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The Deadly Device: Textbook Example of a Great Game

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  • The Deadly Device: Textbook Example of a Great Game

    The Deadly Device stands nearly alone in the ND series, being the only murder mystery installment in over twenty gameS and fourteen years. In the intervening time, if anyone wondered whether HeR Interactive can still construct a solid murder mystery, the answer is a resounding yes.


    A Note on Genre:
    While DED stands entirely on it’s own feet as a good game, it is a somewhat necessary step in enumerating DED’s strengths to acknowledge its predecessors and successors weaknesses. Any member of the HeR boards has probably read and written the common criticism that ND games have in their later years become less of a series of “mystery” games, and are listing severely into the "adventure" category. This complaint is often in the form of a plea for "more snooping”, "more plot twists", or simply "better plots" and is commonly accompanied by the criticism that certain games in the franchise rely more on adventure, puzzles, gimmicky locations, and learning value, rather than an engaging mystery and competent plot. The Deadly Device, however, features an engaging location, learning, puzzles, and adventure, without leaning on a single one of these aspects, the game plays like a mystery, through and through.

    Plot: Deadly Device does not feature the B plot that ties together with the A plot formula often utilized (a lot of times quite well) in the series. Nancy has one objective throughout the game, and while the method changes, the objective is a constant. This approach to plot works very much in DED’s favor, as it gives the game a very focused plot that sadly has been lacking in some of it's predecessors.

    Something unique and great about this game is that Nancy will shift the focus of her investigation on different suspects, depending on new evidence and process of elimination as the game plays out. This feels very much like how someone would attempt investigate an actual mystery and is more engaging and focused than just generally investigating everyone at once. Every possible character motive and scenario uncovered by Nancy throughout the course of the investigation for how the incident in question played out seems feasible and interesting. The game also does a good job of throwing some actual twists and turns the viewers way. Without revealing too much, there's a some fairly subtle hints thrown the viewers way regarding the culprit which can be appreciated for the cleverness of it all whether the ending was foreseen by the viewer or not.

    Characters: The cast in this game is excellent, and as aforementioned, every character has a very tangible connection to the case. The setting really comes in handy here, as a small cast of characters working together in a confined space are bound to interact and develop strong feelings towards each other one way or the other, especially given a dramatic event (such as a murder). I felt like I understood each characters motivations and personality very well through subtle interactions and discovering what they were inevitably hiding, rather than through lengthy and excessively overt monologues, a practice that can be a bit commonplace in the series.

    Location: The game is primarily set in a research facility, which is a very interesting location and gives the player a lot to engage with and learn from. Aesthetically, Deadly Device is not on the level of games like SEA or GTH, but, again, being set in a lab, an engaging but not normally visually stunning environment, this is absolutely fine. The environments look good enough to be generally pleasant and are never an eyesore/distracting.

    Puzzles/Gameplay: As is the norm for nearly all recent ND games, the more "technical" of aspects are great. I enjoyed the puzzles very much and generally found them to be the perfect level of difficulty (although there's 1-2 puzzles that are a bit taxing on master level). I also appreciate that this games puzzles seem to have somewhat of a “theme”, with most of them being science/technology related. I'd also like to happily note that there is lots of SNOOPING in this game, and a decent chunk of the puzzles revolve around getting some sort of snooping done.

    Overall, the 27th installment in the Nancy Drew game series goes right where many of its peers went wrong. Although the game takes place in a futuristic facility, and very much concerns itself with the innovations of the future, The Deadly Device is a game that sticks to the basics of what (in my opinion) makes the ND games great: characters, story, and above all, mystery.

    Rating: 10/10
    Last edited by GirlSleuth09; June 7, 2018, 09:14 PM.
    Listen my child to this story of dreams
    And know that the beginning is more difficult than it seems...
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