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  1. #1

    428: Shibuya Scramble [PS4/PC]

    I have wanted to play this game for a long time.

    Spike Chunsoft have a great deal of visual novel pedigree, and on its original Wii release in Japan (now 10+ years ago) it got the coveted Famitsu 40/40. It's been ported from the Wii to the PS3, PSP, and mobiles - but with it coming to PS4 and PC it finally gets a localisation, courtesy of Kajiya Productions (Vagrant Story, Phoenix Wright, Final Fantasy XII).

    The game's split up into 1-hour chunks, and then split up further by giving you different characters to play within this window. I'm only just done with the first of these, which is essentially a tutorial for the game's systems. Unsurprisingly the gameplay is quite light, but you're quite often making decisions, and then jumping back to re-make them, or switching to a different character to influence the way their stories intertwine, so that you can stop the fairly frequent 'bad ends' that you can encounter. These can range from light hearted and silly to quite dramatic, and at least at this early stage are accompanied by an optional hint that tells you where you might want to go about fixing the timeline; e.g. fuse might not have bumped into that stranger outside the chippy and dropped his pie if he were to have left a few seconds before - maybe go back 2 minutes and pay by contactless card instead of fumbling around for change? Naturally the actual game doesn't have quite the same level of high-stakes drama / heartbreak, but you get the idea.

    Probably the most noteworthy element coming from other VNs is that the visuals are not in an anime/manga style - instead having frequent live action elements. Sometimes short video clips, others just still or panned photos underneath the text - and it actually makes for quite a nice experience. Naturally though, the big draw will be the story, and in the first five minutes you're already looking at the point of a ransom payoff for a kidnapping. That's not to say it's entirely po-faced though, as the intro's played out over a big jazzy intro number, and just as quickly as the main story unfolds you've already got much less serious characters being fleshed out in the background.

    So far, so good. Anyone else playing?

  2. #2
    Too busy and poor to get this at the moment but really want it. I bought the Wii version in Japan a couple of years ago. It was cheap and if nothing else, I could look at the nice UI without understanding the story.

    There's a good documentary about the director on the Archipel Youtube channel.

  3. #3
    Didn't know about the localisation till your post elsewhere on the forum showing off your copy Fuse, but I'm def on this. Thanks for the impressions. It sounds really interesting and enjoyable. I really like VNs but an annoying number of the ones that get localised focus on romancing questionably aged large chested women. This sounds like a really intriguing title.

    Quote Originally Posted by fuse
    Naturally the actual game doesn't have quite the same level of high-stakes drama / heartbreak, but you get the idea.

  4. #4
    That documentary was ace - cheers!

    I finished the game up today, and am very pleased. There's some extra bits to wrangle with, which I'll have a crack at this coming week, but I'm feeling pretty satisfied with how things wrapped up.

    Some minor gripes: it would have been nice to have had a portable version, as I do feel a little weird playing VNs on the big screen. Also - it crashed on me *a lot* of times (thankfully auto-saves are v regular). But most importantly, I enjoyed the story a lot, thought it was very well paced, and found the way of switching between characters and pushing things forward worked really well. Would definitely echo that it's nice to to play something in this genre where the character designs don't make you look like some kind of sex offender when people catch you playing it, too.

    I'd highly recommend it!


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