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What's the Best Detective Game, and why isn't it Disco Elysium?

Fans of sleuthing are well catered for by video games, but which is the best of the best?

Image credit: VG247 / Rockstar

Inspired by the recent-ish release of Detective Pikachu Returns, the topic of this week’s Best Games Ever show is: what’s the best Detective Game? And it’s a doozy of a topic, because there’s so many to choose from. Investigative gameplay crops up in so many things. Even the recent Assassin’s Creed games could arguably qualify, if you’re happy to define “detective work” as “pressing a special button to highlight environmental clues”.

We’ll just get it out of the way right now: nobody picked Disco Elysium, so that’s the pseud’s favourite out, and nobody picked the smart-arse Batman Arkham Asylum option either. I was as shocked as you are. It just goes to show, though, how broad and open a topic it is.

It’s unsurprising, really, given how solving mysteries is probably the most prevalent way of interacting with virtual worlds aside from doing violence. Hunting for clues and hidden objects, following threads until you reach a conclusion, making informed decisions based on a combination of hard evidence and your own gut instinct. There are lots of games out there that feature detective work, but no actual detectives. Likewise, there are plenty that star detectives, but contain no actual detective work.

It's perhaps an historical oddity that, of all the Pokemon games to get a big Hollywood live-action adaptation, Detective Pikachu was the one that made it to the silver screen. Until the success of the movie, in the west at least, it was a relatively obscure spin-off for proper enthusiasts: an imported curio with a cult following, but nothing like the reach of a mainline Pokemon game. It's also an oddity in that it's Ryan Reynolds' only decent film in a career of absolute toilet, but it's also a role that everyone wanted Danny Devito to play, so Ryan Reynolds isn't even that much of an asset to the thing. Anyway. What on earth was I saying. Oh yeah, detective games.

So, which of these bewildering number of games is the best one, according to our esteemed panel? Well, in order to fine out, you’ll have to watch or listen to this here podcast, which you can do via several approved methods below. Cor, aren’t we good to you.

Special thanks to David Bulmer for performing "Jim's Theme".

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“What is the Best Games Ever Show?” you ask? Well, it is essentially a 30-minute panel show where people (Jim Trinca and associates) decide on the best game in a specific category. That's it. It's good. Listen to it.

Come back in a week for another exciting instalment of the Best Games Ever Show.

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