My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
When it comes to Nancy Drew games, I have played them all. Starting with Secrets Can Kill, I have solved every puzzle, exhausted every conversation blurb between characters, called all phone friends, and even beat the games more than once. I guess you can call me a Nancy Drew Veteran (Or crazed fanatic, take your pick.) When I finished “Tomb of the Lost Queen” last year, I had mixed feelings on the game overall. The plot felt rushed and the characters seemed a little one dimensional. The game honestly felt like something was “missing”.
When I saw the Teaser for the Deadly Device, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. After all, science and I don’t really mix too well. (Recalling not so fond memories of chemistry classes, yikes!) When the game finally released, I decided that I needed to add the game for my collection. What I got, was not what I expected…but better. Actually, better is an understatement. What I got, was AMAZING. (Even amazing is an understatement for how entertaining this game is.) I can honestly say that the Deadly Device truly delivers in terms of anything; rather it’s the plot, gameplay, even the soundtrack! I won’t dip too much into specifics; trust me, you’re better off not knowing much when going into the game.
If you are looking for a Nancy Drew adventure that truly imitates the style of what made the original games so great, then your search is over. The Deadly Device will have you entranced into a mystery so intriguing, you will be glued to your computer until the case is solved. Unlike other more recent Nancy Drew games, this one also felt “scary”. Like I said, no specifics, but you’ll definitely know what I mean when these moments arrive. Expect to be on the edge of your seat many, MANY times.
Another thing that I liked about the game was that HeR focused the mystery solely on the development of the characters. The whole back history from Tesla took a backseat, and players really got to know and relate to many of the characters. This is how the Nancy Drew games should be, just like the classics! Why are games like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy or Capcom’s Phoenix Wright so successful? It’s because they make their characters come to life in front of your very eyes on the screen, and this is what HeR achieved in the Deadly Device. By the end of the game, you will honestly feel like you have built a relationship with these people.
There are some new game play elements involved in this game as opposed to older ones:
-Nancy can “combine” items now! Whenever you come across a combine-able item in the game, a gear icon will appear instead of the mouse. It felt very refreshing to be able to solve more puzzles with item integration instead of the same table puzzles all the time.
-Day/Night Mode!! Finally! Yes, I know this feature has been present in past games; however, it’s used so smoothly in this game. I really liked how the use of time was also a way to solve puzzles. For example, in order to get a certain item in the game, Nancy will sometimes need to change the game time to night/day to get it.
-Facetime! Nancy can initiate a facetime call with one of the characters in the game. Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to see more of that!
-Catchy music! I know, this isn’t a feature either, but the music in this game is very memorable. The Main Menu track is very spooky, almost like something you hear in a Saw film. The upbeat track that plays while roaming the halls is very calming, but also spooky in other ways. I also liked how there’s a “spook” track where if something bad happens, you know it from the song!
So why did the game not receive a full “5 star” rating?
Like anything, nothing is perfect. There was a few things that I still didn’t understand, for example:
-There is an added, “hint system” for players that want hints on certain puzzles. While it was an extremely useful feature to have, I wish there was a way to turn them off while in Junior Detective mode, that way one isn’t so tempted to use them all of the time.
-Although the characters in the game were fun to talk to, I still feel like Nancy’s interactions with them need to be more purposeful. I did notice that the suspects in the game are still very willing to talk about things without too much pressing from Nancy. There really needs to be a presenting item system for these suspects like in Phoenix Wright. When characters recall certain events, there should also be more “visual” appeals, like a flashback or something. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but given that HeR has not changed this, it would be nice to have it for future games.
-When beating the game, it shows you all the achievements that you received during the case. Unfortunately, the achievements that you get do NOT carry over when playing again, which is a little disappointing. Instead, HeR should tie the achievements to ALL the save files. That way it doesn’t matter if you have multiple save files. It would also be nice if we could access the achievements from the extras in the Main Menu. I’m not trying to say that it should be like PS3 or Xbox, but HeR should take a few notes from their system of achievements if they plan to integrate it into their games from now on. They should also add some kind of notification that you received an achievement as well. Players shouldn’t assume that they won the achievement; otherwise how would they know about it in the first place?!
In conclusion, the Deadly Device is a great addition to the Nancy Drew universe. The game is extremely challenging and the plot had me addicted to my laptop until the very end. Trust me on this one, this is one Nancy Drew mystery that you do NOT want to miss out on. Dare to Play?
Time Played: 10-20 hours