Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Detective Barbie 3

There is a third game in the Detective Barbie series!  It was released for the PlayStation, and I think that was a bad decision. It probably would have been better, if they released it for both PlayStation and PC, like Barbie Super Sports. As it was, most fans of the PC series did not jump ship to the PlayStation, and the series got cancelled.

It was also a bad idea to switch to PlayStation, because it has obvious technical limitations. All the characters are blocky and unrealistic looking. The rooms in the game are too large for the PlayStation to handle, so each one gets split up into multiple screens. It made travelling around in the game a little more tedious, because you have to go through multiple rooms, to go through one room, if that makes sense. There are a few rooms which aren't split up into multiple screens, but they're mostly empty rooms that are all pallete swaps of each other. I'm not sure why the game felt the need to include six empty, identical rooms.

Another limitation of the game is that Barbie can no longer move in three directions. She can only move up, down, left or right. To move diagonally, you're forced to zigzag. You can't use the joystick to control her; you have to use the directional arrows. And the arrows work, according to the direction the room is facing, not according to the direction Barbie is facing. That took a little bit of getting used to, but I can give it a pass, because the other Detective Barbie games have odd controls. Still, I don't like how the controls were downgraded, compared to the previous games.

In good news, the minigames were definitely upgraded! They are more fun and less frustrating, with the exception of the bottle-catching minigame. I got stuck for about an hour in the game, because I didn't realize you absolutely have to WIN the minigame to continue. That was almost impossible, because I had technical issues with my Playstation. About every five seconds, the screen went black and said "no input received" for a second or two. Try playing a fast-paced minigame when your screen keeps cutting out! (Incidentally, these technical issues ruined the video footage that I recorded. I'll try recording it again, but I'm not hopeful.)

The mystery itself was more streamlined, which was good, because it's a lot easier to figure out what you have to do, in order to progress. In the previous games, it was far too easy to get stuck and wander around aimlessly. My only complaint would be that interacting with the suspects was mostly removed from the game. You can talk a suspect twice, at most. In the other games, each suspect had at least three distinct conversations.

The tool setup in the game was tweaked a bit. I think it could have been improved, because you need three separate tools in order to take a fingerprint. (You have to take six fingerprints over the course of the game.) It would have been easier to have ONE fingerprint tool, so you didn't have to switch tools three times, in order to perform one action.

The game also has a nice multiplayer feature, which I didn't use because I don't have a second PlayStation controller.

Overall, I'd say it's a good game, or at least, it's on par with the second game. If only it had been released on the PC, without those glaring graphical limitations! Then it would have definitely deserved the title of "best game in the series so far", as opposed to being the game that killed the series.

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