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Why I Believe MED Is Underrated

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  • Why I Believe MED Is Underrated

    I have to say it. I really enjoyed The Shattered Medallion.
    This may come as a surprise to some. If you’ve been reading the reviews, you’ve doubtlessly come across a good number of negative outlooks on this game. Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t have faults. It does, and I will address those in my review. But I’d like to encourage you not to give up on MED just yet. I believe it is much better than you may have heard. And now I’d like to go through each aspect of the game to show you why.


    Genre:
    One of the most important things to take into account before buying this game is that it is part of the Adventure genre. And the Adventure genre is probably the least popular among Nancy Drew game fans. Not because the games in the genre are bad, but because the way the plots are set up are much different than what most players expect when purchasing a mystery game. Different genres focus on different things; some are plot oriented and focus mainly on the mystery, some are character oriented and focus on motivations and personal subplots. But the games in the Adventure genre tend to be more activity oriented. Instead of having the mystery clear up-front and actively searching for clues, the player goes on — as the name says — an adventure, and learns about the case over time, coming across clues along the way. It’s a looser, more passive mystery. If you don’t like this style of game, you won’t like MED. This does not mean MED is a bad game. It is simply a matter of personal taste. And if you do like this style, you may like MED very much. It is actually one of my favorite games in the Adventure genre.


    Plot:
    A common complaint I’ve seen about this game is that it has little to no mystery. But actually, it involves a case we’ve been trying to solve for a few years now, especially since the release of TMB. And that is the secrets of the mysterious Sonny Joon. Who is he? What is he trying to do? Is he really just a quirky alien enthusiast who causes havoc with every (short lived) job he works? Or is there something more sinister behind his eccentricity? In this game, these questions take on even more weight as we discover, whatever agenda Sonny has, it now directly involves Nancy, Bess, George, and the other contestants on Pacific Run. And amidst suspicious accidents in the competition, Nancy must find out what is going on, what Sonny wants — and how far he’s willing to go to get it.
    It may not be the typical formula of “whodunnit” mysteries that we usually expect to see in a Nancy Drew game, but I don’t believe that’s any reason to dislike it. Having a game with this plot was the logical conclusion to the build-up we were given for Sonny in previous games. Many questions had been raised concerning his character and goals, and I think the plot and storytelling style used in MED was the only way to address those questions properly. If you’re going to have Sonny physically present in a game, you have to have him as the center, and not as mere background flavor. Otherwise it would be doing his character a disservice. And let’s face it, any game that centers on Sonny, and focuses on the questions raised about him, is not going to have the typical mystery formula. His story is different than most Nancy Drew stories, and that is going to have a huge effect on how the plot is built, and how the mystery plays out.
    I believe Her Interactive made the correct decision in using the plot they did, and I feel they executed it well overall. I give the plot a 9 out of 10.


    Sonny:
    One criticism I agree with is the fact that Nancy doesn’t seem to remember Sonny very well. Not only was this disappointing, but it was very strange considering some of the events in TMB, and the fact that Nancy has come across his name so often throughout the games. Also, players will be disappointed if they expect Nancy and Sonny to have long conversations reminiscing together. I think, however, that such conversations would have seemed out of place. Though it would have made for excellent fan service, the circumstances under which Nancy and Sonny meet just don’t allow for it. Nancy is a competitor in a rather fast-paced reality show, dangerous accidents are occurring, and Sonny’s possible involvement is throwing his moral character into question in the eyes of everyone. It’s hardly the time or place for reminiscent chit chat. What’s more, if such reminiscent conversations had been placed in the story, they either would have been too spoilery for players who hadn’t played previous games, or they would have been made too vague to matter much anyway. As fun as it would have been to see Nancy and Sonny talk about the events of previous games, I am glad Her Interactive did not go that route.
    Overall, I’m a big fan of how Sonny was portrayed in MED. I loved his personality, and the humor we see in the conversations with him. He really does seem like the man behind the doodles. And after twelve years of forming my own mental picture of him from his drawings and notes, I’d say portraying Sonny in a way that was so satisfactory is a huge accomplishment. I also really liked the back story he was given. We get a close enough look at him to satisfy our curiosity somewhat, yet it keeps him at a safe enough distance that he still remains an enigmatic figure. That’s a tough balance to maintain, but I believe MED did it brilliantly. I really applaud Her Interactive for that. I give the depiction of Sonny Joon a score of 9/10.


    Other Characters:
    My favorite character in this game (other than Sonny) is Bess. I really liked her subplot and how her insecurity was handled. It seemed very realistic, considering that Bess is a sensitive and not-so-athletic type, placed among a group of hardened competitors. I found her very relatable.
    We don’t get to talk to George much; but what we do get to see of her, I liked.
    Patrick I found funny and pleasantly unconventional. I liked that he was deep and philosophical, but also not very intelligent. Usually intelligence and philosophy are portrayed as going hand-in-hand, while unintelligent people are automatically assumed to be shallow. This made him very different and caused him to stand out to me as a character.
    Leena was definitely intimidating and a competitor through and through. I felt she really added to the reality show aspect to the game. However, I would have liked to get to know her more, and didn’t feel we really got past the tough exterior.
    Kiri was interesting to me, but again, I feel I didn’t get to talk to her enough. However, I like that she is a confident character, even though her career — working in “shallow reality TV” — is something that causes many people to look down on her.
    Overall, I liked the characters, but did not get as close to them as I did to characters in previous games. However, since MED is not really a character-oriented game, I felt the characters’ depth was sufficient for the story. I give the characters a 6/10.


    Puzzles:
    Everyone looks for something different when it comes to puzzles, because everyone brings a different level of skill to the table. Some people have complained about the lack of really difficult challenges in this game. And this is true. If you’re a whiz at puzzles, and you’re looking for something that will put your skills to the test, MED will disappoint you in that area. But if you’re like me, and can’t get even halfway through a puzzle without resorting to the strategy guide or online spoilers, MED will be a breath of fresh air. Not because the puzzles are a breeze: they will still challenge you. But it will be a challenge that, with thought and effort, you’ll be able to complete on your own without hints. What’s more, the puzzles are very fun. There are several I like to replay over and over, which is something I don’t usually say because, for me, puzzles are often something to “get through” rather than enjoy. But the puzzles in MED felt more on my level. Overall, I give them 8/10.


    Pace and Length:
    Another common criticism of this game is that it is too short. It’s difficult for me to precisely gauge the length of these games, since much of it depends on how fast the player solves certain puzzles and completes tasks. However, it took me about 13 hours to finish the game on my first play.
    One thing that I really liked about the game was that it had a quick pace. Events continue to move, tasks continue to be provided. Unlike other games where I would spend far too much time trying to figure out what I was even supposed to do next, the tasks I was supposed to complete were made very clear in MED, and that made gameplay easier, more to the point, and ultimately more enjoyable.
    I’d give the pace and length a score of 8/10.


    Graphics:
    I quite liked the graphics. They seemed very clear, detailed, and realistic to me. 9/10.


    Music:
    I agree with the criticisms about the music. The music wasn’t bad or annoying in any way, but it was barely there. After I finished playing the game, I had to go back to check if there even was any music in it, because I hadn’t noticed any while playing. It’s very quiet and mild, and you’ll miss it entirely if you’re not purposely looking for it. 3/10.


    Other Comments:
    There were a few moments in the game when certain conversations didn’t quite make sense. Like, Nancy would get a clue seemingly out of nowhere while talking to someone, and I’d be left wondering if I missed something. Or a character would say something, and Nancy’s response wouldn’t seem to match — almost like the wrong audio file was put in, or a line was missing. This happened to me about two or three times in the game. It didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the story, and I understood the rest of the game. But it was odd, and I think those parts should have been either fixed or clarified.
    I also agree somewhat with the criticisms concerning the culprit’s motivation being difficult to understand. I think I understand the culprit’s motivation, but I did have to think about it on my own for a few minutes in order to do so, and the game would have been improved if it had been clarified in-story a bit more.


    Overall:

    Negative Aspects:
    - Nancy not remembering Sonny.
    - An unnoticeable music score.
    - Elements of the plot and dialogue were a bit confusing and would have benefited from some more polishing and clarity.
    - Narrower target audience, since the Adventure genre is less popular than other genres, and therefore likely to have fewer fans than other games.

    Medium Aspects:
    - Suspects we get to know moderately. They are not bad, but not favorite character material either.
    - Mild subplots that aren’t overly engaging, but do somewhat add to the flavor of the characters.

    Positive Aspects:
    - Sonny’s character and background story being handled well.
    - Nice graphics.
    - Well paced game that continues to move, and doesn’t leave you wondering what to do next.
    - Fun puzzles that are challenging, but not impossible.


    In closing, not everyone will like this game. If you are not a fan of the Adventure genre, or the elements listed in the negative aspects section greatly concern you, MED is probably not for you. However, if you like adventures, the elements listed in the positive aspects appeal to you, and you don’t think the negative aspects will get in the way of enjoying the game, then go for it! You may love it. I certainly did.
    Overall, I would say that MED is great game that’s a little rough around the edges. I give it a 7/10.
    Dare To Play
    I Am A
    Ringer Trekkie Whovian And Potterhead

    (Disclaimer: The Star Stands For Sirius, 'Cause He's Very Important, And I Couldn't Find a Smilie For Him)

  • #2
    You have some really good points! I agree with most everything!
    To the message boards: When I think of this place, I think of the many wonderful memories and friends that I made here as a young teen (some of which I have to this day!). I would just like to say thank you to everyone who made this place special and added so much joy to my life. From alternate endings, to entertaining message board games, to picking through the details of every game, to being so excited when a new game was released, to speculating if MID would ever come out, and of course to the time where so many of us sleuthed every inch of CRE to find that darn (fake) easter egg , I have had so much fun here and made so many memories. The boards may be all but dead but I will forever cherish this place, even if I never return to it. Thank you to you all

    My threads:

    R4JC!!
    Olivia Trey Penelope

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    • #3
      Im starting my game on Wednesday..and im getting all hyped up for it! It was nice to see a more positive look on things. I really enjoyed reading your review :)

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      • #4
        I'm glad to hear you liked the game! I'm probably going to get the game from the store in a few days, and the negative reviews have been dampening my enthusiasm.
        Just so I can get a picture in my mind of what the game will be like, could you tell me if you thought this game was about as good as TOT?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dana Girls View Post
          I'm glad to hear you liked the game! I'm probably going to get the game from the store in a few days, and the negative reviews have been dampening my enthusiasm.
          Just so I can get a picture in my mind of what the game will be like, could you tell me if you thought this game was about as good as TOT?
          I'm not the OP, but I will say I enjoyed MED more than TOT (And TOT isn't a fave of mine).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dana Girls View Post
            I'm glad to hear you liked the game! I'm probably going to get the game from the store in a few days, and the negative reviews have been dampening my enthusiasm.
            Just so I can get a picture in my mind of what the game will be like, could you tell me if you thought this game was about as good as TOT?
            I agree with HappyGirl05 on this. MED doesn't feel as tedious as TOT, and actually it's not all that bad of a game. It's just very half and half for me. You'll probably enjoy it, but the over lasting impression might not be as enjoyable as the better games.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dana Girls View Post
              I'm glad to hear you liked the game! I'm probably going to get the game from the store in a few days, and the negative reviews have been dampening my enthusiasm.
              Just so I can get a picture in my mind of what the game will be like, could you tell me if you thought this game was about as good as TOT?
              Well, TOT is one of my least favorite games. If I were to list all the Nancy Drew games from favorite to least favorite, MED would probably be somewhere in the middle. :)
              Dare To Play
              I Am A
              Ringer Trekkie Whovian And Potterhead

              (Disclaimer: The Star Stands For Sirius, 'Cause He's Very Important, And I Couldn't Find a Smilie For Him)

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              • #8
                Nice Review! I also loved this game

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                • #9
                  I was going to quote this for what I was going to address in my response, but I agree with so much of it that all it would really do is take up space!

                  Genre:
                  Thank you for articulating this specifically! I knew it was different from other games, but I don't know a lot about the different genres of games to pinpoint the nuances. I do agree that it was a smart move to go with the Adventure genre. I feel like that one is probably the one that fits the best and most naturally; any other might feel a little forced.

                  Plot:
                  I'm not really sure what people were expecting with this mystery; maybe making it revolve more around George? I don't know. I do think that it's tempting to say there's no mystery there, but I think that the mystery is present, just more subtle, almost so much that you're solving the mystery without knowing it. I think it reflects how real life can be at times; sure, a lot of real life crimes are clear cut, but a lot aren't, and sometimes it takes weeks, months, and even years to solve cases.
                  I agree with the Sonny aspect you pointed out in the plot; people have been begging for years to have him in a game. Plus, he's smack-dab in the middle of the cover. It kind of gives away who and what the plot is going to be about...


                  Sonny:
                  I disagree with you here a little bit. I think it is maybe a little weird that Nancy didn't mention anything about their past...experiences (? If that's what they should be called?). At the same time, though, Nancy didn't actually know Sonny before this game; they just happened to be in the same places a few moths apart. I think it would be a little awkward for Nancy to bring the matter up, at least until they knew each other better.
                  Upon re-reading this section, I realize that the second part was essentially the same as what I was getting at. If the other contestants saw that Nancy and Sonny had some connection before the show, they'd think the show would be rigged in her favor.
                  I thoroughly enjoyed Sonny's character, though. I think they portrayed him well, he's welcoming and nice, and his character certainly is well thought out and developed. He is funny and aloof, yet helpful. I think he fits in with the picture many people already have in their heads of him. I also really enjoyed the part when Nancy talks to him about Bess's crush on him. It was adorable how he said he'd be nice to her, and I think it says a lot about his character and personality.

                  Other Characters:
                  Besides Sonny, I really liked Patrick. I did like the more vulnerable side of Bess, but I think Patrick has a rich back story, and his character is fairly well-developed. Actually, on the whole, all the characters in the game were fairly well-developed. I didn't like Leena very much; she was too know-it-all-y, but maybe in the context of a different game and not a reality show I'd like her better. That being said, I think both her and Kiri did portray the average reality TV contestants well. I also liked how they took different approaches to showing that so that Kiri and Leena were still different characters. Overall, I, too, wish I could have known the characters better.

                  Puzzles:
                  I agree with you on all counts here. The one thing I'd add is that I didn't think the puzzles were explained very well, or when they had directions it was a tad confusing and so I had to use the hints at times. Once I used a hint and it was obvious what I had to do, then the puzzles were fairly clear-cut and actually enjoyable.

                  Music:
                  This was really the only game I wanted to put in my head phones and listen to other music-- not because it was bad, but it wasn't really present. I think the music that was there fit well with the theme, but it just wasn't memorable.

                  Other Comments:
                  I agree with your points. It was also interesting how if Nancy didn't actually tell Kiri she would be in an alliance with her, everyone would still act as if that had happened. I think this is a good game to replay because it gives you more to process each time you play it instead of you just knowing the answers to every question you have right away.

                  ~Aly
                  .*¯)
                  ...*
                  .(...I have been crucified with Christ.
                  ..*._.*....It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
                  ..........And the life I now live in the flesh.........
                  .................... I live by faith in the Son of God,
                  ............who loved me and gave himself for me.
                  ...............................-Gal. 2:20

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                  • #10
                    Normally, I don't come to the Game Reviews pages much, and if I do, I tend to just glance/read reviews and move on, not really posting much because reviews just aren't my forte. (Plus, if my view of a game doesn't match up with most reviews, it gets grating and I wonder why I'm still on the board. You, my dear, are a reminder of why I came here.)

                    After hearing the negative criticisms of the game in another area of the board and then reading your post, I think you hit it spot on for me. While every game does have its positives and negatives, it's how you scale them that determines how much you enjoy the game. I'm very glad you pointed this out, as I don't think many people truly understand this idea.

                    I personally enjoyed this game and found it refreshing in comparison to the heavier plots we've been having lately. Her Interactive does like to mix it up a bit, so that there are different styles of games for the different people who play the games. (She says as she notes a couple lighter games not being her absolute favorites XD)

                    Overall, it's not in my list of favorite games of all time, but it isn't part of my least favorites either. And I'm okay with that, because not every game is going to be on one end or the other. Especially knowing that the game's location was picked out by a fan, I think they worked decently with what they were given and wanted to achieve.
                    Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty!
                    --Naughty | Matilda--

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                    • #11
                      I agree with you!
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                      • #12
                        I disagree with you here a little bit. I think it is maybe a little weird that Nancy didn't mention anything about their past...experiences (? If that's what they should be called?). At the same time, though, Nancy didn't actually know Sonny before this game; they just happened to be in the same places a few moths apart. I think it would be a little awkward for Nancy to bring the matter up, at least until they knew each other better.
                        They did adress it at some point though didn't they? Sonny obviously knew he and Nancy had been treading the same waters.

                        I think the game is really underrated. People really seem to dislike the reality tv angle, but I thought that was quite fun. It has a very different set-up from some other ND games, which seems to put people off as well. The puzzles don't seem to serve a real purpose at first, since you're just doing them to win the game show, but then you find out things are not what they seem.

                        Can't really judge how good the story is, since I always reserve my judgement until I've played it twice. (It's much easier to really follow the story when you're not going back and forth ten times because you kind find that one critical tool ;))

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                        • #13
                          I actually prefer adventure games (especially mystery ones), and that's why I like Nancy Drew. And I only like the first-person aspect, like the Nancy Drew games are. I liked the game - not a favorite but certainly one of the better ones. I gave it an 8.

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                          • #14
                            CheetahGirl_368, you raise some good points. I suppose my negative opinion about the game has a lot to do with it not being of my favourite genre. In fact, I don't think I've ever thought of the games in terms of genre, but I sure will now! Thank you for this review, very well done. :)
                            a u d r e y h e p b u r n

                            “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl's complexion.”

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