The Centennial Case: A Shojima Story Review

Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is an FMV (full-motion video) murder mystery about a century-old family that eats a magical fruit to stay alive forever. If this sounds like a lot, it is. The Centennial Case is a love child created by Koichiro Ito of Metal Gear Solid 5 fame and Junichi Ehara (Babylon’s Fall). Players control novelist-turned-amateur-PI Haruka Kagami, who has one goal: solve the series of mysterious murders that have surrounded the Shijima family over the past century. Where The Centennial Case succeeds is its story. It’s far from the most revolutionary plotline, but it’s enough to hold the player’s attention. There is a healthy balance of drama and intrigue that encourages the player to continue. The individual beats are presented well, and the characters are interesting enough for players to develop attachments. The twists are surprising at times and even the main antagonist can be viewed sympathetically. That’s all it takes to say that the story is well written. Unfortunately, The Centennial Case is held back by its medium. FMV is a tricky genre because it straddles the line between game and movie. With so much focus on the video side, Centennial Case would have made a great limited series, but as a game, it fails. the centenary case a shijima story mitsunori There’s no distinction between perpetrators and victims and the choices presented in the Incident phase—a fancy term for the hours of footage that play between gameplay segments—don’t matter. The characters either respond to either option in the same way or decide to do the opposite of what the player chose. The game invalidates some clues and hypotheses because of the basic rules it sets in the menus (and eventually breaks those same rules). To combat this inherent linearity, the game throws at least 400 red herrings at the player. In the Reasoning Phase, the player combines clues to form hypotheses. Clues are given to the player during the Incident Phase, and any missed clues (we can’t tell when or if we missed a clue) are included despite being overlooked. Many of the clues lead to hypotheses designed to throw the player off track. There is only one true sequence of events; others are always diversions. The mysteries and the associated clues are easy to piece together. Each trace, shaped like a hexagon, contains a small design on one of the six sides. That design corresponds to one of the mysteries, presented in the same way. If players don’t want to put in the little effort required to put the round peg into the hexagon hole, for example, they can use Insights to highlight clues that belong to a particular mystery. When a clue is matched to its mystery, the player receives a hypothesis about part of the case. the centennial case a shijima story reasoning phase gameplay The problem begins when the player must make a summary of an unexplained mystery. It’s a slog. Players choose one of several mysteries and then multiple explanations about that mystery to form the summary. The game provides feedback from Haruka’s sidekick to indicate whether this summary is important. If players create an unimportant summary, they have to go through the whole process again. Instead of letting the player make the decision on their own, the game takes their hand and leads them right into it. In doing so, the game realizes that it needs to provide the player with some sort of challenge. That’s where the Solution Phase comes in. Players must choose the correct hypotheses and point out important details found in the Incident Phase to determine the killer and their motive. Unfortunately, the game drops the ball here. Details important to understanding the case are usually not included as clues during the Reasoning Phase. If players miss these details or choose a dialogue option that doesn’t show them, they have to rewatch scenes to find them, sometimes repeatedly. But since they are not presented as clues, the player does not know if they are important to solving the case or where to find them. Some characters will actually omit the details necessary to solve the case and not reveal them until the dust has settled. the centennial case a shijima story you enjoy mr masudo What’s worse is that obvious clues that lead to a correct hypothesis are often ignored. In one scenario, a suspect came from above after attacking three personnel below. Looking at the map, players can determine that there is no way that character can get back to the top without being seen. But it is never presented as a potential alibi, even if the presence of another character in a certain location during the crime is. In another scenario, the player is given three choices to determine why a character acted a certain way in a scene the player saw earlier. The correct choice is intentionally worded so as not to reveal what the main character is saying when it is chosen. After this, another clue used to confirm that a suspect is the killer uses words that suggest the exact opposite of what the player saw. The game pulls these tricks off constantly. A scenario is so messed up that the game can’t keep its story straight. Two of the four hypotheses presented for an accusation are the same and lead to the same conclusion, but only one of them is “correct” in the eyes of the game. The characters say that the victim shouldn’t know a certain fact, but no one says that in the episode Incident. Eventually, the game pulls the rug out by revealing a character’s information that was deliberately withheld for no reason. This information is crucial to solving the case, but there is no way to discover it until the end. the centennial case a shijima story iyo josui These issues are a direct result of the chosen medium. If it’s a TV show or movie, removing facts or deception from the main character won’t matter. Eventually, they would have ended even if the audience didn’t. But since players can’t progress until they figure out the solution, they have to rely on absurd leaps of logic to make accusations using misleading or incomplete information. The game pulls no punches if players mess up. They are forced to sit through the unskippable game during scenes that purposely embarrass the main character, complete with corny music, enjoying corrections, and heartbreaking rejections. While The Centennial Case has an interesting story to tell—and an enjoyable one at that—it’s better told in a different medium. As a game, it struggles to balance narrative with gameplay. Since it gives the players the solutions, it has to kill reasonable logic or outright lies to prevent them from being stamped in each case. If this was just a TV show, the red herrings could have been used as diversions that the main character cleverly dodges to find the truth. Instead, The Centennial Case feels like a TV show that gives pop quizzes with only wrong answers. Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is available on May 12, 2022, on PC, PS5, PS4, and Switch. Today Technology was provided with a PS5 code for this review. MORE Time To Say Goodbye To PS Before It’s Gone

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