Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ Review

By Shawn Collier on December 9, 2016

Back in 2010, developer Cing shut down their operations. Most known for their unique use of the Nintendo DS and Wii’s unique’s control methods paired with touching and well-written stories, most fans loved their work on the Hotel Dusk series of games most of all. So when the developer closed up shop, it was an understandable pain in the hearts of most people.

So when published Aksys Games and developer Arc System Works, alongside some of the key Cing developers from that prior series of games mentioned prior, came together for another crime-influence drama title, fan expectations were naturally at an all-time high. So does the hype deliver?

You take the role of detective Shounosuke Nanase and his partner Koto Amekura, as they investigate a five-year old explosion at a local hospital that left a janitor dead. It appeared to be an accident, but after Tokyo Police’s cold case unit got an anonymous tip in things suggested otherwise and they began their investigation.

What some may find an issue with, especially if they compare it against the Hotel Dusk series especially, is the decrease in scope due to the budget, as this is a digital download release compared to a full-on retail title (and is a fraction of the price). It’s limited to that single case instead of multiple different cases, or a subset of cases making up a larger multifaceted case. It also is relegated to the CCU office and the interview room instead of letting you venture off into other areas like the other titles would let you have. Some may also find an issue with the ending, as it doesn’t really wrap things up as you’d expect it to.

What I did like is the banter between the dialogue between the characters, especially between Nanase and Amekura as they play well against each other as you’d expect partners in the field should. The supporting cast also plays their roles nicely where needed. The only fault is that, either due to the budget or the original script, the localization felt a bit too literal at times in its translation.

Gameplay-wise, it’s your basic gameplay loop of questioning the suspect, picking from multiple-choice decisions, and repeat. There’s no Phoenix Wright-style evidence mechanic at play, so that reduces issues on that front, but it does make things more mechanically feeling. Granted you can save at any time, so if you make a mistake and lose some health, you can easily just reload and pick the correct answer.

The only change in the formula is when you have to play “spot the difference” with crime scene photographs. Usually you get unlimited tries with this, but for some unknown reason the game at one point randomly gives you an instant game over if you make the wrong choice. It seems odd to play against the player’s expectations here for whatever reason the developer’s decided upon.

The music and graphics fit in nicely with what you’d expect from Cing’s earlier work, especially from the Hotel Dusk series, even though there’s no 3D support to be had. The musical selection also follows in tune with tracks that fit the mood of the environments well.

Final Thoughts

Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~ Distant Memories ~ hearkens back to the original Hotel Dusk formula, but it doesn’t quite get all the way there. It’s a budget release with budget restrictions in place, which some fans might be disappointed by. Fans of the Hotel Dusk series will find a lot to love here, but those who didn’t get to experience those games will likely see this as a generic cop investigation title with a unique artistic style.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ was reviewed using a digital copy provided by Aksys Games. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
For fans of Hotel Dusk, there's a lot to love here.
Music and graphics are of a good quality as you'd expect.
The banter between the detective and his partner works quite well.
For those who didn't play Hotel Dusk, this will seem more generic than it should be.
How the questioning functions makes things feel a bit mechanical in practice.
The odd random instant game over midway in the game doesn't really make that much sense.
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