In The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story, Square Enix offers us a game of Cluedo with real actors and actresses, but in the format of a video game. In our analysis we tell you if this original proposal is worth it.
Who doesn’t like mysteries? And, more specifically, the mysteries in which you have to discover who the murderer is.
This genre, commonly nicknamed ” whodunit ” (from the contraction ” who has done it? ” or “who has done it?), has spawned a large number of works in all formats: from Agatha Christie’s legendary crime novels to movies like the great Daggers in the Back, without forgetting such popular video games as Heavy Rain , LA Noire or the Danganronpa saga.
At Square Enix, however, they seem to have figured out why settle for just one format when you can have them all.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story, a game that is now available for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC, proposes us to face a story full of mysteries in which we are the detectives. But instead of using a graphic engine, everything is developed as if it were a real image film , with actors and actresses of flesh and blood providing their interpretations.
How does this curious combination work? We tell you about it in our analysis of The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story
So many in the back
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story tells the story of Haruka Kagami (Nanami Sakuraba), a young and successful crime novel writer who is invited to put her detective skills to the test by investigating the Shijimas, a Japanese family surrounded by mysteries and whose it is said that they have in their possession a fruit that grants eternal youth.
The plot is already interesting, but The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story does not stop there and takes us on a journey through various historical periods in Japan to unravel the secrets of the Shijima family through four different cases.
The story is undoubtedly the strong point of the game, and what will keep you hooked at all times. There is a lot of mystery, intrigue, drama… There is also a bit of romance and even a little bit of terror.
At the cinematographic level, and as expected, it has the style of Asian cinema. We say this because, for those of you who don’t consume this type of film, it may shock you with respect to what is usually seen in North American or European productions.
And although the images that we bring you have subtitles in English, The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story comes to us translated into Spanish, with the possibility of choosing between voices in English or Japanese . All a kick.
Within each case, the actors and actresses play different characters and we have to praise their performances , because they know how to adapt very well to the demands of the script, managing to capture very well the different personalities of each character. Although their face is the same, they manage to create the illusion of being in front of completely different people.
We must also praise the work of costumes and decoration , because The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story manages to transport us through four very different times, adapting the “looks” of the characters to what was worn at that time in Japan and showing so much exterior and interior scenarios adapted to the demands of the historical setting.
Okay “, you may be thinking, ” it’s clear to us that it’s like a movie, but how do you play this? “. And we are very afraid that the playable aspect is the one that comes out worst in The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story .
The game invites us to be attentive at all times and not let go of the control, because although everything takes place through video scenes, sometimes clues are mentioned that appear briefly on the screen and we can “pick up” to use later.
There are also times when we have to choose between different dialogue options, but their impact on the plot is null or hardly noticeable ; the story of The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is fixed no matter what options we select. It is a shame, because for the type of game that it is, we believe that it lent itself enough to offer different paths.
Once the story within each case progresses enough, it’s time to put our detective skills to the test with the most “playable” and, unfortunately, deficient part of the work.
Before us is a grid made up of hexagons, some of these occupied by the mysteries that make up the case. Our task is to choose the clues that we have collected and match them with their corresponding mystery, which leads us to obtain different deductions. Once we have obtained enough deductions, we can choose to solve the case.
The problem is that matching the clues with the mysteries, instead of being something that we have to do by pulling our wits, is actually a kind of terribly simple puzzle that consists of matching similar symbols. In the end it becomes a very tedious process that you will want to finish as soon as possible to be able to continue with the story .
And that’s it. There are no further interactions or playable elements in The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story . And seeing how poorly resolved the few that are, we would almost say that this is better. If the proposal catches your attention and you like this type of mysteries, the best thing you can do when you play is prepare some popcorn and enjoy the “movie”.