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428: Shibuya Scramble Shows How People Change Each Others’ Lives

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Almost ten years after its 2008 debut on the Wii, 428: Shibuya Scramble is getting a worldwide release. Spike Chunsoft is giving people a chance to solve a kidnapping story Chunsoft created long ago. While the story is an interesting one, with twists and turns to uncover after the kidnapping of a young woman named Maria Osawa, the way in which the tale is told is the most important part. Varying viewpoints, a timeline that is constantly influencing others’ actions, and opportunities to ensure bad ends aren’t really the end all make this game special.

 

428: Shibuya Scramble stars five characters, though the game starts you off slow by having you handle Shinya Kano and Achi Endo’s stories for the first hour. You go through each person’s day, helping them get through affairs without any impediments. Managing the time chart and staying aware of what everyone is doing in that moment, while also thinking about how it impacts another person, can have life or death consequences.

 

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What is nice about 428: Shibuya Scramble is that you can only go between different characters’ stories at specific times. There is no worry that failing to jump to the time chart and swapping to the right person at the right moment before time runs out could doom everyone. The game will specifically offer Bad End, Keep Out, and red keywords signs to let you know when it is time to further another person’s story or explore another option for them to try and make everyone’s route better. The Bad End screens will even have hints, alluding to which decisions to perhaps swap to at certain times of day, to try and help keep you from being trapped.

 

The clarity is welcomed, especially since some decisions might not seem like they would have an impact when first selected. To offer an example and avoid spoilers, I’ll use a choice during Achi’s first segment. When he decides to approach Hitomi Ozawa after someone who appears to be the kidnapper takes the briefcase with 50 million yen in it, he has two 10:35am choices. One has him take her to the nearest police station, while the other has them run away. Both put them at the same place when 11:00am rolls around, but choosing to go to the police box will delay them a bit, keeping them from running into Kano not long after. Since the decisions people make in Kano’s 10:00am-11:00am block will have him chasing after the man who took Hitomi’s briefcase, that slight change will give him the opportunity to continue his pursuit.

 

All of this is appreciated, once Kenji Osawa, the scientist father of Maria and Hitomi, Minoru Minorikawa, a journalist, and Tama, a girl working as a mascot, come into the picture. All five stories kick off during the 11:00am to 12:00pm block, and this means even more butterfly effect opportunities during those time periods. For example, one of the first decisions people can make in Tama’s route involves attempting to get someone to take a diet drink sample. There are two possible options. One is an ordinary businessman. The other is Yuji Sasayama, Kano’s senior in the police department in disguise. Deciding to interact with one instead of the other could cause an investigation delay, which impacts the other storylines.

 

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In addition to impacting everyone’s lives, it also makes 428: Shibuya Scramble more interesting to watch. This is a dramatic mystery game with thrilling elements, but there are also plenty of goofier moments. The early portions of Tama’s routes can be rather silly. Achi being a former street tough that isn’t one of the smartest members of the cast can lead to some funny moments. Not to mention, side characters like Sasayama are rather good at setting the mood. Having the opportunity to change things and see unexpected results can really be entertaining. (Especially when you have already gotten a person to an end of an hour, so you know you do not have to worry about keeping them alive and safe.)

 

When going through 428: Shibuya Scramble, the game really wants to show you how different people can not only connect, but change each other’s fates. It rewards you for doing well, and even offers unlocks for collecting bad endings that don’t further the story too. Paying attention and thinking about people could help or hurt one another with their actions is important, and helping all five of these major players survive every hour and find the truth is a great way to help you understand what is going on and why every choice matters.

 

428: Shibuya Scramble will be available for the PlayStation 4 and PC on September 4, 2018.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.