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Root Film

Kadokawa Games, PQube Games
Mar 19, 2021 - Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4

OpenCritic Rating


Top Critic Average


Critics Recommend

Push Square
6 / 10
PlayStation LifeStyle
8 / 10
Nintendo Life
7 / 10
Checkpoint Gaming
7 / 10
Hardcore Gamer
4 / 5
Niche Gamer
9 / 10
5.5 / 10
Digitally Downloaded
4.5 / 5
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Root Film Trailers

Root Film - Gameplay Trailer thumbnail

Root Film - Gameplay Trailer

Root Film - Announcement Trailer thumbnail

Root Film - Announcement Trailer

Root Film Screenshots

Critic Reviews for Root Film

However, the writing is a bit of a letdown. The character interactions are solid, and seeing their interplay is a delight. There’s also an impressive level of detail paid to the minutiae of film-making that we rarely see. Unfortunately, this level of care doesn’t touch all corners of the experience. The character's connection to the primary narrative is tenuous. Outside of the very first mystery, the protagonist's motivations for remaining involved in these murders don’t feel warranted. This is especially problematic when it comes to Rintaro’s chapters, which comprise the brunt of the game’s 15 or so hours. The writing is able to somewhat successfully sidestep this problem, through sheer force of intrigue, but it’s not wholly successful.

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Root Film does a great job at holding your attention throughout the 15-20 hours you'll spend with it. The truth behind the film project from ten years ago is an intriguing one to uncover and you'll discover plenty of dark secrets along the way. Despite being a game with lots of death in it, it also manages to be a love letter to the Shimane region in Japan. The endearing characters you meet will also help keep the game feeling light despite some of its intense subject matter.

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Root Film builds off of what its predecessor did well while managing to feel very distinct and more grown-up than Root Letter. The Switch version's portability makes it much easier to get those hours in than the PS4 version, but those who weren't fans of Root Letter or who are on the fence might want to wait until a sale or pick up the digital version of the game. For fans of murder mysteries, there are plenty of cases to get stuck into and rich locations to explore. We think it is worth the full price but can't blame people for being put off by the hefty price tag.

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Despite my problems with some of the storytelling, I enjoyed Root Film a lot. The beautiful anime-style art and relatable characters are more than enough to make up for my temporary frustrations, and I was happy to just be along for the ride. As an avid mystery game fan, I’ll guzzle down as many of these as publishers translate, so the fact that it wasn’t a perfect 10/10 doesn’t bother me, as long as the ending is satisfying – which for Root Film, it is

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Murder mysteries are a wonderful genre of any medium that have near limitless potential and Root Film is a great entry that fans of other similar visual novels are likely to find enjoyment from.

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Ultimately, Root Film is a fantastic mystery visual novel that provides a thrilling story, a colorful cast of characters, and the kind of excitement you might not expect from the genre.

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But combined with the frustrating controls and repetitive music, Root Film becomes a drag to play through. I sincerely hope that this story will be adapted into other forms, because there is a lot of potential here. A video game simply shouldn't have made the cut.

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Root Film tells a wonderfully winding, thrilling mystery in a true Edogawa Ranpo style, but what's more important is that Root Film is a gorgeous visualisation of an often-ignored but deeply valuable part of Japan. If you walk away from this game with a deep desire to see Shimane for yourself, then you've played it the right way.

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