Crime Japan: The Centennial Case Review: A Shijima Story

Crime adventures have a special status in Japan, and it’s not just the Professor Layton series, Phoenix Wright or last year’s chart-topper Murder by Numbers. Series and anime with a detective story are also enjoying increased attention from an active audience, so it is not surprising that the developers of Metal Gear Rising and NieR: Automata, Koichiro Ito and Ihara Junichi, decided to try their hand at a successful genre with the support of Square Enix.

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story covers nearly a hundred years of the Shijima family, who are said to possess the mysterious fruit of eternal youth. But in addition to possible immortality, the family is accompanied by misfortunes and sudden deaths of relatives. To unravel the mystery of two skeletons under a century-old tree and crimes committed over the course of a century, a young writer of mystical novels Haruka Kagami and her mysterious detective partner are trying to solve. Using FMV (Full Motion Video) technology, the authors immerse the player in different periods of Japanese history through costumed scenes and interactive inserts with the final collection and analysis of evidence.

The investigation itself is built around important questions that may reveal the killer. To answer these tasks, you need to drag and drop the evidence collected while watching the video. They, in turn, branch into new versions of the investigation and offer to fill in the gaps in the version of the crime. Upon reaching a critical mass and filling the empty cells, you can complete the investigation itself and make a final verdict. True, the game is built in such a way that during the choice of a winning speech, you are given several conclusions that are correct at first glance, but only one of them is correct. In case of failure, you can get a video of the heroine’s public shame, a hint or the opportunity to reconsider your opinion. Failures affect the final chapter completion rating, but not the gameplay itself.

As I noted above, the game often offers correct, slightly different answer options, where finding the correct option according to the authors’ version can require a lot of time and effort. Perhaps part of the problem lies in the difficulties of translation, which here raises a lot of questions, as the characters say and do completely strange things, and the sudden turns of the investigation sometimes roll out facts that you could only guess the existence of. Because of this, the story seems broken and strange, and the production itself is drawn out.

But that’s not the only problem with The Centennial Case A Shijima Story. The game takes between 15 and 20 hours to complete depending on your playing style, and the story feels way too long even when presented in the format of a TV series. The authors are trying to create cliffhangers, but it turns out they are not too confident. The story itself, with the magic fruit and the red camellia, quickly becomes boring due to the fact that the plot is too stalled on the spot, and the motivation of the characters is questionable.

Against this backdrop, the scale and quality of the FMV, the costumes, the acting, and the variations of the lines command respect. But this is clearly not enough for an exciting and successful product. Still, the piece with the investigation itself seems to be a detached part from the lengthy scenes with uninterrupted video. It is worth noting the cast – Nanami Sakuraba is good as an aspiring writer, as is her partner Yuta Hiraoka as a member of a mysterious family.

The Centennial Case A Shijima Story is one of the largest and most expensive FMV games, which, due to its size and attempt to cram 100 years of the history of one family into the story, is significantly outperformed by more compact and flexible analogues. Well, the lack of the English language, even at the level of subtitles, can be an insurmountable obstacle for someone.

As I noted above, the game often offers correct, slightly different answer options, where finding the correct option according to the authors’ version can require a lot of time and effort. Perhaps part of the problem lies in the difficulties of translation, which here raises a lot of questions, as the characters say and do completely strange things, and the sudden turns of the investigation sometimes roll out facts that you could only guess the existence of. Because of this, the story seems broken and strange, and the production itself is drawn out.

But that’s not the only problem with The Centennial Case A Shijima Story. The game takes between 15 and 20 hours to complete depending on your playing style, and the story feels way too long even when presented in the format of a TV series. The authors are trying to create cliffhangers, but it turns out they are not too confident. The story itself, with the magic fruit and the red camellia, quickly becomes boring due to the fact that the plot is too stalled on the spot, and the motivation of the characters is questionable.

Against this backdrop, the scale and quality of the FMV, the costumes, the acting, and the variations of the lines command respect. But this is clearly not enough for an exciting and successful product. Still, the piece with the investigation itself seems to be a detached part from the lengthy scenes with uninterrupted video. It is worth noting the cast – Nanami Sakuraba is good as an aspiring writer, as is her partner Yuta Hiraoka as a member of a mysterious family.

The Centennial Case A Shijima Story is one of the largest and most expensive FMV games, which, due to its size and attempt to cram 100 years of the history of one family into the story, is significantly outperformed by more compact and flexible analogues. Well, the lack of the English language, even at the level of subtitles, can be an insurmountable obstacle for someone.

Completed on: PC Correct Topics: None Duration: 19 hours

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Platforms: PS5 SWITCH PS4 PC Developer: hand Inc. Publisher: Square Enix Genres:

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