Bohemian Killing (Switch) Review
Crazy amount of story detail
Voice work carries the experience
Multiple ending and unique gameplay approach
Controls can be touchy
Lots of reading and details to absorb, slower paced gameplay
Released on PC a couple years ago, Bohemian Killing is now available on Nintendo Switch. A who-done-it walking simulator, this courtroom drama should please fans that enjoy digging deep into the details of a story. For a game that is moderately priced, there are higher than expected presentation values here.
What makes Bohemian Killing so unique is how the story is told. The game begins with a murder you committed in the past but affects a courtroom trial in the future. During this trial, the player can reenact the events of murder in many different ways which will change the dialog and events of the trial. This is actually the most staggering feature as there are so many options, most seeming small, but can change everything. For example, before walking home to the apartment, you can stare at a poster on a wall, opt to drink some wine or eat leftovers, or even take the stairs or elevator. Each one of these minuscule actions prompts a response in some way and is always impressive and unexpected. Since there are so many small details throughout the entire campaign, it is unlikely to have the same playthrough twice. The endings also deserve recognition since the player can plead guilty, perform actions to become innocent, or even take the insanity route. There is a lot here and it is much to fully absorb. So much so, it is hard to fully grasp what is happening and difficult to learn the gameplay mechanics on the first play through.
Although the narrative displays an impressive level of detail, the overall presentation takes one step forward but then one back. The voice acting, in which there is a high amount, is shockingly well done and performed by professionals. Since this is ultimately a courtroom drama, not having quality voice work would have made the game unplayable. Visuals, on the other hand, are mixed as the player can click on almost anything in the environment, which is really cool, but everything looks like a launch Xbox 360 game at best. The worst part though is how dark everything is. At one point I opted to break out of the prison cell by sneaking through a weak wall and venting system. This venting system is pitch black and impossible to navigate forcing me to restart. It is worth mentioning there is no gamma or brightness sliders found in the options menu which is a shame as it is desperately needed. There is also a lot of text involved and the player will need to read through descriptions of items and events found in the menu in order to fully grasp the courtroom hearings.
Bohemian Killing is an unexpected title. While there have been courtroom dramas in games before, none have the presentation of this detailed walking simulator. It is this unique approach that deserves a look for those that enjoy story over gameplay. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t for everyone but that doesn’t mean but dedicated players will find a special experience here if they can commit to the absurdity.
Also available on PC Steam.
Also Try: any Ace Attorney game
Not As Well Known As: the trial in Chrono Trigger
Better Than: going to court for that stupid speeding ticket you got from that staged cop