NIS America finally brings us the long awaited and exciting follow-up to last year’s brilliant, The Silver Case. Suda51’s remake of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case follows the original mobile game’s story, a grim psychological thriller that lets you discover the darkness at the heart of Kanto’s newly built 25th Ward. The 25th Ward is part of Suda51’s “Kill the Past” universe and continues its bleak look into a semi-futuristic world on the edge of collapse and the misfits and antiheroes that inhabit it.
This marks the first time The 25th Ward: The Silver Case will be available outside of Japan. NIS America is releasing Grasshopper Manufacture’s game in a completely remade version for Playstation 4 and PC, bringing new HD assets and additional content not found in the original episodic mobile game. Due to the game’s age and initial platform, Suda decided upon a complete remake rather than a remaster. The new visuals, sounds and controls capture the game in a fresh perspective and makes sure the game isn’t lost forever, preserving Suda’s work for future audiences.
It’s safe to say that if you have got no love for Suda51’s previous games you will have a hard time admiring The 25th Ward: The Silver Case the way it should be admired. The game is set in Suda51’s brilliant “Kill the Past” universe and is Suda51’s take on a one of a kind crime drama visual novel. The game’s absurd dialogue, even stranger characters and dark gritty story is unique and is not made to be experienced by everybody. This is as niche as niche can get. You either hate it or love it. There is no in between. If you haven’t played the game’s prequel, The Silver Case I would highly recommend you to read our review on the game here before continuing. You might find that this game is not meant for you. However, if you did play The Silver Case and loved it like I do you should definitely keep on reading.
It is five years since the events of 1999’s “The Silver Case,” set in the new 25th Ward that arose in the bayside area of Kanto. In a room of the “Bayside Tower Land” apartment complex, a woman is found murdered under mysterious circumstances. This sets off a series of seemingly random events throwing together multiple protagonists including The Silver Case’s Tokio Morishima. With all viewpoints assembled, a truly shocking pattern emerges…
Suda51’s dark take on Tokyo is experienced from three different perspectives, “Correctness,” “Placebo,” and “Matchmaker.” Each scenario is further divided into separate episodes. Set within the newly-created 25th Ward district, “Correctness” follows Shiruyabu Mokutaro and Shinko Kuroyanagi investigating bizarre and violent murders. “Match Maker” traces the exploits of Regional Adjustment Division officer Tsukino Shinkai during his interaction with the underworld of the 25th Ward. Last but not least “Placebo” follows Tokio Morishima, who followed the original game’s mystery, investigating events in the 25th Ward guided by a mysterious “Search Goddess”. As the story progresses, the first game’s antagonist Kamui Uehara reappears, drawing together the three narratives.
The main story is amazingly well written, it’s grim and edgy, a perfect blend of humor and gore, offering a multitude of jokes and brutal honesty. The plot is so surreal and brilliantly weird at times that you really need a minute or two to let everything sink in. The majority of the conversations that take place in the game are morally conflicting and are filled with segments full of obscure humor. Leaving you to wonder if this is meant for real, or is it all a big weird joke. This is the brilliant mind of Goichi Suda.
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case visuals and graphics are on par with last year’s remake of Grasshopper Manufacture’s debut title, The Silver Case. Takashi Miyamoto returned to sprinkle his artistic creativity over the game and took responsibility for the character designs and artwork making the game as visually striking as the original, while still offering a fresh new stylistic direction. I was a huge fan of the way the first game looks and the way this sequel is visually presented is very much to my liking as well. Miyamoto went for a more realistic look compared to other visual novels and stayed true to crime noir by implementing a color palate incredibly heavy on the use of very high contrast colors, deep blacks and bright whites.
The game was originally developed for pre-smartphone mobile devices in partnership with Genki and thus features limited options to navigate the first person exploration sections. In the game’s prequel traversing the environments was also a bit of a letdown. It pains me that even though the controls are an improvement upon the mobile version there was no improvement in controls compared to The Silver Case. This time around a dice is featured in the corner of your screen, which you need to turn around to choose the action that you want to take. This has to be done with every action taken. Seeing as completing these gameplay segments are needed to continue the amazing story it quickly feels like doing a bunch of boring chores and is not enjoyable. It is outdated and doesn’t feel like it belongs on consoles. There are better ways to traverse environments in 2018.
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is visually stunning and lets you experience an amazing edgy story, which is brilliantly written. Offering an amazing blend of humor, dark and obscure humor, more humor and gore, while still being a seriously grim crime drama at heart. It is as niche as niche can get. The story can be hard to follow and complex at times, but if you stick with it you will experience an amazing piece of artistic writing. This is one of Goichi Suda’s best works of art.