on July 15, 2008
OK. I've played all of the ND games, and though this is not as good as the first ones, it is very good. Here is my review.
The Plot: In this game, you play as Nancy Drew who is working for the government organization called the GdiF. Your goal is to uncover the phantom who has been stealing Venice's valuable artwork. Even though the idea of a teenager working for the government is highly unlikely, you were somehow able to believe it in this game! I would give the plot a 10/10.
The Puzzles: The puzzles in this game were very easy in my opinion. They were not nearly challenging enough. The good thing about the puzzles were that many of them were more like mini-games. Therefore, you can play them over and over. I give the puzzles a hesitant 7/10.
The Characters: The characters were very well developed in this game. They were all realistic and believable. You felt like you knew them by the end of the game.
The Length: This game was just a tad short. Not as short as the previous game, Creature of Kapu Cave, but still pretty short. It only took me 3 days to solve! I give the length a 7/10.
Overall: This game was good. It was almost as good as the first ones, but not quite. If this is your first ND game, I would start with a different one. If you've already played the other games, I think you will really enjoy this one!
Hope I helped!
on August 27, 2008
Nancy Drew 18: The Phantom Of Venice
-Before I Begin...
My review will be spilt up into sections and have a in-depth look at that topic. If you hate reading medium/long reviews or just don't have the patience I would not continue reading, but if you want to learn the most about the product before you buy it you'll continue.
The game uses a point-and-click interface (meaning you click in a direction to move from environment to environment), which is easy to use and has been the preferred way for all eighteen games. On the bottom of the screen are the inventory, checklist, notebook, PDA (new icon for this game), save, load, settings, and exit icons. On the top of the screen there is Nancy's purse and her fashion icons. The fashion icon shows an outline of Nancy and what she is currently wearing. The PDA icon opens Nancy's PDA which has three features which come in handy with her undercover mission. I like this interface and I find it easy to use and the "Second Chance" option is great because you don't have to restart the whole game if you don't want to.
Nancy is off to Venice, Italy, where she has been hired by the Gdif (Italian Police) to stop Il Fantasma (Phantom) dead in its tracks. This game has by far the most detailed plot in the series. The story has many twists and turns and leaves you guessing until the very end. It is so detailed and intriguing that you never want to stop playing the game. The plot flows along nicely and you don't come to an unexpected abrupt end like some past games (Usually leaving you with many questions instead of answers). Kudos to the writers at Her Interactive because the story is so great!
There are five characters, each with different personalities, in this game. There are three main characters who preside at the Ca' Nascosta: Colin Baxter, Margherita Fauberg, and Helena Berg. Colin is an art restorer (with a rather noticeable crush on Nancy) who is working for Margherita. Margherita is a snooty Venetian socialite wannabe who owns the Ca'. Other characters include Enrico Tazza, the owner of Casa Di Giochi (House Of Game), and Antonio Fango, the electronics engineer and possible criminal Nancy is sent to spy on. Phone characters include Ned, and Prudence Rutherford, from Secret Of The Scarlet Hand (her voice can get very annoying after a while though!) All in all these characters were great. However one of the characters you do not even talk to at all in the game, but still a very important character. There was more character interaction than previous games but still not as much as I would have liked.
-Setting & Graphics
The setting was absolutely beautiful! It was so incredibly lifelike, from the glittering water to the old architecture in the squares and palazzos. It really was top notch. There were people talking in the background in Italian and although you couldn't see them it made the environment come to life with the rich Italian culture. There is even an activity in which you must know basic Italian to complete a mission. The graphics were also very beautiful and detailed. Each game progresses more and more with the graphics. Overall the Setting & Graphics were one of the best features of the game and really boosted the experience.
There was a good mix of puzzles and activities in this game, and there were no filler puzzles. Also a good thing is absolutely NO chores unlike ICE, which included constant cooking & cleaning. There were a lot of new puzzles, plenty of codes and numbers and a lot of snooping & spying. The "Nancy Undercover" idea is really stressed in this game. You have to wear disguises, you have to plant bugs in people's everyday items, spy on someone and eavesdrop a couple times. Nancy was definitely on a mission in this game! On a difficulty level there is a good mix of easy, medium, and a couple of hard puzzles. None of the puzzles were overly frustrating.
Sensibly the ending is the hardest part of the game. You have to navigate your way through a very different take on a maze. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I definitely found the ending pretty tough because it also includes a timed puzzle. Anyways, the ending made sense and everything clicked without a hitch, so you won't be like "What the heck?" when you get to the end. Also all your questions are answered at the very end, so no worries.
I can honestly say this is the most exciting Nancy Drew game to date. The setting was magnificent, the puzzles weren't overly challenging but some were, and the plot was simply outstanding. You will not be disappointed with this game at all, it really is a incomparable to previous games like ICE, DAN or CRE. Her Interactive did a fantastic job on this game, I can't wait for the next one! The Haunting Of Castle Malloy
Add all these up and divide by 6...
5 *'s (Interface)
5 *'s (Plot)
4 *'s (Characters)
5 *'s (Setting & Graphics)
5 *'s (Puzzles/Activites)
5 *'s (Ending)
= 29 Stars Divide By 6 (Categories) = 4.8 = Rounded to 5 Stars
Danger On Deception Island
Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon
The Secret Of Shadow Ranch
The Haunted Carousel
Thanks for reading my review!
on January 20, 2012
This was my first Nancy Drew game and I was very impressed. I thought maybe it was targeted for kids and wouldn't be much of a challenge for an adult who has played several of these types of games, but I was wrong. Because I wasn't expecting much difficulty, I jumped into the senior detective mode (instead of junior detective) and it gave my brain a really good work out. There were times that I made the rounds repeatedly to all the locations and talked to everyone available and clicked on every possible item, but wasn't getting any additional information so I knew I must have important clues staring me in the face that hadn't registered with me yet. It was usually when I took a break from the game for a little while that it would come to me what I needed to do.
It took me about a week to complete the game, playing for a couple hours each day. When I got done, I started it again to see what the junior detective mode was like and found it gave more hints and a checklist of items to do, so that might be a better choice for people who enjoy the overall process with less frustration. The senior detective mode was perfect for me because I like the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finally figure out what I need to do!
The graphics were good. The characters were interesting. I learned a little about Venice, chess, Chinese characters, a card game called scopa, the Italian language... All in all, I got more than got my money's worth!
on September 27, 2013
The 18th game in the Nancy Drew series, "The Phantom of Venice," pits Nancy against a circle of thieves in Venice, Italy. While investigating, Nancy discovers that the robberies seem to be connected to someone in the house where she is staying. Following clues...and intercepting a few carrier pigeons...Nancy finds that the case may be more dangerous than she ever thought.
While the story is not ridiculously complex, it is effective. Unique to most Nancy Drew games, the "Phantom of Venice" begins at the end, allowing the great majority of the game to take place during a flashback. (Without including spoilers, of course!) A rather unlikely scenario explains Nancy's involvement with the case. Nancy is working with an Italian crime-fighting agency to dig into the robberies. Her main contact is Sophia, who gives Nancy various information and instructions throughout the game via mobile phone. The game is primarily plot driven, a relief after playing the puzzle-saturated "Shadow at the Water's Edge." Even puzzles which at first appear confusing will generally have simple explanations and are not difficult to carry out.
"The Phantom of Venice" continues the Nancy Drew tradition of four visible in-game characters that Nancy can interact with. (There is a fifth character that Nancy spies on but never interacts with). As per usual, there are additional characters reachable over the telephone. However, the crux of character interaction is with the main four. The first of the entourage is Margherita, the proprietor of the house Nancy is staying in and a women who spends entirely too much time sunbathing. Also in the house are Helena, a German journalist, and Colin, a man obsessed with colored tiles. Outside the venerable old home and in the city is Enrico, a thief who, next to jewels, lives for the card game of Scopa. Nancy can converse with them, although the conversations are not as insightful or interesting as in some other games in the Nancy Drew series. Over two different phones, Nancy can speak to two unseen characters; Prudence Rutherford, an extremely annoying character, and Sophia, an Italian agent. Consistent with most adventure games, visible characters can always be found in the same places, occasionally vacating their spots so that Nancy can look through their things. Besides communications with Sophia, phone calls play a relatively minor role in the game.
The creators of the game made an effort to give an extra dash of Venetian culture to the plot by using Venetian masks and characters from Italian fairy-tales for code-names of the thieves. However, it would have been nicer if these motifs had been capitalized on even more. Similarly to other games in the Nancy Drew series, history and lore are only tasted, leaving the games shallower rather than deeper. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the plot in "The Phantom of Venice" was the unseen character of Samantha Quick. During Nancy's investigation, she poses as Samantha to collect information. Samantha's identity is not discovered, but players are intentionally left wondering, (to quote the game) "who is she?"
The animation in this game is nicely done. While not absolutely outstanding, it serves its purpose very well. The main house is decent, with a well-executed view of Venice from the rooftop. There is also a nice (albeit limited) street scene outside the house next to one of the canals. The other locations in the game are reached by an interactive map which can be navigated by clicking on different locations. A number of sites include empty piazzas (voices in the background indicate that people are present somewhere) which serve as hubs for entering additional buildings. Nancy is generally allowed to enter one, or two, rooms inside most of the accessible buildings. Unfortunately, it is not possible to actually walk around much of the Venetian streets to soak in the atmosphere. Functionality being placed before atmosphere is a one of the downfalls of the Nancy Drew series. While there was more to see of Venice in this game than New Orleans in "Legend of the Crystal Skull," it would have been nice to navigate more of the streets instead of relying solely on a map and hub locations.
One point of the game I must give a shout-out to is the interactive Italian card game of Scopa. I had never heard of this card game before I played it in "The Phantom of Venice". It turned out to be a very enjoyable game. So much so, in fact, that there is now a real-life Scopa card set at my house!
The interface of the game is attractive and simple to use. It is not distracting, and is in general self-explanatory. Movement, as in all Nancy Drew games, is depicted by a yellow arrow. A magnifying glass serves as the general mouse icon and will light up when there is an object of interest or someone who can be spoken to. As usual, the game employs the series' signature "second chance" option, eliminating concerns about losing the game and starting over. The in-game hints are quite helpful and unusually thorough, accessible through the landline telephone at the house.
While "Phantom of Venice" is not a perfect game, it is an enjoyable and relatively simple game. The animation is satisfactory, the locations, while not outstanding, are certainly not bad, and the story is decent. The game includes some really enjoyable features like the game of Scopa and is focused more on the plot and action as opposed to solving massive amounts of puzzles.