Across the various iterations of the Chronicles of Crime series, players have solved crimes in a variety of interesting settings: A small town in the 80s, London, Paris in the 1900s, among others. But the newest entry in the series from Lucky Duck Games lets players go somewhere they’ve only dreamed of in the past… The future.
This game’s got futuristic locations and futuristic beeps and boops emanating from the app. It’s got future-sounding cybernetic stuff and future robot cops who are rarely useful in your efforts to solve crimes but do make cool noises. And the piece de resistance in this one: players get to take their best friend along on every case. And that best friend is a cyber-raven. A cyber-raven!
Chronicles of Crime: 2400 is a standalone entry in the franchise and, like all the others, uses an app to guide players through four new scenarios. There are a few new mechanisms introduced in 2400 so scroll ahead to learn all about them. (And in case I didn’t mention it, there’s also a cyber-raven.)
Much like the other games in the series, Chronicles of Crime: 2400 is story-driven game mostly run on a free mobile app that will control the narrative of each scenario. During the game, players will scan unique QR codes on various things to gather information about the current case. Locations, characters, and items can be scanned, and depending on the order or point in the story, certain things you will get different information. Most things you scan will cost a little bit of time, which is how success (or, more often in my case, failure) is determined.
Every scenario currently released for 2400 also has at least one location that needs to be inspected using your phone as something akin to a VR device. During this section of the game, players will look around these places and call out items they see to their teammates who will gather the associated cards for a closer look later.
In this game, players take on the role of Kalia Lavel, who is the ancestor of the characters featured in the last two games in Chronicles of Crime’s Millennium Series. (The previous games are not required to play this one and you won’t miss much by treating this as a standalone.) Kalia is a future crimefighter who used to work as a future detective but now solves future crimes on her future own.
While its predecessors introduced vision cards (1400) and puzzle cards (1900), 2400 has two new tricks that players can use to ease (or, more often in my case, hinder) their investigation. The first one is the ability for players to enter Cyberspace, which allows them to interact with avatars who have their identities concealed. These characters sometimes have real-life counterparts players will encounter during their investigation. The gameplay in Cyberspace is similar to other locations except traveling there costs Kalia BioEnergy, which will then need to be recharged at some point back at her Home location.
The other new mechanism in 2400 is that Kalia will periodically receive Cyber-Implant upgrades to her body that can be used for various things. (I won’t spoil the mysteries, but in the tutorial, one such implant helps you discover a cybernetic object in a witness if you target them with it, while others might help you interact with crime scenes in a unique way.)
In addition to these tools, players are also teamed up with their trusty cyber-raven companion (insert heart emoji), who’s a cybernetic creature because FUTURE and who’s a raven because that’s kind of cool. (As far as I can tell, the raven’s name is Raven, which on the one hand is lazy and disappointing and on the other hand is a very self-assured and bold move on Raven’s part. It’s hardcore to only use one name like Cher does. Or Bono. Or Elmo.) Raven will give out information about most things in the game and acts as the “player aid” character that all games in the series have.
That’s more or less all one can say about how the game plays without spoiling the cases, of which there are currently four available to play on the app. At the end of each case, players will answer a series of questions to show the app how much they’ve learned and then they’ll be given a score that shows how well (or, more often in my case, poorly) they did.
2400 feels nearly identical to the other entries in the series on a gameplay level. Sure, the sounds that come out of the app are more future-ey than before, but essentially playing the game has the same vibe as the others. Similarly, the pace and flow of the game will be familiar to those who have played the system before.
As with all of these games (and group deduction games as a whole), the highlights during play will always be the times when something suddenly clicks and the entire mystery comes into focus. (Or, more often in my case, nothing ever makes sense and everyone is amused by how wrong I was). Chronicles of Crime: 2400 adds an additional boon to this feeling since often you need to go question a witness a second time using Kalia’s new gear, which leads to fun moments where players get to point at a suspect card and yell, “I knew you were a lying liar!”
The Cyber-Implants are an interesting addition to the series, but overall it didn’t add a whole lot to the game. Yes, it does often require you to take an extra step when investigating certain aspects of a crime (like that follow-up questioning in the tutorial), but that only adds mechanical diversity to the game and not really deductive diversity. (That sounds very confusing. Basically what I’m saying is you have to click a few more things, but don’t necessarily have to use more brainpower to connect the dots in those instances.) In contrast, the puzzle cards in Chronicles of Crime: 1900 forced players away from the app for a least a while to make connections.
The other new concept in the game is Cyberspace where players encounter secretive avatars that offer obtuse clues and might have their own agendas. Thematically this is pretty neat, but in terms of the flow of the mysteries it more or less just feels like you’re visiting a different location with new characters. (You also can’t bring Raven into Cyberspace, which is a bummer.)
I’m predisposed to like deduction games, especially those that offer interesting mechanisms on the path to discovering the answers. (The Search for Planet X has the fun peer review mechanism, for instance.) For better or worse, Chronicles of Crime has always been something of gimmick wrapped in a board game that’s actually mostly an app. The mysteries were occasionally challenging, but the real draw was the crime scene VR sections and connecting the dots by asking the right people about the right thing at the right time.
Chronicles of Crime: 2400 successfully continues this with an enticing new setting and some fun narrative twists. My only real issue with this entry is that despite its flashy (and gorgeous) artwork, it feels like it doesn’t add much gameplay innovation, especially coming on the heels of the other games in The Millennium Series. The new tech and Cyberspace locations are fun concepts, but they aren’t as game-altering as they could have been. In fact, some of the ways the Cyber-Implants impact the game make it feel even less like a deduction tabletop game and more like a video game. (Which, like I said earlier, is a “for better or worse” situation.)
Final Score: 3.5 Stars. Chronicles of Crime: 2400 is another winner for fans of the series but doesn’t change things enough with its new elements to make it a standout entry in the franchise.
• New mechanisms don’t change the deductions elements much
• As with all games in the series it barely exists as a “board” game