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only wнen ι'м on ғιre// aѕн revιew

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  • only wнen ι'м on ғιre// aѕн revιew

    Escape the smoky intrigue of a hometown inferno!

    || ιnтrodυcтιon ||: I’m Nikoletta, welcome to my Alibi in Ashes review, the latest release in the amazing Nancy Drew PC series. After being slightly disappointed with the overall length on ASH’s predecessor, The Captive Curse (you can read my review for that game here: ||♥|| ) I was assured that the next game, the 25th anniversary special, set in River Heights, would be so incredibly amazing it would make up for whatever CAP lacked. Read on to find out whether or not it lived up to my expectations, which were, admittedly, pretty high.

    || ploт ||: The first Adventure game set in Nancy Drew’s hometown of River Heights, the game is a special location for the ND gamers and readers alike. A series of events happen in a start-game that is by far one of the most exciting openings of a game, ending with Nancy framed for the arson of River Height’s beloved old town hall. Of course, Nancy’s friends and boyfriend: Bess, George and Ned jump to aid to try and clear her name.

    There is nothing inherently wrong or boring with this plot line. If anything, it was a refreshing break from the recent surge of haunting games (which I do like, but agree we need a break from for a bit) given its more “serious” crime topic. However, for me, this plot fell flat on its face in a similar way as CAP did, but much worse in my opinion. The game was so short, by the time you got to the end; it was confusing because it felt like the middle point of a normal game. The character’s motives and secrets are practically handed to you on a platter from the beginning, all the “evidence” is easy to find. To sum it up: I thought this was hardly a mystery. If every detail and key piece of information is practically spoon fed to you during the whole game, it’s not a mystery. This flaw was most prominent at the ending, which was the most lame and anticlimactic part of the whole misadventure. [2/10]

    || aтмoѕpнere ||: The graphics on this game were amazing. By far the best in the series, and because of that I cannot wait for the next few games, to see how they look. I actually felt as if I was in River Heights. Nancy’s house, though the actual rooms in it were limited, was beautiful. I think the game on the whole really captured the essence of suburbia. It was well done, the music wasn’t annoying but not particuluarly memorable. HER really nailed the atmosphere as well as the look of River Heights. They couldn’t have done any better! [10/10]

    || lengтн ||: I believe strongly that a good plot and amount of length go hand in hand. Without length, the plot doesn’t have time to develop and will therefore be boring and self-explanatory or confusing and ridden with plot holes. ASH was the first option I mentioned. I’m very sorry if this sounds incredibly scathing, and I will no matter what continue to support HER no matter what but: I was very, very angry that I paid $20 for a game that took me much less than 6 hours to complete. I finished it in one day. I don’t think Nancy Drew games are “one day” type of games, nor should they be. If you are an older player, I wouldn’t recommend this game as I speculate you will have similar frustrations. [1/10]

    || cнaracтerѕ ||: Usually when a plot falls flat, HER’s unique, in depth characters can pick up at least some of the slack. This was not the case with ASH. Oh no, no.

    |Brenda Carlton|: A rather irritating journalist. She is River Height’s “ace crime reporter” and constantly hassles Nancy and her friends throughout the game. I feel like Brenda would have been a strong character if the stereotypical journalist personality hadn’t been annoyingly present. Yes, she was nosy. And yes, she did enjoy twisting people’s words around. Both stereotypical characteristics of journalist types that were WAY overdone in her personality. Because of this lack of subtlety, she wasn’t believable as a character; she didn’t seem real or realistic in any sense of the word. She was a hollow graphic with stereotypical, over the top dialogue. Being a bit interested in journalism myself, I felt almost offended by her personality. Well, not really, ha, but you get my point, hopefully.

    |Deirdre Shannon|: Now, I haven’t read a Nancy Drew book that had the character of Deirdre in it, so take that into account when reading my opinion on her. I know she’s supposed to be the “mean girl” who’s jealous of and out to get Nancy, and also blatantly crushing on Ned. She did nail this description, and if that’s exactly how she’s supposed to be in the books, then she was fine. But once again, she wasn’t in depth, had no secrets or interesting things about her, and once again I felt she was terribly stereotypical and came off as a whiny 5 year old.

    |Alexei Markovic|: An old man with an amateur-detective past like Nancy. Unlike the other characters, Alexei does have a few secrets to hide, but he practically gives them all away or they can be assumed towards the beginning of the game. He is slightly deeper than the other characters, but I found him to be not very memorable and overshadowed by the annoying, formulaic qualities of the other characters.

    |Toni Scallari|: Like Brenda, I really think Toni had some great potential as a character. But once again, it was ruined by overdone orthodoxies of politicians. She acted sneaky and rude at some moments, but super friendly and fake at others, which was entertaining, but that’s pretty much all she did. And it got old. There was nothing deeper to her character. With someone such as a politician, I feel like HER could’ve done so much more with her character.

    I’m not going to cover Bess, George, Ned, or Chief McGinnis in their own sections as I was generally pleased and believed they acted according to their personalities according to the books, and in previous games.
    I felt every character mentioned in their section was extremely underdeveloped, boring, and/or annoying. [1/10]

    ||pυzzleѕ||: There were some puzzles in this game, granted not very many, but I didn’t have a problem with it because I’m not a huge puzzle person. However, I was slightly shocked that I was able to solve all of them, even on the senior level, with practically no difficulty at all. Because I’m not a fan of frustrating puzzles, that didn’t faze me, but if you are, this portion of the game might disappoint. I’m indifferent, really. [5/10]

    || navιgaтιon ||: The areas were easy to maneuver through and nothing was particularly hard to find. I found it very disappointing, however, that on such a big map of an extensive town, practically no new locations unlocked as the game progressed that we as a player could actually go to and interact with the environment. This limited the game in yet another way. I was indifferent to the auto-drive feature, which, unlike games such as RAN and CLK, the car automatically drove you from place to place on the map. [5/10]

    || ѕnoopιng ||: The snooping, like CAP, was at least present, but in a similar manner to CAP, it was far too easy not only to lure the characters away from their respected areas but to not get caught as well. [5/10]

    || evenтѕ//ѕυѕpenѕe ||: Once again, this can be something that can pick up a slightly flat plot line or characters. But of course, not in good old ASH! The only “event” can be seen in the trailer, and it could hardly be called “suspenseful”. I’m not one of those people that need a scare factor to be entertained, but I do believe a suspense/danger element is necessary to a mystery game. To be completely honest, I was bored almost the whole time I played. Because I was so eager for its release, I felt like crying. So, so, disappointing. [1/10]

    ||ѕcore||: 30/80
    Grade: F
    I know this is a rather scathing and harsh review, and please know that if you have a different opinion, and loved the game, I completely respect you. This is my totally honest review from the perspective of an “older” player that is very familiar with the series; I’ve played every game. Maybe younger players would find the length and difficulty of the puzzles satisfying, however, I won’t generalize, and it depends on the person. If you are a hardcore fan of the series I would recommend this game, just because it is Nancy Drew, but don’t set your expectations very high. If you are new to the series, please consider purchasing a different game, at least at first, so you will see how great the series truly is. I would recommend VEN, SHA, FIN, WAC, or TRT to start. Once again, though I detested this game I plan to continue purchasing the adventure series and support and love HER with all my heart. Thanks for reading! ♥Nikoletta
    Last edited by oceanxatlantic; June 25, 2012, 02:59 PM.
    It's never too late to be who you might have been...[ George Eliot ]