Coming from Ratalika Games, publishers of inexpensive games for the discerning achievement hunter, comes a new title, the snappily named Jisei: The First Case HD. This is a remake of a game that was first launched on PC more than 10 years ago, and I guess the big question is whether or not it can it hold its own today. Well, there’s only one way to find out (if you discount downloading it yourself) and that is to read on…
Jisei: The First Case HD is an interesting proposition. This is very much not an action game; it’s much more an interactive graphic novel almost, where we have to solve a grisly murder. Now, we play the part of an unnamed teenager, one who literally has no name, and is simply referred to as “???” throughout the game. Our mystery hero has an interesting talent, however – if he touches a dead body, he can relive their last few moments and feel what the deceased person felt. He can also sense when someone nearby has died, and this affects him physically, making him nauseous.
As the game opens, we are awakening from a refreshing nap in a coffee shop. Despite just putting away a triple shot of coffee, we somehow fell asleep. As we awaken, the hero starts to feel the familiar sensation of someone being dead nearby, and on going out to the restrooms he discovers a young woman on the floor of the ladies bathroom with a knife in her chest. With our ability, we start to find out what happened, when we are interrupted by another woman who becomes convinced we are the murderer. As luck would have it, an off-duty policeman is in the coffee shop, and he takes charge.
What follows is a game where we have to solve the murder of the young lady, by not only looking around the various locations of the coffee shop – hallway, main area, and both bathrooms – while looking for clues, but also having to talk to the clientele of the coffee shop, in an attempt to get to the bottom of it.
There is Chance, the barista who runs the coffee shop, Miss Bergstrom, the woman who accused us of killing the victim, and finally Kizaki, a young college student. The policeman, Detective Gurski, helps us piece together the clues, as we can report to him whenever we feel we have found some useful information.
This is the whole of the experience on offer here: look around, ask questions, and try to deduce from the answers that you get who carried out the heinous crime. Agatha Christie this ain’t; it soon becomes pretty clear who did it, and while everyone turns out to have a secret to hide it appears that even hard boiled killers can’t stand up to the tenacious questioning of a slightly built teenage boy. I can’t reveal any more about the story here for fear of spoilers, but suffice it to say that I found the game interesting enough to sit down and chase the story to its climax in one sitting. It really gripped me.
It’s all helped along with graphics that look great, with proper anime-styled characters with expressive faces. The voice-overs of the other characters are very good indeed too. There is some proper acting on display here, and it really feels like those who were contracted to appear put their heart and soul into these characters.
So, good acting, lovely graphics and a gripping story – is there anything not to like? Well, not really is the short answer. Jisei is not the longest title I’ve ever played though, but then that isn’t really the point. Playing through a second time allows you to try out different conversational gambits to see if you can elicit a different response, and it seems to be these conversations that the achievements in Jisei: The First Case HD are tied to. Answering one way can unlock an achievement, while going back and choosing a different response can unlock a different achievement, so by playing more than once and remembering what you asked the previous time ensures it’s pretty easy to unlock all the achievements.
So, all in all then and Jisei: The First Case HD on Xbox One is a lot of fun to play. With a gripping story and a variety of endings to find and unlock, there’s enough content to keep you playing for a little while. You could probably rush through and complete this game fully in under an hour, but to be honest that would be doing the crafting of this story a disservice. Sit back, relax, and use the little grey cells to figure out whodunnit. And with more games in the series, I’m hoping that the rest get the HD treatment soon.