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Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir Review – A Beautiful Update To A Boilerplate Mystery

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Famicom Detective Club games are an integral part of Nintendo’s adventure game history. Released in the late 1980s for the Famicom Disk System, they played an important role in opening the door to visual novels in the console market, and the creator of the Famicom Detective Club, Yoshio Sakamoto, continued to be a driving force behind the Metroid series. Three decades later, thanks to new remakes of the two titles on Switch, audiences outside of Japan can finally put themselves in the shoes of a young detective trying to unravel some deadly mysteries. The Missing Heir was the first in the two-game series, exploring the cursed history of a wealthy family.

The mystery of The Missing Heir centers on the powerful Ayashiro family, who built a corporate empire from the ground up. But the family have a few skeletons in their closet which were revealed after the head of the family and president of his company, Kiku Ayashiro, published his will. Greed, betrayal and murder ensue. It’s there that you intervene. As a young detective, you must uncover the truth about this family dynasty tangled up in lies and well-kept secrets. But you’re not in the best shape yourself: you recently failed with a nasty head injury and you have no memory of your past. There’s a serious tone early on that helps sell the stakes, and a lot of red herring let me guess along the way. None of this distracts from the obvious, however: the plot is well-worn with a trope of tired amnesia.

However, given that this game was released in the late 1980s, the adventure still stands. With moments of suspense and exciting twists and turns, I stayed invested until the end, even though the parts are predictable, and I understood some details long before the credits roll. My biggest disappointment is that the key players in the story never evolve beyond suspects or plot devices – don’t expect much character development or meaningful dialogue exchanges to move forward. the plot. The storytelling is mundane, which might be a testament to the age of the game, but it’s unfortunate nonetheless, especially in a visual novel where the narrative brings the game to life.

As mentioned, Famicom Detective Club games are visual novels with adventure elements, which means you read a lot of text as you survey the surroundings, interrogate locals for information, and collect evidence to get new ones. clues. You don’t walk into the courtroom like in Ace Attorney games, but you investigate and make inferences based on your findings. I was a little disappointed with the limited interactivity, and most of my strategy was all about asking questions and presenting evidence at the right time. An occasional puzzle shakes things up, but I didn’t find them very interesting to solve, as they usually require you to follow tedious instructions. I enjoyed trying to learn more about each member of the family so that I could piece together the patterns, but the slow pace and repetitive dialogue often slowed the momentum.

For this update, Nintendo has recreated the graphics, added Japanese voice acting, and updated music and sound effects, all helping to modernize this classic visual novel. Unfortunately, this remake only goes so far in fixing outdated elements, which is a shame as some archaic design choices delay the game. For example, you often have to ask characters the same question three times before getting the game. desired answer, and sometimes you have to approach the questions and the presentation of evidence in a specific order to advance the plot. I often resorted to trial and error, spamming all possible options in each potential order to override certain sequences. It’s no fun and interrupts the immersion when you just want to see the mystery unfold.

As the first entry in the Famicom Detective Club series, The Missing Heir gives you the chance to experience a key moment in the history of the visual novel. Putting together this mystery and seeing where it leads has this undeniable appeal. However, while the new graphics offer a nice jump in quality, this remake does not change some of the more archaic aspects of the experience, nor does it even attempt to make the characters or the story more interesting to stay with modern times. . If anything, it’s an engaging way to take a look back at the history of this franchise, which I’m glad to have because it satisfies my curiosity for this classic series. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have more of an impact than that.

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