Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Again

2:00 PM on 04.04.2010 // Jim Sterling

If there's one developer that knows its crime-laden adventure games, it's Cing. The small Japanese studio is, after all, responsible for one of the coolest DS games on the market, Hotel Dusk. Cing's latest title, Again, treads familiar ground, this time putting players into the shoes of an FBI agent who has to solve a 19-year-old cold case and bring a serial killer to justice. Also, he's psychic. 

There might be a business reason why Cing's name is not on the box and the publisher, Koei Tecmo, is taking all the credit. I like to think, however, that Cing simply doesn't want its name attached to this title. If I'd developed this after Hotel Dusk, I'd not want my name near it either. Read on as we review Again

Again (Nintendo DS) 
Developer: Cing Inc.
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Released: March 30, 2010
MSRP: $29.99

Again focuses on Jonathan Weaver, an FBI agent who ended up the sole survivor in a spate of killings instigated by a murderer known only as Providence. Nineteen years after the murders took place, Providence is at it again, apparently recreating his original killings and leaving his calling card -- an Eye of Providence cut from a dollar bill -- at the scene. While the cops try and solve the recent murders, Jonathan and his partner, Kate Hathaway, try to solve the original murders.

The general premise and visual style is reminiscent of a bad TV cop drama, except for the fact that Weaver can also use magic to see into the past. While Hotel Dusk felt like something of a true adventure game, Again is more of an interactive novel, forcing players to read huge wads of text and limiting movement options to a handful of static locations where more text is waiting to be read. 

A visual style similar to Hotel Dusk is used, but instead of drawings, the characters are represented by actual photographs of "actors" that have been given a small amount of animation. Here comes the fun part of Again, as Cing has clearly used the most absurd human beings on the planet to play its cast of businessmen, detectives, and victims. These are people that wouldn't get work on even the lowest budget TV cop drama. It's actually a joy every time a new character is introduced, as it's just wonderful to see what kind of gurning, over-acting fool they've dressed in ridiculous clothes next. 

Unfortunately, that's the only real entertainment to be had from Again, and even that's thanks to irony. Mostly, the game is a boring, dreary, turgid affair, with poorly written, badly localized dialog and a central plot that goes from dull to stupid very quickly. The fact that Hathaway doesn't think Weaver is a lunatic for claiming he can magically see the past is hard enough to accept, but it's the cringe-worthy character interaction and overuse of the word "Providence" that really drags it down.

The only real "gameplay" occurs during Again's central conceit, where Weaver uses his fabulous secret power to look at crime scenes in the past. The DS, which is held sideways like a book, uses its two screens to represent Weaver's vision. The left-hand screen shows the environment as it looked nineteen years ago, while the right screen shows things as they appear in reality. It's essentially a glorified "spot the difference" game, as Weaver has to investigate the things that look different in each vision, and alter the present so it looks like the past. 

There are some obvious things wrong with this, like the fact that ladders, buckets, cars and glasses always happen to be in the exact same place they were nineteen years ago. Apparently, in the world of Again, most objects go completely undisturbed for at least twenty years. However, the most apparent issue with this gimmicky gameplay is that it's absolutely boring. Walking around a room, trying to spot contrived differences between two images in order to piece together a story that nobody cares about isn't exactly fun.

The game is also vague about what's supposed to be different and what isn't. If you focus on something that the game doesn't want you to focus on, you will lose a section of your "psyche" meter and risk getting a game over (don't worry, the game is almost impossible to lose). So, if there are potted plants in the past and just pots in the present, don't click on them. You'll find out that Again doesn't care about that. It does, however, care about the tiny cigarette butt on the floor that was so hard to see with the muddy sepia graphics and took ages to find because it was so small. 

That's really all Again is. Part tiresome graphic novel, part tiresome guessing game. The very occasional puzzles are convoluted at best, and usually consist of something insultingly easy like "turn this faucet on" or "move these bottles on a shelf." All this nonsense isn't even rewarded with a good story because, as we've already established, the plot pushes the boundaries of believability and not in an awesome, funny way. 

Again is a mediocre game that provides nothing. Its story is nowhere near good enough to justify the interactive novel approach, the "spot the difference" psychic gimmick is miserable and sleep-inducing, and the characters themselves look like they've all escaped from a mental hospital and are playing around in the costume department of a community theater. Hotel Dusk this isn't. It's not even an episode of Charmed

Score: 5.0 -- Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Streaming some Unravel then perhaps some Firewatch. Don't not come. [url][/url]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Just got my Wind up Ifrit minion. I couldn't sell it, it was too adorable.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Just got my Wind up Ifrit minion. I couldn't sell it, it was too adorable.
Parismio avatarParismio
I was playing Third Strike on PS3 with my PS4 controller and I tried using the dpad for the first and noticed that it doesnt take corner directional inputs. Is this normal for ps4 controllers on ps3?
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
I swear, it makes sense in context..... Kinda. Hmmm. Okay, not so much. [img][/img]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Almost done with my Waifu wars blog. pretty happy with how it turned out.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Time to scream and shout. It's Nanako cosplaying as her big bro! <3
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump is like Gandalf the White vs. Handsome Jack.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Skellige is so cool! It's like the land of Valhalla Rising.
Shinta avatarShinta
God damn, Bernie Sanders is just killing it with this speech. Hitting basically every point. He even used the word "oligarchy." Probably the first time I've ever heard that word uttered on CNN. I think a lot of people in power are shitting their pants
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In my haste to finally factory reset my tablet, I erased a blog I had worked on. Thankfully, it's fresh in my mind. It's another MGS blog, but it goes the opposite way of my last MGS blog. Pray this guy is not your husbando, for he is shit.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Just ate a disgusting amount of sugary wonders in a Fat Tuesday blowout. Chocolate (birthday) cake, Oreos, brownies, cookie dough, and some creme brule thing. Satiation by way of eat-'til-you-puke is what Shenanigans says!
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
Is there any real difference between the PS3 and the PS4 versions of Valkyria Chronicles?
Shinta avatarShinta
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Say whaaaaaat?
Gundy avatarGundy
Voting for Broforce made me think of the most American person that could ever exist. President Michael Wilson!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
By the way, that IGPX collection is a new release. It's the first time the show is available in a complete package, and the first time it's been available in any format in about 10 years. [url][/url]
gajknight avatargajknight
This is your daily reminder that Taxi Driver is the best movie ever and if you disagree then all I can say is: God, you're square.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
I love when someone at work tries to claim you screwed up on something and it completely backfires on them. I try to help them save face afterwards, but secretly I'm like...
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -