With Cing closed, we’ll never see another Hotel Dusk: Room 215 or Last Window: The Secret of Cape West. But, with members of Cing at Arc System Works working on Chase: Cold Case Investigations, another new series with the same sort of atmosphere, the idea lives on. But, it’s a situation where people shouldn’t go in expecting a spiritual successor. Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is the first episode in a very different series that has the same idea and atmosphere, but proceeds in a stripped down fashion.
It all starts with the story. The same feeling is there. It’s a detective story where there’s a mystery that needs to be uncovered and long hidden truths need to be revealed. But, the protagonists, motivations, and detail differ. While the Kyle Hyde stories were incredible intricate, with weaving plotlines and deep characters, Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories isn’t nearly as involved. We have two police detectives in Tokyo Police’s Cold Case Unit, Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekura, who aren’t nearly as well developed as Hyde is. The former is a brilliant, veteran detective who’s lost his fire, while the latter is a young woman who’s bright and dedicated to her job.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories focuses on a single case. There was an explosion at Ryokudou Hospital five years ago that seemed like it was an accident. One janitor was killed in the blast. But, an anonymous tip to the police revealed it was actually a homicide. Nanase and Amekura are left to piece together everything that’s left to find out what happened. Except, this means they’re limited the Cold Case Unit office and interview room, a handful of people tied to the incident, some pictures from the crime scene, and people’s memories. You can’t explore any locations. There’s no searching for clues or actual, well, investigations, only photograph analysis. It’s really more about conducting interviews.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is an entertaining, brief visual novel. You’ll need to pick proper choices when talking to people in this hour-long story. Especially since you can get a game over when picking wrong responses. I’d almost say it’s about testing your own memory and observation skills, since just finding out information doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have it at the ready. You need to pay attention to proceed. Fortunately, since it can be completed in probably less than an hour, you won’t have time to forget anything.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is a beginning. Which makes sense, since this is only the first episode of a larger story. But, it doesn’t quite feel like a full fledged episode. It’s more like a prologue. This is a limited visual novel that in no way compares to Hotel Dusk: Room 215 or Last Window: The Secret of Cape West. Putting it alongside such adventures will only leave you wanting. But, if you see it as an experiment and proof of concept that could lead to something more, it becomes more bearable. Given enough time and money, Arc System Works could make this into something more. But, at the moment, it’s a minimalist visual novel.
Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is available for the Nintendo 3DS.