A while ago, I took a chance on a game that I really wasn’t sure about – Jisei: TheFirst Case HD. This was a video game interpretation of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I used to love reading as a young boy. Well, now I have been getting to grips with the sequel, the so called Kansei: The Second Turn HD, coming again from Ratalaika Games, best known for their easy games to pad your Gamerscore. So, given how much I enjoyed the first game, is this one a good followup, or the video game equivalent of the difficult second album? Let’s get our best decision making head and find out.
Kanei: The Second Turn HD revolves around the character we play, a surly young man who seems to be allergic to his own name. In the last game he wanted to be called Jisei, and in this one, one of his companions has christened him Kansei, as he doesn’t seem to care what people call him. Now, Kansei, and his friends – Aki, Li Mei and Naoki – all have various powers. We’re not talking Marvel’s Avengers here, sadly, as that would be pretty cool, but something a lot more subtle. Aki, for instance, has the power to make people do what she wants- it’s not mind control, exactly, but she can make suggestions and people will tend to follow them. Kansei’s special ability is a bit more specialized – he can touch a corpse and see the last moments of that person’s life, as if he is experiencing them himself.
Now, obviously this power comes in very handy in the investigation of a murder, as we saw in the first game, and so it proves here again. Our team has been called to the house of one William Auten to discuss working for him, and while we are there he winds up dead. Can Kansei and co work out who did it, and why, or will the killer get away scot-free?
Presentation wise, the game is very good indeed, presented from Kansei’s point of view, with a series of static backgrounds sometimes overlaid with a picture of the character that you are conversing with. The graphics have a lovely hand drawn look and a pleasing anime vibe, and there is nothing to complain about with the way it looks. The animation on the faces as you ask various folk numerous questions is also very nicely done indeed. As for the sound and apart from minimal music – which is still pleasant enough – the real stars of the show are the voice actors who bring the characters to life. You too will want to give Liam Auten (the nephew of the deceased) a good slap, and be a little wary of Li Mei as you talk to her. Kansei: The Second Turn HD is easily up to the standard of the first game, and to be honest, may well actually surpass it in terms of being a nice place to spend a few hours. As long as you can ignore the dead body, that is.
So, how does the game play out, I hear you ask? Well, again very nicely, is the short answer. What this is is a nice, relaxing experience in which no twitch reflexes are required; sometimes, as you get older, you appreciate a game that doesn’t make too many demands on you.
Once you things off, you’re basically left to talk to people, exploring the locations you find yourself in and trying to solve the murder. As you look at the The Second Turn HD you’ll discover that the HUD basically consists of only three options: you can choose to “Move”- which surprisingly lets you go to a different screen, either one forward or back, you have the option to “Examine” the area, which allows you to move the cursor over points of interest and interact with them, potentially gaining clues about the killer and their motive, or you can “Talk” to whichever of the characters is currently residing in this area.
It’s this which is the biggest focus of the game, as the choices that you make when speaking to people, and the way you react to what they say, can make all the difference between “winning” or “losing”. I put those two words in speech marks as there isn’t really a way to lose – you can fail to find the killer, but even this unsatisfactory outcome will net you an achievement, so in order to get them all, you will need to make manual saves fairly often, certainly before every conversation, as there is no signposting as to which way a conversation will play out until it has. The way the conversations branch and potentially throw up new avenues of investigation is very good indeed, and certainly keeps you paying attention.
Kansei: The Second Case HD is a hugely enjoyable way to spend some time. It’s nice to take your foot off the gas every now and then to play something that makes no demands on you. The story is intriguing, and trying to figure out not only whodunnit, but whydunnit as well, will keep you revisiting the narratives and trying out the various conversational gambits that are on offer.
Kansei: The Second Case HD is available to download from the Xbox Store
- Nice and chilled gameplay
- Interesting story with many endings
- Lovely graphics and good voice work
- Might well be too slow for some
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Ratalaika Games
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, PS4, PS5
- Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
- Release date - 14 Jan 2022
- Launch price from - £7.99