From the creator of the iconic Danganronpa series Kazutaka Kodaka comes Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, a new game described as “lucid-noir.” We got the first hands-on preview with the game.
Influential is a word that describes Kodaka’s previous works. Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE contains some elements from Danranronpa but improves and expands upon them in a meaningful way to make you feel like a true detective.
Stepping into the shoes of Yuma Kokohead, a detective-in-training, and assisted by Shinigami, a death god that is contracted to haunt Yuma, you solve mysteries around Kanai Ward.
Kanai Ward is a sprawling city where it always rains, adding to the noir atmosphere it presents. Working for the World Detective Organization, Yuma works with Master Detectives to solve various crimes around Kanai Ward.
During the gameplay demo we were shown, Yuma, accompanied by Halara Nightmare, another Master Detective, is tasked with solving a string of locked room murders in a mansion. Once inside, Yuma finds the crime scene where a man is nailed to the floor along with dolls.
At first, seeing the crime scene with a victim covered in blood and bruises with not much else doesn’t give much context to your surroundings.
Thanks to Halara’s Forensic Forte, a special ability that assist in collecting evidence, she can witness past crime scenes using Postcognition, which is then shared with Yuma via contact (hand holding).
The story from a first glance already has us hooked. It retains the art style from Danganronpa and places it in a lucid-noir detective story that is, from what I feel, more serious than Danganronpa but still has it’s share of humorous moments.
With each Master Detective having separate routes, the story shapes up to be long but interesting to say the least.
Without giving out spoilers for the case ahead, Yuma and Halara go to a Mystery Labyrinth created by Shinigami which is a series of mini games in the same vein as Danranronpa but with more mechanics.
Using Yuma’s Solution Blade, you can cut through misinformation and scare tactics from a Mystery Phantom, a person in the real world that wants to prevent you from solving the case for multiple reasons, not necessarily the culprit.
3D elements of RAIN CODE make the crime scenes (and Kanai Ward) more explorable and interactive to gather evidence and solve crimes.
Gameplay is chocked full of explorable areas around Kanai Ward, puzzles via Mystery Labyrinths, as well as visual novel elements for dialogue. As far as JRPG elements, Yuma has an Abilities skill tree that you can build out for your style of play.
Like previously stated, this differs from Danganronpa since you can now explore scenes 3D instead of being in a 2D environment at a fixed position. It adds to the experience of being able to control the way you investigate and deduce the methods of how crimes were executed.
Utilizing Unreal Engine 4, you can feel immersed with Kanai Ward since it’s filled with rain, water puddles, neon lights, and more. Other scenery like caves, labyrinths, and crime scenes are finely detailed too even for the hardware of the Nintendo Switch.
During the gameplay demo, the Nintendo Switch handled everything fairly well, even for a handheld console that is a bit dated by today’s standards.
Ultimately, the first impression I got of Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is great and hopeful. A few things about it that I’m looking forward to is seeing more of Shinigami since she has two forms, one that exists in the real world as a ghost and one that exists in Mystery Labyrinths in her true form.