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Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories (Wii) Review

Review for Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The tale of Ashley Mizuki Robbins and her missing father was the premise for Another Code: Two Memories, an adventure title for the Nintendo DS that took great advantage of all the system's features, including even the sleep feature that requires the machine's lid to be closed. Now Ashley is back, two years on from her exploits with ghostly friend 'D' on Blood Edward Island trying to find her father, and another mystery is at hand. Can CING recreate the same magic on Wii as it did on the DS, though?

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.

Screenshot for Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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?

Screenshot for Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

As it did with the DS features, CING has found numerous ways to use various Wii Remote aspects for its puzzles, as well as including a whole host of standard brain-teasers, whilst bringing everything together with a very intriguing tale.

Graphics

Mixing cel-shaded 3D character models with beautifully hand-drawn art and adding extremely realistic motion capture manages to make this one of the most visually appealing Wii games to date.

Sound

Whilst many will complain about the lack of voice acting, the soundtrack itself exudes such a vast array of emotions depending on the situation that speech is hardly missed.

Value

If players choose to relax and play through at a gentile pace, this can easily last up to around the 15-20 hour mark. With the option to play through again as well, there is a good reason to come back as well.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Nintendo was wise to enlist CING once more for this second edition of Another Code as the developer has taken the best elements of both its previous DS titles, Two Memories and Hotel Dusk, poured them onto the Wii and mixed in a whole host of clever extras that make this by far the most enjoyable adventure for Nintendo's home console so far.

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27.06.2009

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Developer

CiNG

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Wow, my one worry was length. But 12 hours minimum is just fine. I certainly dont rush my games, so I'll probably come out much longer then that too.

Absolutely a must get game for me now. ASAP.

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Tell me about it, I thought it wouldn't be much longer than the DS game in all honesty! I received the game on Tuesday and thought I'd have it polished off really quickly...but I only finished it this morning!

Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, though Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sounds really good! I think I'll have to play the first game though, loads of old DS games I still need to give a try.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Well, let's just say the price of the DS game appears to have risen again, so buying it now wouldn't be the best idea, especially considering how short it is. I definitely recommend trying it, though.

The Wii version doesn't exactly require players to have completed the DS original, since there are flashbacks and small explanations about past happenings dotted throughout Another Code: R.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The atmosphere of the DS game was fantastic. And you know how much I like atmosphere and tell everyone about it. It Another Code: R captivates this, I am on.
And it's not that expensive, either.
I thought it was 30 EUR bus it is 40 EUR. Still okay, thou.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Enjoy the game since it seems Nintendo won't be bringing it over to the Americas...

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Laurelin said:
The atmosphere of the DS game was fantastic. And you know how much I like atmosphere and tell everyone about it. It Another Code: R captivates this, I am on.

It certainly does. Whilst watching the trailer before playing the game I wasn't effected at all, but there is one particular tune now on the new trailer I posted in the news section that made me well-up slightly. It's quite surprising how emotional the game is...

And it's not that expensive, either.
I thought it was 30 EUR bus it is 40 EUR. Still okay, thou.

I noticed that whilst on the German Amazon website yesterday. I've heard many games around mainland Europe are 50 Euros!

Amazon UK normally offers roughly a £10 discount from Day One, but has only knocked about £2.30 from the £40 RRP, which is a sign it's selling well there. I also noticed that on Saturday evening Amazon UK was out of stock. The game's back in stock now, though, but good to see the initial batch being lapped up (the game entered the Wii Top 40 at No.18 - not spectacular, but Disaster never even charted...).

EdEN said:
Enjoy the game since it seems Nintendo won't be bringing it over to the Americas...

There's still hope. Reggie flat out said no to Disaster and then proceeded unprofessionally (and unfairly since the game's brilliant!) to criticise the game to the media. All he's said about Another Code: R so far is 'We were not able to reveal our entire line-up at this year's E3' Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

Today I played and completed Another Code: Two Memories. IT WAS AWESOME It only lasted just under 4 hours (With a complete D's story) So now I am ordering this game tomorrow, I'm glad I didn't read this review yesterday!

I Hope the game captures everthing the DS version had and more Smilie Good review!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Cheers Smilie It took me around 6-8 hours to complete the DS game - but then again when it comes to games of this ilk I do tend to wander around wasting time a lot!

I was pleased to see the game climb further up the Wii chart in its second week and I do keep hearing from people that it's hard to find the game in many places, so hopefully that's a sign of people buying more than Nintendo expected rather than Nintendo just not re-stocking sufficiently.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I got my DS game compleation down to around 4 hours after a few plays.

Wii version first game took about 15 hours. Lending it to my bro and his gf.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Let's hope they enjoy it as much! Smilie Sadly the game dipped somewhat in its third week here in the UK...but stock still seems to be in short supply. Let's see what happens in tomorrow's UK chart update.

For now, I suppose, it's good to see it's lingered for three weeks now, anyway. Certainly not a complete bomb! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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