Hi, my name's Simon Hardnosedcop, recruited by Eurogamer to investigate games. I'm good at my job, and this is a significant case, reporting on DS adventure Again. I think the Chief is going to be impressed with my work, and I'll finally get the promotion I'm so overdue.
Hey, you, I'm FBI Special Reviewer John Walker, and I'm claiming jurisdiction here. This is now an FBI review.
No way, man! No way are you suits just marching in and taking this one from me. I've been working this case for months, and there's no way I'm just going to hand it over to a bunch of Washington nobodies.
Listen, I'm going to have to ask you to hand over all your review notes, and a copy of the game. Please do it quickly, detective. Don't make me remove my shades.
I'm taking this to the mayor!
The onion-like layers of a Cing game are fascinating. Like Another Code and Hotel Dusk before it, Again is bubbling with ideas, a game that asks questions, manipulates design, and experiments with time and memory. It's a game that asks the player to think more deeply, or at least demands that one be slightly pretentious when discussing it. But rather sadly, it's also rubbish.
Ostensibly an adventure game, Again's premise is not stunningly original. You're FBI Special Agent Jonathan Weaver, investigating a series of killings, and for all the elaborate and peculiar oddness that this involves, it's inescapable that this is yet another adventure game about a man solving some murders.
It's a nice enough idea. 19 years ago a serial killer murdered six people over two weeks, including the mother and father of our protagonist. The murderer was never caught, and now it seems the same pattern of deaths is occurring again. It's about the past infesting the present, both literally and figuratively.
The game splits into two styles. With the DS held sideways throughout, there are information-gathering sections which see you chatting with colleagues, questioning witnesses and gathering evidence, alongside first-person portions which offer a much more hands-on experience. The latter require you to take advantage of an unusual investigating skill.
J, as he's known to his chums, possesses a rather strange ability. He has psychic powers that enable him to see into the... past.
Er, me too. Tickets are available if you would like to see me demonstrating this extraordinary power. I call it: "Remembering". I am able to accurately predict (or as I call it, "recollect") the events of yesterday with extraordinary clarity!
But I'm not being fair. J's talent is rather more impressive, if somewhat cumbersome to use. Entering the scene of a crime, he is able to psychically see a vision of the location at the time the incident occurred. The right touch-screen shows the present day, which is navigated using the d-pad (or face buttons for witches), your view moved by the screen. The left screen shows a sepia-toned version of the same place, viewed from the same perspective, however many years ago.