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Chaos;Child (PlayStation 4) Review

By André Eriksson 02.01.2018

Review for Chaos;Child on PlayStation 4

When the city gets plagued by mysterious murders that aim to replicate a serial killing spree from six years ago, the leader of the school's newspaper club, driven by his extreme megalomania, takes it upon himself to solve the crimes before everyone else, including the police. As he progresses with the case, he does find himself in deeper water than first expected and worried he might be a target himself. It ends up being a thrilling experience mixing mystery elements with slice of life in a way that has become oh so popular with visual novels. Will it be enough to make Chaos;Child stand out, though?

Mysterious murders start to occur that appear to be suicides that catch the attention of the whole Internet as they match up perfectly to an equally weird serial killing taking place six years ago, which led up to an earthquake destroying the entire city. Everyone goes wild trying to solve the case by speculating and trading information with each another. One school boy and president of the school's newspaper club has, in his megalomania, made his and his club's sole purpose to solve the case before anyone else to prove himself to the world as the ultimate right-sider.

The premise does not do much to differentiate Chaos;Child from the numerous mystery visual novels out on the market, but it does not have to as the mystery fan base never gets fed up of mysteries to solve. It does, however, put pressure on delivering as the genre is filled with many of the best visual novels ever written. Story-wise, it does very little, with plenty of genre tropes showing up all over the place.

Screenshot for Chaos;Child on PlayStation 4

Chaos;Child does deliver on the promise its setting creates, though, and does this big time. Everything from the world building to the character development is spot on and keeps an ever growing ominous and eerie feeling up until the very end, with always increasing stakes and unexpected twists. Even as the reader thinks everything is solved, Chaos;Child keeps on throwing new curve balls, revealing fresh information on the case that proves just how misled readers have been about the real state of things, with alternative endings available for those looking to uncover everything.

It is an ingenious use of multiple endings, each ending reveals new information that adds to the world, and the real purpose behind the greater conspiracies taking place behind the scenes, all the while letting each individual route feel finished and complete in itself for anyone wanting to merely play through once. It is extremely clever writing as that information hidden in additional routes does not invalidate any information found in previous routes, and the mystery can still be solved.

Screenshot for Chaos;Child on PlayStation 4

It does, however, do its best to sidetrack the reader (and protagonist) in a way that might make fans of traditional mystery novels frustrated. While this is common in paranormal VN mystery novels, it is a tool used too often and heavily here. Without spoiling too much - and this is a mild spoiler warning, so if you want no spoiler risk at all, please jump to the next paragraph - it is a problem in a mystery novel when the "murder weapon" is a Diabolus ex Machina that is not even hinted at before the final confrontation. Things like this makes parts of the case impossible to solve in an unfair way by hiding important puzzle pieces outside of the view of both the reader and the protagonist, instead of many, in-universe, extremely likely "weapons" that could very well have accomplished the very same thing.

Minor Spoiler Over! While it adds to the underlying theme of the entire novel, the megalomania of a detective or the reader leading them astray, might leave a sour aftertaste for mystery fans as it feels more insulting than in general. While it has worked well in other mystery visual novels, most noticeably Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, it worked there because it was clear that they were not real and not part of the "real" mystery.

Screenshot for Chaos;Child on PlayStation 4

For most this will be excused, though, as it helps much with the very important world building and, while a bit out of left field for the genre, it does not break the rules of the world the game takes place in and, because it adds to the theme and message of the novel, it does strangely enough add a lot to the experience despite being frustrating. However, picky mystery fans might find it annoying to no end.

The biggest reveal of the entire experience is the fact that while Chaos;Child looks like a mystery novel, plays like a mystery novel, and progresses like a mystery novel would, it is, in the end, not primarily a mystery novel. The biggest twist does a marvellous job and is maybe one of the biggest "reveals" a mystery novel has ever accomplished, though.

Screenshot for Chaos;Child on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Chaos;Child is a deviously clever visual novel from start to finish. It plays the reader like a fiddle by presenting all the ingredients for a mystery novel, but without some of the necessary tools to solve it. A megalomaniac mystery fan will look for a logical solution finding none as the important pieces are hidden away from the protagonist, and by extension, the reader. It might seem insane and risky, but it works extremely well and creates a memorable read that, while perhaps annoying for some due to certain choices made during the prose, will impress many others. Like most visual novels, it is not a crowd-pleaser, but for the intended audience it is a must read, and one that will not easily be forgotten.

Developer

5pb

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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