Title: Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk
Developer: Arc System Works
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Reviewed On: 3DS
Genre: Adventure Visual Novel
I’ve always been one to enjoy a good mystery novel, hell the Sherlock Holmes series is by far some of the greatest pieces of literature that I’ve read. However, there is always something that can go wrong. Whether it’s giving the reader too much information or creating an unbelievable scenario that can potentially break the immersion. I first met Jake Hunter in Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past and found that the game fused detective work with visual novel storytelling. I knew this was a series that I would keep following. Sadly, what I didn’t know was that it would be almost 9 years until I played another entry.
Aksys Games has brought back the Jake Hunter series to the west in Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk, a brand new adventure starring Jake Hunter packed with a few extra titles that originally released on mobile. As excited as I was to play through another Jake Hunter adventure, I had my qualms since the series has been a little hit or miss over the years. However, even after all this time passing, I don’t think Mr. Hunter has missed a beat.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk begins with detective Jake Hunter in a bar after a long day of work. As he sips on his drink a man stumbles in with a tale of how he and his friends happened upon a dead body in an abandoned house. Jake springs into action and heads to the house to figure out if the man was telling the truth. Long story short, the man was definitely being honest, which leads Jake to follow the trail and solve the crime.
However, as the case unfolds Jake finds himself getting mixed up in other matters. The story has many twists, which kept me guessing for much of the investigation and I couldn’t get enough. I found myself pushing through every chapter of the game wanting to know more, but at the same time not wanting it to end because that would mean that I would have to wait a while longer for the next Jake Hunter adventure.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk is separated into various modes, aside from the visual novel story sections, you can interrogate suspects, search crime scenes, travel through the city, and deduce clues. Each system is used often enough, but at times it felt too easy since the choices really have no wrong answers. It’s as if there is no alternate universe where detective Jake Hunter can be wrong because even if I chose the wrong answer, I would just get another chance.
This type of “easy” gameplay is found in other modes as well such as investigating a crime scene. While searching, it’s possible to just move the d-pad around the screen until the cursor turns blue, as opposed to using a stylist to touch spots on the screen, which I don’t advise. If you try to exit the screen before searching the entire area, the game will tell you that there is more to look for. I would have liked to face the consequences of being a bad detective, but Jake is just not capable of that.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk has one of the best control schemes for a visual novel that I’ve played. The game can easily be played using just the D-pad to make choices when speaking to suspects. Sure, you can use the touch screen or face buttons to get through the game, but I’m just happy that a visual novel is catering to my needs as a reader.
Additionally, the character illustrations seem to be right out of a classic noir manga. The developer didn’t seem to want to change the design of Jake, his colleagues, and the clients. Instead, the team just made everything look crisp while adding visual quality improvements to the long-running series.
I feel like one of my favorite parts about Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk is the music. It has that classic detective sound that is super recognizable and also needed for the immersion that the story wants the player to feel. Even though the game is set in a more modern time setting, with the inclusion of smartphones, it had the presence of a late 70’s crime drama, only missing the black and white video setting.
As an added bonus, Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk also features a handful of other Jake Hunter adventures that were previously only available on mobile. One of them, Jake Hunter Unleashed School Festival Locked Office Case, is extremely silly and probably my favorite of the five. These extra cases available only add to the overall Jake Hunter experience and I couldn’t have been happier. They are shorter than the main story, but that just means they don’t overstay their welcome.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk has its faults and gameplay wise could use branching narratives for players to put their detective skills to the test. With that said, the story is solid and the mystery that is the Ghost of the Dusk is definitely one that I enjoyed.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk is a must play for mystery fans who don’t mind a linear visual novel experience with frequent interaction when speaking to characters and searching through environments. If you’re looking for a “choose your own adventure” I’d look elsewhere, but if you’re craving a well-written mystery, with a compelling soundtrack and beautiful illustrations, then Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk is just what you’ve been waiting for.
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