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Poorly "Design"ed - A Review by ConnectTheDots

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  • Poorly "Design"ed - A Review by ConnectTheDots

    ConnectTheDots' Review
    of
    --Danger by Design--


    **Bottom line:** The tasks are fun, but the badly constructed plot and poorly utilized setting make this game a big disappointment.

    Plot

    When I first started playing DAN, this is what I thought the plot was:

    Nancy has been given the opportunity to intern for a fashion designer in Paris, France! The person she is working for, Minette, has taken to wearing a white mask wherever she goes. To add to the mystery, Minette’s also been receiving some pretty serious threats, which seem to be hindering production on her upcoming collection. It’s up to you as Nancy Drew to find out who has been sending the threats before they develop into something worse.

    Sure, we’ve had similar games before, but the plot was still pretty intriguing.
    But as I played the game, I realized that wasn’t the plot at all. This is the real plot:

    While on an internship in Paris, Nancy discovers that the old Moulin that she is working in has its secrets. Soon, Nancy finds herself on – you guessed it! – another “treasure” hunt. It’s up to you as Nancy Drew to find the “treasure” before – well, I don’t know. Oh, and you figure out why Minette has been wearing the mask and who has been sending the threats along the way.

    The plot was a little… misleading. The parts of the plot that interested me (threats, mask) became afterthoughts. This left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

    Characters

    The characters in this game are a mixed bag of interesting and boring. Minette, of course, is a very eccentric character and really well-developed. I still wish that I could talk to her more but the lack of conversation makes her more intriguing. Jing-Jing, Minette’s fitting model, is pretty interesting, too with her own little quirks. As an aside, I LOVE that HeR made JJ a plus size model – size 12 is healthy!

    The other characters have their own developed backgrounds but I don’t enjoy talking to them very much. I sympathize with Dieter, Minette’s ex, but his German accent is overdone and kind of painful to listen to. Heather McKay, Minette’s assistant, is nice but not memorable.

    Jean-Michel’s accent is MUCH more authentic than Jacques’ (TRT) so I’m very pleased with that. Considering that he is the only French person in the game (other than the vendors, who don’t really count), I’m very disappointed with the way HeR shaped his personality. Many people see the French as easily irritated with Americans and somewhat stuck up. HeR only fueled that stereotype with Jean-Michel. Because I’ve been to France three times and have several French friends, this makes me quite sad. A French foil character to Jean-Michel, a character with the opposite personality traits, would be nice.

    I think the biggest problem with the characters is that we as players find out stuff throughout the game that lets us really narrow down the suspect list. Some people might enjoy this, but I like it when the characters remain suspicious throughout most of the game.

    Graphics and Setting

    As stated, I’ve been to France three times so I was really looking forward to this game because it was set in Paris. I feel like the foreign setting is a bit of a gimmick because most of the game is indoors. We don’t get to see any famous landmarks except as 2-D background images. The thing that seems most Parisian to me is the vending market in the park by the Seine, so I’m very glad HeR included that. It would be nice to have a few more stops on the metro.

    The graphics are pretty good… not amazing, but pretty good. The characters are cartoony-looking but their movements are nice and fluid. In fact, HeR demonstrates their potential with character animation quite nicely at one particular point in the game. The lighting is much more realistic than earlier games.

    Music

    I only remember two songs from this game and they sounded very Parisian. One had an accordion. There were probably more songs than two, but that’s all I can remember.

    Puzzles, Tasks and Mini-Games

    Nancy is an intern, so ya know what that means – tasks! Some of the tasks are pretty fun (shopping for Minette’s “stuff,” designing outfits for a certain former character, etc.) and some are incredibly frustrating (photo making anyone?). Although there are quite a few tasks, there are numerous puzzles not related to Nancy’s job as well. I did need a couple of spoilers for these but every puzzle can be solved by using information within the game.

    The mini-game is matching and very easy to beat. There’s two cooking activities – baking cookies and making parfaits. I really liked baking the cookies but parfait-making had no challenge to it.

    "The Scare Factor"

    If you’re afraid of swimming and rats, then this game may creep you out a little bit. Otherwise, it’s not scary at all!

    Other Odds and Ends

    - The ending “puzzle” is silly but creative. I just can’t imagine Nancy doing what she does at the end. The conclusion itself is very disappointing. If you figured out “whodunit” and why they did it while you were playing, you’re a genius.

    - The way that Nancy acquires certain items in this game is very creative.

    - Nancy does lots of price negotiating in this game, which I think is really cool. It’s an important skill to develop. I like how each of the vendors had their own personality and would bargain to a certain point.

    - I like that the game is split into different days. This doesn’t add any urgency to solving the case, but it’s nice to go to bed and wake up to a different newspaper in the morning. It makes the game a little more realistic.



    THANK YOU so much for reading my review! Feel free to comment with your own thoughts. Feedback is appreciated.

    My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,
    TRN, DAN, CRE, ICE, VEN, HAU, RAN, WAC, SAW, CAP, ASH, TMB, DED, GTH and SPY

  • #2
    i cant say i agree with you completly, but i do respect the detailed critisism.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for reading, mysterygrl595! I appreciate your honesty. :)
      My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,
      TRN, DAN, CRE, ICE, VEN, HAU, RAN, WAC, SAW, CAP, ASH, TMB, DED, GTH and SPY

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with everything you said, but I really despise this game. I guess I could call it average, and replaying it now I certainly enjoy it much more than I did before, but the ending, non-existent plot and bad characters makes me wanna throw the game out the window.

        I just got back from Paris, missed it, and felt like replaying, but nothing in this game looks Parisian to me. Lots of ugly gray stone in the background pic in the park, and in JJ Ling's apartment windows--Paris is famous for its beautiful vanilla stone, and that's what I see when I think of it. Only one character in this game is French, and yeah, he's annoying, but they're all like...hateable. JJ Ling spends half her time accusing you of accusing her of lying, Heather is forgettable, I agree, Dieter's really conceited and Minette is just annoying. I had such high hopes for a game in Paris. =(

        Great review! I especially agree with what you said about the plot.
        Tigeress_10
        My 5* Reviews

        SCK STFD MHM TRT FIN SSH DOG
        CAR DDI SHA CUR CLK TRN
        DAN CRE ICE CRY VEN
        HAU RAN
        WAC


        All cased closed

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for reading and writing a well-thought-out comment, Tigeress_10! I wrote this review after I beat the game for a second time. The first time I played DAN, I, too, loathed it. The second time I played, I found a few positives with the game, but I was still disappointed. I think what saddens me most is that I know HeR most likely won't create a game in Paris again and that they could have done some great things with the location.

          You make a good point about the characters - there's something that can really bother you about each of the characters, not just a few.

          Again, thank you for the feedback! :)
          My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,
          TRN, DAN, CRE, ICE, VEN, HAU, RAN, WAC, SAW, CAP, ASH, TMB, DED, GTH and SPY

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ConnectTheDots View Post
            I think what saddens me most is that I know HeR most likely won't create a game in Paris again and that they could have done some great things with the location.
            Amen.

            One thing you didn't really mention was the whole story with Noisette. I thought that was the best part and had a very satisfying ending. It's not unlike the Marie Antoinette stuff in TRT. I don't think the treasure hunt thing would have bothered me if HER didn't have so many other games with the same premise!
            CALIGIRL
            Did no one
            read my book?
            []-+´¯`×}»Riley

            keep your furans close and your enamines closer

            Comment


            • #7
              californiagirl, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I love the history in regards to the Noisette storyline. I don't know if she really existed but the historic details behind her story are definitely true. I love when HeR gets a little history in the games. :)

              The treasure hunt is becoming a common component of most of the newer games, it seems... I don't like that.
              My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,
              TRN, DAN, CRE, ICE, VEN, HAU, RAN, WAC, SAW, CAP, ASH, TMB, DED, GTH and SPY

              Comment

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