The Power of Imagination
Think about a Phoenix Wright game without all of the charm and memorable characters. Now pick of a copy of Unsolved Crimes and make that vision a reality. YOU ARE A GOD!
Or you might be someone who will not be at all disappointed with this game after reading this review. The game boils down into a series of crimes where it is your job as a silent new homicide detective to determine what happened based on the evidence before you. This is similar in structure to the aforementioned Capcom series, but it has a unique approach for in addition to looking through profiles of suspects as well as physical evidence, it is necessary to traverse a 3D environment that looks like it hopped out of 1995. Which is to say, the graphics of the game resemble a 3D game on the DS. Resemble with an uncanny accuracy.
This ability to move around the crime scene is important in some of the cases as the spatial relationships of objects, in some instances, matter. For instance, where a bullet hole is found, can help you determine who may have shot a gun. In other cases, it is pain and it only serves to highlight a serviceable interface.
In order to solve crimes your partner will pose questions to you. It is your task to show what you think happened and then to point out the evidence that allows you to make this conclusion. Failure is punished. Fail enough and the game is over. Almost all of the questions into the circumstances of a crime made sense to me when the evidence was examined. The leaps of logic are not too vast but your mileage may vary. When you answer everything your partner has to ask, the emotionless new gumshoe makes a report to his boss. After a report, some new evidence comes to light and eventually you solve the crime.
For not particular reason, the game asks you to predict who-done-it. I can perceive no effect of being right or wrong until the end of the episode when a score is rendered. It certainly is nothing that should make anyone want to play through the game again. Not that it would take more than 3 or 4 hours once all of the proper responses are known.
In terms of story, the individual crimes are unmemorable, but completing them is fun enough. The entire game is styled after 70s cop shows and movies, which is a largely unexplored space in games. It’s a shame there are no flamboyant pimp witnesses, but maybe they’re holding that back for Unsolved Crimes 2.
There is an overarching story where the protagonist’s partner gets kidnapped. As this is the DC, there are also several requisite mini games, like a shooting gallery and maze run, that breakup the crime scenes. None of these feel as well done as the main crime scenes. I wish these had all been stripped out and that an additional legitimate scene was added.
All in all, the game is an amusing distraction where you can fail. Which makes it a game.