Nancy confronts the supernatural in one of the franchise's scariest entries yet!
In Her Interactive’s latest Nancy Drew mystery, we find our master sleuth challenged with one of the scariest storylines in the franchise to date, and also one of the best. Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall contains two interweaving storylines, as Nancy must confront her skepticism of the supernatural head-on in order to save a missing girl just days before her wedding.
Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall sees Nancy drawn into another web of intrigue and mystery, which is arguably one of the best in the entire series. The game’s main focus is on the missing bride-to-be Jessalyn Thornton, an heiress to a cotton gin fortune, who vanished during a makeshift bachelorette party in her family’s rundown estate. Thornton Hall, and even the island on which it sits, is avoided by outsiders due to supposed hauntings and a tragedy that killed so many of the family’s workers decades ago. While finding Jessalyn is Nancy’s ultimate goal, players will also be drawn into a search for answers surrounding a ghost story that even Nancy may not be able to explain.
As with previous installments in the Nancy Drew franchise, the game’s storyline is the best aspect of the entire experience, as the gameplay itself feels a bit outdated. The game’s controls resemble those of classic point-and-click adventures, which makes moving from room to room feel a bit clunky. It’s too easy to accidentally click to point the camera in the wrong direction, or turn the wrong way when you didn’t mean to, and it’s something newcomers to this sort of control setup might have trouble getting used to.
There’s also a lot of backtracking in this particular installment, as the family cemetery (which plays a large role in the game) sits far and away from Thornton Hall itself: leaving players to travel back and forth more than a few times to complete tasks. The collapsible task list makes a return here, so players can constantly keep track of every task they’ve yet to complete, but we’re still forced to manually remove tasks from the list after they’ve been completed, which remains a bit silly.
This isn’t to say that this latest franchise installment is without its improvements, as the game has actually been given a huge one here. As we expect, the game’s storyline is fleshed out with tons of fully voiced conversations, but some of the voice acting is a bit overdone and cheesy. Thankfully, we can now fast forward through dialog, giving players the chance to read text before it’s actually spoken, and saving tons of time in the long run. This is especially true if you find yourself speaking with a character that has nothing new to say, as you can quickly skip the redundant conversation and jump back into the action.
While traditional puzzles aren’t a huge focus in Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall, the included puzzles are quite clever and original. From unscrambling letters to solving riddles, each puzzle ties perfectly into the storyline as something that makes sense and hasn’t just been added for length. While some, again, suffer from some of the game’s clunky navigation controls, we’re thankfully given the option to access as many or as few hints as we’d like before the game ultimately spells out the final answer.
Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall continues to provide some of the best storytelling around, and the game’s ample dialog means even the most diehard player will take a few hours to unravel all of its secrets. While navigation may be cumbersome, it’s definitely not a deal breaker, and it’s far too easy to get sucked into the game and never want to stop until you reach the conclusion. In a world filled with copycat and clichéd games, there aren’t many titles that can still draw the player in so easily, so this is definitely one to try as soon as you can.
- Incredibly interesting storyline. Clever puzzles. Lots of journals and recordings add to the lore. Can fast-forward through conversations.
- Navigating each environment feels a bit clunky. Some voice acting is overdone and cheesy.