Chronique des Silencieux Review – French Connections

Chronique des Silencieux Review – French Connections

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam

Game Name: Chronique des Silencieux

Publisher: Pierre Feuille Studio

Developer: Pierre Feuille Studio

Genre: Adventure

Release Date: January 29th, 2024

Chronique des Silencieux by Pierre Feuille Studio

Chronique de Silencieux draws inspiration from recent detective simulations like The Case of the Golden Idol, but it’s the well-researched setting – the seedy Mériadeck neighborhood of Bordeaux, France, prior to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s urban renewal project that replaced the neighborhood’s brothels and flea markets with skyscrapers – that really sets this game apart.

Making the French Connections

In fact, the detective elements are…really just good enough. Follow up on leads, compare conversations to other evidence, and eventually test out your hypotheses.

In practice, this amounts to a lot of talking – you’ll need to exhaust pretty much every dialogue option with every person you encounter – and, given the multitude of potential connections available, a decent amount of guesswork.

Chronique des Silencieux - screenshot courtesy of Steam

There are specific mysteries to solve with defined correct answers, so Chronique des Silencieux lacks the innovative openness of something like Return of the Obra Dinn, but at the same time, there’s little guidance, so it’s easy to get stuck.

A slow pace and typical adventure game frustrations like lots of back-tracking – meaning lots of slow walks back and forth across the same screens – add to the frustration.

La Belle Ville sans Merci

On the other hand, the story here is intriguing enough to put up with the occasionally plodding investigation mechanic.

Chronique des Silencieux has a bit of everything you’d hope for in a mid-20th century French detective story – the drug trade, a prostitute with a heart of gold, betrayal in the criminal underworld, cops on the take, discovering your own family secrets – all set within the unique neighborhood of Mériadec in Bordeaux.

Chronqiue des Silencieux - screenshot courtesy of Steam

Curious about the setting, I actually looked up the neighborhood and found some articles about the place and its transformation; the “before” pictures look just like the places you explore in the game.

It’s also rendered in a bright bande dessinée style that will be pleasantly familiar to fans of Hergé’s Tintin comics, with a warm, jazzy score further contributing to the sense of a place that’s seedy but very much vibrant and alive, now lost to time.

The Verdict

Chronique des Silencieux doesn’t entirely succeed as a detective simulation, never quite managing the complexity of the best of the genre nor the more propulsive narrative approach of something like the Ace Attorney series (in fact, I had a better time with the mystery-solving elements in The Thaumaturge, which isn’t even designed primarily as a detective game).

That doesn’t entirely matter, though, because this game is full of memorable characters and even more memorable places. Like detective work in the real world, it requires a lot of patience, but the story is a a rewarding payoff.

Chronique des Silencieux is available via Steam.

Watch the trailer for Chronique des Silencieux below:

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