Nightmares From the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call - HighrezGaming

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Nightmares From the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call / 9th of September 2016

Artifex Mundi’s fearless museum curator is back to take on the might of the dastardly, Davy Jones, fearsome legend of the sea, as he, along with a former pirate conspire to generate wealth for a pirate colony through the enslavement of a siren and the deadliest of all sea creatures, the Kraken! Naturally, for this to happen, our courageous protagonist must venture into a dark, cursed island to solve a myriad of puzzles and unearth a ton of items. So basically, it’s exactly what you’d expect.

Of course, just because Nightmares From the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call plays by the rules, that doesn’t mean that it can’t excel within them, as each and every one of Artifex Mundi’s games do, setting the benchmark for the genre and raising the bar just high enough to leave them effectively peerless. There is a remarkable level of consistency to the Polish developer’s work, and this release is no exception.
Following on directly from the events in the first game, The Siren’s Call takes us back to the Caribbean Naval Museum where The Cursed Heart began, where, on a wet and windy night, a surprise visitor brings a package of great interest to the attention of the series’ protagonist, Sarah Black, seeing the two of them attacked by a group of fish-men before scuttling off to this outing’s setting; the island of Kingsmouth. This locale is a mysterious fishing village founded by a group of former pirates and their families, yet it is a town cursed, first of all by its economic downturn, and secondly – and most importantly – by the old sea devil himself, Davy Jones, who, in forging a contract with the town’s corrupt mayor, Murray, doomed the denizens of Kingsmouth to live out their earthly days as mutated hybrids. To lift the curse, Sarah must assist her strange new friend, rescue a siren and restore her powers back to her, simple right?

Well, along the way, there are roughly twenty-eight puzzles/mini-games to tackle, as one expects from Artifex Mundi they are fairly varied, seeing the usual array of tile swapping and sliding mechanisms come into play, along with more unique conundrums, such as the manipulation of clock hands, some simple mathematics and so on. The principal reward from all of these are coins known as Golden Fish that are used to pry open a mystical chest in order to regain control of a specific item necessary to restoring the siren’s powers and, ultimately, the defeat of the evil Mayor Murray.
Obviously, there are also hidden object puzzles (HOPs) to attend to, in fact there are around twenty of them to be bested, and thankfully, unlike Enigmatis 3, I had no issues in finding any of the objects within any of the various scenes, but as usual, should a player encounter any problems, there is still a generous hint system in place, unless the game is set to the harder of its two difficulties. Likewise, as we should all now expect, The Siren’s Call does not have to played through in this manner, the HOP games can be swapped out entirely for an completely different mini-game, in this case, it’s the return of the much-loved mah-jong. This, basically, sees the player looking for identical tiles to select and remove from play, whittling them down until the screen has been entirely cleared out. As always, this provides excellent replay value by allowing the game to be played through in two entirely different ways, which is something that I, personally, appreciate greatly.

As far the game world goes, this iteration actually seems slightly larger than usual, with around forty-eight locations on show, all of which are beautifully hand painted and filled with an immense amount of detail. Likewise, characters are still as well designed, and as poorly animated as I have come to expect whilst the audio is the usual menagerie of horrendous voice acting and more than adequate sound effects and soundtrack. Of course, as we all know, these are hardly the areas that will make or break a game of this kind, it would certainly be nice to see the weakest areas of Artifex Mundi’s releases given a boost, but the most important aspect of all is how it plays, and as usual, it’s pretty solid throughout.
Longevity is clearly something that the developer has put a little more thought into this time around, now whilst there has always been the combination of two ways to play the game and a smattering of collectibles, the latter never really had any bearing whatsoever, until now. The achievement list on The Siren’s Call now throws in a few extras, adding some importance on the collecting of items that have no relevance to the outcome of the narrative, in this case, a smattering of animals that can be unearthed to give the achievement hunters out there further reason to spend a little more time their Artifex Mundi releases, and that, as always is a welcome boost to an already strong release.

Nightmares From the Deep: The Siren’s Call is yet another top notch release from Artifex Mundi who are consistently making the console platforms of PS4 and Xbox One suitable, and perhaps even ideal homes for their fares. If this particular release is anything to go by, they are keen to find new ways to make their games feel unique on every platform, and that can only bode well for the future of the company, their releases and the genre as a whole. If you have any interest in playing hidden object games, then you really need to pick this up.
James Paton
 
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