The scene is set as a now 16-year-old Ashley is invited to Lake Juliet for a camping trip by her father, Dr. Richard Robbins, with the message arriving via a device sent to her called the the 'Dual Another System' (an upgrade of the DAS from Two Memories that looks remarkably like the Nintendo DSi). Despite exerting a lot of time and energy in finding her father two years prior during the DS adventure Another Code: Two Memories, he had since failed to stick to his bargain of heading off to work, but promising to return home each weekend to avoid leaving his daughter alone for too long. Instead Ashley had been palmed off onto his sister, Jessica, for the past six months without any contact, that is until the impromptu invitation to visit the quaint resort of Lake Juliet. However, upon arriving her father-dearest once more does a disappearing act, leaving her to fend for herself, which leaves her open to someone stealing her bag at the bus stop and a man she has never met before keeping her company at a proposed father-daughter barbeque. It is not long, though, before what seems like an annoying situation develops and strange happenings begin to take place, with Ashley having random flashbacks about her now-deceased mother, seeing her in different situations from some thirteen years ago. Then she also comes across a young boy called Matt, whose father mysteriously vanished five years ago, and consequently the mysteries of Lake Juliet start to very quickly unfold before her eyes and the player is drawn ever more into the intrigue.
The game starts off with Aunt Jessica giving Ashley the updated DAS system from Dr. Robbins, complete with a note about how he wishes to tell her more about Sayoko, her mother who died when she was a mere three years of age. Immediately motion controls come into play, specifically the infra-red pointer, as the player must position the DAS' internal camera accurately so it can scan Ashley's face for identification purposes. Then, after deciding to drop everything and head out, and following a traumatic dream on the bus-ride to Lake Juliet about her mother being shot by Bill Edward thirteen years prior, and after being mugged upon arriving at the supposedly serene location, players are finally given complete control over the game's seemingly unfortunate heroine. Unlike the DS original, however, where Ashley could be moved anywhere using the touch-screen and an overhead perspective, Another Code: R restricts movement to basically running either left or right whilst in 'travelling mode'. Players can opt to point the cursor, with the Wii Remote, at the arrows on either side of the screen, or simply hold the appropriate direction on the d-pad, launching Ashley into an adequately paced jog.
Given the relaxing nature of the game, sitting back and casually using the Wii Remote alone works perfectly well in all situations. If Ashley passes something that may be of interest or needs to be remembered and returned to later down the line, then a magnifying glass appears at the top of the screen, which can either be pointed at or accessed by pressing up on the d-pad. Other than that, in true point-and-click adventure fashion aiming the controller at the screen and moving it around to hot-spots (areas of interaction) is possible, then whilst indoors the protagonist can look around whatever room she is currently in by pointing at the curved arrows on either side of the screen to make her swivel on the spot and be able to interact with even more items, objects and people.
The visuals themselves consist of very pleasingly crafted 3D character models mixed with lush 2D imagery for flashbacks and general surroundings, a couple of stunning video sequences and extremely attractive hand-drawn sketches for the general cut-scenes. Conversations are carried out in a similar manner to the likes of TV show 24 or even CING's very own Hotel Dusk: Room 215 from the DS, with the screen splitting into separate segments to focus on each character as they talk or even to zoom in on a key item being shown at the time. As various characters are conversing, certain key phrases will be said, which are subsequently added to Ashley's response list in order to keep the information relevant. Characters' actions and expressions help to portray exactly how they are feeling at the time. Whilst the complete lack of voice acting will be seen as a major negative point by many, the human emotion conveyed by the elaborate gesticulations and facial expressions made by characters thanks to motion capture techniques employed, tied in with perfectly timed vibration effects sent through the Wii Remote at pivotal moments, evoke reactions within the player that can actually otherwise be lost if the incorrect voice acting is used.
As with an absorbing novel, the imagination is left to roam free, helped along by a soundtrack that hits jovial highs and melancholy lows, drawing out laughter, joy, sadness and various other sensations as the story progresses. CING has created an emotional rollercoaster with A Journey into Lost Memories and the translation team has worked wonders on the script to ensure the atmosphere remains strong throughout. However, whilst heavy on the text side, thankfully one of the DS original's most impressive traits, its clever puzzles, returns in full force. Spread throughout the adventure is a whole slew of brain teasers and skilfully devised conundrums to unravel. Just as CING made use of every possible feature of the DS for Another Code: Two Memories, the Japanese developer has thought long and hard about how to utilise not only the motion and IR technology of the Wii Remote, but also its button layout and, well, rather than spoil the surprise it is best to simply say the team dedicated to cooking up crafty uses of the Wii Remote definitely deserves a hearty pat on the back. Twisting, rolling, tilting, gently rotating, moving backwards and forwards, and even moving the Remote as if throwing a Frisbee or winding up rope; all the usual motions seen in the likes of mini-game fests such as WarioWare: Smooth Moves are included for good measure, plus more.
Fortunately nothing is too obtuse or unresponsive and there will only be a few occasions where some real head-scratching will take place. CING has got the pacing spot on, rolling out the story in large chunks of engrossing text and then littering motion-based or item-collection-based teasers around to engage players. Other than the motion puzzles, being a true adventure title there is an element of collecting items, passing certain ones on to various folk, combining different pieces to form new items and generally making use of your collection to further progress the story. One of the pitfalls of most adventure games, though, is how the player is allowed to collect almost everything in sight and then try to juggle all sorts of red herrings in order to find the correct permutation of 'item and interactive object' in order to continue. CING dodges this bullet by preventing the player from picking up certain things until truly necessary. Therefore, for instance, only when you find the hose you just collected has holes in it can you go back and pick up the plasters and masking tape you saw in someone's draw earlier in order to repair it. Another Code R forces players into paying full attention to proceedings and recalling what they saw only a short while back in another location.
There is also a fair share of logic-based puzzling to be found. Later in the game security camera feeds can be monitored to obtain a solution. As well as this, just like in the DS game, players can take photos of various elements and then superimpose one image upon another to decode ciphers, find particular patterns or merely use one photo alone as evidence to prove a point. For the trigger-happy and forgetful, there are also several forms of re-cap for those that skip past conversations too quickly or save a game and only come back days later, thus forgetting exactly what point they were up to. The 'quiz' section of the DS game returns, whereby players are asked a handful of questions at the end of a chapter in order to go over the main points of the last section, whilst when the game is re-booted and loaded up a brief synopsis of the last few actions are shown on-screen. Another feature is being able to talk to Matt, your companion for most of the game, at which point he will in most cases remind you of what needs doing. There really are so many positives to find in Another Code R that the lack of voice acting mentioned earlier fades into insignificance.
An area that could have been a potential killer is definitely the game's length. Many bemoaned the fact that although Two Memories was such a splendid adventure, it was over far too quickly, with many completing it within four-to-six hours. Some sources are reporting A Journey into Memories has around twelve or so hours of gameplay. Well, in all honesty, at close of play for the purposes of this review, the final time stated on the save file was around the twenty-three hour mark. That time was achieved by slowing down in order to completely soak up the wondrous atmosphere, check on everything that could be clicked on, follow every conversation thread (double-checking lines accidentally skipped by pressing '2' to bring up the very handy conversation summary screen that has been added) and getting stuck on a few puzzles from time-to-time. There are nine chapters in total, as well as a short prologue, plus players can save their complete file and go through the adventure once more afterwards, meaning there is definitely great value for money first time round, with room for replay value afterwards. Considering there is no confirmed US release as of now, Nintendo of America could well be looking at European sales to make the call. Given how this Wii game struggled to sell through its initial shipment of ~30,000 units in Japan (despite the DS original hitting over 100,000 copies), Europe could well be the game's saviour. Do you really need more of an incentive to snap this up?