This is easily the weakest of the SF + Lost Hirozon games. Ironically, playing this games demo was what made me buy them in the first place, as I really enjoyed the point and click puzzle solving.
There are many complaints I have about this game as I felt very dissapointed compared to the first two. They really took away the good things about the earlier games and tried to drag out this short and unoriginal story the easiest way possible.
The mini-games in this game are tedious and boring. One of these include trying to steer a vehicle that is barely responsive due to the awkward stop-and-go animation. The vehicle has to navigate an area where a single missclick sends it rushing the wrong way and sometimes it's hard to tell how to make it go the direction you want to. The area you use the vehicle is very dark and not always easy to tell where the vehicle can stand.
The second being a random duel where the enemy is drastically overpowered, forcing you to waste time on repairing your own unit. Nothing you do is anywhere near effective as the enemy. The second problem being that attacking and defending is completely random. There is no pattern you can follow, you just click some buttons, hope for the best, then waste some minutes on repairing and going through Nina's whiny dialogue. And what baring on the plot does this duel have? None! It's never mentioned again and quite frankly, the game could have advanced without it.
The story was a huge mess. What I liked about Nina is that you could relate to her because she's just like anyone else. She doesn't have superpowers. She is not some overdramatic contribution to the plot. All she did in the other games were trying to uncover the truth.
In this game, that changes completely. Nina has too much involvement on the plot making her seem like a supernatural creature. It takes away a lot of her character. A big part of the game doesn't even take place in reality, she ends up in some form of dream-reality state where, for whatever reason, she can dream about the past and find out facts which helps her in the present day. It's just very over the top.
The story is also very short. I ended this game at half the time I spent on the two first games. The game also stalls you at several points in the game. At one point, Nina has to find out where a person goes and the only way she can do so, is using various items to keep up. If she discovers he got lost, she gets teleported back to the very beginning and you have to run all the way back before you can continue. You can't bypass this either, even if you are standing at the very location you want to continue, Nina have to be teleported back to the start after "realizing" she needs to do something else. So you run all the way back there, she completes one step, realizes she has to do something more and gets teleported all the way back again. And you have to do this about five times in a row. Why oh why can't you simply start in the room before? She needs to do nothing in the previous rooms except run through them. So you are just wasting your time by running back there. And if that wasn't frustrating enough, it is very easy to figure out where to go next. So you spend half a minute in the actual room, but you spend almost five minutes runing back to work on your progress.
As for the puzzle solving, I thought that the rooms and clues were too confined. You usually have only 2-3 rooms to work with, as well as only a few items to use. The last part of the game was so easy that I was surprised the game ended so quickly. In the last 5 rooms of the game, I don't recall using more than 2-3 items per room. This is a huge letdown compared to the first game where you were controlling two different characters, using many different items throughout a whole building.
Appearently this game has several different endings. And I ended up with the worst possible outcome. The ending also starts very abruptly. Kind of like watching some generic princess story, where the prince says "I will resque her!" and then the credits roll, with an announcement that the prince decided to go on a new adventure after rescuing the princess. So the question would obviously be, what happened when he resqued her? Why didn't he stay with her or the happily ever after stuff?
Obviously a huge chunk of dialogue and plot development goes missing with such a timeskip. I was left scratching my head as to why things ended the way they did, as that wasn't the implication given just before the credits started rolling. And it literally bummed me out that I had wasted so much time on this plot only do be given a "Whatever" type of ending.
What can I say that is good about the game? Well... the graphics are still nice. Many well done cutscenes and some of the scenarios in the game were fun to solve. I'd actually say that the demo showed the better parts of the game, then it goes downhill after that. The demo had some great puzzle solving and also a lot of tension, which I missed in the game.
This isn't a game I would recommend, unless you find it on sale for very cheap. It's fine to play through once, but I don't look forward to doing it anytime soon. The first game is superior in a lot of ways to this.
Posted: December 16th, 2013