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A Longtime Fan's Review

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  • Juliana+Walter
    replied
    Wow- you have just given me about half a dozen new reasons to dislike ASH even more! Its currently second to last on my list (its hard for anything to be worse than RAN). Your expertise on matters of the law made this an especially great review!

    Originally posted by lady_knight13 View Post
    Plot problems: Nancy’s father is a prosecutor with the River Heights DA (district attorney) office. The town of River Heights is quite small, which means he probably knows quite a few public defenders (PD’s) because that’s a small bar association right there. I kept expecting him to call one of his PD buddies from law school (I have PD friends even though I’m more into the DA side of criminal law) and introduce them to Nancy or vice-versa. I also was hoping Nancy would request an attorney. She’s a lawyer’s kid. My professors went on and on about how they always told their kids or friends or whoever to ask for an attorney on getting arrested, and never say a word to the police until one arrives.
    Good point! When you explain it, it makes a lot of sense and seems an obvious mistake.

    Also, a warrant for Nancy’s arrest couldn’t be issued without probable cause. There is no probable cause beyond a “hunch” from a few townsfolk that Nancy did it. A hunch isn’t probable cause.

    I did catch this one. I also found that suddenly the whole town turning on her was too far-fetched.

    Speaking of things on the map, there are so many places on the map that you can zoom by in a car, but you never actually see. That was so disappointing to me.
    Me too! You really couldn't go anywhere or see anything. It made River Heights into a very boring town.


    You switch between Nancy, Ned, George, and Bess to interact with the suspects here.
    What did stump me was learning that you couldn’t do certain things without contacting Nancy first to discuss what you’d found. The “must report to Nancy” mechanic served as game padding and added more unnecessary switching. George, Bess, and Ned are more than smart enough to figure things out, game devs.
    This was what I disliked the most. Now, I think its a lot for fun when you get to play as other characters (Frank in TRN and MID, Bess in CRY, both Hardys in CRE), but it was different in ASH- I think it was mostly because of how much you had to play other characters and how monotonous it was to switch between them. It might not have been so annoying if you could just have Ned call Bess to switch, for instance, instead of calling Nancy first.

    Maybe animating him would also win others over on him, or at least let us ground him in a physical appearance.
    Hahaha, nope, never
    Actually, I thought it was weird that they didn't make an animation for Ned either, especially since he was on the cover with Bess and George.


    Likewise, the accelerant you find to cement the culprit is so common that I was rather shocked at how everyone came to the conclusion they did.
    Right!
    Also, how dumb was it that the police weren't proactively investigating anything? A bunch of teenagers had to collect samples and determine the fire's point of origin and accelerant because the police were.....too busy?!?


    What I liked: The ice cream (it looked good); Alexei was well-done; Deirdre; Mr. Drew’s concern for his child and his worry over her lack of concern with her current situation; Brenda’s avatar on your phone is so pretty and I love it to pieces.
    Hah, same! In that order too.
    Last edited by Juliana+Walter; May 7, 2020, 07:06 AM.

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  • lady_knight13
    started a topic A Longtime Fan's Review

    A Longtime Fan's Review

    At the outset, I didn't play this when it originally came out. I picked it up on sale through another site I use for buying games, so I have the download version and not the classic disc. I remember being very uninterested in this game originally because I hate the falsely accused plot (though I've seen it done well in other series, even other female-led mystery/thriller series). As we're stuck in quarantine and I'm spending my days working up the courage to send out networking emails and the like, I'm replaying some ND games alongside my other hobbies to keep my depression down. Sadly, my original opinion of this game proved correct in that it is dreadfully dull and tries for a serious situation that it just doesn't treat very realistically.

    Disclaimer: I'm an attorney. I judge miniscule details this game gets wrong harshly, especially the ones that most laypeople ought to know, particularly if that person is the child of a prosecutor.

    Plot: The old River Heights town hall has been burned down and Nancy’s been framed. It’s up to George, Bess, and Ned to help get Nancy out of jail by proving her innocence!


    Plot problems: Nancy’s father is a prosecutor with the River Heights DA (district attorney) office. The town of River Heights is quite small, which means he probably knows quite a few public defenders (PD’s) because that’s a small bar association right there. I kept expecting him to call one of his PD buddies from law school (I have PD friends even though I’m more into the DA side of criminal law) and introduce them to Nancy or vice-versa. I also was hoping Nancy would request an attorney. She’s a lawyer’s kid. My professors went on and on about how they always told their kids or friends or whoever to ask for an attorney on getting arrested, and never say a word to the police until one arrives.

    Also, a warrant for Nancy’s arrest couldn’t be issued without probable cause. There is no probable cause beyond a “hunch” from a few townsfolk that Nancy did it. A hunch isn’t probable cause. Likewise, they cannot hold Nancy without formally indicting her beyond a certain time limit (I think it’s eight hours… civil law is more my strong suit, to be honest, and this might vary by jurisdiction). Again, I’d overlook all of this if it just wasn’t so unrealistic for a game played with such a straight face.

    There are other problems on this front, but I'm not writing a memo or brief here, so this will have to do.

    Setting: River Heights, which is a quaint suburban American town. I quite liked the setting. It reminded me of my neighborhood, back when I could go outside.

    Speaking of things on the map, there are so many places on the map that you can zoom by in a car, but you never actually see. That was so disappointing to me. What’s the point of having a location on the map when you can’t visit them? Just have ND or George or someone else make a call to the place? Or have them do a check off-screen? I don’t know, but it would be better than disappointing us players like that.

    Mr. Drew’s offices are on the map and they’re labeled as “the Drew Law Offices.” Mr. Drew is a prosecutor, or a member of the District Attorney’s Office, which means his client is the state. He’s a government attorney, so therefore he shouldn’t have a private office on the map. However, I’m willing to let this one slide as maybe “the Drew Law Offices” is just a label our intrepid quartet uses to refer to Mr. Drew’s workplace.

    Characters: You switch between Nancy, Ned, George, and Bess to interact with the suspects here. The suspects are Alexei Manakovic, an eccentric antique store owner with a mysterious past and odd bitterness toward the townsfolk; Toni Scallari, a politician who runs an ice cream parlor and seems rather relaxed until you start digging into her past; Brenda Carlton, a reporter eager to get the drop on the hottest scoops for her news show; and Dierdre Shannon, the raven-haired rival of ND who wants to steal Ned’s heart away. There’s also the Riverdale Police Chief, McGinnis, who is surprisingly kind to Nancy and just wants to do right by the town, but he’s not a suspect and you see very little of him.

    Puzzles: There are none, except a few. Are they hard? Maybe? I didn’t care enough about solving them to really try on some of them and used a walkthrough on the one because I was worried about getting caught. There’s a maze I also had to cheat on because I got frustrated, but otherwise, there was nothing that really stumped me.

    What did stump me was learning that you couldn’t do certain things without contacting Nancy first to discuss what you’d found. The “must report to Nancy” mechanic served as game padding and added more unnecessary switching. George, Bess, and Ned are more than smart enough to figure things out, game devs.

    Graphics and other Character Stuff: You see Bess and George, but not Ned. I like Ned as his puns make me chuckle and remind me of the "humor" I like to use when the dry sarcasm goes stale. Maybe animating him would also win others over on him, or at least let us ground him in a physical appearance. I just wanted to see Ned, as he’s Nancy’s boyfriend. That being said, I think Ned got lucky in not being animated. Bess looked terrible. George looked alright.

    As to how the characters were treated by the suspects: I liked Deirdre in this game, as I found her to be an unnecessary mean girl-frenemy in the books (Nancy doesn’t need a rival, Simon & Schuster), but here she seemed like a real character instead of a caricature; I also liked Alexei as he’s me in that I too hate everyone in this town (at least those you can talk to). What I could not handle was how everyone patronized Bess. I had to use George or Ned so much because I got so sick of people talking down to Bess.

    Culprit/Ending: There are multiple problems with the culprit, starting with the civil liability he/she would face even if he/she wasn’t ever criminally charged. Most games I can suspend my disbelief, but not this one as it is played so seriously. Likewise, the accelerant you find to cement the culprit is so common that I was rather shocked at how everyone came to the conclusion they did (I mean, we all know who the culprit is from the start of the game, but the logic our adventurers use to reach that conclusion is weak).

    What I liked: The ice cream (it looked good); Alexei was well-done; Deirdre; Mr. Drew’s concern for his child and his worry over her lack of concern with her current situation; Brenda’s avatar on your phone is so pretty and I love it to pieces.

    Final Verdict: To conclude, fans of the older ND games shouldn’t play this one because it’s dreadfully dull and horrendously unrealistic for a game that’s painted with such severity. I do recommend, if you want something a tad more realistic and grittier than this, SPY or VEN over this one. SPY also gives us a more emotional connection to the Drew family than this one did.

    Total Rating: 3/10
    Last edited by lady_knight13; May 6, 2020, 12:24 PM.
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