Again is a crime solving adventure game by CING, where you play as the FBI investigating a very deep series of murders.
The style of the game is much different than CING’s other games: they’ve got real people to act out the game rather than drawings, and it works really well. This style naturally leaves the door open for awkward poses and immersion breaking weirdness, but all the actors do a fantastic job with their expressions, and CING does just as good a job using them at appropriate times. It feels very normal as soon as they start talking and you get into the game.
The biggest overall design change CING have taken this game in however, is not related to graphics. It has a very large emphasis on conversations, even moreso than Hotel Dusk or Another Code. This makes up the majority of the game, and general movement is not covered by actually walking to different places, but picking places from a menu and seeing a short scene where you travel there. 3D exploration is limited to crime scene investigations only, and the movement has you walking around in first person, in a very similar way to Hotel Dusk, if not more refined. You can now look around like you would in an FPS: up-down-left and -right.
When the majority of a game is made up of text conversations, it really needs a solid story to keep you interested. Thankfully, Again delivers. CING have come up with another brilliant story that is as memorable as it is complicated. The characters are well done, all with their own personal touches, and everything comes together wonderfully as things unfold. I never found myself asking “who’s that guy again?”, because everyone stuck, and there’s always a point of interest that keeps you playing, just to find out more and more.
The puzzles fit in well, and the game has it’s own gameplay twist that is integral to the story. When investigating a room, you’ll see what happened in the past on the left screen, while the present will be displayed on the right, and by comparing differences and matching things up, you can find out what took place in the past. It sounds easy, and generally it is quite a hand holding experience, but there are a still some puzzles that require some good thinking, and investigating the wrong things can eventually lead to a “game over” as you waste some of your “power.”
Overall, Again has been a fantastic experience I won’t forget, and I recommend it highly to anyone seeking a new adventure to explore on DS. Again is a game that puts the player in more of a passenger role, but it’s still one hell of a ride.