Sunday, December 15, 2019

Nancy Drew Midnight in Salem Review (No Spoilers)

I finished the Nancy Drew game, Midnight in Salem, on Tuesday, one week after I started playing it.  The game is not awful like what has been reported by many angry Nancy Drew game fans.  The game might not be to the liking of all fans, but it is still a good game.

I played the game via a digital copy purchased on Steam, even though I also purchased a physical copy that still has not arrived.  Steam tracked how long I played the game, and it says that I played for 22 hours.  My actual time played was probably less by at least an hour or so, since I sometimes did other things while the game was open.  I did that because it would have taken 15 minutes to get the game started up again.

The game is different.  It has fewer puzzles and is very dialogue-heavy.  I had to play the game with the settings on low graphics, so the graphics are not as good as in all previous games.

The player movement is difficult to master.  I was never able to master the town square and kept going in circles.  It's like the town square has an invisible path with obstacles placed in such a way that the player cannot figure out how to proceed.  It is difficult.

Despite the problems, it still felt just like a Nancy Drew game to me.

I used Her Interactive's strategy guide to get me through several difficult parts of the game.  I have no patience for puzzles that require me to study obscure pieces of information and then use the information to figure out how to do something.  On the other hand, I love the puzzles where I have to turn and slide puzzle pieces into place.  This game has a difficult three-dimensional puzzle that involves turning and moving pieces around.  I never use spoilers for those puzzles since I'm pretty good at figuring them out.

I mentioned in my tips post on getting the game to run better that I clicked on each line of conversation to force the dialogue to flow better.  That works everywhere in the game except for during the cutscenes.

A cutscene is a place where the game play stops, and the player watches as an event occurs.  The player cannot pause the cutscene or interact with it in any fashion.

The end of the game contains two cutscenes, one immediately after the other.  The second cutscene consists of a lengthy conversation that lasts for 10 minutes, as reported by other fans.  For me, the second cutscene lasted for around 20 to 25 minutes due to extreme lagging in each line of conversation.  Since I could not interact with the cutscene, I could not force the conversation along.  I was so frustrated.

In hindsight, I probably should have restarted my computer and then the game right before the two endgame cutscenes.  My advice is to restart your computer when you reach the life-or-death climax part of the game.  You'll know because you'll probably be given a second chance when it doesn't end well.  When you get a second chance, make sure the game is saved at that moment, and restart your computer.  That might help with the two cutscenes.  It is worth trying since the second cutscene was torture for me due to the lagging.

Aside from the torturous endgame cutscenes, I enjoyed Midnight in Salem.  The game is not perfect. The graphics are a problem, and it's clear that the text of books and documents was not proofread as it should have been.  All that aside, the game is good, and I hope that Her Interactive can stay in business and continue making Nancy Drew games.

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