428: Shibuya Scramble is a sound novel created by Chunsoft and Jiro Ishii that involves the stories of five different individuals who, over the course of 10 hours, help solve the mystery behind a kidnapping that took place in the city of Shinbuya, both intentionally and accidentally.
Similar to most titles in Chunsoft's Sound Novel franchise, the game is an interactive narrative that branches its story based on dialogue choices, however, one character's decisions not only effecting their story but the events of the other four playable characters as well. The game's presentation is made up of live-action photographs and footage of real-world locations and actors reminiscent of Machi, another sound novel that is considered the spiritual predecessor to 428. An extra scenario is also contained within 428 that was created by the founders of Type-Moon, writer Kinoko Nasu as well as artist Takashi Takeuchi, featuring its own story staring characters from the main game. The Type-Moon scenario would later received a sequel in the form of an anime produced by P.A.Works in 2009 called Canaan which takes place two years after the events of 428.
Shibuya Scramble was published by Sega for the Nintendo Wii on December 4, 2008 and was the last title released as part of the Sega×Chun partnership between Chunsoft and Sega. Spike would later take over publishing duties for 428, releasing the game on the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 in 2009 as well as mobile devices in 2011. Eventually, Spike Chunsoft localized 428 into English on September 4, 2018 for the PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. The English ports were developed by Abstraction Games and the translation was handled by Kajiya Productions.
The plot revolves around a kidnapping in Tokyo's Shibuya district, the game takes place between 10 AM and 6 PM in the lives of five different characters: Kano (a detective), Achi (a punk/ex-gang leader), Tama (a girl wearing a cat costume), Minorikawa (a journalist), and Oozawa (the kidnapped girl's father).
428 can be divided in several chapters, each chapter takes an hour in the lives of the characters, in order to progress in the story the player needs to lead all the characters to the end of the chapter, if the player finishes the chapter the story will move to the next hour in the game.
The gameplay in 428 its quite different from other sound novels, it is impossible to beat the game without using all the characters, since the decisions made with one character may effect every other protagonist in the story. For instance, in one portion of the game two yakuza are looking for a building and ask directions to one of the main characters, if the player tells them where the building is it will lead another protagonist story to a bad ending, when one of the main characters gets a bad ending the player has to go back in time using the time chart and correct the decisions.
Depending on the player's choices, a number of new scenarios become available, which ultimately lead to different outcomes and endings. The game has up to 87 different possible endings, and over a hundred different alternate story pathways.
428: Shibuya Scramble scored a perfect 40/40 in Famitsu becoming the ninth game to receive a perfect score in the magazine's history. Years later in 2017, 428 also won 2nd place in the Famitsu's reader poll for Best Adventure Game of All Time with Steins;Gate obtaining 1st place by 34 points.