Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories takes place two years since the events on Blood Edward Island and Ashley is once again left in the care of her aunt while her father is researching a project. One day, she receives a letter from him asking her to go see him at Lake Juliet so that he can talk about her mother Sayoko. She dreams of her mother while on the bus but finds herself being pushed away at the stop and has her bag stolen with all her belongings. As Ashley tries to improve her relationship with her father, she ends up with many flashbacks about being with her mother at the lake long ago and decides to find out what she was doing here.
Although the game itself is presented in 3D with cell-shaded character models, most of the time you're just holding the left or right buttons on the D-pad to move around with the odd branching path to the north or south. It kind of takes some getting used to as the screen pivots around Ashley. This is the same when you enter areas that you can examine, using the D-pad to turn the character on the spot.
Unlike the prequel where there was practically no one to talk to, there's a fair cast of characters here and talking to them means there's a list of subjects you can go through to advance the conversation. The script is pretty more cheerful too allowing you to say make decisions during questions which don't really lead to different endings but increases the immersion.
However, at the same time this could also be considered its downfall as there appears to be more text than puzzles which I'll talk about in a moment. Most of the time you're just hitting the A button to progress the text so it feels more of a visual novel that's along the lines of the Ace Attorney games. Thankfully there's no game over screens like in Cing's last game Hotel Dusk.
Those of you who have played the prequel on the DS will recognise the DAS tool and notice they've designed it to look like the DSi with a camera now. Not long into the game, you'll also find the Wiimote being introduced as the TAS (True Another System). One thing that really impressed me about the prequel was the puzzles that made good use of the DS and the TAS is again well used here. You'll probably be amazed at the number of ways they use the Wiimote as an electronic lock pick while at the other times, it acts as the object you're supposed to be holding as you can imagine.
However, while in most adventure games you'll be scouting for every object you can pick up in case you need them for a puzzle later, ACR doesn't actually let you do that until it's time to puzzle solve and restricts you in the area. This makes the experience quite linear but I think I prefer it over spending minutes running from one location to another.
Another interesting point is that whenever you load a save game, you'll have a quick recap of what you were doing which means even if you left the game for a long time, you'll know what you're supposed to be doing. I've always thought some games should have the option to let you enjoy the story all over again without having to replay the game and in this case you can do just that only it's all in text form without the in-game and pre-rendered cutscenes. This kind of make those recap quizzes at the end of each chapter pointless because there is only a single ending and there is no penalty in getting the answer wrong.
The mystery is mainly what keeps one playing but I feel they stretched it too far because it only gives you about one single flashback of Ashley and her mother's past per chapter. To be fair however, the character development isn't too bad as you watch the relationships build and what effects events have on them. It's also pretty thought provoking the way the game looks at human memory.
It's been a while since I played Another Code DS (also known as "Trace Memory" in the USA) but the atmosphere and the music feels very similar here which is good because the theme is consistent. Like most games, the environments are static besides the water and clouds in the sky but the cell-shaded graphics look serene and the characters are fairly well animated. The water colour renderings tend to blend in well with the close-up low resolution textures on the Wii. There's also quite a lot of attention to detail such as making the hands of an old lady trembling slightly when she's holding them out unlike the more youthful characters. Even without anti-alias support on the Wii I barely notice the jagged edges around the 3D graphics on a Full HDTV.
There's no voice acting but there's the pre-rendered flashback cutscene as you play. As you talk to characters, the screen is divided into two like in Cing's other two year old DS adventure game, Hotel Dusk and the character models are very expressive looking, better than the usual still portraits most games use.
Once again, Cing has proved they know their hardware and can make great adventure games with Another Code R: A Journey Into Lost Memories. it's a very slow paced game which makes it a very relaxing experience and as the box art says, it really does plays out like a novel. While there isn't much replay value, there is some bonus content to be viewed if you have the patience for a second play through.
However, if you're not one for reading lots of text, you'll want to stay away from this one.
Time Played 17 hours
- The presentation feels similar to the prequel.
- Great creative use of the Wiimote.
- Recap on the story when loading save file.
- Can enjoy the entire story again like a novel.
- Expressive 3D character models.
- There's inventory cleaning?!
- The navigation system takes a bit of getting used to.
- More dialogue reading than puzzles?
- Story can feel like it's in a loop.
- Recap quizzes feel pointless.