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Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Manor flashback review

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chrissie - 06 November 2015 02:03 PM

You couldn’t entertain the idea that actually it was a well produced very entertaining & structured game that was actually aimed at ‘Adventurous girls 10 and up’ & deserving of that score.

...and badly paced, poor characters, bad voice acting, little value in terms of length and puzzles etc. Sure the game possibly had a specific target audience, but it simply could have been executed better in almost every department. But now we are treading into the ‘Nancy Drew scale’ area and the moderators already discredited that there is such a thing as different scales of rating.

Also from what I understand from Nancy Drew fans this definitely isn’t the best one in the franchise, even though the score suggest otherwise. Raises some questions as well.

And IF the reviewer wrote that review keeping a specific target audience in mind she should have mentioned that.

I don’t get why after 30+ Nancy Drew games & you mentioning that you review games that you have been oblivious to the nature & style of even 1 single ND game yet you chose to buy this game based on the 4.5 rating?

Why wouldn’t I buy it? I got the game cheap and here is a review of a website that I hold in high regard praising it almost to no ends.

I played the game years ago one of the 1st 2 ND games I played & I don’t find anything wrong with the review – it doesn’t profess the game to be a classic & if it gets the same rating as some of those that you mentioned that are regarded as classics in my mind it’s down to the fact that as a game it works almost as perfectly as they do - a high score doesn’t make any game a classic & I feel that anyone should check out a number of reviews if you’re not sure about whether you would like the game.

It’s not just about the score. I find a lot wrong with the text of the review. Almost every other sentence I read is simply not correct or misleading. From describing a very short and small game as “not terribly long” to “Puzzles are a huge part of the game…There’s everything from piano puzzles to tangrams to mazes, and no type of puzzle is repeated twice” giving the impression that the reviewer only scratches the surface on the number of puzzles, reality being that that list basically entails almost all of the puzzles.
The only thing the reviewer critizes are the graphics which in my opinion is the least of worries with this game. Especially considering it’s a “flashback” review.

Two other examples:
“In terms of basic mechanics, the game is intuitive and the interface is easy to use. The little magnifying glass-shaped pointer is a cute touch, and the controls for moving around definitely represent a step up from the previous games in the series.”

The controls weren’t that great. I had a lot of trouble exiting screens because finding the return arrow demanded a certain precision. Also moving from screen to screen felt very disorienting at times as the game doesn’t make clear what areas can be moved to and what not, and the distance of travel between clicks vary almost every time resulting in a lot of moments of confusion between where you are and where you think you are. This problem especially ocurred when ending up in front a door as most of them look the same. Moving through areas was really frustrating at times(read: close to every single time). The game has no excuse. Back in 2000 there were tons of games that had a great interface and navigation-system.
Note how the reviewer excuses the game by writing that “it definitely represents a step up from the previous games in the series.” I don’t care how bad the previous games did it. That doesn’t mean it’s good in this game. Again giving me the impression that the reviewer is trying really hard to be generous on this game.

“As good as the puzzles are, the setting and characters are what truly make this a great game. The four characters are all completely different: there’s a psychic, a handyman, a businessman and the B&B owner, and they’re all quirky, unique people with great dialogue and fun interactions with Nancy. The conversations are never dull; you’re constantly learning something new either about the house and the mystery or about the characters themselves, or even just a bit about the history of San Francisco. “

And then there is this part. I can’t even begin to describe how grossly this part is overselling the game. Added to that the description of “captivating two-part mystery” makes it sound as if this is some mystery to write home about. It really isn’t. It’s simple and forgettable. I had more fun trying to figure out the mystery behind this review honestly.

A game getting a higher score than you may agree with is far less problematic in my mind than a reasonable game that doesn’t get the scoring – I personally will try any game that I like the premise of even if it only gets one star but I know that a lot of players who go by review scores won’t touch it which can hit the sales of that game even though as I’ve found some of the low scoring games have proved to have more about them than reviews promote.

And it’s great that you do!  Again I have had countless of examples where the score doesn’t reflect the enjoyment I had with a game but can understand the reviewers argument for the low score. In this case I can’t, unless this was the first adventure game that reviewer has ever played. And if so, in my opinion the reviewer would be underqualified.

This might come as a surprise but I had fun playing this game. But then again, I am not the hardest gamer to please. Doesn’t take away that it’s painfully obvious to me that this is a mediocrely executed game. The only reason I could excuse this game is if it retailed at a price that reflect its content and quality. It didn’t. Original retail price was at $39,99 dollars, which was the full price back in 2000 for adventure games.

     
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I would also like to express how little I care about the argument: “Well, maybe she[reviewer] personally really liked the game” in the context of a review. I saw this argument brought up a couple of times in this topic.

I don’t care how much you liked or disliked the game. That’s not your job.
Reviews will always remain partially subjective, but it is your job to be as objective as possible. If I had to review games based on how much I’d like them I would be showering Phoenix Wright games with praise and handing out abysmal scores to strategy games and most shooters. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do however.

     
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Origami - 06 November 2015 10:01 PM

I would also like to express how little I care about the argument: “Well, maybe she[reviewer] personally really liked the game” in the context of a review. I saw this argument brought up a couple of times in this topic.

I don’t care how much you liked or disliked the game. That’s not your job.

Except it is. A review is meant to give the reviewer’s opinion of the game. If said reviewer liked the game, the review is automatically going to be more positive.

Reviews will always remain partially subjective, but it is your job to be as objective as possible.

But that objectivity is always going to be coloured by how much you liked the elements in question. There is no such thing as true objectivity in a review - it will ALWAYS be the opinion of the reviewer, and the reviewer alone.

If I had to review games based on how much I’d like them I would be showering Phoenix Wright games with praise and handing out abysmal scores to strategy games and most shooters. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do however.

Sure it would, as a review would be *your* opinion. But in most cases, you simply wouldn’t play and review any strategy games or shooters.


The reviewer saw something in this game that you didn’t. That doesn’t make the reviewer wrong, and that doesn’t make you wrong. There’s no point in arguing about it. De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.

     

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Thanks for the post Tim.


I guess my my expectation of a review is slightly different than others.
I’d like to think the argument ‘it’s all subjective, so a review cannot ever be wrong’ goes only so far and shouldn’t form an umbrella that deems all criticsm of it as irrelevant.
By that notion I could pick my 3 year old niece to do a review and afterwards say ‘meeeeh, she liked it though’. There is a reason why not everyone is a professional reviewer or gets picked to do one for a high-profile website.

The same way I believe in good game design and bad game design, and being able to develop a good feel for what is and what is not that has come over the long course of exploring and exposing oneself to the medium. The proof is in the pudding: It’s the reason most good games get good reviews all across the board instead of that happening being chalked up to pure coincidence. Doesn’t mean I’ll automatically like the game but I can see why the game can be considered good.
For instance: loading times in games. Imagine in an adventure game that you would have to wait 30 seconds for every new screen to load. Is it bad? Why? I mean if you try really hard you could argue that for some players it provides a necessary break, players with frequent urges to go to the bathroom. It sounds silly, but every reviewer has the power to turn the worst thing imaginable into something positive.
A game could be devoid of any audio in a game where it would feel totally out of place. Imagine Monkey Island without any sound.
Is it bad? Why? One could argue that it is an artistic way of creating a sense of immersion. The immersion of being a deaf-mute pirate. Or ‘giving players the freedom to come up with their own crazy sounds and music inside their head as they make their way through this swashbuckling adventure. It’s revulotionary!’. Yeah sure, buddy.

I feel the same about how this reviewer seems to neglect the obvious problems: the graphics for its time weren’t good, audio quality is bad, VA is bad, the controls are barely-optimal, offers not much value for its price tag, provides moments in game where it isn’t clear what you are supposed to do. Not really issues that allow much subjectivity on the matter. They might not affect you as much, but don’t pretend they aren’t there.
(For the sake of this post I am not going to name pacing issues, story quality, bare-bone characters because those areas might be considered more sensitive to subjectivity.)
Sure the reviewer can still really like the game and decide to neglect the games issues, but I don’t know what that says about your credibility as a reviewer.

(Boy, this topic has been great for English practice ^^b)

De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.

No need to call me names.

     
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This thread has clearly run its course.

Origami, your opinion on the game itself is more than welcome. Your incessant “My subjective opinion is right, so therefore the reviewer is unqualified” ranting is just ignorant nonsense.

The world is still waiting on your user review (or even a rating). That you can’t even be bothered to leave one is pretty telling about your agenda here.

 

     

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