Jisei: The First Case HD was released for PS4 in July 2020 by Sakevisual. It’s the first game in a series of murder mystery visual novels, the game was originally released several years ago. This HD version brings with it visual enhancements to the user interface and artwork.
As the game’s name implies, Jisei: The First Case HD contains the story of one murder case. It’s a very short game, and you can complete it in about an hour. If you want to get the platinum trophy, which requires you to do a few playthroughs and choose different dialogue options, it’ll take you about two hours. You can turn on an option that lets you skip very rapidly through text you’ve already seen, so it’s a quick process. Most of the trophies are easily obtained, simply requiring you to pick one of two dialogue options, and then on a second run, to choose the other one.
Jisei follows an unnamed male protagonist who finds himself waking up in a coffee shop. He’s surprised that he fell asleep, considering that he just drank a strong cup of coffee beforehand. Suddenly, his head hurts and he feels sick. The thing is, he has a special ability that causes him to feel this way when he’s near a dead body. But this is just a plain old coffee shop, surely there’s nothing like that here? After speaking with the barista, he drags himself over to the shop’s toilets, and sure enough, in the ladies room he spots a corpse. A lady has been murdered, and there’s a kitchen knife sticking out of her chest. The protagonist approaches the body and touches it in order to activate the other part of his ability, which allows him to experience a murder victim’s final moments. She appears to have been strangled or suffocated to death, at odds with the knife in her chest. As he turns to leave, one of the coffee shop’s customers sees him with the body, and concludes that he must be the killer. An off duty policeman who was visiting the shop gets involved, and the protagonist finds himself having to defend his innocence as an investigation into the murder begins.
Jisei: The First Case has a small yet colourful cast of characters. There’s the barista, Chance, Miss Bergstorm the lady who found you in the toilet area and accused you of murder, and Kizaki a student who happened to be studying at the shop when the murder happened. There’s also Detective Gurski, who hangs around in the coffee house to investigate. He’s your point of contact, and will listen to any information you discover about the suspects. Could he also be a suspect himself though? The writers have clearly done their best to craft a concise murder case that can be played as a stand-alone experience, but due to the game’s very short length, the story suffers a bit. One of the big challenges with writing any murder mystery is foreshadowing who the culprit is without making it too obvious to the reader. The story, with it’s one hour length, doesn’t have much time to set up the clues, and so it drops them too liberally. As a result, I had already worked out who the killer was about halfway through the game, it was too easy.
Visually, Jisei: The First Case holds up well. Although the character and environment artwork is nothing outstanding, it’s fairly easy on the eyes and looks good. Although the selection of characters and locations is quite small, there’s a reasonable amount of variety among them. There’s also some interesting user friendly options in Jisei: The First Case. Something that caught my attention is how you can actually go backwards through the text, rather than there being a log. I’ve played a lot of visual novels, but this is something I’ve never seen before. It’s rather useful, and hopefully more games will add this functionality.
Overall, Jisei: The First Case is a decent visual novel. It’s just a shame about how short it is, and the lack of complexity in the story. I found myself feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end, it felt like it was over before it really began. Although it’s a budget title, it still feels a little overpriced considering that you only get a couple of hours worth of content. On a more positive note, adding to Jisei: The First Case’s presentation, the game is also fully voice acted, including some work by veteran voice actors. It all sounds great, and each voice suits its character perfectly. So there’s certainly no issues with the presentation quality. Jisei: The First Case would work best as a bite size experience at a slightly lower price, something I would be more likely to perhaps recommend if it goes on sale.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jisei: The First Case HD Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 2/10
User Review( votes)
Jisei: The First Case would work best as a bite size experience at a slightly lower price, something I would be more likely to perhaps recommend if it goes on sale.
- Good murder mystery story set up.
- Artwork is easy on the eyes.
- Fully voice acted.
- Only an hour long.
- Despite a good set up, the culprit is too obvious.