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SEA: A Heartbreak For Old School ND Fans

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  • SEA: A Heartbreak For Old School ND Fans

    I love ND games and have played all of them -- so maybe my disappointment in Sea Of Darkness stems from knowledge that HeR has done better. But, I think there is a lot in this game to learn from, and I'm hopeful for the future.

    I finished playing this game just tonight. I'm late to the party! But here are some thoughts on it:

    The setting and initial characters wrap you into the world of the game. We have a mix of suspiciously nice Soren, downright mean Dagny, and the infuriatingly vociferous Gunnar. The characters on the whole were lovely, I thought. However, I found Gunnar incredibly tedious. His stories were long and uninspiring. I wished his character (and perhaps, other characters too) were given backstory that was more visual. Listening to them chatter feels like a podcast. Why not show, rather than tell?

    The underlying story is great. We learn of a family torn apart, involving pirates, tragedy, and mystery. It's everything I love in a Nancy Drew game! However, here again I wish events happened on screen. Flashbacks, ghosts, something other than more letters. Everyone seems to communicate by letter! I understand that half of the characters are dead or missing, but creative, visual storytelling is something I look for in HeR games. I hope to see it return in the future.

    Finally, the ending.

    I think, when the ending played out and the credits rolled, I realized my biggest problem with this game. I never felt in danger. The "safe" story was most clear in the ending, but it was true of the entire game. You do not get to snoop nearly enough. There is no danger of getting caught. There is no one following Nancy; no one is trying to thwart her. The stakes are low, the tension is low, and ultimately, a decent story loses its gleam.

    It's the same point-and-click Nancy Drew mystery that we know and love. This time with fewer cutscenes and perhaps the most kid-friendly story yet. I'm an older Nancy Drew fan, so I guess I've started sensing moments in ND games where someone in a HeR meeting said "I don't think parents would want their kids playing something that controversial!" And I'm sure they're right. But I miss the days of The Crystal Skull...

    Puzzles. If you like puzzles, you'll like this! If you're more into discovering new places and unravelling characters, there are definitely ND games out there that are better suited for those tastes. I happen to love puzzles, so I enjoyed them and found them to be just the right level of toughness.

    The music is phenomenal, which is in keeping with the rest of the series.
    The art direction and visuals in general were well crafted and appealing. I appreciated how unified the game's visual elements felt. As usual, HeR delivers :)

    I hope to post again when we get our hands on a new game. Fingers crossed that it will be a return to the classic, rich storytelling I love from HeR. Thanks for reading.
    A M a s k e d A f f a i r
    +´¯`·.,¸,.·*[Ven AE]*·.,¸,.·´¯`+
    Hide your face so the world will never find you
    .·*¨¯¨*·¸.......·*¨¯¨*·¸..~look around, there's another mask behind you~.¸·*¨¯¨*·......¸·*¨¯¨*·.


    ♠ ΘNE ƊEATH TO ƉIE ♣ stfd ӕ