The 25th Ward: The Silver Case or how I’ve been away for a month

Sorry team. I know I’ve been gone a while. It’s for one singular reason. The 25th Ward: The Silver Case. It started off like any other review; play the game, tap up my thoughts and post my opinion publicly… Sounds simple right? WRONG. Something pulled me into the game and wouldn’t let me go until it was finished. I’m not even joking. This weird, crazy, and sometimes vulgar game has kept me locked up for the last few weeks.

Basics of the game

One of the gameplay screenshots you’ll be looking at

The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is a remake of a 2005 mobile game of the same name and a direct sequel to “The Silver Case”. The first game was also remade for the PS4 last year. These are the love child of Suda 51 & Grasshopper Manufacture. If you don’t know either of those names, just know he makes games that make Kojima look sane. In this instance, the 25th Ward is a game about investigating murders of a futuristic Japan with a ridiculously low crime rate.

Murders are all but a myth due to splitting citizens across 25 Wards. A scientific mix of rich, poor and everyone in between has meant humans get on with each other. It’s hard to believe but this insane nugget is the sanest plot point of the game.

You investigate these murders from 3 vantage points throughout your experience. Firstly, with the Heinous Crimes department. A section of the police force that’s under threat from closure because crimes are rare. You move on to The Regional Adjustment Bureau (professional assassins) and a reporter Tokio Morishima from the original game. Each element has different takes on what is happening.

I can’t honestly put into words how the plot plays out. It’s so crazy and off the wall, it just has to be experience and accepted.

Why is it good?

Gameplay in action

While typing up my review, I think it’s the gameplay elements that kept me going. The 25th Ward is a visual novel. You don’t move characters around, rather watch as a story unfolds on the TV screen. Games of this type aren’t really mainstream in this part of the world, I think it was the voyeuristic approach that got me hooked.

You’re watching well written characters act talk out this story (for the most part all art is static) and interact with each other. There are no options to choose dialogue, it just happens in a very swearword laden way. The trouble with this, is that there are times where sentences make little sense, even when considering the bonkers plot. This makes me think there were a couple of issues with translating to English.

To say you just watch a screen for 10+ hours is an understatement. Most of the game plays out like a story but there are things for you to do. Mainly it’s walking corridors, selecting items on a d-10 dice which is your crude menu system and entering passwords after skipping too much text and missing the hint.

Early in the game, there’s a rudimentary battle scene that plays out like a Pokémon battle. You select options and damage is done. It’s also the first point where the game attempts to shock. At one point you battle a female assassin. The only option to select is “Get Horny” and you hump the lady till she passes out. It irked me that such a juvenile attempt to shock the player was included in the game and it did cast a rather large black mark with The 25th Ward. The game is better than that and it’s not needed.

The 25th Ward: The Silver Case Conclusion

Not the clunkiest conversation in the game

So The 25th Ward: The Silver Case can be offensive to some, swearing is prevalent and childish jokes just aren’t funny. Its mistranslated and characters, although well written, are sterotypes of the genre. There’s the old haggard cops, running the show. A young up-and-comer wanting to prove himself, and the female officer who is always the tough ice queen. But with all of that, it still captivated me. The playstyle is something unique to me. Even though I had no idea what was going on half the time, I still had to play until it was complete to get closure on the story. I don’t know if playing the first game will help, but I don’t think it does since this only makes a few references to the past.

You can pick up a copy of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case from the PlayStation store digitally, or you can buy from Amazon.

NIS America kindly provided an advance digital copy of this game. I’ve not been paid for this review, nor has it been given a positive spin for preferential treatment. Read more here.

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