The Silver Case

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
The Silver Case Game Poster Image
Remastered mature visual novel presents a fascinating mess.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Difficult to discern messages, but encourages you to think about issues dealing with mental illness, crime, romantic relationships in ways many other games do not. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lots of moral gray area explored. No easy heroes/villains here, except for importance of assuring justice for murder victims. 

Ease of Play

Clunky, antiquated controls, weird ways of interacting with environment, steep learning curve.

Violence

Centers on a murder investigation; blood, gore, corpses frequently seen, encountered.

Sex
Language

Frequent use of multiple profane words.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that THE SILVER CASE is a downloadable remastering of a 1999 visual novel game that's been introduced to and translated for the first time for Western audiences. There's a lot of reading and, on top of that, a lot of confusion. That said, there's also frequent use of all kinds of profanity, and players will run into loads of blood, gore, and bodies as they try to solve the murder mystery that comprises the plot of the game.

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What's it about?

THE SILVER CASE is set in 1999 and casts you in the role of a detective in the 24 Ward's Heinous Crimes Unit to help solve a string of murders. Strange as it sounds, nobody knows who or what the lead suspect is. It's not a straightforward investigation, as this version of 1999 is a society where information, not money, is what gives people status and respect. As with the best sci-fi, this game imagines a world slightly similar to today but with a simple yet pronounced twist. The information divide in this world seems small, but as you play through the game's story twice in different scenarios as characters -- first as a detective, later as a journalist -- you'll eventually learn you can't quite be sure of what knowledge and information really is.

Is it any good?

It's hard to say whether or not this game is good because it's a complicated mess that's interesting to experience but not very fun. The Silver Case excels at creating a deep and involved atmosphere, with a thought-out world and fascinating characters. But the problem is, there's a lot of dialogue and words to wade through in each scene. The game intentionally tries your patience and will reprimand you for not paying attention -- both in your actions as a detective and journalist -- meaning it's trying to challenge your abilities as a gamer and your patience as a person. As such, it's hard to say whether it's good or bad, but it's certainly unique. Large sections of the game pass with it fooling you into thinking you have agency and choice, but actually, you have no significance to the greater story. The story itself also doesn't feel like it needs to be governed by logic or continuity. It's alternately slick, funny, crude, and consistently confusing.

As this game is likely only appealing to die-hard fans of its director (Suda51 has been involved in many other truly bizarre games, and this is one of his earliest), this is exactly the sort of curveball most users will be expecting. But if you're a newcomer to these games, you'll likely be put off by the clunky exploration sequences with multiple overlapping control schemes. You'll also be annoyed by the way the game holds your hands for a lot of the time until it suddenly doesn't, dragging your feet until you eventually make progress. It's a remaster of an old game and one that's worth checking out mainly to see what this obscure classic was like. Most won't feel the reward-to-hassle ratio is correctly balanced, but those who stick it out will definitely have experienced something unusual and fascinating in every sense of the word.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence OK because it's related to solving a murder mystery, or is it completely unacceptable regardless of the plot?

  • When you consume a piece of media intended for a different audience in another part of the world originally, how do you make sense of what it has to say and how it goes about saying it?

  • Families can talk about why old products are reintroduced for new audiences when they're still available on shelves in their original forms. Why not just buy the originals? 

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