|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cing||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Tecmo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 30, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Basically, you just have to compare the two versions of the crime scene, find what's missing, fix it, and uncover past clues-night vision camera-style video clips of what really went down-in order to move forward in your investigation. It's a little silly to think that every scenario could be recreated accurately, which leads to a lot of deus ex machinas advancing the story (the aforementioned cigarette, for example, needed to be a brand that wasn't made anymore), but I guess for a game that stars a psychic detective one can't nitpick too much.
The rest of the game boils down to a large number of character interactions between J, the local police, and witnesses or suspects. This can actually be kind of interesting, some of the time, since many of Again's characters won't be forthcoming with information. Going back and forth between the crime scenes, uncovering new evidence, and then putting the screws to witnesses provides an interesting give-and-take scenario. Even if the writing is dull and the pacing glacial, at least Cinq put some effort into making sure things aren't always straightforward-a nice touch.
But for all the slogging you have to go through, this feels like too little too late. There's little in Again that'll make you care about what's going on, the conversations are mostly expository (and can go on for a long time), and the spot-the-difference crime scene investigations are dull. Capping it all is the outlandish use of the full-motion video actors-they "animate" a few frames a time, changing expressions and gestures, but nine times out of ten they stop on a cartoony pose that really makes it hard to take the characters and the game itself seriously. Only J looks halfway decent most of the time, opting to not adopt expressions that would be better served for someone pantomiming something straight out of Looney Tunes. For all of its criminal procedural trappings, Again is about as exciting as watching Matlock re-runs in a seniors' assisted living facility.
CCC Freelance Writer