Unravel a 10-year-old mystery lost in 35mm film. Root Film is a thrilling adventure game with visual novel elements. Follow Rintaro Yagumo as he is selected to be the director for the rebooted "Shimane Mystery Drama Project”, a TV series which was cancelled for an unknown reason 10 years ago.
His excitement for this amazing opportunity is quickly curbed when a horrible murder interrupts their location scouting process. Follow him and a cast of unique and memorable characters as they are drawn deeper into a thrilling mystery. Become your own detective as you unravel the truth through investigative gameplay mechanics, adding a new layer onto the visual novel formula.
If you’re even slightly interested in visual novels or are just a fan of good mysteries in general, your life will only be better for picking up Root Film.
Root Film tells a wonderfully winding, thrilling mystery in a true Edogawa Ranpo style, but what's more important is that Root Film is a gorgeous visualisation of an often-ignored but deeply valuable part of Japan. If you walk away from this game with a deep desire to see Shimane for yourself, then you've played it the right way.
Murder mysteries are a wonderful genre of any medium that have near limitless potential and Root Film is a great entry that fans of other similar visual novels are likely to find enjoyment from. While it may not have a ton in the gameplay department due to focusing much more on the storytelling, it does its job well and the build up to uncovering the criminal in a fun who-done-it moment is worthwhile no matter the case at hand. Titles like these are hard to discuss due to the spoiler nature of murder mysteries, but anyone looking for a new mystery series that’s a mix of wonderful comedy and serious murder drama should check out Root Film.
Root Film builds off of what its predecessor did well while managing to feel very distinct and more grown-up than Root Letter. The Switch version’s portability makes it much easier to get those hours in than the PS4 version, but those who weren’t fans of Root Letter or who are on the fence might want to wait until a sale or pick up the digital version of the game. For fans of murder mysteries, there are plenty of cases to get stuck into and rich locations to explore. We think it is worth the full price but can’t blame people for being put off by the hefty price tag.
Root Film is an incredibly stylish and beautiful adventure visual novel held down by a few flimsy opening chapters. The pacing takes a dramatic hit due to a lack of direction, which caused me to step away several times. However, the second half is where the stars align and provide a solid and memorable conclusion to those who stick around.
Root Film is a visual novel that shares some points with other genres. Its plot ends up feeling too cumbersome and takes some time to pick up momentum during the first half of the game, along with an exploration that doesn't transmit the player a clear sense of purpose, only to then become much more compelling later on. This can be a problem for those not persistent enough, but players who won't put it down will enjoy a much more engaging effort closer to the end of the experience.
Somehow, Root Film has two competing problems that turn the whole game into a narrative mess. It’s incapable of telling a compelling mystery, always bogging the player down in needless exploration and conversations to get a single character’s full dialogue. Which leaves it feeling like it deliberately wants to extend its length by wasting the player’s time.
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