Our Score: 7.5/10
A Brief Overview
The Silver Case 2425 on the Nintendo Switch includes both the game Silver Case and its sequel, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case. This review has no plot spoilers at all, and we will only be discussing the basic premise, gameplay elements, and graphics in our review.
The games were remastered and translated in English and released North America on the PS4 in 2017 and 2018. The Silver Case 2425 is a great deal because it contains both of the games and it’s great to play on the Nintendo Switch because you can play on-the-go.
Although they were locally only a few years ago, they’re very old games, with the original and its sequel being released originally in Japan in 1999 on the PSX and 2005 on mobile phones, respectively.
These games were made by Goichi Suda, or Suda51, a Japanese developer known for making “weird” kind of games, so you’ll hear us talking about “Suda” games herein.
If you’re not familiar with Suda’s works, you don’t need to know them to play this title, considering The Silver Case was the first game his company, Grasshopper Manufacture, developed. At the same time, that means this is a great entry point before trying some of his other excellent works.
Suda is most well-known nowadays for his work on the No More Heroes series, and this is a great game to play before playing No More Heroes 3, releasing in fall of 2021.
The Silver Case Review
These games are adventure games, which can be thought of as like visual novels. These games are all about exposition and learning about different characters in order to solve a murder mystery.
The first game is a murder mystery game where you play as a detective and the plot of the game, without giving anything away, has a very serious tone compared to most other visual novel games on the market.
The Silver Case isn’t a point-and-click game either because you’re not given the option to go wherever you want, you’re handheld and the game proceeds linearly.
You can think of this as a game similar to Ace Attorney games, but again, it’s different because the game tends to take you to new places itself without you selecting the option to move elsewhere and also because the atmosphere is far darker.
The game is on the older side and if you’ve played Suda’s later works you would be able to see that he learned what does and doesn’t work and that his later games improved considerably.
For example, the Silver Case has a habit of dumping a lot of text on you, especially at the beginning of the game. If you’ve played Nier recently, you’ll know what we mean by this, because there are pages of text in the beginning of this game.
It’s not to say it’s bad, but they could’ve used more dialogue between characters and they could’ve made the beginning more exciting. The first few hours of the game look worse than what it is because it gives a lot of exposition that sets up the plot for later, but you should definitely push through it because the plot of the game does get far better later on.
The issue is that the text tends to be very dry, such as teaching you about the different police divisions, the layout of the cities and such. It could’ve been handled better, but all of this lore dump is significant in the plot of both this game and its sequel.
This game is similar to Suda’s other games in the sense that the plot can be difficult to follow at times, which even happens in his later games. Again, if you’re not familiar with Suda games, there are games such as Killer 7, Killer Is Dead, and even No More Heroes, where sometimes the plot can be difficult to follow, even though the cutscenes are in 3D with the characters you’ll sometimes be scratching your head asking, “What just happened?”.
It’s entirely possible you may need to consult outside sources and talk to friends or on forums to get all the nuances of the story. Again, this is not necessarily a bit thing if you enjoy learning more hidden details about the game and if you’re okay with the game not spoon-feeding you the plot. In fact, that’s one of the brilliant aspects of the game, the fact that there is always something new to learn about Suda lore.
You know how we keep saying that Suda makes “weird” games? These games definitely have their quirks and Suda is always trying to push what he can get away with putting in his games. It sounds like we’re saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s not, it’s usually refreshing and even funny to see how he breaks video game tropes.
For instance, there’s even a character who asked a 100 question quiz in this game, with most of the questions having nothing to do with the plot and instead referencing real-life history. It certainly got a laugh out of us.
The plot is very serious, and you’re working with detectives that don’t behave like video game characters. What we mean by this is that every character in the game has their own agenda and you’ll even be dealing with a lot of office politics, which was a refreshing change to other adventure games and visual novel games that act like, “I’m the chosen one who can do no wrong”.
We may be stretching it a little, but we’d even go as far as to say this game even has parallels to Twin Peaks. You’re a detective and a lot of people, both co-workers and civilians you question, will give you trouble and the atmosphere has a looming creepiness, as well as a Lynchian plot that’s tricky to understand fully. Although I’m sure there are a lot of other detective plots in media, both in North America and in Japan that feel similar too these plots as well.
There are different segments spread throughout the game where you play as a separate character, a journalist, which is very different than the main plot, but it’s worth pushing through.
It’s meant to complement the story, but Suda wrote the detective protagonist plot whereas other writers wrote the journalist side of the plot, which sometimes clashes tonally and we were able to easily tell the difference as we played though the game. On the other hand, we can appreciate that the developers wanted to give players multiple point of views.
The journalist plotline revolves around mostly reading emails and turns into an info dump that can be jarring. To be honest, the journalist segments of the game tended to feel more like recaps of what we did in the detective segments of the game, which itself was handy when playing games on-the-go with the Switch.
The 25th Ward Review
The second game, The 25th Ward, does have a lot of improvements over the original game, but it’s not perfect. It’s more recent and definitely has more style, more characters, and a beautiful city design.
Although the areas may look nice on the outside, it’s very deceiving, as this sequel only continues to explore deeper into the darkness, corruption, and even conspiracy theories presented in the original game.
The gameplay is different than the original, and instead has you explore 3D areas in the movement style of Killer 7. If you’re not familiar with that game, the 3D movement is done “on-rails” with multiple choices branching out from the rail on where you want to go, such as doors in a hallway, or if you want to keep going down the hallway itself.
It is more streamlined than the first game. The storyline does continue from the first game, and you should definitely play the first game before the second or else you will be extremely confused.
The game is divided into 3 arcs with a total of 3 different protagonists in total, with the third chapter starring the journalist in the first game and playing very similarly to that as well with a lot of email-reading shenanigans. The first two arcs of the game have different characters and, without spoiling, have very different viewpoints compared to the original game.
It can feel a bit more repetitive than the original game because of the way exploration is done in the game, a lot of which is done in apartment buildings. Often you’d be searching through rooms for clues, but the new UI and atmosphere tends to feel more labyrinthine than the original game.
The graphics are improved because technology has improved, but it is more repetitive with more areas looking the same as each other, likely because of the limitations of the original release of the game on the mobile phone whereas the original was released on the PSX. The first game even has FMV sequences to break-up the monotonous gameplay, which the sequel doesn’t.
Again, the puzzles aren’t hard but you need to pay attention, it’s usually a note that has the combination you’re looking for, or finding keys to unlock a door. Sometimes it can get a little confusing with the directions and different keys, so we kept a notepad on hand in case, but in general if you’re paying attention you can get through the game fine.
You may also need to choose a certain dialogue option by listening to what the characters are saying, and the conversation will restart if you don’t choose the correct option. It’s not hard, but it does take a little more time.
The second game definitely feels even more like a Suda game than the original. The storyline is, again, very weird, without giving any spoilers. It deals with a lot of corruption and conspiracy theories in creepy websites.
The sequel has amazing twists, but we don’t even want to give an iota of detail because you need to experience it for yourself. The second game is more about solving a larger case from solving many smaller cases and piecing them together. Again, there are long stretches of narratives throughout the game, so if you don’t like games involving a lot of reading and dialogue, this wouldn’t be the best game for you.
Some parts of the game has the same weirdness found in Suda’s other games, such as defeating culprits in a Pokemon style battle where “Jabroni Attacks!”, and “Jabroni receives 5900 EXP!”.
A big difference with the PS4 and Switch version is that there’s a new chapter after the original 3 arcs that was added in, which was not on the original Japanese mobile-release of the game.
Unfortunately, you have to play the final chapter 100 times for 100 different endings, each ending only takes a few minutes but it does take about 3-4 hours in total, and only after viewing all of those endings can you view the true ending to the game.
We absolutely cannot deny it: this is truly a Suda game, no ands, ifs, and buts about it. It is believed he added in these 100 endings as a joking response to the game’s criticism of being too on-rails and not having enough choices.
Is this anthology for you?
They’re both long games, each taking about 15-20 hours to get through depending on your reading speed and if you read optional areas, but they’re not hard by any means.
We’d really recommend this game to those who like visual novel or text adventure style games who have no problem with a lot of reading.
If you like Suda’s other games, especially including Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, or other unrelated games with a similar style such as Danganronpa, Zero Escape, or Ace Attorney, then this is definitely a game for you.
We can read Japanese, and this game does feel similar in spirit to Kojima’s Policenauts and Snatcher, but those in North America who cannot read Japanese wouldn’t be familiar with these titles. Although, those games tend to be more uplifting in tone than The Silver Case.
This duology of games is such an enigma that is worth playing just to see what it’s about in the first place. It’s so fascinating to see Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture’s first game, and in a way this game is their backbone.
It’s not easy to explain how all of Suda51’s games are related, but it’s best to experience it for yourself and his games are a treasure trove to binge. It’s fun to catch his references in his other games.
If you still don’t understand what we mean when we explain Suda51 and his quirky games, he’s similar to how Yoko Taro, or even American McGee, make very “different” kinds of games. These are the kinds of games not afraid to take risks and they really want to tell a narrative story. They’re certainly not the most popular kinds of games, but they have such interesting writing and they’re very different than the typical Japanese games you’d find on the market.
This new Nintendo Switch release containing both of the games is a perfect opportunity for you to get into the series, especially with No More Heroes 3 coming right around the corner. It’s even been confirmed publicly from Goichi Suda’s tweets that there will be references to The Silver Case in No More Heroes 3 through the character Kamui.