04th Oct2018

‘Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk’ Review (Nintendo 3DS)

by Britt Roberts

jake-hunter-ghost-dusk-box

Reviewing Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk was a new experience as I have rarely played 3DS games, instead owning a PSP and then a PS Vita. I have played quite a few visual novels, however and found certain comparisons to the Phoenix Wright series in the deduction / interrogation sections as well as discovering that the handheld medium is definitely the best way to play this genre of games due to their more casual approach.

Ghost of the Dusk casts you in the titular role of Jake Hunter, a pretty typical hard drinking and smoking private detective, which I have absolutely no problem with. The game begins with Jake coming off a previous case and heading to his local bar to slam back a few drinks in celebration but naturally… someone runs into the bar, claiming to have seen a ghost which sets off a series of events leading Jake into yet another mysterious case which he has to smoke his way through.

The world of Jake Hunter is based firmly in the mortal realm without any supernatural activity (I had concerns at the mention of a ghost at the start of the game), which is definitely a strength as it means that the narrative doesn’t suddenly turn at any point into a cheap reveal. As a visual novel, the game has some voice acting in Japanese with English subtitles but is mostly text-based with accompanying smoky jazz music to add a soundtrack to the noir-ish proceedings. There is an element of interactivity here, you can interrogate suspects, show people items and also catch them out in statements or alibis but really, you can’t lose due to the design of the game. If you made an incorrect deduction, Jake with interject and say something that boils down to, ‘That’s wrong, that is’ allowing you to re-choose your statement until the correct choice is made. This, along with the fact that Jake will also refuse to return to specific locations at certain points, guides you pretty strongly to the right place and moves the story along at quite a jaunt in a very linear fashion. You an even click the ‘think’ button, which makes Jake directly tell you what to do next, this is definitely a game that has a story to tell as opposed to puzzles that will challenge your grey matter.

As the narrative of Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk moves forward, the cases get bigger in scope, beginning with a simple accidental suicide (or is it?) and slowly escalating,moving onto bigger fish to fry. Personally, I like the self-contained investigative parts as it keeps things short and sharp but there is a lot of play time here with the ‘campaign’ coming at around 12-14 hours. There are also sub-cases which can be completed, adding further value.

It’s great to see Jake Hunter translated into English (there are a couple of typos, but nothing deal-breaking) and released on these shores. The visual novel medium is something that people either click with or don’t and JH:GOTD is unlikely to win any new converts with its pretty standard plot and stereotypical characters but it is a breezy read. Although game play is light and guides you by the hand, it is still fun to see how the story pans out under a soundscape of gentle jazz. The real issue here is the platform on which it has been released, the 3DS is really showing its age now and as a full-price game, it seems a bit much for what you get. That said, I enjoyed my time with the game as a casual, light adventure to play on the go and it would be great to see more cases ported over to get more immersed in the Jake Hunter world.

Right, I’m off to smoke enigmatically.

Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk is out now on the Nintendo 3DS.

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