Dear Detectives: IdentityV


IdentityV: The haunting halls of the Oletus manor greet the player when they first enter the game.

Dallis Mullett, Editor

IdentityV was developed by Netease games and released in July of 2018; it is available on Android, Ios and PC.

You begin the game as Orpheus, a reclusive novelist, turned private detective after an accident that caused him to lose his memory. He is invited to the mysterious Oletus manor by James Reichenbach, who implores him to help find his missing daughter.

After arriving, Orpheus enters the manor with great caution and, upon further investigation, decides to spend a night in an abandoned room to shelter himself from the cold rain. The room houses a few items: a piano, a bookshelf, a mirror, and other miscellaneous objects the player is free to interact. The game will eventually lead the player to the bookshelf, where they will discover a series of diaries detailing a sinister game, where players are forced to fend for themselves against their enemy, another participant known as the hunter.

As he searches through the diaries, Orpheus begins to connect the entries and uncovers pieces of the manors’ history and foreboding games, all while learning more about himself and his past.


Once the player has completed the introduction, they are introduced to the main game, modeled after the games they learned occurred in the manor.

The structure of the main game is based around matches held in different formats such as 1 vs 4, 5 vs 5, and rank matches where skilled players can play in a more competitive, professional environment with others worldwide. There are also international tournaments held throughout the year.

In each game, players can choose to play as either a survivor or a hunter, where all five players will be dropped into a game. The goal of the survivors is to escape the grounds by decoding five cipher machines connected to two exit gates on either side of the map. Throughout the match, the survivors are being pursued by the hunter, whose goal is to eliminate the survivors by placing them into rocket chairs, which will end their playtime for that round.

There is a wide variety of characters for players to choose from in both hunter and survivor categories, but certain characters must be acquired through in-game purchases. This includes both in-game currency called clues, which can be earned through completing game tutorials and winning matches, as well as real money.

Character Types

When the game is first installed, you receive four free characters: Emma Woods, the Gardener, Kreacher Pierson, the Thief, Freddy Riley, the Lawyer and Emily Dyer, the Doctor. Each of these characters fits into one of the four character types. These types are labeled containment, rescue, decoding, and assistance and can be viewed on a character’s profiles when you select it.

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  • Decoder: Freddy Riley, the Lawyer, has increased decoding speed that can make up for his teammates who are built more for rescuing or containment. This is not a characteristic of of all decoders, but a terror shock hit from the hunter cannot incapacitate Riley himself.

  • Containment: Emma Woods, the Gardener, excels at keeping hunters distracted during matches with her quick speed.

  • Assistance: Emily Dyer, the Doctor, assists her teammates throughout the match with her quick ability to heal and self heal.

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Containment characters are categorized for their agility, keeping the hunter preoccupied during the match while their teammates focus on decoding ciphers, a skill known as kiting. But, even with their quick feet, containers can be shot down after two hits from the hunter just like the rest of their teammates.

Rescuers do exactly as their title states: they rescue their teammates from the rocket chairs or rush to quickly heal them. While fast and able to avoid the hunter using their rescuing skills, rescuers often times have a decoding de-buff. This means they are much slower at decoding ciphers and have to rely on their teammates more to do so.

Decoders are incredibly helpful characters when wanting to get ciphers decoded quickly. Typically, decoders decoding speed is increased by 30 percent to 50 percent than that of their teammates, though they often have difficulty keeping the hunter at bay and act as easy targets due to their slower speed.

Assisting characters are well-rounded team members with expertise in many categories, such as those mentioned above. For example, one of the default characters, Emily Dyer, acts as a team medic and excels in healing others. She is also quick on her feet and has an average decoding speed that gives the entire team an advantage.

Unlike survivors, hunters do not have character types and more unique skills that are based upon how difficult they are to play. Take Geisha, one of the easier hunters to play. She is quick and can hover above a chosen area for a few seconds to scout out any survivors that may be lurking nearby. This gives her an advantage against her competitors. Or Joseph, the Photographer, uses a series of cameras to slow survivors down in various ways throughout the match.


Every few months, a new season of essences will be released. Each season has a storyline to go along with it, the essences and their prizes are based upon that theme. Essences are like mystery boxes that can be purchased in the same ways as playable characters.

Golden Ratio: Edgar Valden, the Painter, is a new survivor character recently added to the survivor roster. Shortly after his release, his limited S-tier costume, Golden Ratio, was released.

Digital stickers, character costumes, emotes, and profile photos can all be found in essences. There are tiers or levels of essences too, all organized by rarity. The S-tier is the highest level, A- tier being the second highest, and then the B, C and D tiers. The more essences you pull, the more likely you are to receive a higher rated item. Said items can be paired with purchasable accessories that increase character abilities as well.

The current season, season 13, has released a total of two essences so far.

Opinions and Controversies

Identity V is an overall success with the public in both their Asian and English audiences, but that does not mean there has not been controversy among the company and their users.

The game is notorious for the way it favors survivor players over the hunters, as Netease releases more survivor related in-game items and buffs that often put the hunter at an extreme disadvantage. Fans have stated how the game itself cannot function without active hunter players, game lobbies are becoming overloaded with survivor players with no hunter to initiate the game.

The game developers, who are based in China, run multiple English and Asian servers. Recently, English server members were put into incredible in-game debt after a mishap during the weekly server maintenance. Many players received a negative balance of clues, essences, and inspiration, all in game currency that was likely bought with real-world money. The new season has just been released, which caused a surge of in-game purchases in order to score new high-ranking items.

During all of this, the Asian servers were wholly unaffected and were being gifted several new items earlier than that of the English.

Netease did release compensation to all English server players this past week, but many were outraged to find it was nowhere near what they lost during the maintenance glitch.

The company also has a rocky history in representing minorities in their games. While many of their characters come from diverse backgrounds, as stated in their backstories, only two of 47 available in both survivor and hunter categories are not of a fairer skin tone.

William Ellis, a rescue character, has also had his skin tone lightened in several of his character costumes. Patricia Dorval, a containment character, is paired with primate-like images that represent her skills. Both characters have also been shoved into awkward stereotypes; William is the creator of rugby football and is incredibly strong and defensive, while Patricia is a voodoo priestess.

Netease has several other skin designs for other characters that misrepresent different cultures and nationalities.

This is not the limit of controversies brought upon by the game developers. Many of these issues have not yet been addressed by Netease, but have caused fans to discuss topics such as proper racial and ethnic representation in media among themselves.

Rating: ★★★★☆