|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson / Gaijinworks||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
June 3, 2009 - Do you enjoy games like the successful Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, and Time Hollow? In case the upcoming graphic adventure Miami Law wasnt under your radar, we wanted to make sure you knew about it before it comes out in just a few days. This DS adventure has a few similarities with the games mentioned above and even Trauma Center, though perhaps their visual style is what mostly ties them all together. Sharp and bright 2D visuals along with some 3D scenarios certainly make up a formula thats tough to beat on the DS.
However, apart from the neat graphics, theres a lot more that stands out. The game belongs to the action / adventure genre, and its plot is based on fast-paced crime and investigation as well as terrorist conspiracies, much like what wed see in TV series like CSI and 24. The story takes place in the streets of Miami, and it features two characters as protagonists. The first one, detective Martin Law from the Miami PD, is definitely more action-oriented; he doesnt mind participating in shootouts, car chases, or whatever it takes. Hes a shoot first and ask questions later kind of guy. On the other hand, FBI Agent Sara Starling tends to be more methodical and doesnt mind taking her time to analyze the situation and do things right in order to avoid problems later on. You would think a Japanese maker wouldnt necessarily know too much about the city of the young and beautiful, but the developers have actually devoted a lot of time to achieve the actual look and feel of the city, and they even traveled there to make it happen. DS games are not always known for high production values, so touches like this are commendable and will probably make the game stand out from the rest in the long run.
As you advance through the story, the game will have you pick between the two agents of the law. Sometimes youll want to go the safe route with Sarah, and others youll just want to stay in the action. The game presents you with mini-games that help you get a little closer to the point. But, dont worry, you wont be grating cheese really fast or popping bubbles; these games are actually meaningful parts of the story and add just the right amount of action to the mix so you can feel more accomplished in the end. Instead of just reading endless lines of plot and selecting your path, youll participate in shootouts against enemies, explore areas looking for evidence, hack computer systems, race to a location, analyze fabric, etc. There are about 50 mini-games blended within the story, and the most interesting one we played uses two different features built into the Nintendo DS: the microphone and, of course, the touch controls. By tapping the DS screen you add powder to the area youre exploring and then by softly blowing into the microphone, youll clear the powder and discover fingerprints. This worked really well and was fun too.
This game has been localized by a notorious member of the gaming industry, Victor Ireland, who also translated and localized the Lunar series. As a general rule, Japanese humor cant be literally translated into English, and even conversations between characters and such might sound a bit awkward to people in Europe and North America. Thats why he tweaked the dialogue just right and added the right amount of humor into it without getting into sticky Bill Clinton jokes like he did in the past. However, for those who dont really enjoy reading the entire dialogue, the game also lets you skip past these screens and jump right into the action. You wont be missing anything decisive like you might in other games.
As far as gameplay modes, this game is mostly a single-player adventure. However, theres more to it than you might think, as the different choices you make between Law and Sarah will lead you through different paths. In fact, you could play this game a couple of times and go for the most conservative route versus the action or vice versa, which decidedly extends the replay value of the title. The game also rewards you at the end with additional event sequences you can play whenever, and also, since Sarah plays Sudoku and Law is a poker buff, youll be able to play those games at any time once you unlock them.
Other than that, we dont know much about the aural presentation yet because there were loud speakers all around us and the game was muted, but hopefully it will include some decent voice acting or at least a fitting soundtrack and sound effects. Overall, the games presentation is solid and the gameplay seems very engaging, so it will be a nice addition to the DS library of adventure games. Start looking for it after June 9th!
CCC Site Director