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SPY: Gleefully exciting; Not to be repeated_a review by James

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  • SPY: Gleefully exciting; Not to be repeated_a review by James

    The Silent Spy Review
    by James

    The Silent Spy is the most gleefully exciting game to date, with its completely plot-driven atmosphere highlighting snooping, excellent puzzles, and relentless suspense. However, it ultimately undercuts important elements such as setting, exploration, and substantial character development, never completely fulfilling all aspects needed to make a well-rounded, coherent mystery.

    Despite the fairly harsh review below, The Silent Spy deserves a 9/10. While the lack of a fantastic setting and usually fantastic character development and interaction bothered me throughout the entire game, I enjoyed myself every step of the way. And that is definitely a feat. I would recommend this game to any player. But I want SPY to stand alone, perhaps just like ASH. It works the way it is, however it is not a formula to be repeated again. Its uniqueness saves the game.


    ..………Arguably one of the best in the entire franchise. This is because HeR completely devoted themselves to it. To summarize the plot in HeR’s words, I quoted this from the game page:
    Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident. Or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it's up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother's tragic demise.
    ..………Without such an invigorating plot, the game would be nowhere. Perhaps on a level of CRE. I’m not kidding. We are entered into the world of spies, and although we already have been in VEN, this game is much more sinister, mature, and overall, thrilling. Few things are initially revealed, and this causes momentum to push us forward. There is always a next, obvious stage. SPY is particularly good at throwing very unique circumstances at you to push the game forward. I know this is vague, but it is definitely best to play with as little information as possible.
    ..………On top of learning what happened during the final moments of Kate Drew’s life, Nancy has childhood flashbacks of her mother. These are excellent. And while they may not completely drive the game forward, they develop emotion. Sometimes sadness, sometimes a feeling of warmth. Recently HeR has been particularly good with fear and surprise, yet this is the first time in a while they were able to connect with us on a deeper level: through parenthood. Because Nancy’s childhood, at the root, may not be too dissimilar than our own.
    ..………Completely disappointing. HeR’s depiction of Glasgow is one of the blandest atmospheres they have created. If it were not for the Scottish accents of the characters, food, and perhaps a puzzle involving bagpipes and fabrics, I would never have guessed that we were in Scotland. We could have been in any city in the world. If we are going to have a foreign game, we cannot just have minimal aspects to immerse ourselves, we need to be culturally enhanced. I think the trouble of picking Glasgow is from the start. Although it is a huge city and popular destination, few people know what to expect of the city. With Paris, Venice, even Kyoto, we know somewhat what to expect.
    ..………On top of this, very very poor exploration. We do have different places to go, but little to do at them! The pub is pretty much completely useless. Just filler. And to be honest, the same can be said with the training facility. I would rather have less areas to go to, and in those areas more to do. HeR could have easily condensed the locations in this game while retaining the few things that happen at certain locations. And within them, create a more cultural, maybe even homey, vibe. Everything seems so barren and bland.
    ..………It is difficult to write this bit of the review without including many spoilers. But I want to clarify the difference between character development and character identity. Throughout the entire game, I felt that conversation with the characters was completely frustrating. I never truly felt I knew them. I also am fairly confident I only talked to Moira twice. It is one thing to explore what the character is truly doing in Glasgow, because that’s our objective the entire time. And while we do find out why each character is involved in the plot, it is saved only for the end and brought about with little detail. It is absolutely crucial to include development. Give us pieces and insight into each character’s life not previously known, as the game progresses. Do not just tell us their actual motive, tell us about them. Aside from very minimal conversation with Moira, Nancy never learned about the personal lives of each character, only their motives for being in involved in the plot.
    ..………Aside from this, each character’s personality was fantastic, on a more general level, particularly Bridget and Alec. Both continued to baffle me with how their mind works. Although Ewan was rather boring and untouched, he provided a considerable amount of help in some circumstances. Moira connected to Nancy on a much more personal level, since she worked with Kate, however by only talking to her twice I never felt like she had as much importance as she truly, when you look at it, does.
    ..………Phone friends were exceptional. Usually I don’t try to call my phone friends because I find it a little tedious. Carson was fantastic. You really got that parenthood protectiveness you can find in any adult. With the bonus edition, Ned sends you many texts that put a smile on my face, and he was pleasant to talk to. Both Carson and Ned did play substantial roles in the game.
    The characters movements were beautiful, the action sequences were great. HeR is still on top of their game, although I feel like they sacrificed the usually perfect look to incorporate different, and very unique, plot-driven sequences.
    Emotionally touching, particularly Kate’s Theme, which plays steadily in the background yet I never became tired of listening to it. There are more intense scores that help with the suspense of the game. Going back to the setting and cultural emersion, it would have helped HeR significantly to have more Scottish themed music.
    Excellent, to the point, and surprisingly, relatively easy. I solved this game without any spoilers, something that I haven’t done since VEN. So that was awesome. Usually it’s a tricky puzzle that keeps me in the way, but to be honest everything was incredibly imaginable. There were a few puzzles that needed repetition, but they never got old. Making cookies for money was very easy, once you got the hang of it, and not as tedious as it sounds. The puzzles definitely helped you immerse yourself into the world of spies, codes, and gadgetry. The plot and the puzzles were what helped make this game so clever and exciting.
    It was entirely satisfactory. It worked on all levels, there was an urgent atmosphere, as there also was a race against time. I thought it completely suited the game, although like others have said, it was kind of obvious what to initially do at the end. I personally thought it resembled older endings from more classic games (like 1-5). And although it may not be my style, I thought the ending suited the game perfectly. Nothing amazing, however. The culprit was a fine choice, it made enough sense, although the selection wasn’t the most enticing compared to previous choices.
    This is one of the easiest games that HeR has recently created, and to be honest it was really nice for a change. I miss games that have an intense, yet lighter complexity compared to the heavy, mind-boggling puzzles (which I do like a lot though!) from TMB, DED, and GTH.
    I would only put the difficulty of this game slightly above CAR and CLK.


    Thank you for reading my review! I hope you enjoyed it-- as I was reading
    over it sorry if I come off like a snob... I'm not trying to haha.
    Hope you enjoy your experience! I guarantee you will have the time of your lives.

    my next ae, coming soon

  • #2
    Thanks for the review, James! I really enjoyed it.

    Excellent points. I didn't disagree with a single thing you said.
    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    *ba dum da tsh*


    • #3
      Wonderful review! I couldn't agree more, particularly on the matters of setting and characters. :) Those two aspects of the game left a lot to be desired for me, but overall it was still an incredibly enjoyable experience.
      . . . . . . .-.
      . . . . . .(0.0) . . . . . “the monster is in the castle.
      . . . . .'=.|m|.=' . . . . everybody be cool.”
      jgs . . ..='`"``=.


      • #4
        Excellent review! I felt just the same as you did. There were several wonderful elements to this game, but the setting was an absolute let-down. I miss the days when Nancy would really explore and learn about the culture she found herself in. In older games, the culture would be a huge part of the mystery/puzzles. In SPY, and in many recent games, we seem to get little more than a guidebook plopped in our inventory. Very disappointing.