Two weeks in, and I already lied. I ended up playing this game a little bit more because I wanted to finish the case I was on, and man, have I got a story for you.
Spoiler alert for an early case in the game. It won’t affect any gameplay since you can only use information Cole Phelps knows, but it does give away the case’s solution.
Since Phelps is on the traffic beat, he is assigned a hit-and-run case outside of a bar. The man has a wound in his chest that is believed to have happened when the hood ornament impaled him. But in a case of accidental dramatic irony, I found a bloody knife in a nearby trash can, something that immediately made my detective-loving self gasp. Too bad the cops did nothing but scratch their heads at it. Here I am wanting to ask all of the bar’s patrons about this obvious potential murder weapon–there was an eye witness and everything–Phelps and his partner ignore it until the medical examiner says the chest wound is the product of a more traditional stabbing, not a hit-and-run. Way to be the last to the party, guys.
Now it was possible to go through the crime scene without finding the knife, forcing you to go back after getting the coroner’s report and look for it. While a timesaver, I wish it had affected the game. In any normal situation, if you find an object perfect for murder covered in blood and near a dead body, you investigate. Finding it sooner should have let me at least bring it up in conversation with the eyewitness.
What’s odd is some of the gameplay is affected by how you play. The street crimes had always ended with one of the criminals taking someone hostage. Last time I played, I had accidentally shot the innocent victim like usual and had to start over. This time I cam in just shooting everything as quickly as possible, ignoring the cover system entirely…and the crime ended. Apparently if you take down the robbers quickly enough, you can avoid having them take a hostage. Of course it took me eight street crimes in to realize this because my shooting skills are not a strong point for me as a player.
But with the player being able to affect small side missions, it would be great if the player could affect the order of the story events. Even if all I did was ask the customers if they had seen this suspicious knife, and they said no, I’d be satisfied. Instead the only reward for thoroughly investigating the crime scene is a Steam achievement. That will definitely help me in 1940s California.
Now if you really don’t want to know how this case ends, I’d quit reading here. But like I said, if finding real information in the game doesn’t affect the gameplay, neither will finding out the solution.
It turns out the man’s wife and her lover planned his murder, making it look like an accident. Like you might have guessed, they stabbed him with the knife. Only the professional crime solvers were surprised. What I want to know is how they stabbed this man with a butcher knife in broad daylight on a crowded street without anyone noticing. Not that I need this information for practical purposes. But really. How?
Now I’m off to finish off Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for real this time. With “The Story’s End” being only Chapter Seven out of ten, maybe reaching the epilogue will actually be the last. By the way, if you ever want to write about a hypothetical ethics issue, look into the plot of this game. It raises some serious questions in its (multiple) final chapters. Or just play it.