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Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem #1229511
10/01/20 04:38 PM
10/01/20 04:38 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 155
A hidey hole in Middle Earth
Vegpot Offline OP
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A hidey hole in Middle Earth
This is my mini review, I wasn't sure where to post it as I was reading this discussion thread and decided to contribute my impression of the game. I bought the game yesterday and finished it today! So for me this was a very short game and it wasn't good value for money, particularly as an electronic download.

Overall I have to say it was fairly underwhelming, the story wasn't anything special, particularly when you think they were trying to launch a new ND game in a 'different' direction or whatever they said years ago! It did include the Hardy Boys and you do get to play as different characters. In general it was reminiscent of older ND games but not really an improvement on them and certainly not encouraging me to spend any money on the next one, if they make another one that is, and I won't be waiting years to buy it either! I used to really enjoy playing the older ND games, with a few exceptions, and even missed them to the extent that I've recently played a couple of the ND dossier games, which weren't that bad for what they are!

I wasn't sure what to expect from the much delayed 'new' version of Nancy Drew, obviously the new voice artist was going to make a significant difference but as for the rest of the game I had no idea what was in store as I didn't watch a trailer in advance. Turns out the game has some similarities to the previous style but with some new elements that for me fell flat. I used to be able to play the older ND games on my 'non-gaming' laptop as they were not that demanding to run but the artwork was one of the things I enjoyed about the games which had a particular style which was really pleasing and well drawn. The new game would not play on this laptop, it really struggled to run at all and I hadn't checked the spec of the game, so I had to then download it onto my Alienware instead, which did manage to handle it. However, when looking at the graphics quality, I have to say it's rather mediocre and given it took Herinteractive years to create this new version, the graphics look as if they come from a previous era with characters having odd faces, odd movements, and old-fashioned blockiness to some scenes and backgrounds.

Moving around was also something of a pain - the small arrows which guide your movements and the circuitous and sometimes tedious way you have to move around a scene, still in 'steps' is not that intuitive, and you end up having to correct yourself more than necessary to get back on the right direction as it's easy to miss a 'path' and have to turn round many times. The navigation to me was a let down and although the older ND games had their navigation challenges, this new version made things harder and not in an entertaining way. It was trying to be a modern game in terms of the 3D look and moving around an environment, but with a very restricted and dated feel to it.

The game is also very dialogue heavy and puzzle light. Not necessarily a bad thing, if the story, the characters and the voice acting is top notch, but I feel there was an imbalance here, with hugely long and not always very interesting conversations with characters, and few problem-solving challenges. The story did grow on me as I played it, and the characters were quite well fleshed out and well acted. There were some places where I got stumped, and turned to a walkthrough, and although I was playing at senior detective level, I really couldn't be bothered trying to endlessly persevere with a couple of the puzzles, because I really wasn't that motivated or interested enough to keep repeating and trying again. Nancy's voice was obviously totally different, and although I was not that cut up about this as I felt that sometimes Lani M came across like she was sleepwalking through some games, the new actor's voice is just not that distinctive or much different to any other character in the game, her voice acting is competent but no Wow factor. She comes across as a bit more feisty, younger and maybe a bit more direct speaking than the previous Nancy.

Quick mention of the sounds - the sound needs adjusting when you start the game, or it did for me, because the background music was drowning out the characters' voices, and even after trying to turn things down, it could still happen that the characters' voices would suddenly become much lower volume. The music generally was fairly innocuous and generic, it didn't jar the ears too much but also it didn't seem that related to the story in terms of style, instruments etc, not bad or good, just mediocre.

There weren't any horrendous chores (although I did used to enjoy some of the chores in the older games) but there were some optional activities also which weren't clear to me on playing the game, and I only found out about them after reading an online guide. Some of the manipulation of objects felt really awkward and I almost omitted a particular activity just because I hadn't realised how to do it, perhaps me but I feel the game could have been more helpful. I did omit doing one particular thing but it didn't affect the game and it wasn't obvious that it was anything that mattered, but that is a problem to me, because the game should make it clear if something is worth having a go at, and it just didn't and didn't encourage the player to try it.

The main menu has an Extras option showing achievements like a lot of Hidden Object type games do, but the achievements weren't obvious at all in the game, they were just sat in the Extras menu and weren't really worth having there and didn't seem to mean much in the end, some remained 'hidden' with a padlock leaving me none the wiser about which ones I had 'failed' to achieve, and hardly caring less! The game did not crash and I didn't have any issues apart from the more demanding graphics which meant playing it on a higher spec computer. However, for the long wait I would have expected a better finish and look, and a longer, better plotted, more immersive game than I got, with improved navigation. Also despite not completing all activities or achievements I have no compunction to replay it and I think Herinteractive made a big mistake in changing things the way they have because for me it falls short of what I think they were aiming for. I would give it a C- if that means anything to anybody!


Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans
Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Marian] #1229512
10/01/20 04:40 PM
10/01/20 04:40 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 42,721
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review. I am sure that it will be helpful to those who are still trying to decide whether to purchase the game or not. wave

Over on the HeR Interactive forum, there is a survey for players to rate the game on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being horrible and 10 being best game ever. As of today, 44.55% of voters have rated it a 1.

Obviously a sizable number of players have found the game quite lacking, to put it mildly.

Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Marian] #1229513
10/01/20 05:00 PM
10/01/20 05:00 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 155
A hidey hole in Middle Earth
Vegpot Offline OP
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A hidey hole in Middle Earth
I hope it does help wave, I can't really recommend it for the price and short time it took to play. Comparing it to some older ND games they took much longer to play and were a lot more enjoyable and immersive, with much better creepiness when it was called for. It just seems that Herinteractive made a bad decision in attempting to clumsily 'modernise' the game but without an adequate budget to do it properly, which meant that they didn't achieve a majorly improved game experience at all. As others have said, I would have been happy with the old style animation/look but with some more modern aspects to it, not trying to go all 3D and weird movements and navigation! Such a shame that they felt they had to move away from a formula which, although getting tired, could have been revived in a better way than this.

Last edited by Vegpot; 10/01/20 06:10 PM.

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans
Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Marian] #1229516
10/01/20 05:53 PM
10/01/20 05:53 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 11,711
Chicago
oldbroad Online sad
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Thank you. I enjoyed reading your review Vegpot. I broke down and purchased the game at the Steam Summer Sale which was still priced higher than I had wanted to pay, especially since I won't be playing it anytime soon. I could have just waited.

Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: oldbroad] #1229517
10/01/20 06:09 PM
10/01/20 06:09 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 155
A hidey hole in Middle Earth
Vegpot Offline OP
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A hidey hole in Middle Earth
Glad you enjoyed it Oldbroad wave


Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans
Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Vegpot] #1229763
10/04/20 08:34 AM
10/04/20 08:34 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 31,435
United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Excellent review, Vegpot thanks


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Vegpot] #1230170
10/08/20 11:05 AM
10/08/20 11:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 40,644
southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline
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Originally Posted by Vegpot
I hope it does help wave, I can't really recommend it for the price and short time it took to play. Comparing it to some older ND games they took much longer to play and were a lot more enjoyable and immersive, with much better creepiness when it was called for. It just seems that Herinteractive made a bad decision in attempting to clumsily 'modernise' the game but without an adequate budget to do it properly, which meant that they didn't achieve a majorly improved game experience at all.

They made things worse. Probably a cost-saving measure more than an attempt to improve the gameplay.

Originally Posted by Vegpot
As others have said, I would have been happy with the old style animation/look but with some more modern aspects to it, not trying to go all 3D and weird movements and navigation! Such a shame that they felt they had to move away from a formula which, although getting tired, could have been revived in a better way than this.

3D is not good for inventory-based adventure games -- or even for those that are not inventory-based.
Unfortunately 3D also seems to bring restrictions on saving the game, so you can't go back to a save if you get yourself stuck in the 3D-ness somehow.

Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Jenny100] #1251667
07/09/21 10:44 PM
07/09/21 10:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 150
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I heard they laided off their complete staff and out-sourced the game to Vietnam. Every review says the game is [blip].

They maybe done for, no releases after this one and no announcements for future games either.


I love playing adventure games like Gemini Rue on my ipad mini and Gray Matter on my PC Netbook.

Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: ipad_Lover] #1251669
07/09/21 11:33 PM
07/09/21 11:33 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 42,721
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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Marian  Offline
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Posts: 42,721
near Yosemite in California
Originally Posted by ipad_Lover
I heard they laided off their complete staff and out-sourced the game to Vietnam. Every review says the game is [blip].

They maybe done for, no releases after this one and no announcements for future games either.


The two main places they outsourced to were Austria and the UK, although I believe there was a company from Vietnam involved as well to a lesser degree. The new CEO did indeed fire almost all of their in-house development team back in 2015.

When asked, they claim to be working on game #34, but I will believe that when I see it.

I know a couple of people who enjoyed the game, but for many it was a big disappointment.

Re: HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew #33: Midnight in Salem [Re: Vegpot] #1252284
07/17/21 08:31 PM
07/17/21 08:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 6,495
marietta,georgia
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marietta,georgia
"Little Jackalope said on her post, My dear friends, Amateur and Master Sleuths alike, a new adventure awaits me in my career. That’s right – I never imagined this day would come, but there is a new opportunity for me on the horizon. However, I will NOT be leaving the Nancy Drew community. You’ll see me around! I will be a HeR Interactive advisor on future games, and hey! maybe even guest post on the Amateur Sleuth Blog again! Nonetheless, HeR Interactive and I have a future ahead, just in different offices.

It’s hard to say goodbye, but I’m not really leaving. I just won’t be an official team member anymore. Change is hard, and this is quite bittersweet for me. No worries, though! There are some great team members at HeR Interactive who are working hard behind the scenes… I can’t say much but be sure to subscribe to the official newsletter to stay up to date on all the exciting things to come! (Or follow HeR Interactive / Nancy Drew Games on social media!)

I do hope to stay in touch with all of you with my personal accounts and channels! Follow me, Calina Herman of @story_retold, on social media or checkout my website: www.calinaherman.com. If you see the little cartoon Red Panda on social media, you’ll know that’s me. You’ll especially know it’s me because my real face is around as well as a ton of Nancy Drew stuff, haha! What can I say? I’m a super Nancy Drew nerd…

And now, I leave you with this Nancy Drew blessing:

May your doors always be unlocked! And stay sleuthy! why is she leaving.

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