Review – London Detective Mysteria

London Detective Mysteria is a fun game from start to finish with an engaging plot and equally engaging characters.

XSEED announced they were release of London Detective Mysteria (referred to as LDM going forward) back in June, much to the community’s surprise and excitement. Until now, there have been only two companies releasing otome games for the Vita and those games have been overwhelmingly from Otomate. So, to get not only a new game from a new developer, but a new game from a new publisher was exciting.

And it’s a good thing that excitement was well placed.

Emily is a bit of a savage…

In LDM, you play as Emily, heiress to the Whiteley estate as she debuts in high society, impresses the Queen herself, and is invited to enroll in Harrington Academy. There is an underlying mystery surrounding the death of her parents when she was four. Since then, she has been raised by the family’s loyal butler, Pendleton, who looks like he’s 22, but is easily in his late 30s-early 40s. He also has a bit of dark humor and is more than what he seems.

Emily wants to prove she is more and not just a naive, sheltered girl. She is very talented in her own ways as a counter to Herlock Holmes’ very logical way of thinking, much to his chagrin. She also wants people to like her, to a point, and will go out of her way to make friends among her classmates.

Put a mark on the “Slap Holmes” side of the board.

All of her classmates, who have sprites, are talented detectives in their own ways. Sara Marple has taken a liking to Emily in a way that one would take to a new pet. But, she almost immediately buddy’s up to Emily, making them a good team when together.

Overall the story is quite fun and, at times, quite dark. I did find myself a little surprised at some of the things the game was discussing, if only because I wasn’t expecting it to go into much detail. You learn a little bit about the inner struggles of the “Destined Five” (the love interests in the game), what they go through every day as you play their routes, and the lengths they go through in order to protect Emily and help her grow.

You have a little red on you, Jack.

While the game is rated mature, it does not mean mature in a sexual situation sense. There is a lot of talk about prostitutes, descriptions of murders, and murder scenes. So, the rating comes from these scenarios, which I’m sure will be too much for some people to handle, I was even taken aback by some of the descriptions.

I’m not saying I know a lot about serial killers including Jack the Ripper, but… I know quite a bit. So, it was very interesting reading Jack’s route and then refreshing my memory on the actual murders to see the types of things that the writers put in to show they actually did their research and didn’t just write whatever they wanted. This is, unfortunately something I do see often in some games and it drives me crazy. There are still things that are technically incorrect in the story, but I understand that making this game’s story 100% historically correct is asking too much.

Historically, Jack wasn’t referred to as Jack until the “Dear Boss” letter on September 27th, 1888, a three days before the double murder of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes on the 30th. The letter wasn’t even sent to Scotland Yard until two days later! The letter even shows up, edited to fit the story of course, in the game. But, referring to him as “Jack the Ripper” before this is not really accurate and- I’ve lost you. Sorry…

The game has a long common route of ten chapters with each character after that having five chapters. There are some POV switches in the game (some waaay more than others). The chapters themselves are pretty long and it took me 5-to-6 hours to finish a character route.

With this reading time, you get to watch as Emily finds out that sometimes it’s okay to be a bit vulnerable, and people will still care about you. She also learns that, while Pendleton may be her parental figure, she can make decisions and stand up for herself. She might not always make the right decisions, but they always make sense for her character.

He is a good ally to have though. You’ll see…

The art is gorgeous from character designs to backgrounds. The character designs are done with care and, mostly, not over the top. Everyone’s outfits make sense for the time period and the backgrounds are all amazing! There are some crazy hair going on here and there which could be distracting. I’m not even sure if Emily or Watson’s hair really makes sense for the time period, but I’m willing to let it slide.

The voice acting is also some solid work that I have no complaints about. There were a few times where there were not voices for some minor characters, and I’m not sure why.

You have some work to do, Ems…

When the game starts out, Emily is E Detective Rank. There is a section of the game where this will leap to A pretty quickly as long as you make the correct decisions. There are also points throughout the common route, where you can raise your affection with characters in order to get into their routes.

WHY IS THIS SO STRESSFUL?!

All choices made in the game are timed. You have about 10 seconds to make a decision before the game will make (the wrong) one for you. This is for everything. I find the timer to be a little stressful, mostly because I make walkthroughs as I play which required me to abuse the quicksave function regularly. I suggest you do the same to explore all possible options. The game even allows you to skip to a previous choice (with a limited number of uses) and go to the next choice. I used this during the common route because I just want to get to another route.

And now I will do a bit of a dive into the Detective Diary itself which, unfortunately, is where my small bit of criticism lies.

The “Detective Diary” allows you to record information, in the form of text and voice clips, at almost any time . The game shows you how to use this system giving examples that you may have to make. I don’t know if I’m just an amazing detective, but after this section of teaching, I didn’t use the system once. You can’t even access the Diary once the decision timer starts.

There is also very little detective work going on in the game itself that would have you make use of the diary. It sets itself up as a very “Ace Attorny”-esque mechanic. But, in the end, it was more of a place I just stored funny lines to listen to again later. It was honestly my biggest disappointment, but the story is enough to help me forget about it.

Akechi sums up my overall feelings.

My time with this game, even with the woefully underused Diary mechanic, was still very enjoyable. I found myself rooting for characters that I had zero interest in just based off their descriptions. I was also happy to see Emily, aka my daughter, get herself many a good boyfriend.

Overall, I would say that LDM is a great addition to any otogemer’s library and is a good game for anyone to pick up. With the PC version coming soon, the game has the potential to reach a lot more people.

It deserves it.


Breakdown

  • Engaging read with rarely drama for drama’s sake.
  • Writers and translation/script shows how much research went into the project.
  • Lovely characters who read as real people.
  • Gorgeous artwork.
  • Detective Diary function sets up a mechanic that is woefully underused.

Rating: 4/5

Final Comments: Entertaining story for start to finish, but there is less detective work overall than I would like. I still really enjoyed the game and am very happy to add it to my list of favorites. I hope XSEED will consider continuing bringing otome games by more developers in the future!

Suggested Play Order: Holmes > Watson > Akechi >Jack > Lupin
There are a few other endings to need to figure out, but this is the suggested order for the “Destined Five.”


Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided by the publisher.

Release Date: December 18, 2018 (PS Vita) / Coming Soon to PC
System(s): PlayStation®Vita & PC (Digital-Only Release)
Price: $29.99/€29.99/£24.99
Text Language: English
Audio: Japanese
Vita Download NA: bit.ly/2R3iD8F
Vita Download EU: bit.ly/2QEEvYD
PC Download: Coming Soon
Website: http://www.ladymysteria.com/

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