Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 07.10.2019 1

Review for Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz on PlayStation 4

Despite what the best in the genre might suggest, good mysteries are always hard to pull off in earnest. Simply knowing the end result of a mystery can be enough to dampen the experience in hindsight. Of course, a talented writer can avoid said pitfall by sprinkling meaningful clues and themes along the way that make a reread, rewatch, or replay worthwhile - but said feat is easier said than done. If the mystery itself isn't all that strong, charming writing and an endearing cast can pick up the slack, but every now and again comes a story so well told, so well realized, that all the parts come together into a narrative that makes readers forget the sheer struggle of crafting a strong mystery narrative. Every now and again comes a title like DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz.

While Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz is hardly the most inspiring title in the world, mystery fans will find a narrative with plenty of meat to chew on. Following the passing of his grandfather, Saburo Jinguiji returns to New York, fully believing that the only family member he hadn't cut ties with was murdered. Where a typical mystery would build on this premise well enough, Saburo's investigation is taken one step further with him reflecting on his past to move towards the truth.

Screenshot for Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz on PlayStation 4

Gameplay is split up between the older Saburo in the present, and the younger Saburo in the past. The majority of the plot's progression takes place while in control of the older Saburo, but the younger Saburo's segments reveal important context for the mystery that would otherwise be relegated to exposition without the framing. In this sense, splitting the actual gameplay between what is effectively two characters makes for a rather ingenious move.

More importantly, gameplay is not static between the segments. While the core mechanics carry over, there are fundamental differences between playing as the young Saburo and the older, college aged Saburo. While conversing with characters, Saburo can change his "stance," essentially changing the tone of the conversation and leading it. Saburo can take a more passive approach, letting characters lead (or at least give them the impression they're leading) act as the more dominant half of the conversation, wasting no time getting to the point - or showing off some flattery.

Screenshot for Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz on PlayStation 4

The tutorial makes it very clear early on, however, that there are appropriate stances for appropriate situations and appropriate ages. Saburo's flattery might work well when he's a child and giving the impression that he's sucking up to the adults around him, but said flattery could potentially come off inappropriate as an adult. As a result, it's important to take into consideration not just the type of person Saburo is talking to, but also the context surrounding their relationship. Is Saburo older? If so, by how much? What is the power dynamic between them? Is it beneficial for Saburo to take charge or to lean back?

Every decision in every conversation is coded and requires a genuine level of focus. While some scenarios will more or less play out how the story dictates regardless of any mistakes, part of the fun is figuring out how Saburo should act at any given time. There's a very humanistic angle at play that naturally lends itself to strong character writing. NPCs aren't always fully fleshed out, but they are fleshed out enough where it never feels like Saburo isn't speaking with a real character with a real purpose in the overarching mystery.

Screenshot for Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz on PlayStation 4

The investigation phase is likewise equally inspired. Taking place in a 3D field, Saburo investigates watercolour backdrops, looking for clues, piecing together even the most minor of mysteries by analyzing his surroundings. In doing so, he waters the orchard of his mind, a metaphorical gameplay tool that keeps track of clues in a visualized tree, gradually growing more branches as Saburo walks closer to the truth of each mystery. In doing so, Saburo can then confront the mystery directly, transitioning into a gameplay phase where he must manually go over the facets of the mystery, breaking them down with evidence.

All this blends together into one of the most engaging detective titles to release in quite a long time. Even when the pacing is slow, and it often is, there is a deliberate nature to how the narrative proceeds. Each moment matters and it's important to linger on clues, linger on characters, and linger on the mystery. Most important of all, the script is genuinely very well written and localized. The plot itself is gripping enough to keep the overall title engaging, but it's the craft of the writing that makes each moment in DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz worth reading.

Screenshot for Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Nonsense title aside, Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz is one of the best written detective adventures to release this gen. Masterfully presented with a gorgeous watercolour art style and a moody, sombre score, every moment in Saburo Jinguji's trip to New York is handled brilliantly, building off his relationship with his deceased grandfather and slowly unravelling a thoughtfully weaved mystery. Splitting gameplay between two phases of Saburo's life, childhood and adulthood, is a particularly inspired touch that keeps the narrative moving in spite of its slow pace while also building a deeper connection between audiences and Saburo himself. Along with the title's fantastically realized mechanics, this is a title every mystery buff needs to experience.

Developer

Neilo Inc.

Publisher

Arc System Works

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

I am super interested to play this! It looks so bizarre!

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