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Games with good "Detective Mechanics"

Silentstorm

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Has anyone played Blacksad:Under The Skin?

It has a cat detective and it seems good, it's also based on a graphic novel series which i haven't read, is this a game that is good and that you can enjoy without being knowledgeable about the franchise?

I remember playing Sam And Max:Hit The Road without reading the comics or watching the cartoon and i still enjoyed it a lot, hoping that Blacksad reaches the level of "licensed game that is good on it's own!".
 

Silentstorm

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Still have to play Blacksad, but looking into it, it seems to be a glitchy buggy game with QTE's and optimized for console controls, to a point where it may be that the console versions work and play better...i mean, i know adventure games are on consoles too, and this seems to be a Telltale style game, but it just feels odd reading a comment saying that an adventure game was made thinking about consoles.

I associate the genre with PC, just because i can play Day Of The Tentacle Remastered among others on consoles doesn't mean i will ever do that, the story also seems divisive, mostly how most endings only have very miniscule changes, it's just that the game does look good on screenshots and it does have a bigger budget than your typical adventure game nowadays, so i wouldn't mind supporting it...it just seems that somehow the PC version seems to be the worst.
 

Zombra

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Zombra Are you Andy Kelly?
Haha no - he calls "adventure game with a detective in it" a detective game, which is clearly dumb.

But there are some very cool looking games in that article I hadn't heard of before!
rating_thanks.png
 

Starwars

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I've been playing Overboard a bit. It's pretty fun. Very short but meant to be replayed. Probably too woke for some codexians.

I don't know if I would call a game with "detective mechanics" though. It's all driven by the narrative/dialogue screens and the only other gameplay mechanic is moving to various parts of the ship (different characters are in different places at different times).

But yeah, fun little game.
 

HoboForEternity

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
sorcery! remains inkle best game IMO. heaven's fault was great too and very original in the setting and mechanics. after that the art quality decline so much
 

Zombra

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I tried it and was disappointed. The game looks and sounds great, the writing is solid, and it's is a very complex CYOA, but in the end it is Groundhog Day, where you blunder around failing over and over until you acquire enough meta knowledge to take the exact beginning-to-end path needed to reach the end alive. A trial-and-error puzzle that puts you back at square one every time you guess wrong does not make a game "replayable".
 

Neuromancer

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Thanks for the warning.
I hate games with this time lapse mechanic, where you don't know if you missed something and/or you have to repeat things again and again.
 

Silentstorm

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I recall trying Deadline from Infocom recently and hating that, i can see this being amazing a few decades ago when someone was younger and had more free time and you wanted games to last a while, but nowadays, repeating the same thing again and again only going through different places in a different order hoping you get to hear something becomes boring.

There are games that do that kind of thing well, but they tend to be shorter or different actions make things get really different, but a detective game that is all about repeating the same stuff is just not as fun as you'd think.

It may not be realistic, but there is a reason why a ton of adventure games have static worlds that wait for the main characters to arrive and solve puzzles or have dialogues, particularly when it's something like Deadline where the story is only solved by the detective being at the absolute best time to find or hear something which isn't exactly ultra realistic either.
 

Falksi

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[EDIT: NOTE: Years later, I don't really have the energy to keep updating the lists. Please check out the thread for other games recommended by the gang.]

------------------------


I've never been that into "adventure games", but lately I've played a few that have interesting mechanics that make me "feel like a detective". I want to play more games that make me feel like that. Talk to me.

What detective games do it right in your opinon? Which ones screw it up? Do you agree or disagree with others in the thread?

Games with detective mechanics the Codex likes
221 Baker St (1987)
The Blackwell Legacy (2006)
Black Closet (2015)
Blade Runner (1997)
Cognition: an Erica Reed Thriller (2012) Codex thread
Dark Fall: The Journal (2002)
Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder (2007) Codex thread
Dead Secret (2016) Codex thread
Discworld Noir (1999) Codex thread
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993, rereleased 2014)

Kara no Shōjo (2008)
Kathy Rain (2016) Codex thread
KGB (1992)
The Last Express (1997)
Laura Bow 1: The Colonel's Bequest (1989)
Laura Bow 2: The Dagger of Amon-Ra (1992)
Maupti Island (1990)
"Mystery Game" by komilll (Unreleased)
Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge (2010)
Nancy Drew: 400 other games
Noir Syndrome (2014)
Police Quest I: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (1987)
Police Quest IV: Open Season (1993)
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments (2014)
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper (2009)
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel (1992)
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo (1996)
The Shivah (2013)
Sinking Island (2007) Codex thread
Tex Murphy: Mean Streets (1989)
Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive (1996)
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World (1996)

Detective games the Codex warns against
Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
Cruise for a Corpse
Detective Grimoire
Mortville Manor
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter


Related games the Codex has mixed opinions on
Ballyhoo (1985)
Black Dahlia (1998)
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (2005)
Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005)
Corruption (1988)
Danganronpa 1: Trigger Happy Havoc (2016)
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (2016)

Deadline (1982)
Emerald City Confidential (2009)
Grim Fandango (1998, rereleased 2015)
L.A. Noire (2011)
Legends of Murder 1: Stonedale Castle (1989)
Legends of Murder 2: Grey Haven (1991)
Life is Strange (2015)
Moonmist (1986)
Ripper (1996)
Suspect (1984)
The Witness (1983)
The Wolf Among Us (2014)
The X-Files Game (1998)
Zero Escape 1: Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors (2009)
Zero Escape 2: Virtue's Last Reward (2012)
Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma (2016)

This is a very noble endeavour :salute:
 

HoboForEternity

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I played it. Too tired to write a preview but it was ok. It's not excellent, but i do see the potential in mechanic they have. It reallt depend on the mystery quality because the demo case isn't exactly thrilling and the writing doesn't make me feel invested.

Mechanically - has potential

Narratively, ehh.

Will write detailed thoughts tomorrow. Have some other games to try on.
 

HoboForEternity

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
so here's what i thought:

you examine clues in an isometric view as well as talking to witnesses and suspects. each clues you get by either conversation are represented by a sticky note in the detective board. the "deduction" part consists of drawing a connection between these clues. in the end of each investigation you are asked a question either "who, when, why, how where" and you can put basically anything into those answers.

there is a nice process of elimination by judging the clues. for example, the victim in the demo case was murdered Friday, 7 pm in his house. you later find a work schedule where he has a party to attend and never announced he'd skip it. the only one knew he was home was his secretary and his wife. you know this by "connecting" his schedule and location/time of death. after that you got a new dialogue options for the witness and got new clues. this automatically crosses people who doesn't know he's not attending the event as suspects.

to be honest, I kinda half-assed the demo and I just powered through it because apparently playing 5 different games in one night and learning different mechanics is mentally exhausting.

the presentation is honestly pretty barebone and the locations are just a single room and usually one or two witnesses plus your partner. there isn't much a "police procedural" instead of just drawing a line between the clues and find contradictions or facts, plus answering the 5W+1h questions.

the good thing is the deduction board feels pretty free-form but the game did tell you which clue is relevant and has potential to uncover new dialogue. this should be turned off so you use your brain more.

i see some potential with it, really depending on how the cases goes
 

ValeVelKal

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Aug 24, 2011
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I tried it and was disappointed. The game looks and sounds great, the writing is solid, and it's is a very complex CYOA, but in the end it is Groundhog Day, where you blunder around failing over and over until you acquire enough meta knowledge to take the exact beginning-to-end path needed to reach the end alive. A trial-and-error puzzle that puts you back at square one every time you guess wrong does not make a game "replayable".
Yeah, I played it and so far it is by far the weakest of the Inkle games (80 days, Heaven's Vault, ... Man those two were masterpieces).
The mechanics come straight from Elsinore, with better production value certainly, but everything else is way inferior :the thickness of the plot, story branching depending on your decision, the choices you need to make, the feeling of progress,......
 

Forest Dweller

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Oct 29, 2008
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Surprised no one's thought to add Disco Elysium to the list. I think it definitely qualifies.

Also Heavy Rain. Don't think I've seen anyone bring that one up.
 

Steel Soul

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Strap Yourselves In
Disco Elysium is fantastic.

Eh on Heavy Rain. Too much JASONNNN for me, but I guess it counts.

It's the wrong genre but Return of the Obra Dinn is fuckin great.
 

HoboForEternity

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Disco elysium is fantastic but i wouldn't call it having detective mechanics. The story is more or less about detectiving but the police procedure isn't the core part of the system.
 

Nutria

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It's the wrong genre but Return of the Obra Dinn is fuckin great.

That's really the best example you could come up with. You have a limited amount of evidence to work with and you've got to figure out what happened to who. And there are no gamey mechanics at all. It's just purely you figuring out what happened and telling the computer when you've solved it.
 

Zombra

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Make the Codex Great Again! RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
It's the wrong genre but Return of the Obra Dinn is fuckin great.
Trench coats and fedoras are fine - I love classic noir - but the thread isn't about noir; it's about detective mechanics. Obra Dinn's mechanics are fantastic so don't be shy about mentioning it :)
 

Monolith

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A couple of years ago I saw a review about a kind of walking sim / detective game where the protagonist is in a deserted town, trying to piece together various tidbits of information. Looked pretty down to earth, without much of a paranormal backdrop. Don't know about a detective mechanism other than gathering info and somewhat making the connection - either via a gameplay mechanic or utilizing the nearly endless capacities of ones mind. But making those connections as the player went on and gathered info seemed to be a large part about that game.

I never played it and would like to based on that review back then, but cannot find it. Maybe you guys here know what I am talking about.
 

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