Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories Review

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Posted November 15, 2016 by Kierra Prince in Video Games

Publisher: Aksys Games

Developer: Arc System Works

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: October 13, 2016

 

Nintendo handhelds have a pretty hefty collection of detective and mystery games on it. Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is yet another one of these titles to add to the pile and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Chase sets itself apart by focusing on cold cases (older cases that never really had a definite answer) rather than newer cases. In this game, we’re handed a case that involved a man who died as the result of an explosion in a supply closet. Or rather, he was presumed to have died from an explosion but new evidence may suggest otherwise.

Since you end up having to solve this case sort of backwards, it ends up being wholly interesting as you attempt to pick out clues from years old evidence that was mostly destroyed in the aforementioned explosion. It requires a bit more thinking outside the box in some places and at times can be somewhat challenging.

The story is also interesting enough even though it takes some wild turns near the end that are almost laughable for how out of the blue they are. The characters, on the other hand, aren’t really anything too special. The two main characters are stock “grizzled, mean detective” and “unappreciated newbie” and their interactions often are the worst as it turns into nothing more than the senior detective often lambasting his new assistant and asking if she even knows how to do anything. There’s also some weird implication towards a tragic backstory for our main, grizzled detective that plays out throughout the game but never comes to fruition (I can assume more chapters are planned).

This character was literally pulled out of a hat of stock characters.

This character was literally pulled out of a hat of stock characters.

Unfortunately, the rest of the game is fairly bland and easy and it can easily be beaten in 2 hours or so.

While there are a few environmental puzzles requiring you to pick out pieces of evidence or other suspicious things, the rest of the game centers around reading dialogue of new evidence and then using said evidence to interrogate your short list of suspects. Sadly, this is nothing more than selecting the correct keyword or name you already heard from a list of things. For example, if you need to press for information about someone’s daughter all you have to do is select her name from a list of other names. There’s not a single ounce of thought that goes into this process other than reading the dialogue you got immediately before these segments started.

See the red writing? That means that's a keyword and you'll want to remember that information for later.

See the red writing? That means that’s a keyword and you’ll want to remember that information for later.

On the other hand, one of the environmental puzzles only gave you one chance to guess an answer correctly with an incorrect answer ending in failure and an option to reload your last save.

It’s this kind of weird imbalance that made the game more annoying than anything. While you can technically fail the interrogation moments, the fact that they’re so easy means that the game plays out like a cakewalk until you get to odd moments where you get 1 try before absolute failure. There’s no in-between whatsoever.

The gameplay is the definite low of the game however, as both the art and soundtrack are stellar. Taisuke Kanasaki brings back an art style similar to his previous title Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and its still visually pleasing. My only complaint is that the main character, Shounosuke Nanase, looks so much like Kyle Hyde from Hotel Dusk that I sincerely wondered if they were supposed to be related or even the same character. Some jazzy blues make up the soundtrack and I found myself not minding to keep my volume up as it fit the game perfectly and helped set the scene.

Chase isn’t a bad game by any means and for $5.99 on the Nintendo eShop it’s a steal. The only problem is that the game can be beaten extremely fast and probably won’t hold any real interest to fans of the genre who play much more challenging and interesting titles like Phoenix Wright. If more titles/chapters are planned under the Chase name then I sincerely hope they make the interrogations an actual challenge and less of an interactive novel because I don’t think it will hold anyone’s interest for very long.


About the Author

Kierra Prince

Was born with a controller in her hand. Fan of all things nerdy and has a tremendous amount of love for RPG's, anime, and anything horror. She secretly wishes to be a mash-up of Catwoman and Sailor Moon.