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From a New Zealander's Perspective

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  • From a New Zealander's Perspective

    What an utter, utter mess of a ND game.

    Before I go on, let me say that I am a huge fan of the Nancy Drew series, and have been for almost ten years. Though the games have had their ups and downs, and the quality of the games has perhaps decreased a bit recently, I have found a way to love every single title. Until now.

    I guess I will start with what I have the least to say about: the good things.
    The pacing in this game was pretty good. It flowed well, and at no point was I wandering around not knowing what to do next or waiting for something to happen. The voice acting was pretty good as usual, but there are exceptions from this (which I will talk about later). The environments were fairly close to what New Zealand looks like (and I should know, I have lived here most of my life).

    Unfortunately, the charm of New Zealand wasn't exactly captured. It could have been any country if it weren't for the Maori imagery and Kiwi "accents".

    This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the bad aspects.

    The accents were pretty horrific. Patrick sounded like an Australian affecting a Kiwi accent. Kiri sounded like an extra terrestrial being affecting a Kiwi accent. While I could definitely recognise that the intention was a New Zealand accent, neither sounded genuine. I understand the accent is very hard to wrap your head (or rather, tongue) around but how hard is it to find real New Zealand voice actors? This would have added to my gaming experience a lot, personally, and I am disappointed that such a poor effort was made.

    Most of the puzzles were good, bar two. The first being a word search. Yes. A word search was an entire puzzle. A WORD SEARCH. How lazy can you get? The other was the final puzzle which was completely unsolvable without the use of the strategy guide (which didn't even give you real instructions, I just had the copy the pictures provided to win the game). The rest were pretty good, and pretty original, but there weren't enough of them. Which brings me to my next point...

    This was the shortest game ever. I had it finished in about 3 hours, and usually it takes me a few days on and off to complete a ND game. Not a portion of an afternoon. I like my games to have lots of twists and turns, and things to extend the gameplay just when you think it's all over. This was just 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' and it was over. Such a shame.

    Lastly, my main complaint: there was next to no mystery. What was this supposed to be about? I had no idea what the point in snooping around and talking to people was, because there was no aim, no mystery to be solved, just a competition to win. I had no reason to suspect anyone of anything because I had no idea what exactly was wrong, except for one mishap which I will not name, so as not to spoil it for anyone (although if you have seen the trailer you might have an idea). I knew someone must be doing something wrong, because this is a Nancy Drew game, there has to be a culprit. But the whole time I was thinking, what is the culprit actually doing??? If this game was supposed to revolve around sabotage, which I think it was, there wasn't all that much sabotage going on. Usually with a Nancy Drew game, you know what the point of it is. You get warm fuzzies and butterflies in your stomach thinking about who or what could be behind the mystery, what the suspects' motivations are, what they are hiding, what danger you might be in, what's around the next corner. The only emotion I felt playing this game was dissatisfaction. No, wait, I lie. I felt boredom too.

    I give this game a rating of 3/10 and with that I conclude my review of The Shattered Medallion. I won't stop buying and playing these games. I love the series too much. But I will be doing my best to forget this shambles of an installment.

    If you have played all the Nancy Drew games, you might as well try this too, but don't expect any of the usual Nancy Drew charm.

    If you are new to Nancy Drew games, save your money. Pick up one of the many other great titles, like The Phantom of Venice, The Secret of Shadow Ranch or The Final Scene, to name a few of my personal favourites.

    UPDATE: As requested by Det.JA, I will add my a few more thoughts.

    I liked having Bess in this game and I liked her sub-plot involving her "Bessestential crisis" - it definitely gave her character more depth, although I wish there was a touch more attention to her relationship with Sonny. George could have been cut out, in my opinion. I won't say any more so I don't spoil anything, but she was definitely a bit redundant to me. I feel like she could have been removed to make way for another suspect, heightening the mystery (what there was of it).

    The return of Jamila was nice, albeit very short lived. Therefore, I feel I cannot comment further.

    I didn't have extremely high hopes for Sonny to be honest. While intrigued by him, I was never really itching to meet him. But I enjoyed him. He was quirky and funny and as you may well guess - alien obsessed. A lot of questions were answered about his history... but from most of these answers, new questions sprouted in my mind. I liked his character a lot, but it could have been developed a bit more, the same goes for most of the characters really.

    Soundtrack is one thing Her Interactive seems to consistently please me with. The score in this game was lovely, even if it wasn't the most memorable to date. They could have improved it by making it more reminiscent of New Zealand by adding more native instruments or sound effects, maybe even some Maori style vocals (I know this is not something they normally do, but it would have been a nice touch).
    Last edited by Intoxiqué; May 18, 2014, 05:41 AM.
    After a long hiatus, I'm back on HeR. <3

  • #2
    It's really cool to read a review from someone that resides in New Zealand!

    Your points about the plot of the game are very true. Most of the time, I was thinking "Am I trying to solve a case?" or "Am I trying to win a game show?"

    When I saw the word search puzzle, I have to admit that I was thinking "HeR must be running out of ideas/creativity for new puzzles". But on the bright side, the controls were spot on, and I must applaud the programmer's work for making it very intuitive. I mean, as long as we're complaining about the quality of the puzzle instead of the "point" of the puzzle, (ending game puzzle that everyone keeps complaining about) then I guess it had to be memorable to a point.

    It's also funny that being from the US, I didn't even recognize the New Zealand accents. Makes me think about how much of the game HeR sprinkled with edutainment related topics.

    I noticed that you did not include anything about Bess, George, or Jamila. I would love to hear about your opinion in an updated/edited review. Also what was your opinion on the soundtrack? And last, but not least, I really want to know your opinion on Sonny Joon.

    Great review!
    You are speaking with an
    Official Member of S.P.I.E.D.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Det.JA View Post
      When I saw the word search puzzle, I have to admit that I was thinking "HeR must be running out of ideas/creativity for new puzzles". But on the bright side, the controls were spot on, and I must applaud the programmer's work for making it very intuitive.
      Oh, I absolutely agree with you. The controls were surprisingly great, I was very pleased to see that I could smoothly drag lines through the words, it could have been a very laborious task if they had chosen a different route! So I guess there was something good about the word search puzzle


      Originally posted by Det.JA View Post
      I noticed that you did not include anything about Bess, George, or Jamila. I would love to hear about your opinion in an updated/edited review. Also what was your opinion on the soundtrack? And last, but not least, I really want to know your opinion on Sonny Joon.
      Sure, I can add my opinions! I'll update the review. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to hear.

      Originally posted by Det.JA View Post
      Great review!
      Thanks!
      After a long hiatus, I'm back on HeR. <3

      Comment

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