(www.againmystery.com/againmystery/index.html)  Rated T for Teen by ESRB.  If you’re familiar with game developer Cing Inc. then you probably know of Hotel Dusk. And when Cing announced that they would be releasing another mystery crime game, fans were clamoring to get their hands on it. Cing unfortunately filed for bankruptcy and the swan song they’ve left us with is Again, a western crime drama for the Nintendo DS. Again puts you in the shoes of FBI agent Jonathan Weaver, or “J” as everyone calls him. You are sent to investigate a murder and find a piece of paper with an Eye of Providence on it at the crime scene. Upon discovering the Eye, your character not only links the murder to a serial killer from 19 years, but gains the ability to see the crime scene as it was in the past. By working with this power, and his partner Kate Hathaway, J follows a trail of clues and solves a murder mystery that spans a generation.

(www.againmystery.com/againmystery/index.html)  Rated T for Teen by ESRB.  If you’re familiar with game developer Cing Inc. then you probably know of Hotel Dusk. And when Cing announced that they would be releasing another mystery crime game, fans were clamoring to get their hands on it. Cing unfortunately filed for bankruptcy and the swan song they’ve left us with is Again, a western crime drama for the Nintendo DS. Again puts you in the shoes of FBI agent Jonathan Weaver, or “J” as everyone calls him. You are sent to investigate a murder and find a piece of paper with an Eye of Providence on it at the crime scene. Upon discovering the Eye, your character not only links the murder to a serial killer from 19 years, but gains the ability to see the crime scene as it was in the past. By working with this power, and his partner Kate Hathaway, J follows a trail of clues and solves a murder mystery that spans a generation.

 

Presentation: 
The characters and world of again are definitely its strong suit. Again prides itself in the development of each and every character. It’s in the delivery of those details that Again lacks in. While the story is interesting and convoluted as your average CSI crime drama, it comes at a disappointingly slow pace. Conversations between various people take way too much time considering that the vast amount of game play takes place in conversations between yourself and various people. While the characters are very enjoyable at first, after you have returned to the same person many times, their charming personalities cease to be interesting and turn more towards the excessively annoying. While this isn’t all that bad, seeing as Again comes from the people who brought us Hotel Dusk, a better standard is expected.

       

Graphics:
Instead of using 3d rendering or pre-drawn pictures for characters, Again uses video captured animations of the characters for dialogue. This design works very effectively, deepening the experience and making conversations more immersive. However, the cut-and-paste motions that the characters reiterate for different conversations get repetitive and border on the cliché. For the investigation of crime scenes, the game switches to a 3d realistic style with the present in one screen and the past in the other. The 3d graphics are pretty good for the DS, but sometimes small discrepancies (which are vital to solving the crime) are overlooked due to the crude 3d rendering that the DS tends to display. All in all, the style is very fitting to the setting and does justice to the game.

       

Sounds:
Again’s soundtrack isn’t very impressive, but crime dramas aren’t noted for their music so this isn’t disappointing because it’s expected. And since all of the dialogue takes place in text format, there isn’t an opportunity for the game to display either good or bad voice acting. The sound effects on the other hand make are very well done and augment the experience fabulously. For example, a door will creak open or footsteps will be heard in the background.

Gameplay: 
To solve the mystery of the Providence murders, you will have to navigate the city of Clockford, visit various witnesses, and investigate crime scenes. The majority of the game is spent talking to witnesses and others to glean information. Unfortunately, dialogue proceeds slowly, and having to return to the same person to gain a single new piece of information will sometimes involve listening to the same information for the first half of the conversation. Luckily, the game is punctuated by investigating crime scenes. You gain the ability to see the crime scene in the past and can walk around pointing out pieces of evidence to progress the investigation. While none of the game is fast paced and exciting, Again provides a nice relaxed alternative to your average adrenaline fueled video game.

       

Conclusion:
If you’re looking for a slow relaxing video game to take up your time a few minutes at a time, look no further than Again. While Again isn’t by any means a bad game, it’s difficult to play for long periods of time, and this serves it quite well. Again presents the perfect example of the perfect handheld video game, something that you can take with you on the road to occupy your time ten to fifteen minutes at a time. One thing’s for sure, you’ll want to play Again, again and again.

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