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ParaParaKing avatar 6:42 PM on 12.17.2009  (server time)
428 - The greatest experiment in non-linear story telling

December 2008 the Sega released a Chunsoft developed visual Novel for the Nintendo Wii. Surprisingly the game was loved by game critics in Japan with Famitsu giving it a perfect score of 40/40. Sadly that was the only news about the game to reach the west. In September 2009 the game was ported to the PSP and the PlayStation 3 and during my trip to Japan this summer I picked up the game.

The game starts really simple with a single storyline. Like in most other visual novels you can make choices at certain points and determine the outcome of the story line, but no matter what you do after about 10-20 minutes the story line ends with a BAD END. But this isn't the end of the game, instead of going back and changing your choices, you can switch to another storyline with a different main character. With the choices you make in the second storyline you can change the fate of the first character and avert the BAD END.

Also at some points in a story line, you will be stopped by a KEEP OUT sign. To make this sign disappear, you have to advance in another story line until you spot a certain keyword and jump via the hint function to the other story line.

The game is divided in episodes and you have to reach the TO BE CONTINUED screen with all characters. If one character makes it there but another one ends with a BAD END you have to change something. The first episode keeps it rather simple with only 2 parallel story lines, but later you have up to five different characters, that all influence each other. To make things easier for the player, you can read a hint after a BAD END, that will hopefully tell you what choices you will have to change.

Without the jumping and changing different story lines, the game would be just a simple well-written novel (There is also a novel version of the game released in book form in Japan), but with the unique features of a game the story telling gets completely different. Of course there are parts, that mainly focus on just reading, but other times it is more like a puzzle to not end in a BAD END. What makes it even more fun, is the fact that most BAD ENDs are actually either quite funny or at least interesting for the story as a whole. Questions like "What would have happened if the cop went to marry his girlfriend and become a farmer instead of solving this case?" get answered this way. For completionists there are 85 endings to be found in the game.

Even after finishing the game there are two bonus scenarios and a hidden scenario to be found in the game. One of the bonus scenario is a really cute heartwarming story of the little sister, who is in a hospital, of one of the main characters. The other one is the story of Canaan, a female elite mecanary, that plays a major role in the major but is not a main character. The Canaan arc was actually written by Kinoko Nasu from Type-Moon and also spawned an anime series, that aired in Japan this summer.

I had the strangest and most awesome moment in video games this year in this game. There are two secret messages from the producer in the game. Both are hidden very well and no normal person would ever find them, without a guide from the internet (Without trophy support I wouldn't have bothered either). For the second secret message, you have to turn off your console at the right moment in the hidden scenario. After turning the console back on, you will be greeted by the message. That is craziest way to hide an easter egg in your game.

428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de is one of the best games I have ever played. Of course there is almost no gameplay in the game and no voice overs is kinda harsh nowadays, but overall those things didn't really matter. Sadly it will never get translated and not very many people outside of Japan will experience it.

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