real joy to see. Each character has their own unique aspects they bring to the table, and their own additions to the story that are all intertwined.

In terms of graphics and sound quality, the art style is well done, with a lot of emotion shown in the characters during the talking scenes, as well as well-drawn background images that will actually change based on what's happening, something I thought was really cool to see. The soundtrack is quite fitting for the title, and the tracks are well tuned to the situation at hand.

Seriously though, I can't stress enough just how entertaining each and every character is in Process of Elimination. From the serious to the funny interactions, it all felt really well done, and while I would have liked more investigations, the way the characters were laid out made the massive amount of text good enough to sit through. I also need to give special mention to the translation team for doing a really good job for any slang terms or special words or terms in the original Japanese that aren't easily translatable. As a bit of an example, one of the detectives has the moniker of "Rowdy" in English but is called "Yamato" in Japanese. This is an incredibly difficult nuance based on the character's personality, and while it may be a little off from a direct translation standpoint, it's a really good English equivalent that keeps enough of the original nuance while still getting the meaning across.

Overall, I have to say I absolutely loved Process of Elimination. As much as the storyline and translations are really well done, it is quite text heavy and some of the investigation instances can be a little frustrating when things you have no control over can screw you up. The balance between text and interactive portions is a little too skewed towards text, and it can be a little tough to get into at first, although it does ease out a little later. It's definitely an interesting title that I'd like to see more in the same vein of later in the future.

Score: 7.5 / 10



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