Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE Review – A Remarkable Mystery Thriller

    Kazutaka Kodaka's wild ride.

    Following the release of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, fans were left wondering about what the next work from mastermind Kazutaka Kodaka would entail. Nearly five years later, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is the exciting answer to the question that Danganronpa fans may have had. Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is an original detective mystery title that draws from elements of the beloved Danganronpa franchise while bringing several new and intriguing ideas to the table. These ideas become apparent in the thrilling opening hours as players are introduced to protagonist Yuma Kokohead and the puzzling circumstances surrounding him. 

    Master Detective Archives RAIN CODE review

    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE’s thrilling opening hours made a strong impression that managed to hold through. Although the game is unrelated to Danganronpa, several elements and gameplay ideas from the franchise are repurposed in intriguing ways. Players learn about these new and returning mechanics very early on since the events of the first case progress rather quickly. The trip to Kanai Ward takes serious twists and turns, and Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE knows how to subvert expectations for fans of mystery adventure games.

    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE – Yuma’s Worst Nightmare

    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE begins with a whimsical purple entity asking the player directly about their penchant for mystery. The dialogue choices the player makes will affect the overall difficulty of the game. Fortunately, the choices are rather straightforward for the most part, so players wanting a lenient experience or an unforgiving one should know what to pick. Then, the main story formally begins with Yuma waking in a train station’s lost and found room. Yuma lost his memories, and the purple ghost appears to be egging him on about something in his pockets. A letter from the World Detective Organization, WDO for short, informs that Yuma was selected as a Master Detective to investigate Kanai Ward, an autonomous region under the control of Amaterasu Corporation. After some hesitation, Yuma decides to follow the letter’s instructions in hopes of regaining his memories.

    Master Detective Archives RAIN CODE review

    The protagonist rushes on board the Amaterasu Express, a state-of-the-art train that will carry a group of talented Master Detectives into Kanai Ward. Yuma investigates this train and meets up with five Master Detectives in one of the train cars. The group is confused by Yuma’s arrival since the WDO states that only five Master Detectives would be on board the train to Kanai Ward. Suspicion mounts on Yuma, but matters take an even more dire turn as he faces the pressure of his current situation. Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE wastes no time diving into the first investigation with a hands-on tutorial involving the mysterious Shinigami and her abilities. Chapter 0 is underway at this point, serving as a brilliant glimpse into what the rest of the game is all about. 

    A Deadly, Investigative Adventure

    In Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, players progress through the main story in chapters with Investigation and Mystery Labyrinth sections. Investigation sections are self-explanatory as Yuma searches for clues and explores the game world with Shinigami’s help. The clues that Yuma discovers are collected and serve as Solution Keys, which are Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE’s version of Truth Bullets from the Danganronpa series. These are the most vital clues that will help players solve mysteries, and each interactable object in the game world awards Detective Points (DP). Earning enough DP allows Yuma to level up and earn Skill Points, which may be used to unlock helpful Skills in the Abilities Menu. After making sufficient progress during an Investigation, Yuma and Shinigami will pursue the truth in a Mystery Labyrinth.

    These Mystery Labyrinths tend to be very fantastical as Yuma attempts to reach the main crux of the matter. Players will traverse the Mystery Labyrinth, complete zany timed mini-games and quick-time events, and face off against bosses in Reasoning Death Matches in order to unravel the mystery. Clues that were initially overlooked by Yuma or impossible to gather from his perspective may be acquired as new Solution Keys as well. During a battle, Yuma must dodge and attack with a Solution Blade in order to slash through contradictions.. When a strike successfully lands, Yuma gains insight and more Solution Keys that may be vital toward solving the case. After a long expedition and a decisive battle, Yuma may summarize the entire case to uncover its final truth. The player is also graded and rewarded for their overall performance in the case.

    A Hidden City of Rain and Death

    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE’s main setting is the autonomous Kanai Ward, an intriguing neon-lit city where rain never stops. The city is also shrouded in mystery with several unsolved cases, strange happenings, and a secret guarded by the belligerent Amaterasu Corporation. Once Yuma arrives in the city, he’s greeted by Yakou Furio, the head detective of the Nocturnal Detective Agency, and fellow Kanai Ward Master Detectives. After receiving Yuma’s first major assignment, players may explore the city’s districts, search for secrets, accept and complete requests, and progress the main story. While exploring and investigating, players are treated to a stellar soundtrack that perfectly complements each scene.

    Players have access to a few districts and areas in Kanai Ward in the first main chapter, but cases will bring Yuma and Shinigami to more places worthy of investigation. Kanai Ward’s weird denizens and intriguing locations are on full display as Yuma attempts to grasp the situation he’s involved in. The title introduces many bizarre characters and puzzling mysteries throughout the main story, and Kanai Ward always managed to pique my interest. The game will reward players who search the nooks and crannies of Kanai Ward with additional DP and Memory Shards, which unlock Memories. These Memories act as support conversations between Yuma and various Master Detectives, allowing the characters to grow closer.

    Ultimate Inspiration

    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE nails its presentation and creates compelling mysteries that will keep the player guessing until that final deduction phase in each chapter. Each case has its own unique twists and turns, and chapters feel thematically different from one another with thrilling discoveries. This is largely due to the dynamic duo of Yuma and Shinigami, the wealth of supporting characters, and the gameplay scenarios involving each case. At the same time, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE borrows elements from the Danganronpa and AI: The Somnium Files franchises without feeling too familiar. 

    Master Detectives and their Forensic Fortes appear to be a parallel to the “Ultimate” titles that Danganronpa characters had. However, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE actually incorporates these incredible abilities into gameplay. For instance, Halara’s Forensic Forte plays a critical role in uncovering clues in the actual crime scene, and Yuma learns more about his own ability in the process. As a result, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE keeps providing new gameplay elements until the very end.

    A Brilliant Successor

    A full playthrough of Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE brings nearly 30 hours of intriguing content and well-thought-out mysteries with superb localization and writing that kept me engaged all the way through. At first, some of the story’s plot twists seemed outrageous at first, but the game neatly ties everything together with virtually no loose ends after the ending credits. The only real downside during my playthrough involved out-of-sync lip flapping during dialogue in certain scenes, but this issue was quickly addressed by Spike Chunsoft before release. 

    In short, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is an extremely entertaining mystery game that caters to Danganronpa fans while offering a refreshingly new gameplay experience. Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE carries over some of Danganronpa’s most prominent elements, and the game’s writing and mechanics will surprise returning players and newcomers alike. Kazutaka Kodaka and the Too Kyo Games team created a very special mystery game here, and the sky is the limit for a Master Detective Archives series going forward. 

    Disclaimer: Spike Chunsoft provided Final Weapon with a review copy of Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE for Nintendo Switch.


    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is an incredible detective-mystery game that blends elements and the appeal of Danganronpa with refreshingly new ideas. Investigation and Mystery Labyrinth sequences always hold surprising twists and turns, and the game is bolstered by a diverse cast of bizarre and endearing characters. This title is a must buy for fans of mystery games and the Danganronpa franchise.
    Soul Kiwami
    Soul Kiwami
    Raul Ochoa, a.k.a. Soul Kiwami, is the Managing Editor of Final Weapon and a Games Writer at Game Rant with four years of writing and editing experience. Raul is passionate about the Japanese gaming industry, and he's a huge fan of Nintendo Switch, PC hardware, JRPGs, and fighting games. business email: [email protected]

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    Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is an incredible detective-mystery game that blends elements and the appeal of Danganronpa with refreshingly new ideas. Investigation and Mystery Labyrinth sequences always hold surprising twists and turns, and the game is bolstered by a diverse cast of bizarre and endearing characters. This title is a must buy for fans of mystery games and the Danganronpa franchise. Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE Review - A Remarkable Mystery Thriller