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Games with good "Detective Mechanics"

Alphons

Cipher
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Great thread, some games that weren't mentioned:

Return of the Obra Dinn (2018)

Made by Lucas Pope, guy behind Papers, Please. Obra Dinn returned to port with everyone on board dead.
You play as an insurance agent and get to fill out a report on how everyone met their ends using a crew manifest and a special watch.


Unheard (2019)

Inspired by Obra Dinn. You play as a special agent reviewing recordings from various crimes (from drugs and theft to murder) looking for details overlooked by police.



The Deed (2015, 2016, 2020)

Murder a family member (or an abusive orderly in the new one) and get away with it. Find a murder weapon, get an alibi and pin the murder on someone else by finding a right motive- steering conversations and planting evidence.

 

Jack Of Owls

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Some great suggestions in this topic so don't let it die. The first graphic adventure I ever played was Mean Streets (on my Commodore 64) which just so happened to be a detective procedural too (but somewhat superficial and unchallenging else I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to complete it back then). Looking forward to the Pandora Detective remaster.
 

Zombra

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I think you're a little cruel there.
[The Painscreek Killings] does what it can without characters, but it's bound to be limited.
Disagree. Look at Dead Secret for an easy counterexample. No characters in that either, yet it has an engaging story, a constant sense of purpose, a rewarding activity loop, a solution that really makes you think, a setting that justifies its adventure style gameplay, an environment that's constantly engaging ... the list goes on.

This said it can be finished without a walkthrough, and that's a good point.
Of course moon logic, walkthrough-mandatory adventures suck, but I've never seen "you can finish it" as a selling point before.
 

Tramboi

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Of course moon logic, walkthrough-mandatory adventures suck, but I've never seen "you can finish it" as a selling point before.
I meant that there are no huge inductive gaps or moon logic. Everything makes sense (except the ending) and it has good non linearity. It was ok, IMO.
I thought Dead Secret was inferior, very linear (but I might not remember correctly).
 

Nutria

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Strap Yourselves In
I thought Unheard was pretty good but I never finished it. I do a lot better with reading than listening so I think it just wasn't right for me personally, but most people would probably like it.

Reminds me of another one I played around the same time:



Pretty much the whole game is about interrogating people and trying to figure out who's lying to you. I liked it a lot right up until the very last interrogation when I hit a bug where I've figured everything out but it won't show me the damn victory screen.
 

ValeVelKal

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I really disliked Unheard, because for any give case you have to hear 10 to 20 minutes of discussion from 5 different places, which is LONG !
 

HoboForEternity

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I thought Unheard was pretty good but I never finished it. I do a lot better with reading than listening so I think it just wasn't right for me personally, but most people would probably like it.

Reminds me of another one I played around the same time:



Pretty much the whole game is about interrogating people and trying to figure out who's lying to you. I liked it a lot right up until the very last interrogation when I hit a bug where I've figured everything out but it won't show me the damn victory screen.

interrogation is really good. of course you can brute force it and there is almost no fail state (except those with timers), but i like the fact both styles of gameplay can
lands you in trouble. you can play good cop/bad cop. if you play good cop and try to sympathize with the terrorrist the internal investigator will accuse you of working with them. playing too bad of a cop will get you in trouble of abusing power and violence.
 

Zombra

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Lucifer Within Us has turned out to be very cool.

Steam review


The mechanics are excellent and intriguing. The featured system is timeline comparison, where all witness accounts are analyzed side by side and you spot the lies and contradictory events. On top of that is a very good interrogation interface which makes it easy to ask any suspect about any event, person, material evidence, or even motive. The accusation system lets you "what if" and build cases against everyone without having to commit until all the pieces are in place. Finally, there are simple clues about the psychology of each suspect that can be uncovered simply by interacting with them enough.

Downsides: First, the game is rather short and I wish we could see more of what can be done with these systems. Also, the game seems quite easy since there are no game overs and you're not allowed to commit to wrong answers. It's not as easy as it appears at first, though, as finding a correct answer can sometimes require bouncing off many red herrings first.

Worth it on a shallow sale and recommended.
 
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HoboForEternity

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decent game so far, but kinda missed opportunity in term of detective mechanics. the game did all the deduction for you as long as you find all the clues. actual puzzles can be neat, and the art is gorgeous. story isn't half bad, kinda cliche, the main detective stumbled into a murder, implicating someone in high position and the case got taken over by the special unit.

recommended it because you also play as a street cat and there's cat mafia in a territory war with other cat gangs.
 

HoboForEternity

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Put more hours into it. I am legit invested in this game now. The story get much much interesting, there is nothing new here in term of noir/mystery/scifi genre, but it’s still pretty cool and executed well, filled with great characters.


My biggest complaint is really the english translation. It's better than 90s JRPG translation but the expression they use are just so weird, like using british expressions, sometimes it's american, etc. You just know which lines are translated from chinese literally. It doesn't ruin the game, but might feel awkward in some places.


Again, there isn't much detective mechanics, except from some very basic deduction process that is more of a minigame than puzzle (basically just chronologically assembling events ) but, more of a regular adventure game with inventory puzzles and minigames. They are actually decent. Not excellent, but serve its purpose well and there are very good variety of puzzles types that so far it, nothing ever repeats. It's still pretty easy, but consirably well made.


Oh yeah, the cat you play as is total fuckboi just radiates chad energy and has fucked 2 different female cat so far. He's basically smart harem anime protagonist.


But yeah, this is one of the pleasant surprise of this month. The storyline takes place in October 20 to 22th so far and i get just this weird pleasure if the game i played takes place in the more or less same time as real world, especially random game i picked up from backlog.
 

Jack Of Owls

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decent game so far, but kinda missed opportunity in term of detective mechanics. the game did all the deduction for you as long as you find all the clues. actual puzzles can be neat, and the art is gorgeous. story isn't half bad, kinda cliche, the main detective stumbled into a murder, implicating someone in high position and the case got taken over by the special unit.

recommended it because you also play as a street cat and there's cat mafia in a territory war with other cat gangs.


Love the look of this game. Not always fond of the pixel art-style but this looks pleasing to my sense of neon-glo cyberpunk asthetics, such as they are.
 

fantadomat

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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.
I agree,tho the autopsy part is pretty good,and few other detective deductions. Would have loved if there was more of it in the game,can't wait for sequel or expansion!
 

HoboForEternity

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Finished neon sea. It is mostly good, i'd give it a solid 7.5, would be better if the translation is better. That's my main complaint basically other than spoiler
the game ends in cliffhanger. The plot regarding the serial killer is fully resolved, but the bigger conspiracy is left for a sequel and if there really is going to be one, i will play the heck out it, but rn there's nothing so i am tad disappointed
 

V_K

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decent game so far, but kinda missed opportunity in term of detective mechanics. the game did all the deduction for you as long as you find all the clues. actual puzzles can be neat, and the art is gorgeous.
So how long does it take before getting good? I've played it for half an hour and got bored out of my mind with the slow controls and uninspired puzzles and tasks. Is it a case of a slow start or should I drop it if I'm not enjoying off the bat?
 

Neuromancer

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You should drop it.
If you didn't enjoy the game this far, you won't like the rest either.

I personally liked it, but I can see that is not to everyone's taste.
 

HoboForEternity

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decent game so far, but kinda missed opportunity in term of detective mechanics. the game did all the deduction for you as long as you find all the clues. actual puzzles can be neat, and the art is gorgeous.
So how long does it take before getting good? I've played it for half an hour and got bored out of my mind with the slow controls and uninspired puzzles and tasks. Is it a case of a slow start or should I drop it if I'm not enjoying off the bat?
It started to click for me after day 1. When you visit the underbridge area.
 

Zombra

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decent game so far, but kinda missed opportunity in term of detective mechanics. the game did all the deduction for you as long as you find all the clues. actual puzzles can be neat, and the art is gorgeous.
So how long does it take before getting good? I've played it for half an hour and got bored out of my mind with the slow controls and uninspired puzzles and tasks. Is it a case of a slow start or should I drop it if I'm not enjoying off the bat?
I also gave Tales of the Neon Sea a half an hour before uninstalling. Beginning immediately with "gather broken machine pieces" was not a great start. I nosed around some user reviews and it appears that there are no detective mechanics in the game at all, just puzzles. This is not a detective game; it's an adventure game with a trench coat in it.

The . . . s . l . o . w . . . c . r . a . w . l . i . n . g . . . J . R . P . G . . . s . t . y . l . e . . . t . e . x . t . . . r . e . a . l . l . y . . . d . i . d . n . t . . . h . e . l . p . . . e . i . t . h . e . r . . .
 

Zombra

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I very much enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One. As I said in the dedicated thread:
I finally completed this. The game is nearly flawless. One or two minor nitpicks fade into insignificance next to so, so much that ranges from good to brilliant. It's somewhat difficult to comprehend that my hopes about all Frogwares' problems being the fault of mean old publishers were actually true. I'm glad to have closed out the game but am sad it's over.
Full Steam review, where I pretty much just gush about it some more.
Detective mechanics include several clue management and integration systems, reenactments, and cases with multiple solutions requiring a decision after soft information analysis. Side activities are almost entirely optional (and not bad), with a few combats required to progress cases.
 

HoboForEternity

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I very much enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One. As I said in the dedicated thread:
I finally completed this. The game is nearly flawless. One or two minor nitpicks fade into insignificance next to so, so much that ranges from good to brilliant. It's somewhat difficult to comprehend that my hopes about all Frogwares' problems being the fault of mean old publishers were actually true. I'm glad to have closed out the game but am sad it's over.
Full Steam review, where I pretty much just gush about it some more.
Detective mechanics include several clue management and integration systems, reenactments, and cases with multiple solutions requiring a decision after soft information analysis. Side activities are almost entirely optional (and not bad), with a few combats required to progress cases.
Thanks for the reccomendation! I will check it out
 

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