Decapolice | TGS 2023 Impressions - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, September 25, 2023

Decapolice | TGS 2023 Impressions

Level-5 was back at the Tokyo Game Show this year in a big way. On top of bringing back some fan favorites like the Layton series, Inazuma Eleven and Fantasy Life, they also brought their newest game to the show, Decapolice. We had a chance to try out this stylistic role playing game and are here to tell you all about it. Let’s get into it.

Booth & Game Background
Level-5 set up eight demo stations for Decapolice all running on PlayStation 5 at the show. Unfortunately, they did not offer any demos of the game running on the Switch. This beefy 30 minute demo kept the lines long. On the opposite side of the demo area for the game was a massive stage for Level-5’s stage shows. While I understand the feeling for getting people hyped at a huge event like TGS in person with such things, as with Konami’s extravagant booth this year, I think gamers would have been better served at having more chances to actually play the games that are being talked about. But I digress. 
In case you missed out on what this game is all about (or forgot), Decapolice is set in the world of Decasim, “a virtual world created from a perfect copy of reality. More than just simulation, it’s a complete copy of a real city, a forbidden place where memories of every past crime lie dormant. Clues found in Decasim can help unravel the riddles of the real world.” Taking control of main protagonist, rookie detective Harvard Marks, players must collect evidence, set up a Case Board, and, at times, be ready to confront, fight and arrest assailants. 

Gameplay & Story For Demo
There were several elements of gameplay on offer in the Decapolice demo. Things start out with walking around the city. You are free to go almost anywhere, but a handy waypoint and path are shown just to point you where you need to go. You can jump with Triangle, talk to NPCs and investigate with X. 
Crimes scenes are full of items and NPCs that need to be investigated and questioned. Pressing R1 initiates the Deca-Scanner. This is used to point players toward items to check and who chat with to further the investigation. Once you have gathered all of the clues, you are then able to access what is called the Case Board. Here, you are tasked with piecing together all of the evidence you’ve found to determine the culprit. You choose pictures of the various characters, items and more place them on the board. Once that is complete, you can then finalize your findings and proceed. From there, you’re shown how many of your deductions are right or wrong. As far as I can tell, you won’t be able to move on until you you get everything correct. 

Combat felt pretty decent, offering a mix turn based elements while giving players the ability to move around the action area. Your character has a number of different skills at their disposal that can be cycled through with a combination of R1 and the joystick. It was responsive and pretty fun. After you deplete enough HP from your enemy, you are then able to arrest them by holding Triangle. All in all, Decapolice has a pretty unique battle system. Although I prefer more action based RPGs, things did feel pretty solid. 
It’s always a bit difficult to get a grip on stories in RPGs when playing bite sized chunks at events like TGS, but things came through as well as they could with Decapolice. Like previously mentioned, in the demo you take control of Harvard Marks (and occasionally other members of his team here) and try to solves some crimes. The main happening in the demo has to do with some lunatic in a bear costume coming in and robbing a jewelry store. Our furry friend is caught red handed, but then manages to escape from everyone with a handy smoke bomb. The investigation and Case Board basically show how some of the other patrons to the shop are involved with the bear. It was a pretty crazy way to be introduced to the game. Hopefully the final version of the game is full of other amusing stories like this one. 

Visuals & Presentation
The world crafted by Level-5 here is nothing short of amazing. The city is a colorful, bustling place full of light and activity. Of course, being on the PlayStation 5, things were full of detail and really did make things seem like some kind of playable anime. It will be interesting to see what kind of conceits will need to be made for the Switch version. Additionally, although the city does appear vast, there are only specific areas that can be explored in the demo. This might have been a limitation of the demo or a design choice - I’m not sure. Regardless, there is a lot of potential for cases and story elements. 

Decapolice was definitely a unique experience. It’s a nice blend of detective work, turn based combat and storytelling. Not only that, but it looks and performs great on the PlayStation 5. The crazy snippet of the game got my attention and has left me wondering what else the game has to offer. It’s always a risk for companies to introduce new IP, and for Level-5’s sake, I hope this one works out for them. But let’s turn things over to you. What do you think about Level-5’s upcoming Decapolice? Are you planning on picking it up? Sound off in the comments down below. We’d love to hear from you. 

No comments: