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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tantei Jinguji Saburo DS - Inishie no Kioku(探偵 神宮寺三郎 DS ~いにしえの記憶~)

It was a dark and stormy night.

Wait, you think that's cliche? Well, Mr/Ms/Ind (gender-agnostic) learned, and scholarly non-philistine sir/mam/individual (again, gotta be considerate of the gender-fluid), you've come to the wrong place, because Tantei Jinguji Saburo DS - Inishie no Kioku is just about the most stereotypical series of detective stories you'll ever see on a video game medium.

My copy of the game, which I'm probably going to sell right after this
Actually I don't think it would be accurate to even call it stereotypical because it eschews conventional aspects of a crime story such as having a bloody goddamn mystery. Don't expect any kind of plot twist, some mysterious mastermind, nor basically any kind of surprise or suspense. Playing this game is more akin to reading a police report on some neighborhood crime committed by a criminal whose masterful plot was to throw away the murder weapon in the dump near his government subsidized project housing.

In each episode, you talk to people, gather some facts or eyewitness accounts, do some digging around (what we in the industry call legwork), figure out who did the crime, and done. Move onto the next episode. The only semblance of challenge you're presented is a series of questions to sum up the facts of the case you discovered in the previous hour or so of gameplay.

Inference time! AKA rehash what the game just told you.
For example, if you found a letter from the suspect stamped from Nerima, the game might ask:

"Where was the letter stamped from?"

A. Shinjuku
B. Nerima
C. Yokohama

Even if you were not even remotely close to paying any attention to the story, you're in luck! You can just keep choosing randomly until you get the right answer.

I even played the original version of the first case just to see if the mobile port from which the DS version was based on totally fucked shit up. I'm ashamed to say I also own the Early Collection for the PS1 so I was able to experience the original FC version in all its frustrating glory. And no, it wasn't any better, in fact it was a lot worse. At least the DS version made it easy to get through the not so great story.

SPOILER: there is absolutely NO POINT in exploring the park. THE CAKE IS A LIE!
What's even crazier is apparently Aksys tried to palm off this mediocre game with HALF the content? Of course, they changed the whole setting to no longer take place in Japan since stupid 'Mericans can't remember names unless it's like Bob or Jake Hunter??? WTF? There's no accounting for taste I guess... especially when you have none. I think I would almost have more fun trying to see how the localizer butchered the setting, what with the Yakuza and all (maybe add an Italian accent?).

The only thing this game has going for it is the character illustrations, the overall art style, and Misono Yoko. Yeah, Yoko is pretty hot. The art style is good but also hilarious because Jinguji is about the most Japanese hard-boiled detective ever. He's super polite, is quick to apologize, is not afraid to bow, and his office is neat and tidy to boot. Hard-boiled? Maybe more like the Hanjuku (half-boiled) detective in Shinjuku. LOOOOOOOOOOL #notfunny

All in all, I really have no idea how or why this series has gone on for so long. My only hope is that the later games in the series blows the early games out of the water as I continue to amass Jinguji games like an idiot collector. Well except this one, it's going into the sell pile.

Yoko, you're too good for Saburo... and this game.
Score: 1.5 if they did a AA crossover with Yoko, I would be ALL OVER THAT out of 5 (16 hours to beat)

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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