Sunday, September 1, 2013

PC Game: Shadow at the Water’s Edge

What’s this? A game set in a traditional Japanese ryokan? Huh, I haven’t paid much attention to Nancy Drew since…never, but maybe I’ll take a look!

Nancy is in Japan for a few weeks in some kind of mini-JET program. She’s taking a break from mystery-solving in order to solve more mysteries. And play Sudoku.

It’s an adventure game, the kind where you talk to a bunch of people, take items that don’t belong to you, and then wonder why you can’t advance when you didn’t click on the right spot or revisit some illogical place. There’s also puzzles. But that’s not why you bought the game. (Not me, I hate puzzles.) It’s because it’s Japan! Look, a bento mini-game! Robot kitties! One of those stupid photo purikura booths! In game pachinko! 

Some pretty scenery, too. There’s that pretty brazier nook thing that’s just so tea ceremony-a-rific, except you barely even use it in the game.  And the garden wherein there may be shadows at the water’s edge. 

The can’t-get-enough-Japan side of me was somewhat satisfied
, but there were a lot of not-quite-right parts that were very wince-inducing and goofy. Most of the Japanese accents were super fake. The bento making did not seem to resemble bento as I know it. You will never be able to find the subway station until you use your dictionary (Somehow Nancy is able to translate kanji in a dictionary, but she only owns 3 Japanese flashcards, 2 of which are colors.). And why does there only seem to be about 5 people in Japan? (Answer: Most flee the nosy gaijin before she gets interested in their personal life and starts to “investigate” for no particular reason.)

So, it was okay. Pachinko was more addicting than I’ll admit. Using the subway map was a cute map/transportation gimmick.

 The yuurei effects were kind of cool in a PG way. Some pretty backgrounds. It was cute that you could play English teacher and grade papers, but it didn’t seem very necessary to the game.

The puzzles were not for me, but the item/investigate/adventure part was okay. The dialog was just crazy.
“Oh, hi! I’m a foreigner you’ve never seen, and now let’s talk about something very personal and painful that I find casually interesting.”
“Sure thing, Nancy-san, the Japanese are known for talking about their intimate lives freely and with abandon.” 

Conclusion: meh +

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