|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Her Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Her Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 14, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Though much of the first-person adventure has you moving from location-to-location and scouring each scene for point-and-click hotspots with the mouse, regular changes in perspective let you momentarily change things up with mini-game like sections. These include tracking wind direction to sail around the region to access new areas, diving beneath the waves with a metal detector to uncover sunken booty, and scooting between key portions of the island in a golf cart, and scaling a sheer cliff to reach dank caves. The great variety found in the game's puzzles and exploratory elements help temper the uglier moments found in Ransom of the Seven Ships.
Signs of progress are evident - this is the first adventure where you actually get to see Nancy's pals in person - even if the game's presentation still isn't as good as it could be. While it's nice that everything is scaled down to run smoothly on lower-powered systems, the casual nature of the game and its all-ages audience shouldn't be an excuse to skimp on the extra finishing touches. Mediocre voice work and intermittently shoddy graphics are among the chief complaints. Some areas of the scenery are quite pretty to look at, until you transition into another area or a different perspective that's simply awful looking. Everything is 2D and the character animations are surprisingly stiff. The dialogue itself is reasonable, though Nancy sounds slightly off and awkward more often than not. Ultimately, it's not enough to kill the fun, and anyone who's played through the past games will likely find a measure of improvement in the presentation.
For everything that's different about Ransom of the Seven Ships, there's plenty about the game that's very much the same as the 19 that came before it. These elements basically cancel each other out, making for an experience that's relatively fun if not particularly memorable. Serious Nancy Drew followers won't be disappointed by her latest mystery adventure. Her Interactive is definitely on the right track, but there's still further to go to make this series shine to all but the most devout players.
CCC Staff Contributor