The Shapeshifting Detective review

Supernatural Shapeshifting, what’s not to love? FMV (Full Motion Video) were all the rage in the 90’s, there were quite a few to play and experience, but will ultimately always be compared to the critically acclaimed Night Trap.

An FMV needs to be well written, have a capturing story running throughout, and talented actors to pull it off. However, I’m missing one key component to this genre… How the gamer, interacts and becomes a star in the story.

The Shapeshifting Detective is an FMV like no other, combining the supernatural, noir and murder mystery genre’s all into one. The Shapeshifting Detective is brought to you by D’avekki Studios and Published by Wale’s Interactive. D’avekki Studios have a wealth of experience in the classic murder mystery game but are relatively new to gaming and the FMV genre. Having started out writing murder mystery party games for commercial mass market brands, constantly innovating, and finding new ways to express their talent.

Wales interactive as a publisher seem to be growing a nice collection of FMV genre games, and it’s refreshing as there’s nothing better than to have variety on Xbox, choice is a fantastic thing.

The Shapeshifting Detective is D’avekki Studio’s second FMV title on the console we all love, their first: The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, was ground breaking earning a Guinness World Record for most full motion video in a video game, so how will this title fair?

Let’s set the scene, without giving the game’s plot away. Dorata Shaw is dead, and the lead detective Chief Dupont has three prime suspects. The suspects seem to have predicted the murder through a tarot reading, but with no proof, only a gut feeling, lead detective Chief Dupont leaves it up to you with your unique shapeshifting ability to find out what else they are hiding. After all, they’re not going to confess to just anyone.

“The game is full of suspense, well written and acted competently”

Your role as a private detective hired by the Shaw family is to aid the police in their investigations, throughout the story, you listen to accounts from various people, each a potential suspect. It’s your job to piece together information, ask the right questions, and clues slide into place, unlocking new lines of questioning and possibilities.

The game is full of suspense, well written and acted competently, the “shapeshifting” element is a fantastic idea and works well. The concept fits nicely with the murder mystery objective of the game, allowing you to gather and ask telling questions, which reveal key parts of the inquiry, thus gaining you knowledge of the suspects relationships, and the option to bluff your way through conversations in certain situations. Aided with the knowledge learnt whilst using your shapeshifting skills is vital in getting characters revealing their most darkest secrets. However, you must be patient with your line of inquiries, as you don’t want to unveil your shapeshifting abilities and get caught yourself.

The game is full of replay-ability too, with nine characters that you can shapeshift your way into, and anyone of three random characters as the potential culprit, which helps to avoid any spoilers.

The locations are perfectly lit, helping to capture the mood of the story throughout. The characters are well created and brought to life by the talented hired actors throughout.

The story’s lines of questions are well devised, allowing you to ask questions you want to ask, potentially backing suspects into a corner. You are also given the option to avoid asking certain questions and saying comments, which may result in over stepping the mark, thus helping you not to derail your investigation and keeping you on track. The goal in this – to keep potential suspects and other characters throughout the game helpful, feeding you the information that will aid your investigation, enabling you to draw the right conclusions, which will help bring the murderer to justice.

Being a Sega fan boy in the past, I’ve played quite a few full motion video games, some good, some not so good. The Shapeshifting Detective is held in my good book, as there is plenty in this role playing FMV to keep you captivated in your role and coming back for more as you look to hook and reel your killer in, solving the murder and not getting caught!

CX Score
  • 75%
    Overall - 75%
75%

Summary

Pros

  • Concept
  • Good line of questioning
  • Random Murderer

Cons

  • Slow paced
  • Not enough locations
  • Acting could be better in areas

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