Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories Review

Idealistic Koto Amekura works in the cold case unit, and is less than pleased with her boss Shounosuke Nanase’s lack of motivation. But when a mysterious tip implies a five year old death wasn’t an accident, they’ll both poke at what ever obscured leads they can find.

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I loved Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and its sequel Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, so when I heard their director had a new detective game coming out I simply marked it for purchase and did no further research. So when it came out I was surprised and perhaps a touch disappointed to find out it’s an episodic series rather than a “full” game. Still, it’s priced appropriately for the content and harkens back to the atmosphere of those previous games while being something new and different.

One of the most interesting things about Distant Memories is the limited setting. It takes place solely in a police interrogation room and relates the story through almost entirely through conversation and interrogations. Some flashback images help flesh things out. It’s a hard structure to pull off but works well here.

This is almost a visual novel in concept, with the only gameplay elements being selecting which questions to ask people (which are often extremely obvious), occasional memory quiz summaries, and a couple of “deduction” moments where the player has to identify something suspicious in a photograph. So the gameplay is light, but it’s integrated well and fit the narrative.

The background mystery was decent and fairly intriguing, but also a little too transparent and while this episode stood alone reasonably well it definitely felt more like a prologue than a complete adventure in its own right. There was a lot of foreshadowing and dropped hints providing setup for the next chapter/game.

So while I admittedly wanted a bit more from Distant Memories, it was still a decent couple hours of police procedural style mystery and definitely did an effective job of making me want to play the next in the series.

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