428: Shibuya Scramble
Top Critic Average
When all is said and done, this visual novel is absolutely incredible through and through. Again, having no VA on a console VN is a shame, but the game is just fine without it. The camera work is superb while admittingly the amount of motion blur in some shots are definitely a bit much in some situations. But other than that, I can’t give any praise higher to a work like this. The use of Live Action truly elevated what would be considered just another good visual novel. Everything here is just spectacular.
The way 428: Shibuya Scramble is presented is unlike any other translated title, but if you value games with strong stories you owe it to yourself to not let this creative crime drama fly under the radar. Like Shibuya's scramble crossing, the events are chaotic and the passing moments between characters are sometimes fleeting, but crossing that iconic intersection is one hell of a memorable experience.
428: Shibuya Scramble is, by far, the best narrative based visual novel you’ll ever experience. Sure, there is no voice-overs and the text is presented as a ‘wall of text’ from the point of a narrator, as you would see within a book, but the whole presentation, delivery, emotion and overall narrative is simply amazing. You’ll laugh, cry, shout, become emotionally attached, and pray for each and every character throughout their ten-hour adventure. However, even though it’s ten hours for them, expect many more hours on your side as you work your way through over five separate stories which are all connected in some form to one another, even if our protagonists aren’t 100% aware of this.
What can we talk about, then? Well, even without giving spoilers, quite a few things. Let's start with the most standout of the gimmicks and tricks 428 has, and one you probably already noticed. The graphics. They're not 3D rendered, they're photographs and video clips. Even at a glance, this makes the game stand out sharply in an era where this hasn't been done unironically in years.
428: Shibuya Scramble takes some time to get into but once you start uncovering the mystery of its overarching plot, its unique story-telling and a well-developed cast are more than enough to recommend it for fans of Japanese visual novels.
428: Shibuya Scramble is storytelling via video games at its finest. The multiple parallel stories, the twists and turns, the characters, each is reason enough to pick up this title despite the initial release being a decade ago. It plays with ease, allowing you to completely lose yourself if the story of Maria's abduction and the ten most important hours spent trying to save her.
It won't satisfy those who like a lot of action in their games, but anyone who likes to take their time and devour a good book will be in their element, that's for sure.
428: Shibuya Scramble may have taken ten years to arrive in the West, but it tellls its engaging story like no other game in all these years.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
428: Shibuya Scramble is clearly the child of Spike Chunsoft as it brings together some of the best features from Zero Escape and Danganronpa into a new title.
In the end, 428: Shibuya Scramble is yet another top notch Visual Novel, a genre that has exploded onto the console scene seemingly overnight and shows no signs of slowing down.