The Silver Case demos terribly on a show floor at a busy convention. It’s lengthy, barely interactive, and it’s very tough to judge what kind of final product it’s going to be based on the time I spent with it.
The Silver Case is a visual novel-meets-detective puzzle game made by Suda51 in the late ’90s for the PS1. The game was only released in Japan, with an attempt to localize and port it to the DS in the mid-2000’s being scrapped late in development, and now we’re finally seeing an HD localised re-release in English.
The demo for the game shown at MCM London Comic Con was almost entirely non-interactive, and I honestly do not know how representative that is of the final game. I spent almost fifteen minutes reading text and watching HD remastered, but clearly PS1-based, cutscenes of vans driving down a lengthy road. While the story was interesting, well written and surprisingly adult in tone, fifteen minutes of reading text without any dialogue options or gameplay is a hard sell. When there’s a line of people behind you waiting to play, it can be a little long to get to its point.
I really wish they had cut down the narrative intro so that players could get a taste of the gameplay much sooner.
When playing The Silver Case, it’s painfully obvious this is a remastered PS1-era game, rather than a ground up remake. Sections of the game where you walk around in first person feature ninety degree turns and camera zoom-style movement along straight lines. Environments are crisp re-toolings of very low resolution and plain environments. UI elements are a little archaic and complex, forgoing modern menu system design elements for a PS1-era menu system. The game screams PS1 adventure game visual novel, and that can be a bit of a barrier to coming into it fresh in 2016.
Still, the writing on show has a lot of charm and promise. There’s a lot of intrigue to the narrative being laid out, and the exploration of environments was fun when it eventually appeared.
That said, this really was not a good demo for the game to shove in front of a busy convention hall.