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What I *Really* Thought: SAW Edition

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  • What I *Really* Thought: SAW Edition

    .......................MyCatTilly Presents,
    What I Really Thought:

    Shadow at the Water’s Edge


    Nancy and her good friends, Bess and George, are off to Japan as a thank you for uncovering the truth back in Oklahoma. Nancy plans to spend her time in a traditional inn, but she soon discovers that all is not well at the Ryokan Hiei. Has a tragic past come back to haunt the inn’s owners? Or is someone hiding a dark secret and willing to do anything to protect it? With danger lurking around every corner, it’s up to you, as Nancy drew find out.

    The story here is solid. I think one thing that really helps to make it shine is that most of the characters are really secretive when it comes to talking about the past and their relationships with the other characters. This makes it to where you really have to dig and work through the game to figure out what happened. So while you’re searching for the person terrorizing the inn, you also have this completely different storyline unfolding beside it. It’s sort of similar to older Nancy Drew games, which is generally a plus in my book.

    It is, at times, dark or sad but I think that greatly helps to raise the stakes and add variation to the games.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The games looks quite good, all things considered. As with TOT, characters seem to have a wider variety of expression, plus they don’t have the feeling that the early games have where people seem to be doing the same gestures over and over.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The game starts off allowing you to explore the ryokan (which is comparable in size to the lodge in ICE, if I remember correctly), the lobby of the expo center, and an arcade. Later, you can go a few more places.

    While it doesn’t bother me too much, I don’t feel like you get a whole lot to explore in SAW. The lobby, the arcade, and a third location are all only one room. There is the inn, but a large portion of it is off limits and there simply isn’t a much to see. In addition, some of the locations are only required for one or two things, so you can basically go the entire game without returning to them.

    One area where the game really succeeds is in its variety of locations. You have the traditional inn, alongside a bright loud city. When HeR announced that there was going to be a game set in Japan, I worried that they might focus too much on the conventional side of the country and ignore the vibrant modern aspects, or visa-versa. I feel HeR found a nice balance.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    SAW isn’t a puzzle heavy game, which is something I appreciate. What puzzles there are tend to be creative and challenging. HeR really seems to have stepped up in the this department.

    As far as snooping goes, there is plenty of it. Everything from spying on people, to rummaging through their stuff when they’re not around. And unlike a handful of incidents from past games, you don’t feel like you’re just snooping for snooping’s sake. You really do uncover the things you need to progress through the game.


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    I really like the inhabitants of the Ryokan Hiei. Rentaro and Yumi really stand out as being some of the most amusing characters from any game. Some clever writing went into their dialogue. And while Miwako and Takae weren’t as flashy, they were well done too.

    My only real complaint about them is that some of the characters are lacking in motive. In the game, Nancy may sort of assign them a motive, but it doesn’t always seem very plausible.

    One thing that does get to me was how rude Nancy was at times. I imagine it was occasionally optional but generally, in order to move through the game you have to continually confront people and be pushy when you're pressing them for information. It actually makes Nancy a bit unlikable. A little rephrasing could have gone a long way.


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    Ending *Spoiler Free*
    The ending is sort of multi-parted, starting off with a high stakes moment, and from that angle I quite like it. However, when it comes down to the faceoff between Nancy and the culprit(s), it’s less then exciting and not the least bit challenging. It’s really not bad, just a non-event.


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    I really do like SAW, but there’s just something about it that I find off-putting. Each time I’ve played it, I end up spending a lot of time wandering around trying to trigger whatever is supposed to happen next. It can lead to an extremely dull gaming experience. That problem, of course, is something that could be specifically me.

    I greatly enjoyed the scary moments on my first play through, and would have easily said SAW is the scariest of the series and the most well done in that department. However, once you’ve played the game and you know what’s coming and when, those moments just don’t hold up. Granted, I’m not sure if there’s a way around that.

    So despite my couple of grievances, SAW is hands down a good game. A vast improvement over the lows of the Nancy Drew series, the likes that I never thought I’d see. If you can handle scares, I can’t see any reason to not play this game.

    Overall score: 8/10
    Creepiness (10 equals terrifying): 9/10
    Difficulty (10 equals hair pulling): 5/10

    "Should I buy this game?"

    There isn't a single ND game that I wouldn't recommend on some level. If you end up not enjoying this game, don't let that stop you from trying others in the series. There is a ton of variety.

    Happy Gaming!
    aka SnappyBlueRoadster

    What I *Really* Thought Reviews

  • #2
    Wow what a very detailed review!


    I just want to be
    happy .. .. .. ..

    I cannot believe I have been on this site for 6 years my how time flies!!!!


    • #3
      Originally posted by MyCatTilly View Post
      I greatly enjoyed the scary moments on my first play through, and would have easily said SAW is the scariest of the series and the most well done in that department. However, once you’ve played the game and you know what’s coming and when, those moments just don’t hold up. Granted, I’m not sure if there’s a way around that.
      First off, this is a great review! Reps to you! This part of your review reminded me of MHM. I don't know if you've played it and I'm not going to give away any spoilers for that game, but that one had scares that still get me every time. Some of them were subtle (a creepy noise), and some were scares you remembered and remembered exactly when they happen. But for the most part, you don't exactly know when in the game they will happen, or you end up forgetting about some of the minor ones and are still scared and/or shocked when you play the game another time. I haven't played SAW yet, only the demo. Would you say that there were any moments in SAW like that, where you don't quite remember when or where they happen, or were all of those "scare" moments really memorable or anticipated?
      Someday, I'll be living in a big old city
      ( andallyou'reevergonnabeismean )
      .......` • . , ¸ ¸ , . → Why you gotta be so mean?


      • #4
        I completely agree! While SAW was a pretty good game, I felt that some parts were kind of slow and I was waiting for something that would trigger something else in the game. Thanks so much for sharing your opinion! Reps
        . .. .. .. .. .. ...| . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...,•*¨¯¨*•,
        . .. .. ...\ . .. .. .. ../. ...You are my sunshine. ...,•*¨¯¨*•,. •,¸¸,'
        . .. .. .. .. ,•*¨¯¨*•, . .. .. .My only sunshine. .. .',¸¸,• . ...`·.
        . .. . -- .. ( . .. .. . ) .. -- ..You make me happy. .. .. .. .. ...`×.,¸_¸,.×´¨¯¨*•,
        . .. .. .. ...`•.,¸¸,.•´ . .. .. .when skies are gray. . . .. . ,•*¨¯¨*•,. . You never know dear
        . .. .. .. ../ . .. .. ..\ . .`·. . .. .. .. .. ...,•*¨¯¨*•, . ..',¸¸,• . ..). . How much I love you...
        . .. .. .. .. .. ..|. .. .. .. .. .`×.,¸__¸,.×´ . .. .. ...`×.,¸__¸,.×´. . Please don't take my
        ©L.bulldog + Jimmie Davis .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...sunshine away...

        Jeremiah 29:11♥


        • #5
          Scare Factor

          A very well thought out, detailed, and helpful review. I do dissagree on one point you've made, and that's the scare-factor. I may be nothing more than a big baby, but I've played through this particular game several times, and each time
          pops up, I'm left shaking in my boots. Each time playing SAW - for me, anyway - is just as thrilling as the first time.
          Last edited by Evy&Lena; July 7, 2011, 08:37 AM.


          • #6
            Terrific Review!!!
            Tomb of the Lost Queen


            • #7
              great review!! very detailed and long i could never write something like that!!
              ....~'*~'-_,~ With you I'd dance,
              .........~'*~'-_,~ In a storm in my best dress,
              '~._,'~ F E A R L E S S

              <3 taylor swift

              N a N c Y d R e W
              is my life

              IT'S LOCKED



              • #8
                Great review!!

                I'm actually in the middle of this game right now, but I sorta got freaked out so I stopped for a bit to read reviews.
                I love the characters too, being some of the best that I've ever seen in all the ND games, but I have to disagree with your view on the amount of puzzles. So far I've seen so many puzzles and games, from mind boggling ones to long annoying ones to ones that are really just chance! I do love puzzles, though.
                I was a little hesitant reading the ending part because I haven't finished the game, but it was totally spoiler free, so thanks for that!
                Do you live it? Do you practice it every day?
                You don't have to answer to me,
                but you must answer to you

                -Bill T Jones


                • #9
                  Review for ASH?

                  Hi, MyCatTilly! Your reviews are my absolute favorite! And I've been excitedly awaiting your review of Alibi in Ashes because Ned is FINALLY in it! I'm so excited, but I wanted to read what you think. So I was just wondering how long you expect it to be until you write a review?

                  There's no rush or anything; I'm just extremely eager
                  Any and all help - including spoilers - is always greatly appreciated! Thanks for answering any of my questions.

                  I have lifted the Curse of Blackmoor Manor.
                  I have discovered the Treasure in the Royal Tower.
                  I have granted the Ransom of the Seven Ships.
                  I have found a Message in a Haunted Mansion.
                  I have put to rest the Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.
                  I have closed the curtain on The Final Scene.
                  I have unveiled the Secret of Shadow Ranch.
                  I have ridden the Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.
                  I have ridden the Haunted Carousel.
                  I have faced the Danger on Deception Island.
                  I have revealed the Secret of the Old Clock.
                  I have shined a light on the Shadow at the Water's Edge.
                  I have tamed the White Wolf of Icicle Creek.
                  I have ignored the Warnings at Waverley Academy.
                  And I have learned that Secrets Can Kill.

                  "A library is a hospital for the mind."

                  Clare loves you!


                  • #10
                    Excellent are definitely on my "trusted" list of reviewers. I concur with your remarks on the "scares" of SAW; the scares are amazing, but do not have quite the "replay-value" one would desire. I try to make up for this disappointment by watching my unsuspecting relatives play this game for the first time (I always try to convince them to "look very closely" at the opportune moment ).