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[+]----» A SAW Review!

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  • [+]----» A SAW Review!

    Shadow at the Water's Edge
    A review by Songlily

    Senior Detective

    Plot & Ending
    You as Nancy Drew find your Japanese vacation interrupted by a haunting chain
    of events. Soon, you're embroiled in a mystery of ghostly proportions, and it's up to you
    to dig through family secrets and save the Ryokan Hiei! The plot is similar to that of
    other ND games, but it doesn't feel stale [partially because it doesn't entirely turn into
    a treasure hunt]. The ending, which is rather drawn out, requires some thinking, but is
    a bit anti-climatic. Better than some, however. [And there are two possible endings!]

    Scare Factor
    SAW is probably the scariest game since CUR, beating out the screaming
    banshee of HAU. There are jump moments, suspenseful stretches, general creepiness,
    and the return of random events happening while you're asleep. Thank you, HER!
    But because of the scare factor, I would not recommend this game to our youngest sleuths.

    Setting, Graphics, & Music
    The Ryokan is gorgeous, the most complete single setting we've had in a long time.
    There are also three other locations you can visit via subway, so that you don't feel
    so isolated. I never felt the rush and busyness I expect from a Japanese city,
    but the Ryokan is appropriately soothing and zen-like. Graphics are improved over
    the last few games, especially character graphics. And the music--wow. At times, it
    reminded me of the original SCK, which in my opinion has some of the best music of
    the series. Other tunes are reminiscent of J-Pop. It's a great balance of creepy and peppy.

    Time & Transportation
    Once again, your phone is equipped with an alarm clock, and you are the master of
    your time. It's nice to be able to speed the game forward when necessary.
    Unfortunately, the game happens entirely at night, but it's not as dreary as CRY.
    To travel from place to place, there's the handy-dandy subway, but there's the added
    twist of finding the right route the first time you visit each location. Very well done.

    Gameplay & Challenge
    SAW is fairly sequential and at times painfully so. In the middle there's sort of a jumble
    of tasks that you can do, interspersed with optional puzzles, but at times I found
    myself wandering around and around and around until I figured out the one thing I needed
    to do next. But that also is the sign of a challenging game. For me, SAW was the
    perfect difficulty level: not so hard that I needed hints, but hard enough to keep
    me thinking...well, hard.

    Characters & Phone Friends
    HER really delivered in the character category. We have been asking for more interaction,
    more in-depth conversations, and SAW provides. All four suspects have distinct personalities
    and deep secrets, and you as the nosy detective get to pry 'til your heart's content.
    I wasn't too satisfied with the culprit, but with the exception of the ending, the
    characters have my full approval. There's also quite a bit of interaction with Bess and
    George on the phone, as well as a new phone friend you acquire in-game, and all
    three help you out with the case.

    Exploring & Snooping
    Thanks again, HER! They really do listen to us, and it shows. After getting minimal
    snooping and exploration in TOT, we asked for more, and SAW delivers. My inventory was
    perpetually full, I had multiple keys to multiple rooms I shouldn't be in, and I was obliged
    to set my alarm in order to do some late-night snooping. Now that's the stuff!

    Puzzles, Games & Activities
    So here's the thing: you probably have heard horror stories about giant nonograms and
    huge sudoku puzzles if you've nosed around this board much at all. Well, yes, SAW
    has some logic-heavy puzzles that are just not everyone's cup of tea. Personally, I
    loved them. But they are not the only activities in the game, so if you're not a fan
    of logic-intensive puzzles, you'll find some activities and puzzles that are right up
    your alley, too. [But if logic puzzles like sudoku are your thing, you'll be glad to know they
    are an optional activity throughout, the puzzler's alternative to a mini-game, perhaps.
    Also good practice for when they're required in the game--I highly recommend you
    take advantage.] There is one tedious mini-game that is unfortunately required; though
    it's addicting, it also feels a bit time-wasting. I don't think this is one you'll be re-loading
    SAW to play when you're bored at home. Overall, I was satisfied with the number and
    variety of puzzles and games. Not as many as RAN, but enough to feel like a true ND game.
    And I'll take extra exploring over a few puzzles any day :)

    In sum, I highly recommend SAW to ND gamers. I would not recommend it
    to younger sleuths or new sleuths; I think MHM, TRT, DDI, or perhaps CLK would be
    a better starter game [though MHM is also high on the creep-o-meter]. It's a fairly difficult
    game, it can be lengthy depending on how many optional puzzles you choose to complete,
    and it's rich in Japanese cultural history. In short, SAW offers everything we
    asked for in a game, with very few exceptions. Thanks, HER.

    Last edited by Songlily; July 5, 2011, 09:38 PM.


    Smile . . . just because.

    SHA | CUR | CLK | ICE | CRY | VEN | HAU | RAN | WAC | TOT | SAW | CAP | Shop

  • #2
    nice review, I also loved the puzzles, especially the nonograms!
    don't hide yourself in regret, JUST LOVE YOURSELF & YOU'RE SET.
    ..................¸•´¨¯¨`•»i'm on the right track baby, i was born this way!

    Peace Love Sonny Joon


    • #3
      Amazing review, Songlily!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it's very informative. I played SAW and loved it , as you did, and agree with everything you had to say. Fantastic job!

      -Rachel <3
      ........ ,•*¨¯¨*•.¸ .. Cause mirrors can’t see your heart
      ........ ',¸¸,• ..... `•.,¸_¸,.>................¸.-•-.¸
      ..<•-.¸ ........................|¯ `•.,¸_¸,.•´ ........)
      .........`•.,¸_¸,.•´¯) .... ¸.-•> ............... <•´
      (_¸.•´ ©L.bulldog & Rise Against

      sorry I've been gone so long.
      really miss you all!
      -rachel <3


      • #4
        Oustanding Review!!!
        Tomb of the Lost Queen