Goichi Suda, also known as SOUTH51, is one of the wildest, most visionary and crazy game designers in Japan. Although he also enjoys a small but loyal circle of enthusiasts abroad, his early works have long remained unpublished outside the country of Rising Sun, Such as Moonlight Syndrome and this The Silver Case 2425, on which finally, after 22 years, we can get our hands and better understand what were the origins of this crazy author.
- Title: The Silver Case 2425
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Version analyzed: Nintendo Switch (EU)
- Type: Visual Novel, Adventure
- Players: 1
- Publisher: NIS America
- Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
- Tongue: English (texts)
- Exit date: July 9, 2021
- Availability: retail, digital delivery
- DLC: nobody
- Note: remastered version of the original game, The Silver Case, released in 1999
We reviewed The Silver Case with a Nintendo Switch code given to us free of charge by NIS America.
Poised between genius and recklessness
Talking about what The Silver Case 2425 is without running into spoilers of both the narrative and the situations is a rather difficult undertaking. What you can do is try to best track the feelings and the way the plot unfolds in front of the player. It is good to start immediately by saying one thing: The Silver Case is not a game for everyone. It is not because of its plot, the themes it decides to cover, the atmosphere and the sick characters and, unfortunately, also due to the antiquated gameplay phases that have not been adapted to a game of 2021.
However, if you manage to postpone the latter aspect e what you are looking for from a video game are the plot, situations on the verge of madness and interesting characters, then the title of SUDA51 is just what is right for the player. Yes, because The Silver Case is first of all a game with dream colors, Lynchian and very disturbing. Included within the experience there is also The 25th Ward, which effectively represents the second part of the adventure being set five years after The Silver Case. It does not differ much from the main game and represents an important piece and continuation of the global story.
The driving force behind the story is a series of murders perpetrated by a serial killer emulating Kamui Uehara, whose modus operandi seems to follow. Although the incipit appears to be rather classic, the writing, the events and the strength of the abstract and atypical narration will then lead the story towards a series of very interesting plot twists, ambiguous situations and characters but above all a disturbing atmosphere from the first moments of the game.
However, it is good to remember that we are always talking about a really crazy author. In fact, Suda51 did not spare himself on one of the most recognizable and characteristic aspects: a sense of humor that tends to the macabre and nonsense. Sometimes this humor will be incomprehensible and out of place, but it is indeed an integral part of the experience. However, there is also no lack of violence within the work, both understood and manifest. In short, a game that has nothing to hide and still has strong experimental colors.
Getting old isn’t easy
The aforementioned aspects are at the same time the strength but also the weakness of the entire production: the title is in fact to be seen first of all as a visual novel and only afterwards as a real game. The gameplay sections are few, not particularly brilliant and although the writing elevates the experience above average, the exploratory phases are little more than a break in the narrative.
Not only puzzles or puzzles in general will be uninspired, but also boring or often counterintuitive in solving. Even the control system suffers from ailments: in the few sections of active gameplay we will have an “action wheel”. Selecting one of these with the directional cross (which can be that of movement, interaction, saving or inventory) we will access the submenu of the aforementioned and at that point we will again use the directional cross to navigate in the settings, which have a grid layout and therefore must be explored according to the path chosen by the programmers.
Although these phases are in a clear minority compared to the impressive amount of text and history, they are undoubtedly the least successful parts of the entire work, going to slow down or even interrupt the brilliant narration and giving life to boring sections with continuous interruptions in the form of dialogues that are not always well inserted.
Another small side note worthy of mention concerns the sound design and the soundtrack in general. The first swings moments of genius and tension to others of dubious stylistic choice: the text flowing on the screen appears progressively before our eyes as if it were written in real time by a typewriter. The main problem is the constant and incessant sound of the keys being struck, creating a continuous sound effect that is not always pleasant and a little too present. The soundtrack is instead interesting, in full noir style and a little cyberpunk, skilfully mixing musical tracks that are more atmospheric and others that are more disturbing and unregulated. In short, in line with the tenor of the work.
The origins of SUDA51
Who approaches a The Silver Case or be warned following him: the excellent writing and the disturbing plot are not necessarily something that will please everyone, not even the lovers of the genre. SUDA51, in this which is to all intents and purposes one of his first projects, did not save on quantity. Despite a verbiage that many may not like, it is certainly fascinating to see the origins of an author who gives such a personal touch to his works.
The dystopian Tokyo depicted in the title has nothing to envy in atmosphere to literary or cinematographic works that have tried to follow this path. Indeed, it can be said to all intents and purposes that despite the fact that we are faced with a visual novel, the film cut that Suda has given to the work is clear from the very first bars of the game and will remain consistent until its conclusion.
Furthermore, the chapter structure gives a further episodic touch that brings us closer The Silver Case 2425 to a disturbing tale with thriller and noir shades in search of the truth behind it Kamui Uehara. The style is there, the atmosphere as well and therefore the author pushes full on the pedal of both visual and narrative oddities. But be careful, this abstract and dreamlike style may not meet everyone’s tastes: there are those who, rightly, prefer something clearer and not so cryptic. For all the others, however, only one thing can be said: the subtexts of the work are there, it will be the task of those who want to discover them and get lost in them.
In The Silver Case, a series of mysterious serial killings plagues the city and the investigators of the 24 Wards Heinous Crimes unit have their eyes on one man: Kamui Uehara. This legendary serial killer murdered a number of government officials 20 years earlier in the now famous “Silver Case”. However, no one knows who – or what – Kamui really is. Is he really back? Who is this notorious serial killer?
Buy The Silver Case 2425 for Nintendo Switch following this link at the special price of € 58.14. Available from July 9, 2021. Support Akiba Gamers by purchasing the game on Amazon through this link!
Who do we recommend The Silver Case 2425 to?
The Silver Case 2425 is not a game for everyone. The diehard and loyal fans of SUDA51 absolutely must play it, as well as those who are just its occasional players and are interested in discovering a brave, experimental product in the storytelling., while coming to terms with the defects of the title. For those who have never played anything by the Japanese author or are fasting on visual novels, we do not recommend starting from this title, which could instead prove difficult to digest if not even to complete.
- Atmosphere and high level characters
- Fascinating history and themes
- Noir rhythm right
- Well written …
- … But far too wordy
- Abstract narrative that may not appeal to everyone
- Outdated control system in the few gameplay sections
The Silver Case 2425
A hallucinogenic SUDA51 trip
The Silver Case 2425 it is undoubtedly a fascinating game with a very successful atmosphere. Unfortunately, however, it is also a product of its time, which has not been revived with the appropriate precautions in the sporadic sections of gameplay and with an impressive amount of text to read. However, it is an experience with a high longevity and that could lead above all the most demanding players to find bread for their teeth both in terms of plot and from the point of view of the proposed themes. In fact, they are never trivial in presentation, nor in the way they are addressed. Ultimately it is a title for which it has been worth waiting for a remaster after all these years.