The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story review: A immersive live-action Whodunit that will test your logic
There are only a handful of titles that manage to get the detective genre right by finding the right balance between great gameplay and a captivating mystery.
Square Enix’s latest title, the live-action The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story looks to bring a new experience to the niche genre.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story has an interesting plot spanning different periods in time. It focuses on the Shijima family who has been plagued with inexplicable deaths over the past century.
One of the family members, Ejil Shijima goes to see his old friend Haruka Kagami who is a mystery novelist, at one of her book signings.
He invites her and Akari to his family's once in a century succession which will take place at his family home on the foot of Mt. Fiji.
He explains how his family have spent many years on medical research to stop the ageing process and his family heirloom called the fruit of youth.
He wants Haruka to attend pretending that she is writing a feature story on the family but he really wants her to investigate the Fruit of Youth and a recently unearthed skeleton.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is a captivating mystery that is well paced with interesting characters.
There was never a wasted scene or character, every scenario had some importance that could be used in your mystery.
The well crafted story doesn't make anything obvious and makes players really work to decipher each mystery. This is definitely one for fans of detective novels.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is a live-action game that is basically an interactive movie.
It’s shot nicely and could easily pass for a TV show, with the high level of production values, especially with the costumes which look to be an authentic recreation of that era.
The game has dual audio, featuring English and Japanese, but I would stick to the Japanese audio with subtitles as the non-existent lip syncing with the English audio can be really jarring.
The Centennial Case is an interactive game where players will be able to watch scenes unfold in real time.
Each case will be set in a different time period with the same actors playing different key roles.
The game is set into different phases with the first being the Incident Phase where players will watch the scenario while interacting with the cast to find out more information while noticing the on screen clues.
Players will be able to pause and rewind scenes to find anything they have missed.
Once the scene ends players will enter the Reasoning Phase where they are transported to a Cognitive reasoning space, which is essentially in Haruka’s head.
Here is where players will use all the information and clues they have gathered to come up with a hypothesis by matching them on a puzzle with hexagon pieces
You can go back and replay scenes to take another look at the clues. This system works by placing each clue on a grid leading to different hypotheses which the player will use to build up their case against the suspected killer.
The game will add any clues you missed automatically to the Cognitive reasoning space, I feel this kind of waters down the detective element of the game as if you missed something then you should really be punished for it.
The player will then enter the Solution phase where they will pick the correct hypothesis to find the killer. If you make a wrong choice it will lead to a bad ending but players will have the chance to try again.
The Centennial Case requires a lot of attention to deduct what are the correct clues, I found that choosing something that seemed logical wasn’t always the right choice.
It is great that there is a high level of deduction needed to get through this game but I feel it does hold the players' hands at certain points.
The Cognitive reasoning space can feel a little confusing at the start but once players get into the swing of things it becomes a rather enjoyable experience.
There is also a hint system called Insight, this will help players match the relevant clues to their right place.
This will cost an Insight point and can only be used again once fully charged.
I feel their game should have incorporated some sort of local co-op as it’s really fun to play with a few friends round.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is surprisingly addictive, which comes down to the well crafted narrative and a great cast of characters.
I felt that there were times when the game lacked that extra bit of challenge needed, but overall it will test your logical thinking. The game is a lot shorter than expected with no reason for a second play through once you have all the correct endings.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is out now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows