Review – The 25th Ward: The Silver Case

Goichi Suda, also known as Suda51, is a well-known developer who developed a myriad of insane and fast-paced games such as No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, and Killer is Dead, among many others. He’s one of the few guys in the industry who has a typical style and feel shared between all of his games. Despite all of those titles, one of his first projects in the gaming industry was far from being as action-packed or fast-paced as those previously listed. The Silver Case, originally released for the Playstation in 1999, was a visual novel, of all things, and got remade for the PS4 in 2017, with all-new visuals and gameplay, in order to make the aged title a bit more palatable for modern gaming standards.

There’s a slight chance you haven’t heard of The Silver Case, and there’s an even bigger chance you haven’t heard about its sequel, The 25th Ward, originally released in 2005 for mobile phones in Japan. Yep, we’re talking about old-school mobile gaming here. The game just got a remake as well, and this is what we’re going to talk about today. Here’s the review for the PS4 remake of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case.


Well that’s gonna ruin its property value…

Upon starting the game, The 25th Ward bombards you with a ton of exposition and information regarding both the previous installment in the series and the setting of the new game, and that might be intimidating at first. It’s a lot of exposition you can’t go back to it after starting the game, so be sure to pay attention or find a summary in case you want to read it later on.

The game is a bit rough in its presentation, despite the fact it’s a full-fledged remake. It’s not exactly bad, but the game’s visuals and overall gameplay are definitely not for everyone. And if you’re not a fan of visual novels or text-based adventure titles, this is not a title that’ll make you change your mind. The visuals are very static, with little action happening onscreen besides a general background representing your current location, some items, and text boxes. The gameplay is simple as a consequence, resorting mostly to navigating through menus, reading dialogue, and using the game’s option system. All of these typical actions such as “talk,” “move” or “check items” are placed on an odd Dungeons & Dragons-esque die, and for some otherworldly force I never manage to find the option I want right from the get go. The game also lacks any voice whatsoever, but it compensates for that by having a good soundtrack.

The game’s best aspect is, thankfully, its most important one: the story. The 25th Ward might not be as over-the-top as other Suda51 games, but it’s definitely as weird. Trying to be as spoiler-free and vague as possible (the less you know about the story before playing the game, the better, though try to find out about the first game’s plot), the game is set years after The Silver Case, in a brand new ward of a Japanese city. Crime has been supposedly terminated, until a gruesome murder happens and you’re set to investigate the reasons behind it. The game features three storylines, each one comprised of five episodes. All three scenarios intersect with each other in certain moments in a pseudo Tarantino-esque manner, making you experience the same event through different perspectives, at some points. One of the three scenarios, “Placebo,” is a direct sequel of the same scenario featured in The Silver Case.


What is this, D&D?

If you’re a fan of visual novels, text-based adventures or just your typical well-written thriller, it’s easy to recommend The 25th Ward. Be advised that it’s a good thing to play the first game beforehand, both in order to get a hold of the overall setting and the game’s unusual control scheme. This is not exactly the over-the-top madness I expect from Suda51, but it was still madness in a different way.

Graphics: 6.0

Despite the nice UI and some interesting visual effects, the game looks visually simplistic, even though it was remade from scratch.

Gameplay: 6.5

It’s mostly menu management and reading through walls of text, but the game also tries to innovate with a D&D-esque dice menu system. It’ll take a while to get used to it.

Sound: 7.5

The soundtrack is good enough, albeit the lack of voice acting is a bummer, given the amount of dialogue present in this game.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Visual novels are not for everyone and The 25th Ward is no exception to the rule. The amount of introductory exposition is intimidating but the insane story is worth checking out.

Final Verdict: 7.0

A copy of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case was provided by the publisher.