Conway: Disappearance at Dahlia View:Lots of secrets

The crime and mystery genre has been lacking titles recently and for good reason. It is a very hard genre to get right. Not only do you need to execute perfectly with exploration and mechanics, but also the story needs to be compelling enough to keep the mystery going and have you second-guessing yourself.

Conway: Disappearance at Dahlia View tries to please the fans in this genre, by giving you a story with a topic that you can not help yourself trying to solve the mystery.

" A horrible crime right under your nose. "

As you enter Dahlia View you are awoken by the sirens and flashing lights of police cars. This is where you get the first glimpse of the protagonist you will be playing, Robert Conway, a retired private investigator who is wheelchair bound. You see the commotion outside so you grab your camera to get a closer look on what is going on.

As I took the camera I had my first look around the complex. The first thing I noticed was my neighbours as I hovered over them, the camera frame turned yellow so I took a picture and Robert Conway dictated a piece of narrative about the person or object I just took a picture of. So now you feel like you are the old nosy neighbour that every complex or neighbourhood has, But it is all for good reason all you want to do is help. You want to help solve the mystery of the disappearance of poor Scarlett May, Your neighbour, someone’s daughter.

Once we are done with our first camera mechanic scene, you then have to make your way to go talk to your neighbors to find out what all they know. The game for me at this point gives you a feel like it is a locked room type of game. You explore room by room, but you are basically “locked” within the confines of Dahlia View. It does not feel too bad being kept in this small play area, as I feel it adds to the narrative that someone close to you must have done this terrible crime.

The game is basically split into different acts, each one focusing on one of your neighbours. There are a total of 4 places all around Dahlia View that you will get to explore. In each act you will either have to charm your way into their residence or use some less than legal means to gain entry.

" Not everyone is what they seem. "

Your neighbours that you will meet are all done so well, everyone of them has a unique manner and tone that is portrayed very nicely by the beautiful voice acting. The writing for some of the neighbours is also very well done, as White Paper Games have done a perfect job in giving each character their own skeleton in the closet that they do not want you finding out. This becomes apparent very quickly as I came across things that are very weird, and the game had me second guessing if it related to the crime on-hand or something else. It did not help that none of them wanted to even talk to me, being very dismissive.

When it comes to collecting the evidence around the neighbors residence, so much can be thrown at you it almost feels welcome to be giving a deep dive into the peoples lives, You realize just how much you can find out about someone by the stuff they may keep locked away. There is a few puzzles for you to solve when you are looking for evidence, but none of them are too hard as they usually need to be solved to gain a certain piece of evidence or information. They are definitely a welcome addition as it invites you to explore every nook and cranny, and adds realism aspects as key pieces of evidence are never going to be straight in front of you.

As you progress through the linear story and collect the evidence and statements from your neighbours, you will have to either rule out the questions that you have about a certain person or just try to combine evidence needed to make some sort of breakthrough. The mechanics of the pinboard are pretty awesome. Usually you will ask yourself 2-3 questions that you will need to find the piece of evidence that can rule out someone or confirm your hunch. I found it not too difficult, and managed to get all the investigation modes correct on  my first playthrough. There is quite a bit of irrelevant information scattered around, and the game does well in making you deduce which pieces are actually vital. It makes for a quirky time and adds to the atmosphere of playing as a private investigator.

The story will quickly unravel before you, I found it quite gripping and intriguing but sadly it failed to make me doubt if this person could have done it. The fact that the game is split into chapters in a linear fashion, if you collect all the evidence and piece together information, in some cases it may not be even stuff related to the case. I found myself catching on very quick and shutting and closing that suspect out. I just wish the game had a lot more twists and turns, which I think is vital if you are going for a crime thriller.

Once it comes down to it the story itself is ok, the narrative in it with so much extra details and side plots really holds the game up in my opinion. I just feel they could have done more to add some strong plot twists, and  while the art direction is beautiful to look at, for this type of game with such a hard hitting narrative they could have went with a different approach because at times i could not make out the emotions, through people’s body language and facial expressions, which would have really made a difference in this thriller.

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Review
  • Solving crime with a camera
    7

    " Conway does well when it comes down to the narrative, each character is unique and has standout moments on there own. With nice puzzle mechanics that makes it more interactive. The main story however feels like it could have had more twists in it, instead it felt choreographed and left more to be desired. "

    • Gameplay
      7.5
    • Narrative
      8.5
    • Art Direction
      7.5
    • Sound Direction
      7
Game Details
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