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Should Pacific Run be Renewed for Another Season?

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  • Should Pacific Run be Renewed for Another Season?

    Pacific Run: New Zealand is a reality show that has all the usual quirks: contestants that are arrogant and willing to throw people off the bus, an announcer that makes silly puns, a season "villain" and "heroine", and ultimately a conclusion that has you feeling good in the end. Oh wait...this isn't a real game show, this is Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion! (MED)

    PLOT: (6 out of 10)
    The idea of being on a competitive reality show is a very intriguing plot to take, especially coming from Nancy's last mystery. However, I found that HeR did a good job with it initially. The opening scenes were exciting and spot on. Once the game show elements start to collide with the mystery, however, things start to get pretty ambiguous and confusing very quickly. There were quite a few times where I would scratch my head and think "Should I focus more on solving the mystery, or winning the competition?" In that regard, I felt limited to my choices, mostly because I wanted to win and not stand around.

    The best way to approach MED is to take it with an open mind. Don’t come into it with the idea that you’re trying to solve a mystery. Instead, go into it with the idea that you’re a contestant on a game show, and also just so happen to be a really good detective. Without trying to spoil the game, I will say that the game isn’t very culprit-centric as you’d think.

    CHARACTERS: (5 out of 10)

    The people this time around are pretty memorable. The only problem is that when you have a character like Sonny Joon in the spotlight, all the other characters seem boring and pale in comparison.

    As for Nancy's friends, I really did like that Bess was able to come on the trip as well. She was probably the best character in the game, hands down. At many times, I would burst out laughing because her dialogue was so comedic and believable to her character. George proved to be a great team member as well, providing all kinds of detailed and helpful clues to the game's mysterious plot.

    The suspects - or contestants - had their own niche or personality, and it came across well when talking to them. I just felt like HeR had a hard time trying to put the “mystery” in this game show. While there are moments when suspects may be hiding something, Nancy doesn't do anything about it. What made recent installments like Deadly Device and Ghost of Thornton Hall so intriguing was that each character had a dark secret that had to be exposed. When you take that away, they just come across as regular people, with no real reason to want to talk to them.

    Leena and Patrick complimented each other very nicely, mostly because Leena had the attitude and Patrick was the philosophical, amiable type. Kiri felt like a typical, stereotyped game show contestant, which made her lines very clever and unexpected. The other, unimportant contestants were even really funny to listen to as well.

    I can tell that HeR was trying as hard as possible to incorporate Sonny Joon into this case, which was good and bad. When we finally meet Sonny, it’s done in a very quick and blunt way. I was expecting Sonny to talk about the coincidences of past cases with Nancy, and without that connection, his character ultimately became one with everyone else. I wish there could’ve been more Nancy/Sonny time together, but it just never happened.

    As for phone friends, Jamila makes a reappearance. This time around, she’s less on the crazy side and more practical. Whenever something about Sonny confused me, Jamila did make the situation more understandable. She did come across as a little cryptic in her messages though, which makes me wonder if we'll be seeing something or another very soon...

    GAMEPLAY (6 out of 10)
Note: My first play through was on Master Detective)

    Overall, the gameplay is just about the same as the last entries. I did like the kayak racing and underwater puzzles. The only puzzle that got me very stumped was the end-game, to which I had to look up in the strategy guide for extra help. The puzzles in general were not too difficult and also not overly insane either. I did have a lot of “aha!” moments, which made me feel good at different parts.

    Talking to characters doesn’t include any dialogue trees, so it doesn’t matter what you say to them. I miss being able to say the wrong thing to a character, or snooping and having a character catch you in the act. None of that was really present here.

    There are a few areas that did bother me:

    1) The only area that felt a little clunky was the underwater room. I was expecting a 360 degree turn feature, but instead it's just clicking to turn. It really made the area very awkward to traverse in, despite how beautifully designed it was.
    2) The Puzzle Palace's two arcade games were both ripped from a previous Nancy Drew game. Why couldn't we get two new games that had a New Zealand/adventure theme to them? Sure, it's great to have references to past games, but if I wanted to play those, I would've installed "that" Nancy Drew game. Very poor creativity.
    3) The earlier puzzles in the game that involve multiple stations for different teams felt eerily quiet. It would've been really cool to hear characters like Leena and Patrick fight over how to solve a puzzle.
    4) Sometimes when Nancy says something, she says it so fast that I get confused about what I'm supposed to do with a puzzle. One example of this is in the cave with the rotating letters. HeR should include a "repeat" or "question mark" button to help explain a puzzle again, just in case we go away and come back to the game again.

    SOUNDTRACK (7 out of 10)

    If there’s one thing that keeps improving with every game, it’s most definitely the soundtrack. The adventure and puzzle songs were great! The only gripe I had was that the same song would play on a loop sometimes, which kind of ruined my experience for me. I also didn't like how the Puzzle Palace didn't take more advantage of the Puzzle Song. It's my favorite song in the entire game, hands down.

    ENDING (4 out of 10)

    The ending of the game is hit or miss. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it most certainly felt rushed. I can see that there may be some philosophical undertones in it, but at least give us something bigger and more "wow!"

    Conclusion (5 out of 10)
MED was hit or miss for the most part; and that's pretty disappointing. The puzzles were fun and engaging and the soundtrack was amazing. The plot just needed some fine tuning and more intro/closure involved.

    If you’re a fan: Just get it, and interpret it for yourself. There’s a lot going on and the adventure was fun. Just keep an open mind when you play it.
    For new players: If this is your first Nancy Drew game, get it, but just keep in mind that not all the games in the series are like this. That’s what I think makes veterans like me a little disappointed by the overall quality of MED.
    Last edited by Det.JA; May 17, 2014, 06:55 PM.
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