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Visual Novel review: 428: Shibuya Scramble. This game...... is FANTASTIC!

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Fun fact: This game had been under my radar since 2008 when it was on the Wii. Unfortunately the game was never translated to English so I couldn't play it even if I wanted to...... until 2018 when this game was released in English, but by that time I was playing other games. So now I finally played this game after a recent Steam Sale that drops the game price from $70 to $14 (what a discount!). I am so damn glad I played this game because this game is FUCKING AMAZING!! HOLY SHIT, this game earned its legendary cult status for a reason!

Image result for shibuya 428

The plot of this game is initially simple enough. A girl named Maria Osawa was kidnapped, and the kidnappers demanded that her twin sister Hitomi deliver the ransom money in front of the Hachiko statue, aka that dog statue that's in a couple of games & films in the past.

  Image result for hachiko persona 5

Image result for hachiko world ends with you

Of course, it doesn't go as smoothly as hoped. Some shenanigans happen during the ransom exchange, and so begins this roller coaster of a ride filled with suspense, plot twists, surprisingly heartfelt moments & a lot of funny ass shit. And I fucking love it! 


Unlike most VNs where you only have 1 main character to keep track of, this game has 5.

428: Shibuya Scramble | Character Select

Achi: a young dude who likes to clean up the streets & stumbled upon Hitomi so they have to run away from the kidnappers that want to catch her

Kano: an inexperienced detective who is trying his best to follow the footstep of a detective he idolizes, while also trying to get the approval of his father in law to marry his girlfriend. Oh the family drama.

Minorikawa: a freelance reporter that likes to points at stuff & is trying his best to help his former boss pay off his loan shark debt

Osawa: the father of Maria & Hitomi who is trying to figure out what the kidnappers want

and Tama: a girl that got stuck in a cat costume. And she holds so many secrets that I can't say anything more. 


Sounds overwhelming, but the game handles this extremely well. See the game is like the show 24 where you follow these 5 characters but in the span of 1 hour per episode/chapters. So when the game begins, you follow what the characters are doing from 10:00 - 11:00 am, and then the next chapters pretty much follow the same hourly patterns up until the very end of the game where everything comes together. Now you might be thinking "I'll just follow 1 character from the beginning to the end for every one of these chapters then", but the game actually does something quite clever in making you jump through different characters. In this game, you have to switch to another character constantly because most of the time you will reach a "keep out" sign which signifies that you have to change into another character first to proceed to the next stage of that character, or a bad end will happen when you're just following 1 character. 


So for example: You play as Minorikawa & you're just following his story of him riding a taxi to his former boss' office. All of a sudden, Kano just jumps into the taxi asking for a ride, but eventually, Kano just gave up and left. Unfortunately because of that interruption, Minorikawa arrived ad his boss' office too late & the boss killed himself. BAD END. So what you have to do is change your character to Kano and then pick the option to NOT go into the taxi, which makes the game proceed to the next stage. There are many times where this happen, and the game has 85 bad ends. JAEZUS! Luckily these bad ends are what makes the game fun to play & some of them are just hilarious that you pretty much play the game to get these bad endings. Hell in one of these bad endings, you pretty much can get a game over because you ran into a cockroach after another character threw that thing away, and then in the end you dedicated your life to cleaning the streets so there are no more cockroaches. Another one is this bad end where Kano meets his father in law too early & the game ends with him becoming a farmer & happily marrying his girlfriend. How the hell is marrying the girl you love a bad end?? @_@


I also love the presentation of this game because everything is either played in cheesy live action, or still photographs of these actors/actresses doing silly stuff with photoshopped images in the background. You can very much tell that the cast and crew of this game were having a DAMN good time just posing & acting these scenes out.


You know what else I love about this game? The damn soundtrack. When the intro of the game begins and I heard this hype as hell music,

I know I'm in for something great. What's great about this song is that everytime you complete the chapters for everyone, there's a preview of the next upcoming 1 hour with this awesome song playing, which just makes your blood pumped & excited to see what's next. The rest of the songs are filled with so many great tunes that makes each scenes enjoyable to watch, whether they're comedic scenes, suspense scenes or scenes that makes you want to tear up. 


The only thing that I don't like about this game is very nitpicky: you can't skip texts. You know how in VN games you can just press CTRL to skip dialogues so you can get to the next part quicker? Well you can't do that here. Good thing is this game has a pretty useful autoscroll so you don't have to click all the time to see the next sections, but having the skip function will be pretty nice. But that's ok though because I played this game for 25 hours straight from the beginning to the end, anticipating what the next twists of this game are, and in the end I ended up freaking loving every single thing I experienced. 


Not only is the 25 hours journey freaking awesome, but after finishing the game, there's actually a buttload of extra stuff for you to see, like the stories of the various side characters of this game, and one particular extra story which is so damn cool. If you get the true ending of the game, you get to see an extra chapter about one of the characters in this game named Canaan, and surprise surprise, this chapter is created by Nasu from Type-Moon. YES, the guy who made Tsukihime & the Fate series, so the chapter is very much like playing one of his linear VNs, complete with Fate like animations & voice acting. And fun fact: that extra chapter & this entire game is actually a prequel to the anime Canaan which takes place 2 years after this game. Now I want to see that anime!


That's why my rating for this game is "so awesome that I am now going to watch the Canaan anime & wait for Canaan to hopefully be included in Fate Grand Order". 

AKA 9.9 out of 10 with a badass seal of approval! 


You know what I just realized? This game is made by the same dev who made Danganronpa & the Zero Escape games, so you bet your ass that this game is that damn awesome. And what's amazing is that this game was made 1 year before Zero Escape, so this game is actually the one who started the "prepare to get your mind blown" format of those other 2 games. Funny how we finally get to play this game in English in 2018 eh? Go get the game to complete the what I call "mind-blowing mystery adventure collection", and prepare to enjoy the ride!

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