|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: ARC System Works||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Aksys||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The only interesting part of the gameplay comes from multiple choice memory quizzes that crop up at the end of each chapter in a case. This is nothing new, as it was used heavily in Hotel Dusk. It's a sad a day when taking a test is the most fun a player has in a game. Still, it's nominally entertaining to pull up mental tidbits from what happened in the previous chapter. Presumably, getting too many of the questions wrong will end the game, yet this isn't much of a threat. The questions are not challenging in any regard, and you get another shot at any you mess up on the first try.
There's another issue worth mentioning. Booze and cigarettes practically go hand-in-hand with detective stories, and it makes sense they're included in Jake Hunter. The problem is cigarette smoking is rampant throughout the game, and it even goes to the extent of crossing the line into in-game brand advertising for Marlboro. There's no real need for players to know Hunter's favorite brand of smokes. Pressing the L button at almost any time will cause Hunter to light up a cigarette - you're treated to a special "smoking" screen - and mull over the clues at hand. While smoking, Hunter's brief internal narrative will give players clues on what to do next, but he also talks about how great it is to light up. The way he describes the act of smoking in cool and relaxing terms is shameful. This might be an entertaining feature for mature players who know better, but it's just not appropriate considering the game's teen audience. It makes you wonder whether Phillip Morris kicked some money to the game developers to try to entice new young customers to get hooked on their poison.
Jake Hunter could have been a good game if players were offered more to stay entertained with than a few multiple choice questions and a middling story. A little extra effort in the presentation, some added challenge, and better use of the DS capabilities for touch-based gameplay could go a long way here.
CCC Staff Contributor