While Artifex Mundi have no shortage of hidden object puzzle adventures in their publishing back-catalogue, very few of their ongoing series’ instalments would be considered ordinary. Releasing adventures bereft of supernatural beings or magical occurrences, like Noir Chronicles: City of Crime, makes it a little more difficult to deliver both a story that’s interesting and an array of ingenious problems to overcome. Hoping they’re up to the task, developers Brave Giant have brought Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime to the shores of the Xbox One. Will it leave a lasting memory, or is it better off being ghosted?
Well for the most part, Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime has a lot worth experiencing, but it isn’t without a handful of flaws that hold it back a tiny bit.
Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime begins with a truly creepy opening scene featuring a sinister masked figure whistling gleefully before executing a man in cold blood; the main protagonist loses consciousness while witnessing this act. Awakening in the dark basement, with the dead body nearby, the only memories he possesses are hazy. The only thing he knows for sure, thanks to the presence of a wallet, is that he’s a private detective known as Arthur Christie – no relation to Agatha. As the police arrive outside, you’ll need to make an escape and find the culprit to prove the innocence of ex-copper Arthur.
It leads to an intriguing set of events as you go on on the hunt for a serial killer, involving more death and revelations about how the private detective became embroiled in this mess. The tale also benefits from a selection of twists along the way, with the ending being a rather satisfying conclusion. While the story does advance at a decent pace and is pretty good on the whole, the voice acting within it is a concern. In general conversations, all is well, however when any kind of emotion is needing to be conveyed, it’s almost laughably bad.
Due to Arthur having a background in the force, it enables a few cool activities to be implemented seamlessly into proceedings. These make you feel as if you’re a CSI veteran as bullet cases are compared, fingerprints are taken and hair is placed under the microscope in order to study the DNA. The latter of those is something akin to a memory game, which sees you trying to spot matching molecules across hair and the DNA records, and is quite fun. To complement the CSI stuff, there are puzzles representing actual fragmented memories belonging to Arthur. It’s merely a case of rotating tiles to create a picture, but there’s a relaxing vibe when completing them and eventually they get more complex without being too difficult.
As for the rest of the mini-games present and most are intellectually challenging in the way it makes you decipher codes, play a stealthy arcade game, and figure out sliding block puzzles. What’s good is that a couple of fresh ideas are brought into the mix as a result. In collusion with the mini-games are the fairly logical inventory-based problems, meaning you have to pick up anything and everything in each location. You never know when you’re going to require paper clips for breaking out of handcuffs, or cheese to appease a rodent.
Last, but not least, are the numerous hidden object scenes, which features a ton of interactivity. Therefore you’ll not simply have to find a list of items within an area, but also combine things in view to construct some of the items needed or to access obstructed parts of the scene. The scenes do look pretty good in the hand-drawn art style, which is consistently lovely to look at throughout. While on the subject of visuals, the sole disappointment here is in the blandness of locations, mainly because the adventure takes you to regular places like a back-alley and an ordinary apartment.
The core campaign of Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime could be over in around four hours, with a second playthrough only warranted to pick up any collectibles missed. Alternatively, you can jump into the bonus chapter afterwards and uncover the events immediately leading into the main story. It really isn’t that interesting though and finishing it will take roughly half an hour, adding very little to the experience.
Overall, Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime on Xbox One conjures up a very enjoyable narrative and gets the creepy serial killer character spot on. A lot of the puzzles you have to overcome tie-in really well with the background of the protagonist and the memory loss aspect. Despite possessing great artwork in terms of quality, the majority of the environments are unexciting to look at. The voice acting also lets it down for a lack of emotion and the cursor can be unresponsive in hidden object scenes.
Nevertheless, Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime is certainly worth your time and you should grab it if you’re a fan of puzzles or hidden object adventures.