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We’re on the Case! Starfinder Adventure: Drift Crisis Case Files Reviewed

Starfinder: Drift Crisis Case Files (Paizo Inc)Game Title: Starfinder Adventure: Drift Crisis Case Files

Publisher: Paizo Inc

Authors: Jenny Jarzabski, Dave Nelson, Emily Parks, and Andrew White

Artists: Kiki Moch Rizky, Hazem Ameen, Sammy Khalid, Rob Lazzaretti, Alexander Nanitchkovz, and Jessé Suursoo

Year: 2023

Genre: Starfinder adventure collection focusing on the Drift Crisis

Pages: 64 pages

MSRP: $24.99 in softcover or $19.99 in PDF

Players will need their gum shoes and their private eyes to tackle three tough cases in Drift Crisis Case Files, a new set of detective stories set on Absalom Station in the midst of the Drift Crisis.

Rather than offer a campaign in the traditional sense, Drift Crisis Case Files offers a new kind of play in Pathfinder: procedural crime drama. Players are agents of the Eyeswide Agency, investigating disappearances, recovering stolen objects, and clearing clients wrongly accused of terrible crimes. It’s a definite divergence from the typical Starfinder play, but the system and storytelling adapt flawlessly. Setting the book within the ongoing Drift Crisis has the added benefit of not only illustrating the far-reaching effects of the emergency, but also giving a background level of unease to match any post-war film noir.

Case Files is squarely aimed at players and GMs who want the thrill of really unraveling a mystery. While lucky rolls certainly help, all three of the cases included in the book demand real thought and critical evaluation of the clues on hand. This being Starfinder, of course, there are opportunities for combat and exploration, but players will need to be judicious in where and when they seek them out. Players are encouraged to take notes over the course of the investigations and GMs to favor those diligent sleuths with the occasional extra re-roll.

Starfinder: Drift Crisis Case Files Interior (Paizo Inc)There’s nothing narratively to tie the cases together, no grand conspiracy to unravel. Even in the midst of the Drift Crisis, life still goes on including crime. While these tales aren’t quite hardboiled enough to count as cybernoir, there’s a clear and wonderful inspiration from classic detective stories. The most obvious appeal here is to the intersection of Starfinder players and procedural crime television shows, fans of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler will still be delighted as their investigations steer them down Absalom Station’s seedier corridors.

The included NPCs and locations are also a nice addition to any GM’s toolbox when looking to populate Absalom Station in an unrelated adventure or campaign. Need an ally or an adversary? Just reference Case File’s supplemental material to see if anyone fits the bill.

The book’s only real weakness is its length: three cases is enough to whet the appetite, but not to sate it. The core concept is strong enough to carry a much larger supplement, or at the very least, a sequel. Though the included cases make a well-designed investigation look easy, the fact is that not every GM is up to create investigation-driven adventures with this level of detail or to adapt existing stories into a playable format.

Drift Crisis Case Files offers three compelling investigations that require critical thought and careful observation and evaluation. Starfinder’s system adapts well to the gameplay and players who might otherwise be intimidated by the system may find this incentive to take the plunge and learn. While Case Files isn’t as robust as it could easily be, it raises hope for future sequels and supplements in a similar vein.

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    We’re on the Case! Starfinder Adventure: Drift Crisis Case Files Reviewed

    Drift Crisis Case Files nails the crime drama and investigation elements, setting its tales of deceit, deception, and justice against the background of the Drift Crisis, but will inevitably leave players wishing for additional cases.
    9
    10
    Excellent

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