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Again

Thanks for the memories.

In order to make use of this, rather weirdly, you must make the present day version of the scene match the original, turning things into an elaborate, first-person game of spot-the-difference. Find what's different, then focus on it (hold the stylus down on it for a bit) and you'll have a brief vision confirming that it needs altering. Find a way to do so (this can be very simple, like pulling a shower curtain, or far more complicated involving finding other inventory items, manipulating the environment and so on) and J will have a strangely green vision of the crime taking place. Find all the elements involved and then arrange them in chronological order, and J will see the original crime in glorious technicolour clarity.

It's a great idea. It's not done well. Which captures everything about the game. The primary issue with Again is how clumsy everything feels. Even having a conversation with someone can become tortuously slow, as you watch the figures of those taking part slowly swooshing back and forth on the left screen, their comments eventually appearing on the right.

"Shall we leave?" Swoosh. "Sure." Swoosh. "OK then."

What's more, conversations make up the majority of the game. They're not especially poorly written, but revel in murder fiction cliché. Retired cops are grumpy about recalling cases, witnesses look shifty as they obviously lie, coroners overtly flirt before they hand over evidence, and of course police are furious that the FBI are involved. But it's the pace at which they're delivered that makes them so frustrating. Further, when you're done questioning someone, rather than the game prompting you to move on, you're left with the conversation screen up but empty, and required to back out of it, choose "move", and then watch as the characters continue the closing parts of the chat.

Endless dialogue portrayed so very slowly prevents any feeling of pace.

It's one of the many ways that you're left feeling completely uninvolved in the unfolding of events. You've a phone, but use it when the game hasn't prompted you to and you'll get voicemail. And when the game does prompt you to, it locks out any other options anyway.

Another strange feature is quite how weak an FBI agent you are. While local cops are enraged that the FBI has turned up, you are constantly ordered around by those police, your colleagues, even witnesses. If a witness tells you to come back later there's no conversation option saying, "We're the FBI. You'll do as you're told." Instead you're forced to politely agree and be on your way. Don't you have a gun and a badge?

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